Before you can even start thinking about switching energy suppliers (and you really should be thinking about it), you have to be certain exactly who your current supplier is. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. While the opening up of the market has led to choice and competition, it’s also led to a great deal of confusion. This confusion often leads to people simply sticking with the energy deal they’ve had for as long as they can remember, and the bad news is that this is usually the worst tariff a supplier offers.
According to Ofgem, the government body tasked with overseeing fairness in the industry, there were no fewer than 62 suppliers in the UK energy market as of December 2018, and the breakdown between the so called big six companies – British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE – and smaller providers is as follows:
- Gas – 73% larger companies, 27% smaller companies
- Electricity – 74% larger companies, 26% smaller companies
What all of this adds up to is a big and very complicated picture, with you as the consumer in the middle of it all, trying to find out how to save a few pounds on your energy bills. As with many things, knowledge is power in a situation like this, and that includes things like understanding your bill and knowing how to read your meter. The more information you have on who is supplying your power now and what kind of tariff they have you on, the better placed you’ll be to judge other tariffs and pick the one that’s perfectly suited to you.
The energy companies make all of this information extremely clear in bright orange lettering on the front of all their communications, just next to the bit where it tells you that you’re paying way too much and should be looking for a better deal. That’s what we’d like to be able to say. The truth, however, is that you’re left to your own devices when it comes to things like finding your MPAN number and MPRN number. This brings us to another question:
What is my MPAN number?
MPAN stands for meter point administration number, and it’s linked to your electricity supply. It’s sometimes given other names, like Electricity Supply Number or S Number (see how hard they work to keep things simple for you?). The first thing to remember is that it’s not the same as your customer reference number, which is another big long number you’re expected to know.
Here is an example of what your MPAN number should look like:
What is my MPRN number?
MPRN stands for meter point reference number and is a unique number linked to your gas meter. Again, it’s a different number to your customer reference number. You should be able to find it on your bill if your supplier included it.
Look for a row of numbers, typically prefaced with an M, like the below example MPRN:
Where can I find my MPAN electric number?
The good news is that your MPAN number is displayed on your electricity bill. It’s a 21-digit number broken down into separate segments like Profile Class and Distribution ID. If you haven’t got a copy of a recent bill then you can still find out your MPAN number by ringing your supplier. What’s that…?
You’re not sure who your supplier is…
Rest assured you’re not alone in this. If you want to find out who supplies your electricity then simply visit the website of the Energy Networks Association and enter your postcode. You’ll then be given details of your supplier, including a phone number to call and ask what your MPAN number is.
Where can I find my MPRN number?
Just like the MPAN number, your MPRN number will be displayed on your latest gas bill. It’s between six and 10 digits long and will be in a slightly different position depending on your supplier, but always labelled ‘Meter Point Reference’.
You haven’t got a bill handy…
You can call your supplier and ask them what your MPRN number is or, if you’re not entirely 100% totally certain (i.e. you’ve got no idea) who your supplier is, you can find out by entering your postcode at the Find My Supplier website. Alternatively, you could call the Meter Number Helpline on 0870 608 1524. Give them your postcode and the first line of your address and they’ll provide the name of your supplier and your MPRN.
Knowledge is power
And knowledge about power suppliers is money in the bank. Once you’ve got your MPAN and MPRN numbers and you know who your supplier is you can start making sure you’re on the best possible tariff for you. Have they quietly slipped you on to their standard variable rate because you’ve been with them for years, meaning their reward is that big fat price rise coming just around the corner? Do you know about the fixed rates they offer, or whether they’re rolling out smart meters in your area? Could you be on a much better deal elsewhere? The answer to this last question is that the average saving after switching suppliers is £350 per year.
If the thought of all these numbers, helplines and websites is giving you a headache then why not put everything in the capable hands of Look After My Bills? We’ll keep switching you on to the best deal out there – so all you have to think about is how to spend the money you save.