How Do I Read My Energy Bill?

How Do I Read My Energy Bill?

Understanding all of the terms on your energy bill is important in order to know how to improve your energy efficiency and reduce your bills. Abbreviations such as kWh, E, GPRN and MPRN are explained in our guide to reading your energy bills.

What is a kWh?

A kilowatt hour (kWh) is the unit of measurement used by gas and electricity suppliers. One kilowatt hour is equivalent to 1000 watts of energy used for 1 hour. For example, a 100-watt lightbulb switched on for 10 hours will use 1 kWh of electricity.

An average Irish household uses 14.5 kWh of electricity and 37.8 kWh of gas per day. One kWh will get you about 10 minutes in an electric shower or one cycle of your washing machine or dishwasher.

What does the ‘E’ on my bill mean?

‘E’ stands for ‘estimate’. It means that your energy consumption has been estimated, based on the average usage rate for a house similar to yours. Your consumption estimate determines your overall energy billing rate and it could be higher or lower than your actual consumption.

ESB Networks is responsible for reading your gas and electricity meter and tries to do so four times a year. However, things like broken doorbells, wrong turns and long days out of the house make these visits hard to schedule sometimes. And that’s when estimation becomes necessary.

If you just love long luxurious sessions in your electric shower or live in a house where the kettle is constantly being boiled to meet tea needs, your actual consumption may be higher than your estimate.

However, if you think you are paying for more electricity than you're actually using, you can just provide your own meter reading to your supplier, either over the phone or online and they will then adjust your bill. Be sure to get in touch within two weeks of receiving your bill to get it changed!

How do I read my electricity meter?

The most common type of electricity meter in Ireland is a mechanical, or spinning disk, meter, which displays your consumption in kWhs. If there are two readings, one marked 'Day' and the other 'Night', then you have a special type of meter known as a NightSaver meter.

When reading your meter, you only need to take a note of the numbers in black and ignore the number in red. If you have a NightSaver meter, you will need to take note of both readings. The meter reading(s) will be used to switch you from one electricity supplier to another.

How do I read my gas meter?

When reading your gas meter, you only need to take note of the numbers in black and you can ignore the numbers in red. The meter reading will be used to close your gas account with your existing supplier and start your gas account with your new supplier.

What is a MPRN?

A Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN) is a unique 11-digit number which indicates the exact location of a property’s connection to Ireland’s electricity network. Every connection and meter has its own MPRN, which is managed by ESB Networks. MPRNs are listed on all electricity bills of end users.

What is a GPRN?

A Gas Point Reference Number (GPRN) is a unique 7-digit numeric code assigned to every gas point on Ireland’s natural gas network. The number is located on all gas bills in Ireland and must be quoted when changing gas supplier.

A gas point is the place at which gas is withdrawn from a national gas network, measured by a meter and supplied to an end user.

What is the national consumption average?

Here are the official national energy consumption averages for Irish households of various sizes:


Size of house

Average annual consumption

Average annual spend

1 bedroom

3,100 kWh


2 bedrooms

4,300 kWh


3 bedrooms

5,300 kWh


4 bedrooms

6,800 kWh


5 bedrooms

8,100 kWh



8,100 kWh




Size of property

Average annual consumption

Average annual spend

1 bedroom apartment

6,900 kWh


2 bedroom house

10,300 kWh


3 bedroom house

13,800 kWh


4 bedroom house

17,200 kWh


*Figures are based on Electric Ireland's Standard 24-hour tariff and urban standing charge, and include the PSO Levy and VAT at 13.5%
**Figures are based on Bord Gáis Energy Standard tariff and standing charge and include carbon tax and VAT at 13.5%

These figures will help you to benchmark your energy consumption and spending against national figures. However, we recommend that you make the effort of reading your meter and contacting your supplier to get an exact usage figure. You’ll then have a good idea of whether or not you need to reduce your energy usage and spend.

When did you last switch supplier?

The best way to save money on your bills is to compare current rates and switch to a better deal. We are here to help with this so just give us a call on 1800 930 255 or visit our Compare Natural Gas and Electricity Prices page to switch today.


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