Fuel bills and tariffs: Ofgem's proposed changes
In October 2012, the government's energy watchdog Ofgem proposed major changes to the different tariffs that companies can offer their customers. Ofgem says the changes, which include limiting tariffs to four per supplier and telling consumers if they were on the cheapest rate, would make paying for gas and electricity fairer and clearer. Explore our sample bill to find out what would change under the proposed measures, which some energy firms have already implemented.
- Page 1
- Called a statement if paid by direct debit
- Might say estimated
Discounts such as for dual fuel would have to be shown in pounds and pence, rather than percentages.
Total to pay
"In debit" means how much you owe.
- This number is unique to you
- You are being charged for gas used
between these dates
- At present, energy companies can offer many tariffs but Ofgem want this cut to four.
- Ofgem also say the front page of bills should tell you if you are on the company's cheapest tariff for your usage.
- Page 2
- Gas you've used in this billing period
This shows how much gas you have used in the billing period. With an old gas meter, gas is measured in imperial units, one of which equals 100 cubic feet of gas. These are then converted into kilowatt-hours (kWh), a standard measure of energy use. If you have a modern meter this is still converted into kilowatt-hours.
Currently, bills have either a standing charge and one tariff, or two-tier tariffs in which the first amount of fuel is charged at a higher rate. Under Ofgem's proposals, all tariffs would have a standing charge and a single rate. The exception would be for time-based charges such as Economy7.
This describes the formula for converting units into kilowatt-hours. As well as a metric conversion, there is a factor for calorific value (heating power) of gas which varies depending on the composition of your gas, especially moisture content. This can vary by time of year and origin of the gas. The volume correction adjusts the calculation for temperature and pressure, which alter gas volume.
- Your previous bill payment
Contacts and complaints
This section contains key information on getting in touch with your gas supplier. Your meter point reference number, details of the third party contractor which reads your meter and geographic pricing area are contained in the section at the top. Further down are details of how to make a complaint. Note that complaints by telephone and email are always acceptable. The ombudsman can award financial compensation.
- Page 3
- Compares your usage for this bill
with the same period a year ago
- This estimate assumes current
- Under Ofgem's proposals, bills would contain new information allowing customers to compare their tariff with others available. All bills would have a Tariff Comparison Rate to allow like-for-like checking.