28th August 2020
Questions about your statement? We’re here to help
Becky Boulton, Statements and Billing Expert
Energy companies are notorious for making bills overly-complicated. We do all we can to simplify ours, and continuously work to make them better, based on your feedback and suggestions. Still, occasionally your statement can throw up something unexpected, so we've broken down some of the FAQs we get about bills.
If you’ve got questions, we’ve got your back. Here’s a deep dive into some of our customers’ most common statement-based queries:
Anything we haven't covered? Get in touch however suits and we'll help.
Why does my statement show a charge for just gas or electricity, but not both?
There are a few possible reasons you might receive a single fuel statement:
- If you’re a new customer, we might still be in the process of getting all your meter information and closing ‘handover’ meter readings from your old supplier.
We can’t create your first bill until we have agreed a handover meter reading with you old supplier (that’s a matching meter reading to close your old supplier’s account on, and open your new account with us on). The industry process of agreeing these ‘handover’ readings is quite different for electricity and gas, which means sometimes we might get your gas reading before your electricity reading, and vice versa – which could result in us sending you a bill for just one while we wait for the other.
This process shouldn’t take too long – ideally six weeks, maximum, so this shouldn’t affect your billing at all beyond your first month or so with us.
- If you gave us a meter reading that didn’t look quite right.
If we think the gas reading you gave us didn’t look right, we’ll send you a bill for your electricity only (or vice versa) while we investigate the strange reading.
In the meantime, You can find a record of all meter readings you’ve previously submitted on your online account dashboard (in the section with information about your property, meter, and tariffs).
You can also send a photo of your meter to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can check for you. To receive a new bill, you can submit another meter reading. Remember: You can ignore the numbers after the decimal place (or in red) when submitting your meter reading.
- We are having trouble with connecting to one of your smart meters.
From time to time, we might encounter an issue taking automatic readings from your smart meter, often due to problems transferring the data between a number of different third parties and industry checks before it reaches us. If you have a smart meter and your statement only shows a charge for one fuel, or you have not received a meter reading in a while, get in touch and one of our energy experts will look into it.
Why has a charge been credited to my account?
- We've recalculated some previous charges.
Sometimes you'll see a notice on the first page of your statement that says something like this - “We have credited you with a reversed account charge”.
From time to time we might discover there was an issue with a past bill (for example, if we billed you to an incorrectly submitted reading) and we'll need to recalculate to make sure all your charges are correct. To do that, we first need to get rid of the incorrect charges, and credit your account so we're back to square one. Then, we'll add the correct charges, getting your account up-to-date.
- It's also possible that we'd overestimated your energy consumption on a previous bill, and credited the difference back to you when you sent a meter reading.
If you haven’t submitted a meter reading in a while, we’ll've been creating your energy bills based on estimates of how much power you've used. Once you give us a new reading, it might turn out that we’ve been overestimating your usage. In this case your charge will end up being lower than we expected and your account will be credited with the difference.
You can check whether this is the reason by comparing the meter readings sections on your most recent statements. If you check the last statement you received before you sent in new meter readings, it'll say ‘estimated’ next to the reading that bill was based on. If you then compare that to your more recent statement (received after you sent in new readings) and the reading no longer says ‘estimated’ next to it, and the figure is lower – then this is the reason you’ve been credited!
If something doesn’t look right or you're not sure why you've been credited, just get in touch and our team will help you out.
Why is there is an unexpectedly high charge on my statement?
There are a few reasons this can happen:
- You might've submitted an incorrect meter reading by mistake
We know taking meter readings can be a bit fiddly (plus, chances are, you’re probably trying to avoid a spider or two). If you see a very unexpected charge on your bill, it’s possible the reading you gave was a digit too long, or too short.
The solution here is simple: just check that the reading on your meter matches the reading on your statement (head to the second page of your PDF statement to see the meter readings we billed you with).
If it looks like your reading was off by a digit or two, don’t worry! Just submit another reading as normal, and we’ll create a new bill, typically within 48 hours.
We’ve got handy guides for taking meter readings, whatever type of meter you have. Don’t worry about including any numbers in red, or after the decimal point.
- We’ve had to use estimates to create your bills, and they weren’t totally in line with your real energy consumption
We far prefer creating your statements based on your real meter readings, because they’re more accurate. That’s why we make it super easy to submit meter readings through your online account, send you a reminder every month, and send you a statement every time you submit a meter reading.
If we don’t get real readings from you, we’ll create your bill based on an estimated meter reading. We create them using the best information we have to go on: your property’s historic meter readings – but by definition, they’re estimations, and sometimes they can be out of sync with your real energy consumption.
How do I know if my bill was based on estimated meter readings?
You’ll find the meter readings on the second page of your PDF statement. If we created your bill using an estimate of your energy use, it’ll say “Estimated”. If we used a real meter reading you gave us, it’ll say “Customer read”.
If the estimate we used wasn’t quite right, it can cause a few different billing issues…
If we used an estimated reading that was higher than your real energy consumption...
If you see a high charge on your account based on an estimated reading, and you don’t think it’s quite right, the solution is super easy. Just submit a meter reading (or email us a photo of your meter) and we can check it out and create a new bill based on your real energy consumption, typically within 48 hours.
If you’ve been billed using estimated readings that were lower than your real energy consumption in the past…
If you’ve just submitted a meter reading for the first time in a while and got a high charge on your recent bill, you might have been using more energy than we’d been predicting on previous estimated bills. If we’ve been estimating your bills with low energy consumption estimates for a while, it can mean you’ll get a higher charge when you do eventually send us real meter readings as we bring your account up to date.
Alternatively, if you’ve previously been billed to an estimated reading and then send us a new reading, there’s a chance your charge will end up being higher than expected (if you’ve used more energy than we predicted). This usually means that you’re now being billed correctly, but if something looks wrong, please let us know.
Submitting regular meter readings is so important because it ensures your account charges are always up to date and accurate, meaning you’ll never get shock bills. Submit a meter reading now!
- You’re just using more energy than usual
Have a think about anything that might’ve changed your household’s energy usage recently. Spending more time at home? Got a new roommate? Got a new jacuzzi? Or maybe, it’s just the time of year – in Winter, your bills are likely to be higher as you crank the heating up on chilly nights.
We’ve got a handy video and written guide for quick and easy ways to save energy (and therefore, save cash and carbon!) around your home.
- Your meter is faulty
It’s extremely rare to have a faulty meter, but if you’re concerned that your meter isn’t recording your energy consumption correctly, just get in touch. We can investigate what’s going on, and we’ll ensure that you’re never overcharged due to a faulty meter.
How do I refer friends to Octopus and when will I get my credit reward?
Great news! Once you are an Octopus customer, every time you recommend a friend to Octopus you’ll both receive £50! Remember, to share £100 with friends who sign-up they must do so using your referral link (which you can find in your online account). The credit will be added within 10 days of your first Direct Debit payment appearing on your account. It will appear on your next statement as a £50 "Referral credit". You can find out more in our referrals blog!
Why are the unit rates on my statement different from the rates I was quoted?
The unit rates on the right hand side of your bill don’t include VAT (this is added on after we calculate your charges).
We always include VAT in our quotes to make sure you never encounter any hidden charges. You can find your current prices alongside other information about your tariffs on your online account dashboard.
Why aren’t the dates of my charges in chronological order?
This could be because we have filled a gap in your billing. Very occasionally, we encounter an error that doesn’t allow us to bill for a period of time. Once we’ve sorted it out, we’ll bill your account for your full consumption as quickly as possible, and let you know in your new statement. If you would like more information on why this has happened, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.
It's been a little while since I've received a statement, what should I do?
Rather than sending monthly statements, we create your statements based on your meter readings. Just submit a reading and you'll get a bill, generally within 48 hours. If you haven’t received a bill for some time, try submitting a meter reading online and we’ll generate one for you.
If you have a smart meter we're connected to, we'll send you a bill automatically each month on your chosen day.
If you have a connected smart meter, or you've submitted a reading, but still haven’t received your bill, please get in touch and we’ll look into it.
What does ‘estimated annual consumption’ mean?
Your estimated annual consumption is calculated by taking every meter reading from your property and working out your average usage over the course of a year.
This can differ slightly from your actual usage (it is an average, after all) but it is based on your readings. We use this figure to predict how much you should be paying by direct debit, with the intention of building up credit in the summer to cover higher usage over the winter.
What are ‘unit rates and gas measurements’?
Electricity is always measured in kilowatt hours (kWh), and gas in 100s of ft3 for older meters, and meters cubed (m3) for newer meters.
We always bill and quote for both electricity and gas in kWh, this means that we must convert gas into kWh in order to charge you for your usage. Your energy usage is calculated from your gas consumption using a standard industry formula: Unit Consumed (Cubic Meters) x Volume Correction (for temperature & pressure) x Calorific Value (energy in each m³ of gas) ÷ 3.6 (convert from joules) - Usage (in kWh).
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