You look at you energy bill trying to work out why it costs so much as you don’t recall using that much energy in the last couple of month. You thought you were on a good plan with a good discount but you don’t have time to check it because you are busy, it’s a tedious task and the terms make no sense. So you pay it, hoping that your energy provider has got it right. But it's worth being able to interpret your energy bill to keep your provider on their toes.
We say interpret as it can sometimes look like it’s written in another language with terms like - supply charge, daily charge, anytime, single rate, controlled, shoulder, units, peak, off-peak. No wonder we end up just hoping that our energy provider has got it right.
This is the amount of energy units your household has used for the stated invoice period. The larger number on your bill is the total units, usually expressed in “kwh” which stands for kilowatt hours. The smaller amount expressed as a $ figure (eg $0.27564) is the amount you are charged per kilowatt hour you used.
This is a meter that only charges you at one fixed rate. It doesn't matter what time of day you consume your energy, you are paying the same rate.
This is an additional component to your meter, which sends energy to one appliance in the house, usually a hot water service, pool or large freezer. This is often a much cheaper rate than your standard usage, because usage is more consistent.
This is a meter that charges you per unit used at various points in the day. Peak is a higher rate per unit as it applies to peak times of the day where most people are using energy (usually before and after work and on the weekends). Off-peak is the opposite of that and during the times of the day when most people are not using a lot of energy. Off-peak is a slightly cheaper rate, so you should refer to your contract to determine what times these apply. This may change the times you do activities that require energy.
The shoulder rate is a time in between peak and off-peak that you get charged a third separate rate. Usually a price that is lower than peak but higher than off-peak.