Personal Finance

How to pay energy bills quarterly based on ACTUAL usage

As energy bills skyrocket, many are looking for ways to be more careful with their money. We found out how to pay an energy bill quarterly based on actual usage, rather than estimates.

Households are trying lots of tricks to save energy, from turning down their boiler flow turning down their boiler flow to swapping the tumble dryer for a heated clothes airer.

But for those on a fixed rate deal, or paying based on estimates, their hard work may not be paying off as energy suppliers charge the same each month, or bill based on an educated guess.

That’s why many try to pay their bills based on actual usage. It may mean fluctuations in outgoings between summer and winter, but users who do this can keep track of their spending more accurately. It can also mean cheaper bills during the summer – particularly helpful if other outgoings could be expected.

However, there are few energy companies who offer quarterly payments by direct debit, regardless of whether that is based on estimates or actual usage, our research found.

There are three ways direct debit energy bills are calculated:

  • Budget: An energy usage estimate is split equally into 12 monthly payments
  • Weighted: An energy usage estimate that sees bills in autumn/winter slightly higher than bills in spring/summer months.
  • Variable: Billed for the exact amount of energy used. This is more often than not monthly, rather than quarterly.

A NimbleFins reader contacted us to ask us if any energy companies offered quarterly payments based on actual usage, and informed us of a little-known hack.

We found all 18 energy providers we investigated offered Budget payment options, but only nine offered Variable payments based on actual usage (and only two offered Weighted payments).

Our reader picked EDF for his energy supplier as it offered Variable payment based on actual usage. But online the provider did not show a quarterly billing option. However after speaking to them on the phone, he was able to switch from monthly to quarterly billing. Therefore even if you don’t see a quarterly payment option available, it could be worth calling a company to make the request in case you can be successful that way.


Helen Barnett

Helen is a journalist, editor and copywriter with 15 years' experience writing across print and digital publications. She previously edited the Daily Express website and has won awards as a reporter. Read more here.


NimbleFins Newsletter

Get energy alerts, deals, tips, news, and more!