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How can I tell how much gas and electricity I’m using?

Cutting your energy use around the home not only helps reduce your energy bills but also your carbon footprint. If you monitor how much energy you use, you can take steps to be more energy efficient.

See how you can find out what you’re using and how you can save on your energy bills.

Cutting your energy use around the home not only helps reduce your energy bills but also your carbon footprint. If you monitor how much energy you use, you can take steps to be more energy efficient.

See how you can find out what you’re using and how you can save on your energy bills.

Written by
Sajni Shah
Utilities comparison expert
Last Updated
9 JANUARY 2023
6 min read
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How do I know how much energy I am using?

First things first, you can only reduce your bills if you know what you’re already spending on energy. There’s a few ways to do this:

  • Monitor your daily usage by taking readings from your meter
  • Get a smart meter so you can monitor it from the display
  • Check your latest energy bill – it should have your monthly consumption/use and your annual estimated usage.

Monitoring will give you some clues about your power usage patterns and what’s energy-hungry in your home. For example, doing a big weekly wash, taking a long bath or shower compared with a short one, or cooking Sunday lunch.

You can also experiment to see how small changes might make a difference, for example, washing at 30 degrees instead of 40 degrees, and hanging clothes out on the line or clothes horse instead of tumble drying.

How can I calculate my gas and electricity usage?

How is energy calculated?

Energy is sold to you by the kilowatt hour (kWh), also known as a unit rate on your energy bill. You’re charged for every kWh hour you use. You’ll also be billed with a daily standing charge. This is what your energy provider charges you to be connected to their supply.

All electrical items are rated for power in watts or kilowatts. The amount they consume also depends on how long they’re on for.

See which appliances use the most energy.

When buying new appliances, it’s worth comparing their energy ratings to see which will cost less to run. The ratings range from A to G, with A being the most energy efficient. Some types of appliances may also have A+, A++ and A+++ ratings, to distinguish the most energy efficient. The label will also tell you how much electricity the product uses in kilowatt hours, so you can compare different models’ power use.

How can I find out my energy usage from my bill?

You’ll find a full breakdown of your energy usage and how much you’re being charged for it on your energy bill. Whether this reflects your actual usage depends on the bill.

There are two types of bills:

  • Accurate – this is based on a recent meter reading, or on monthly readings that you’ve taken yourself, then sent to your supplier.
  • Estimated – if your supplier doesn’t receive your meter readings, the amount of kWh you’re charged for will be based on approximations, such as previous energy usage and what time of year it is.

Estimated bills might not be accurate, so you could be paying more one month, and less the next. The only way to get an accurate bill is to take an exact reading of your energy usage and send it to your supplier –  or get a smart meter installed. See our guide to smart meters.

If you’re not sure where to find what you’ve been charged for, take a look at our guide to understanding your bill.

How can I check my annual energy usage?

Checking your annual statement will give you an overview of your total energy use and how much you’ve spent over the year. You may also be able to see the seasonal variations of your bills. Some providers may show you how much your annual use is compared with the previous year, so you can see if your energy use is increasing or decreasing. Others may show you your expected use for the coming year based on your previous usage history.

All the information you need to compare tariffs is in the statement, so when you get your statement it’s a handy reminder to run an energy comparison and see if you can get a tariff that works better for you.

The best way to get an exact reading of your energy consumption at any time, and eliminate the hassle of reading your meter altogether, is to opt for a smart meter

Using a smart meter to track your energy use

A smart meter will show you exactly how much energy you’re using in real time via an In Home Display (IHD). It will also send the information directly to your supplier using a mobile signal, which means you don’t have to do anything. You can also see which gadgets and appliances are costing you the most money to run.

Smart meters aren’t compulsory, but they’re a great, hassle-free way of making you aware of your energy usage.

How to check your energy usage by reading a standard meter

If you haven’t got your latest bill to hand, and you haven’t got a smart meter, you could check your energy usage by reading your standard meter.

It’s a bit of a faff and takes longer this way, but at least it will give you a running total. Simply read your meter, make a note of the numbers, then check it again in a week.

Not sure what to look for? Check out our guide on how to read an electric or gas meter.  

Estimating your energy use by user group

Industry regulator Ofgem* defines three common energy user groups that UK consumers fall into: low, medium, or high.

The following table can give you a rough estimate of how much your household’s average annual gas and electricity usage is:

User group Average gas usage in KWh Average elecrticity usage in kWh Typical household type
Low 7,500 1,800 1-2 people living in a one to two-bedroom flat
Medium 11,500 2,700 3-4 people living in a three-bedroom house
High 17,000 4,100 5+ people living in a four- bedroom house or larger

Source: Ofgem

Comparing energy quotes

Knowing your energy usage can help you make an informed decision when it comes to comparing energy tariffs. It can also help you get an accurate quote when you compare. energy suppliers

When you compare energy tariffs with Compare the Market, we'll try and provide an estimate of your energy usage.

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