Electricity bill: Is my annual statement correct?
Every year, at about the same time, we receive our electricity bill – not always a cause for pleasure. Due to the steadily rising electricity prices since 2000, we often expect a hefty additional payment. Often these additional payments come about solely through price increases in the billing period. Another possibility is increased power consumption, which can have a number of reasons. But sometimes the bill simply does not work. Therefore, you should look closely at the annual statement. At first glance, the multi-page annual statement may seem difficult to comprehend, since many consumption figures are listed. Do not be discouraged – there is a system. Most bills are built according to the same pattern.
In principle, the installments, which are usually paid monthly to the electricity supplier, are offset against the actual amount for consumption in the annual statement. For example: You have a discount of 50 euros per month, this results in a sum of 600 euros per year. These 600 euros are therefore deducted from the due amount of the annual statement. The same applies, of course, to prepayment rates, where you pay a yearly discount at the beginning of the contract period. We explain what data is important and where you find it.
This data is important
On the first page you will find on the left the delivery point to which the electricity is delivered, that is your address.
- Check your address. It happens that, especially in multi-family houses, the customer bills are reversed.
- On the right side you will find the contact details of your electricity supplier (name, address, service numbers and opening hours) as well as your customer number.
- In the middle is the invoice amount for the specified period (eg 01.03.2015 to 29.02.2016). In most cases, both the net (without VAT) and the gross amount (including VAT) are given. If you receive not only electricity, but also gas and water from your supplier, these items will also be listed there.
- The invoice amount also indicates the date on which the due amount is debited and from which account. This also applies to the enjoyable case of a credit, that is, you have paid too much and get back money.
- Often the power consumption in kilowatt-hours (kWh) for the billing period as well as that of the previous year (for comparison) is already indicated on the first page. Here you can already see if there are noticeable deviations. There are several causes for a noticeable increase: 1. Change in the number of people living in the household. 2. Purchase new electrical appliances that consume a lot of power, such as an aquarium, sunbed or sauna. 3. Someone has stuck to your power line and taps off your electricity. 4. Defective counter.
How can I check why consumption is increasing?
If the number of people living in your household has not changed and you have not purchased any power-hungry new electrical appliances, we recommend that you do the following:
- Go to your fuse box in the apartment and turn off all fuses. (Tilt the switch downwards). Also make sure that the washing machine or dishwasher is not running. Wait a few minutes and then go to your electricity meter (basement, boiler room, etc.). Watch this. Actually, the wheel should not turn further. If that’s the case, someone else uses your power differently. Best inform your local supplier.
- Read off your consumption weekly for a few weeks. This may be a bit of a hassle, but it helps you figure out when consumption is skyrocketing. However, if the consumption fluctuates (very) from week to week, but you always use the same equipment, such as stove, washing machine, possibly dishwasher, TV, radio, computer, then this indicates that either something is wrong with the meter or how mentioned above, someone else uses your electricity.
- A good way to detect power guzzlers is to use a meter. You can borrow that from most local providers for free. It works quite simply by pulling the plug of the electrical device out of the socket and plugging it into the meter – similar to an adapter. Now put the meter back in the socket. Here you can see how much power the device consumes in the hour / day. The measuring period is up to you. Suspects in this area are mostly fridge and washing machine.
- If the increased power consumption can not be explained “naturally”, there is still the possibility that the meter is defective. In this case, contact your local utility who is responsible for meter maintenance – even if you receive your electricity from another supplier. Ask in writing for a meter test. Note, however, that the replacement of the counter may be chargeable – depending on whether the counter is defective or not. If the meter is defective, the costs of about 100 Euro will be covered by the local supplier. If it should turn out during the verification at the calibration office that the counter has transmitted correctly, you must pay the 100 euros.
How do I check if my invoice is correct?
If you want to check the correctness of the invoice, you need the following data:
- 1. the old meter reading (count at the beginning of the billing period) eg 01.04.2014
- 2. the new meter reading (meter reading at the end of the billing period) eg 30.03.2015
- Just subtract the old from the new meter reading. This difference is the consumption of the payroll period. Compare this with the consumption listed by the supplier. If these two values do not match, check the part consumptions listed on page 2. These must be broken down individually if there were price increases or reductions during the accounting period. Indicated are the current prices and the period for which they were current. Sometimes, however, a number spinner is the cause of the mismatch between the two values. If this is the case, contact your supplier.
- In addition, check the individual partial consumptions. To do this, take the number of kilowatt hours for each period and multiply it by the current price at the time specified there. Please note that most providers quote the price net, ie without VAT. You therefore have to add another 19 percent to the total. Mostly also the electricity tax is extra calculated. That’s another 2.05 cents / kWh.
- If your meter is a two-tariff meter, the daily tariff (high tariff = HT) and the night tariff (low tariff = NT) are listed separately because there are two different price categories. The night stream is offered much cheaper, since at night less power is consumed. Most providers offer their night stream between 22 and 6 o’clock.