It's worthwhile to understand your energy usage for a variety of reasons. You might want to monitor your usage over time, switch energy supplier or estimate your monthly or yearly outgoings.
We outline how energy usage is typically calculated and the various ways in which you can find out about your energy usage.
How is Energy Usage calculated?
When trying to identify your energy usage, you will find that the unit used for indicating your consumption is kilowatt hours or kWh.
This unit of measurement simply refers to how much power was used over a certain period of time.
Why is this important? Suppliers and energy comparison websites will base their price quotes for new deals on how much energy they think your household will use. If you know how much you use, you can make sure that your chosen plan is the cheapest given your consumption and make sure that your monthly payment is set correctly if paying by direct debit.
Check your Energy Bills
Perhaps the quickest way of finding out how much energy you are using, would be to take a look at your bill.
If you are on a paper contract, you will get your bills sent to you by post each month. These will include details on your current deal such as the name and end-date of your tariff, but also a complete breakdown of your energy usage.
Your energy usage will likely be displayed both on a monthly and annual basis. These will be most accurate when you submit regular meter readings to your supplier.
However, paper bills are becoming less and less common. If you have an online tariff, you will still be able to access the same information by checking your energy supplier’s online portal or checking your supplier's emails in your inbox.
Check your Smart Meter
Should you not have your bill to hand, you could also find out about your energy usage by taking a look at your smart meter display.
Smart meters have a set of features allowing you to read your usage figures for the day, week, month or year. Similarly to your bills, your usage will be shown in kilowatt hours.
Take manual Meter Readings
Alternatively, if you don’t have a smart meter, you can still find out your energy usage by simply taking manual readings of your regular energy meter. Citizen's Advice have issued simple instructions on how to do so.
This is helpful, as meter readings should be submitted to your supplier on a regular basis. This is to ensure your bills are based on actual energy usage, rather than estimates.
If your household is supplied with electricity only, it's simpler to understand your usage. Electricity meters measure your energy in kilowatt per hours. This means you won't have to convert the figure, and you can plug it straight into a comparison website or an electricity cost calculator.
Gas meters however, display a volume measurement which can be harder to decipher. You might have to convert the figure first, and not all meters measure your usage in the same units.
This means that if you are wanting to read your meter with the aim of adding your usage to comparison or cost calculator website, you likely won't be able to use your gas meter readings directly.
Contact your energy supplier
Another way of identifying your energy usage would be to simply contact your energy supplier and ask.
If you have trouble interpreting your bill or meter, you can always take your suppliers contact details from the top of the page of your bill and give them a ring or send a quick email. You will also be able to find your supplier’s contact details on their respective websites.
Just keep in mind that you may need to have some of your account information ready, to help find your energy account and usage.
Use estimates of your energy usage
If all else fails, there is always the option of using estimates of your energy usage. There are a number of criteria which can help estimate your energy consumption.
For instance, by finding out the size of your property, when it was built to gage insulation levels, how many rooms and occupants there are, and what heating systems there might be, it is possible to estimate a household’s average energy usage.
What is the best way to find out my energy usage?
In short, your actual usage in kilowatt hours will be a much more accurate indicator of your consumption, than having to rely on estimates.
The simplest ways of finding out the correct figures, would be to check your energy bills, smart meter or to contact your energy supplier directly.
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