How to read your gas bill

gas-meter

If you’re not sure how to read your gas bill, you’re not alone. Many customers are confused by the numbers and terminology on their first gas bill, but once you understand the different sections it becomes much easier to read.

The layout of gas bills varies depending on your provider, but most bills will contain a version of the following sections:

Account Summary

On the first page of your bill you should see a summary of your account. This usually includes the following information:

  • Account number
  • Property address for gas supply
  • Tariff type (i.e. your gas plan)
  • Current billing period
  • Amount due for current billing period
  • Due date for current invoice
  • Overdue charges (if applicable)
  • Available discounts
  • Total amount due

Breakdown of Gas Charges

There should be a section of the bill that expands on the account summary by providing a detailed breakdown of your charges. This is usually on the back page of the bill, or in some cases may extend to a second page.

Here you will see two sections: your total usage for the billing period and the corresponding charges for that usage. The usage section will likely contain an intimidating formula but don’t worry—it’s easier than it looks.

Depending on the type of meter you have, your gas consumption is measured in cubic meters or cubic feet. This amount needs to be converted into megajoules (MJ) for the purposes of calculating your charges. The formula you see is that conversion process:

(Previous reading) – (Current reading) = usage for current billing period in cubic meters

(Cubic meters) x (Heating value) x (Pressure factor) = Usage in MJ

Note that if your meter provides readings in cubic feet, that number will first be converted to cubic meters prior to being converted to MJ.

Your charges are then applied to the amount of gas consumption in MJ. Gas charges are usually divided into tariff blocks, where the first ‘block’ of usage is charged at a different rate than the next ‘block.’

Here’s what that may look like on your bill:

Block 1 – Gas consumption of 4000MJ @ $0.023450 = $93.80
Block 2 – Gas consumption of 4500MJ @ $0.020450 = $92.03

Along with your usage charges, you’ll see the supply charge, a fixed cost for providing gas to the property. If you are eligible for any government concessions or discounts, they will be listed here. GST will likely be listed as a separate charge, and finally you’ll see your total charges inclusive of GST. This is the amount due.

This section may also contain details of your next scheduled meter reading.

Payment Details

Your bill will include information about how to make payment. If your supplier offers a discount for early payment, it will be listed on your bill. Follow the instructions for your preferred payment method in order to pay your gas bill.

There are a range of payment options available to you, which usually include:

  • Direct Debit
  • BPAY
  • Credit Card (this payment method may incur a fee, which should be clearly stated)
  • Mail

Gas Usage Statistics

Some gas suppliers include a graph or chart of usage statistics, which is a good way of monitoring your energy consumption. This displays your energy usage over time, and sometimes provides a comparison to your usage at the same time last year. You may also find information about greenhouse gas emissions in this section.

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