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How to Read Your Utility Bill
(in Deregulated States)

Learn what you're paying for and why

Knowing How to Read Your Bill

It is also important to recognize other information contained in your bill so that you know how much you are paying for energy.

  • Customer Name and Mailing Address: your name (or the name of the person responsible for the account) should appear on the bill, along with the mailing address (which may be different than the actual service address).
  • Account Number: your account number should be clearly stated on your bill and you should have this number readily available when contacting your utility to ensure faster service.
  • Billing Period: the total amount of days included in the billing cycle. It should also include the date of the previous meter reading and the next meter reading.
  • Total Amount Due: the combined amount of your supply and distribution charges, taxes and all other fees that must be paid by the due date.
  • Due Date: the date by which your total amount due must be paid. Most utility companies assess a late payment charge if full payment is not received by the due date, so be sure to submit your payment in a timely fashion.
  • Meter Number(s): the identification number of the meter used to record your home energy usage. Your home may use more than one meter, and therefore your bill may include multiple numbers.
  • Rate Class: there are several different rate types including residential, commercial and industrial. Your home energy bill should be classified as residential.
  • Meter and Usage: this section of the bill provides details related to the use of energy in your home during the billing period. It may also include your usage history, comparing this billing period to past periods.
  • Messages: your utility may print messages on your bill to help you decipher your charges. They may also provide you with energy saving tips, announce pending rate increases or other important updates.

 Action Steps

  • Review each utility bill you receive to check for errors.
  • Ask your utility for an itemized bill if you can’t tell what you are paying for.
  • Contact your utility immediately if you find an error.
  • Contact your state’s utility commission for additional resources for understanding your utility bill. To find contact information for your state’s utility commission visit the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ website, www.naruc.org/commissions.
  • Get information on utility savings tips and help AARP fight unfair utility rate hikes at www.aarp.org/utilities.

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