Gas & Electricity

How do I read my energy bill?

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Image Mark Whelan
Staff Writer

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 kWh of electricity and 30.1 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.

Take a look at this guide for further information on the national average energy consumption.

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. You can discover what appliances use the most electricity here.

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!

If you haven’t had one installed already, Smart Meters are now available for customers and are being rolled out by ESB Networks. This new meter type means suppliers will no longer have to call around to take a meter reading, eliminating the need for estimated bills.

Find out more about Smart Meters with our guide here

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.

Consult our thorough guide here on how to read your gas and electricity meter.

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 that 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.

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.

Use our energy comparison tool to compare the best deals today across all 13 energy suppliers nationwide.

For more information, read our step-by-step guide on how to compare gas and electricity suppliers.

Before switching, you may want to take a look at some of the following:

Here to help

If you have any questions about your energy bill or switching supplier, feel free to reach out to us on social media! We’re on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.