How to Read Your Electricity Bill

Electricity bills can sometimes seem complicated. If you’re struggling to make sense of all the details on your bill, it can help to have a more in-depth look at all the aspects of your bill.

The Queensland Government has published the below information through their “Energy Made Easy” service.

Here’s what your electricity bill covers, and the useful information you can gain from having a closer look.

  1. Your account summary

Your account summary contains a summary of your electricity charges. It can include the amount you owe, amounts you have recently paid, overdue amounts, adjustments, and discounts and rebates.

(Example bill)

  1. Tariff or plan name

This is the name of the tariff or plan you are on. If your plan name is shown on your bill, it will probably be on the front page. If you can’t find this on your bill, contact your retailer.

  1. Government energy concessions.

If you are receiving a government energy concession, the concession amount will be displayed as a credit (an amount paid back to you) on your bill.


  1. Retailer contact details

Your retailer is the company that bills you for your electricity. If you have a question about your electricity bill or contract, you should contact your retailer.

  1. Distributor contact details

Some retailers will show your distributor’s name and contact details. Other retailers show the distributor’s phone number as the ‘Faults and emergencies’ contact number. Your distributor owns the poles and wires that connect you to the electricity network. Contact your distributor for any electricity faults or emergencies.


  1. Electricity usage comparison and history

Your bill will include a graph or table of your electricity usage compared to other households in your area. Some retailers will also show you how information about how your usage has changed over time.



  1. Electricity connection information

Your bill contains information about the electricity connection at your address and when your meter is read. You usually receive your bill a few days after your meter is read. An National Meter Identifier (NMI) is a unique 10 or 11 digit number assigned to the electricity connection at your address. Your NMI isn’t the same as your electricity meter number(s).


  1. Electricity usage

The usage information you see will depend on the type of electricity meter you have and the type of plan you are on. You may not see all the information listed on this sample bill.

  1. Meter readings

Your bill will usually show you a breakdown of your usage based on the meter readings. Your usage is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh). There may also be additional information about the quality of the meter reading information. In this sample bill( below), there is an A for ‘actual’ which means this usage was recorded from a meter read. If you see an E or similar, this usually means ‘estimate’ and that means your meter could not be read so the usage has been estimated for this bill. You should contact your retailer to find out why the read was estimated and how you can have this corrected.



  1. Rates and charges

Electricity usage is usually charged at a rate (sometimes called a tariff) in cents per kilowatt hour. Your bill will show you the individual rates you pay for the electricity you use, and the total dollar amount in dollars. In this sample bill, usage at different times of the day is charged at a different rate.

  1. Controlled load

If you see controlled load on your bill, it means electricity usage for one of your appliances, such as a hot water service or under floor heating, is charged at a different rate to your general usage. These rates are usually lower as they only apply to appliances that run overnight or in off-peak times. Controlled load can also be referred to as dedicated circuit consumption or off-peak. If you are unsure, contact your retailer.

  1. Service to property (supply) charge

Also known as a ‘fixed charge’ or ‘daily supply charge’, this is an amount you pay for each day in your billing period regardless of how much electricity you use. This is the charge for supplying electricity to your property.

  1. Solar feed-in tariffs

If you have solar panels connected and are on a solar plan, your bill will detail any amounts you receive from government solar feed-in and retailer schemes you are eligible for. These amounts will appear as credits (money paid back to you) on your bill.



  1. Payment information

Your retailer will usually have a number of different ways that you can pay your bill. Some payment options will incur an additional fee, so make sure you read the fine print and understand the conditions for each option. If you are having difficulty paying your bills, you should call your retailer immediately to discuss your situation with them.

Understanding your electricity bill is the first step – the second is how acting on the information you uncover. Your electricity bill is a great resource to help you save money, so take a few moments to identify ways to reduce usage. It might also be a good time to see who might be able to provide you with a better deal.

For more information visit the Energy Made Easy website.

How Can We Help You?

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