What does KWHRS mean on utility bills
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Read the electricity bill: what the bill reveals
Purchase price. Value added tax. Total price. Finished. Invoices can be very simple. Sometimes, however, they are a little more complicated, which applies to electricity bills, for example. The quote from the former German Chancellor Helmut Schön has come down to us: "It may be easier to rule a country than to read an electricity bill."
Much has happened since then. Among other things, the legislature has given thought to the topic and anchored the requirement for easy understandability of electricity bills in law. However, there is still scope for more or less legible electricity bills. But once you know what is on the bill, you will understand the bill faster and better. The following information is intended to help you read and verify your utility bill.
Electricity bill: what the legislator prescribes.
Paragraph 40 (electricity and gas bills, tariffs) of the Energy Industry Act (EnWG) states in paragraph 1: "Invoices for energy supplies to end consumers must be simple and understandable." can invoke this statutory provision. In reality, however, it is initially of little help by itself. After all, everyone can interpret what “simple” and “understandable” mean differently. However, Paragraph 40 also specifies the content of an electricity bill. In short, according to the law, an electricity bill must include, among other things:
- Name and address of the biller as well as details of the competent registry court as well as information for quick electronic contact,
- Information on the duration of the contract, the applicable prices, the next possible termination date and the notice period,
- "The consumption determined in the billing period and, for household customers, the initial meter reading and the final meter reading of the billed period",
- the consumption of the comparable period of the previous year,
- the burdens from the concession fee and from the network charges for end consumers ...
- Information on the rights of household customers with regard to dispute settlement procedures ...
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Address and customer data help with identification
Of course, an electricity bill also includes the customer's address data. Otherwise it could not be delivered. However, they are of little interest to the customer himself. More interesting are data such as the customer number, the meter and the invoice number. When communicating over the phone with the electricity provider's hotline, you help the contact person to quickly identify the customer and the process.
In the past, this was worth real money, especially for providers with a chargeable telephone hotline. In the meantime, the European Court of Justice has ruled that hotlines for clarifying questions about contracts that have already been concluded must either be free of charge or not be more expensive than the local rate. Nevertheless, the following applies: the faster the conversation gets to the point, the sooner you save time and your nerves.
The most important information relates to costs
Most electricity customers would surely subscribe to that. Many electricity providers therefore integrate a short version of the cost information into their electricity bill. It contains information on the total costs within the accounting period (net and gross) as well as the sum of the deductions paid within the period. The difference “total costs minus the sum of the deductions” results in the remaining amount to be paid or the credit to be paid by the electricity provider.
The view of the details
The short summary is of course not enough for a correct electricity bill. Only the listed details enable customers to understand the invoice amount. These details must include the electricity meter reading from the beginning and the end of the billing period specified in the invoice as well as the consumption in "kWh" (kilowatt hour) calculated from this data.
If the customer has switched from one tariff to another with the electricity provider during the billing period, the electricity bill must separately specify the billing period for both tariffs and calculate the consumption from the meter readings.
A distinction is made between the basic price and the consumption price
Electricity prices are made up of a fixed basic price and a variable consumption price. The basic price in euros / year is consumption-independent, but can be different if there are two different tariffs from the same provider. It can also change if you have not been an electricity customer with tariff X from the biller all year round. A simplified example:
Since the provider switched from tariff X to tariff Y within the year, the total duration of the year (365 days) is divided into the respective periods with tariff X or Y. If you have used tariff X with a basic price of 50 euros / year for 73 days, the period of use is one fifth of the year, so you only pay a fifth of the basic price for tariff X, i.e. 10 euros. If you used tariff Y for the rest of the year with a base price of 80 euros / year, then the period of use is four fifths of the year, so that four fifths of the base price are also incurred, i.e. 64 euros.
The consumption price is calculated using the "Kilowatt hour consumed x price per kilowatt hour" formula. If you used two different tariffs in the billing period, the following applies again: The price is calculated individually for each tariff. And if the electricity provider has guaranteed the customer a bonus for changing tariffs, for example, this will be deducted from the price for tariff Y in the billing room.
In the example, the sum of "basic price + consumption price tariff X" and "basic price + consumption price tariff Y" minus any bonuses results in the total price in net. The information on the electricity bill then includes consumption information for the previous billing period so that you can compare the electricity consumption in both periods.
Help is available if you have any problems
If you do not agree with the electricity bill, you can first seek personal clarification with the provider. If the resolution does not succeed in this way, the Energy Arbitration Board can help with an agreement. Only when the arbitration fails should one consider filing a lawsuit.
The electricity bill as a basis for comparison
Last but not least, the price per kilowatt hour stated on the electricity bill and the information on annual consumption can serve as a basis for comparing electricity providers. Such a comparison is often worthwhile because the prices per kilowatt hour differ from one another, sometimes significantly, from different providers. Extrapolated to the year, this can result in savings of several hundred euros. Try it yourself: use ours now Electricity tariff calculator and find the cheapest electricity tariffs for your region.
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