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Energy bills

Consumers have a right of access to energy, access to information when choosing or switching supplier and protection against misleading or unfair selling methods. Gas and electricity bills should be clear and contain useful information, for example with regards to the price of consumed energy. They should also allow comparing offers from different energy suppliers, so that it is possible to switch the supplier if needed.

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

Information that should be included in regular bills (e.g. monthly, bimonthly or quarterly bills)

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

  • duration of the contract and the deadline for informing the supplier in case of decision to switch to another supplier;

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

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

  • switching code (which is needed in case of switching suppliers);

  • 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);

  • 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.

Information that should be included in  annual reconciliation bills:

  • all of the above, plus:

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

  • total amount paid so far during the year and the history of payments;

  • the debit/credit balance (is it needed to make a top-up payment or does the provider owe money back?);

  • clear information on whether the regular (e.g. monthly) instalments need to be recalculated and, if so, how to reduce or increase the amount which is paid regularly in instalments;

  • actual meter reading details: history of meter readings during the year;

  • clear visual presentation of how an annual consumption compares to previous years;

  • clear visual presentation of how the 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, together with consumer representatives, industry and national authorities, is working to provide consumers with appropriate information.

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