Billing Awareness and Misconceptions Report

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    Billing Awareness and Misconceptions

    UK energy bills constantly fluctuate in price; unfortunately, this shows no signs of slowing down. From staying on top of our bills to finding the best business electricity rates, there are many reasons why we need to understand our energy usage, but how many of us can safely say this?

    To answer this question, we have carried out a survey asking UK residents how confident they are in their knowledge of energy bills – we have broken this data down into different demographics to reveal the most bill-savvy Brits. In addition, we will also provide you with knowledge concerning some of the current most-queried energy bill terms, giving you a better understanding of your spending.

    Key findings:

    ● Around a third of UK respondents say they often struggle to understand their bills.
    ● More than half of all UK respondents claim they regularly review their energy bills.
    ● 3% of UK respondents do not understand important terms relating to their energy bills.
    ● Just 10% of 18-24-year-olds understand their energy bills clearly.
    ● Almost a quarter of people in Newcastle struggle to understand their energy bills.
    ● More than 48% of women in the UK admit that they do not regularly review their energy bills, compared to 43% of men.

    More than 54% of UK respondents say they regularly review their energy bills

    More than 54% of UK respondents say they regularly review their energy bills

    From making sure you’re not being overcharged to understanding how your energy habits are impacting the environment, there are so many benefits to reviewing your monthly energy bill. Of the 2,000 UK respondents we surveyed, just over 54% claim that they regularly review their bills. When these figures are broken down by gender, males (57%) are more likely to review their energy bills regularly than females (51.7%).

    As people get older, they are also becoming more savvy regarding energy bills, as those aged 65 and over have the highest percentage of respondents saying that they regularly review their bills (63.4%). This age group also occupies the lowest proportion of people who answered, ‘I do not check my bills beyond the amount due’ (0.9%).

    Around a third of Brits say that they often struggle to understand their energy bills

    Around a third of Brits say that they often struggle to understand their energy bills

    Around ten years ago, the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) made changes to the way suppliers presented information to consumers about their energy bills. Despite this, only 18.3% of respondents we surveyed in 2024 say they always understand their bills.

    Earlier in our report, it was revealed that men are more likely to regularly check their energy bills than their female counterparts, but this might be because of a difference in understanding. According to our research, over 15% of females always find it difficult to understand their energy bills, compared to 12% of men.

    Only 55% of UK respondents confidently know what the terms credit, debit, and tariff mean

    Only 55% of UK respondents confidently know what the terms credit, debit, and tariff mean

    When we asked UK survey respondents if they confidently knew what the terms credit, debit, and tariff mean concerning their energy bills, more than half said they fully understood the meaning of all three.

    Energy bills often contain jargon, making it tricky for customers who are unfamiliar with the terms and/or new to paying their bills. Despite this, young adults appear to be the most clued up on their energy bill lingo, evidenced by only 2.5% of 18-24-year-olds claiming they do not understand any of the above terms, which is the lowest of any age demographic.

    South West England is more clued up on energy terms than any other UK region, with more than 64% of respondents saying that they confidently know what credit, debit, and tariff mean, a much more significant percentage than the UK average of 55.3%.

    Manchester and Cardiff are among the cities with the lowest proportion of regular energy bill reviewers

    Manchester and Cardiff are among the cities with the lowest proportion of regular energy bill reviewers

    Manchester has the highest percentage of respondents who do not regularly review their bills (21.60%) of all cities in the UK. From Manchester to Bristol, 94.80% of respondents in this English city regularly review their energy bills. This percentage may be leading the way regarding UK energy bill checks, but it means that around 5% of people here are unaware of what is happening with their energy bills.

    In addition, nearly 4% of respondents in Newcastle say they never check their bills beyond the amount due, which is the biggest proportion of any UK city and is closely followed by Belfast (3.3%), Sheffield (2.9%) and Southampton (2.4%).

    55.20% of survey respondents in Manchester don’t always understand their energy bills, the highest percentage of every UK city

    55.20% of survey respondents in Manchester don’t always understand their energy bills, the highest percentage of every UK city

    Of the 46.80% of respondents in Newcastle who regularly get confused by their bills, more than 23% say they always find it difficult to wrap their head around them which is a bigger proportion than any other UK area.

    On the other hand, Norwich may have one of the lowest percentages of any city for the answer ‘I find it very difficult to understand my bills’ (9.10%), but this doesn’t mean everyone else has a clear understanding, as only 15.90% of Norwich respondents claim that they always understand their energy bills clearly.

    More than 21% of respondents in Manchester don’t confidently know what the terms credit, debit, and tariff mean

    More than 21% of respondents in Manchester don’t confidently know what the terms credit, debit, and tariff mean

    Manchester and Sheffield are among the UK cities with the least understanding of energy bill terms. Respectively, 6.50% and 5.80% said they do not understand any of the terms credit, debit, and tariff, which are all important vocabulary when it comes to understanding energy bills.

    Bearing this in mind, it makes it all the more concerning that the UK city with the highest percentage of respondents answering ‘I fully understand all three terms’, Nottingham, only equates to 64.60%, meaning that more than 35% are somewhat uncertain of these energy bill terms.

    Most queried energy bill terms: Explained

    After revealing our survey results, it is clear that certain aspects of energy bills baffle UK residents. With this in mind, we have delved into search data to find the energy bill-related terms that have been Googled the most in the last twelve months.

    As a company that helps customers compare business energy deals, we know a thing or two about energy bill lingo. Using this knowledge, we have compiled a glossary of the most searched-for terms to help you understand more about your electricity and gas bills.

     

    The most searched energy bill terms in the UK

    Smart Meter

    A smart meter is an electronic device that records real-time electricity consumption and passes this information on to the relevant energy suppliers. Monitoring your daily energy usage can be beneficial as you can track how much money you spend and decrease your usage if necessary.

    Winter Fuel Payment

    It is no secret that the colder months are more costly in terms of energy bills, and the UK government offers a winter fuel payment to help older people with the extra heating expenses during these colder months.

    Specific criteria must be met for you to be eligible for a winter fuel payment, and this amount varies depending on your age and the number of people in your household.

    Energy Price Cap

    Energy suppliers charge you a set fee based on how much it costs to supply energy to your home. If you’re on a standard variable tariff, an energy price cap is the maximum amount of money a supplier can charge you per unit, which can change every three months depending on the UK’s economic climate.

    It is worth noting that the energy price cap does not limit your total bill, as this is relative to how much energy you use.

    Energy Price Guarantee

    The cost of living crisis has drastically impacted how we spend money, and energy bills are no exception. In a recent attempt to aid households with their energy bills, the UK government introduced an energy price guarantee to ensure consumers don’t pay a premium for their gas and electric bills.

    The energy price guarantee works similarly to the energy price cap but focuses on those who pay for their electricity and gas through a prepayment meter. Unfortunately, households in Northern Ireland cannot receive an energy price guarantee discount due to differences in the energy market.

    Standing Charge

    Have you ever wondered why you have been charged for energy when you haven’t been home? A standing charge is added to most electricity and gas bills to cover the maintenance of wires and energy networks and the cost of carrying out meter readings.

    Whether you use a smart or prepayment meter, you will still need to pay a standing charge, but every supplier’s price is different. However, you will find that these charges are generally cheaper for smart meter customers as they require less work from suppliers.

    Methodology

    We used TLF Research to create a survey asking respondents about how well they monitor and understand their energy bills. We asked each respondent their age and gender, as well as which region and city they lived in – the total sample included 2,000 responses.

    We used a range of online articles to make a seeding list of terms relating to energy bills. We used Google Ads Keyword Planner to find the total number of Google searches for each term between February 2023 and January 2024.

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      ? What does this mean?
      To get your quotes at lightening speed we need several key pieces of information which can all be found on your electricity bill. But by simply ticking this box, we can search ‘industry held data’ to get your meter number, electricity consumption and current energy supplier. This means that we can get you quick quotes without asking you to dig out all of your paperwork. This is personal data therefore we need you to allow us to access this information.
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