The breakdown of an energy bill

Energy bills are made up of lots of different items such as the cost of getting energy to your home.

 

Breakdown of energy bill costs

 

Figures from NERA Economic Consulting show the breakdown of an average gas or electricity bill as:

  • 45% is the actual cost of energy
  • 40% is spent on transport, distribution and running costs
  • The rest of the bill is divided into environmental, metering, profit and VAT costs. These costs are explained below.

 

Electricity bill costs

 

The costs of an electricity bill are divided as follows:

 

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Gas bill costs

 

The costs of a gas bill are divided as follows:

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Transport and distribution costs


The electricity and gas transmission and distribution networks bring energy to customers' homes. This is the only part of the bill which is still directly controlled by the industry regulator.
 
Since privatisation, these costs have fallen as energy companies have become more efficient.

New demands on energy networks like the need for more renewable energy and the introduction of smart grids could mean that these costs could rise. Any increase in this charge has to be approved by the industry regulator.


Environmental charges


The environmental charges added to energy bills pay for schemes such as the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT). These schemes aim to increase the energy efficiency of households and to tackle fuel poverty.

Also included in these charges are:

  • The Renewables Obligation, which aims to increase investment in renewable forms of energy generation
  • The EU Emissions Trading Scheme, which aims to cut the amount of carbon emissions made by electricity generators

So that Britain meets its climate change targets, the energy industry may take on new obligations which could add more environmental charges to the energy bill.


VAT


Value-added tax is charged at 5 per cent on energy bills, which is lower than in most other EU countries.


Metering


Customers already pay for their existing energy meters through their energy bills. This will continue when the plan to add smart meters to all homes begins. Find out more about smart meters.