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Energy bills

Gas and electricity bills should be clear and contain useful information. For example, they should allow you to easily understand how much you are really paying for the energy that you have used. They should allow you to compare offers from different energy suppliers, so that you can switch supplier if you are not happy with your current one.

Below are examples of good electricity bills. They reflect some of the best national practices in Europe and are based on the recommendations for user-friendly energy billing developed together by consumers, industry and energy regulators and endorsed by the Citizens' Energy Forum.

Electronic bills: a tool for consumers to spend less and control energy consumption at home

The following example shows good practices on how online electricity (e-bills) can be presented to help consumers have better control of what they pay and the energy they consume. It reflects the content of the report on electronic billing and personal energy data management presented in the 6th Citizens' Energy Forum taking place in London on 16-17th December 2013.

For further information on the Citizens' Energy Forum

Infographs






A regular electricity bill: EN BG DE FR pdf

An annual electricity bill: EN BG DE FR pdf



What should you be able to find on a good energy bill?


A. ON REGULAR BILLS (e.g. monthly, bimonthly or quarterly bills)


1. THE MOST IMPORTANT ITEMS

Your supplier's name and their contact details (including their helpline and emergency number);

The duration of your contract and the deadline for informing your supplier if you want to switch to another supplier;

Your tariff name and a (a reference to) a clear price breakdown for your tariff (the base price plus all other charges and taxes);

The base price of one energy unit (in kilowatt hours or kWh) for your selected tariff;

Your switching code (which you will need if you wish to switch suppliers);

The amount to be paid, for which billing period, by when and how;

Clear information on how this amount has been calculated: is it based on an actual meter reading or estimated only?

For calculations based on actual consumption: meter readings and consumption during the billing period (measured in kilowatt hours or kWh);


2. OTHER USEFUL INFORMATION

Where does the energy come from, how is it generated, how environment friendly is it ("the fuel mix")?

Information on how to get tips on saving energy (e.g. a link to a website);

Information on how to obtain the bill in alternative formats (e.g. in large print) for consumers with disabilities.



B. ON ANNUAL RECONCILIATION BILLS


ALL OF THE ABOVE PLUS:

A clear indication that this is a reconciliation bill, that is your (annual) settlement of the payment balance;

Total amount paid so far during the year and the history of your payments;

The debit/credit balance (do you need to pay make a top-up payment or does the provider owe you money back?);

Clear information on whether your regular (e.g. monthly) instalments need to be recalculated and, if so, how to reduce or increase the amount which you pay regularly in instalments;

Actual meter reading details: history of meter readings during the year;

A clear visual presentation of how your annual consumption compares to previous years;

A clear visual presentation of how your use of energy has evolved during the year.





Green energy

For consumers, sustainable energy consumption means not only helping to fight climate change but also substantial savings. One way is to "buy green" by opting for renewable energy. Another way is to consume less by insulating homes or buying energy-efficient electrical appliances.

But there is still much to be done to ensure that EU consumers are informed about green energy and energy related products and services. The European Commission is currently exploring this, together with consumer representatives, industry and national authorities.

Listen to consumers' voices on this topic at our European Consumer Summit 2010 (the workshop on "The Green Energy Challenge")





Learn more

4th Citizens' Energy Forum (2011)

Commissioner John Dalli's message to the Forum

Download .MP4 format

Forum reports: Working Group Report on Alternative Dispute Resolution in the Energy Sector - prepared for the 4th Citizens' Energy Forum pdf


3rd Citizens' Energy Forum (2010)

Commissioner John Dalli's message to the Forum


2nd Citizens' Energy Forum (2009)

Press release: Citizens' Energy Forum: consumers, industry and regulators endorse recommendations for billing, complaint handling and smart metering (PDF version pdf)

Fact sheet: Citizens' Energy Forum (PDF version pdf)


Opinions of consumer representatives

New Energy Strategypdf

Complaint Handling in Energypdf


 
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