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Energy advice for schools

Schools can take steps to managing their use of energy, spotting times where it is unnecessarily high and take steps to improve energy efficiency.

Read GOV.UK's tips to reduce energy and water use in schools

Renewable energy

Every school has the potential to generate its own renewable energy. As most schools have a large roof, solar PV is normally a good option. There are, however, alternatives, such as wind turbines, or for heat generation, biomass boilers or air/ground source heat pumps.

These websites provide information and guidance to schools on better understanding and managing your energy bills:

Get a discount through the Council 

99% of Bedford Borough Schools have signed up to the Council's Service Level Agreement (PDF) which means that schools benefit from being on the Council's energy supply contract and receive a number of other services.


If your school has any queries regarding your energy bills, please feel free to contact the Energy Team:

Phone: 01234 718697

Energy bills

Energy bills can often contain lots of information that you wouldn’t normally understand. Here's a quick guide to energy, bills and meters.


Energy use Watt-hours (Wh) or kilowatt-hours (kWh) is a measure of the energy consumed by an appliance with a given power rating over the time it is in operation. For example, a 40W light bulb on for 2 hours would consume 80Wh or 0.8kWh.

Power rating - this is the amount of power an appliance uses at any one instant in time. It is measured in watts (W)

Reference numbers - there are many different reference numbers that you may have come across on your bill. Here are some of the most useful numbers and references which are applicable to your meters and will be found on your bills.


Electricity use is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh)

Meter Point Administration Number (MPAN) - can be known as an S number or supply number) - It is a unique 21 digit number allocated to the supply of electricity to a property. Meter (Serial) Number (MSN) (also known as meter reference number or meter point ID). This is a 9 or 10 digit alphanumeric reference that is unique to the actual meter and should appear on the meter itself. The number will remain the same if the supplier changes, but changes if the meter is replaced. For those sites with an Automatic Meter Reader, this number will be numeric only and the meter will be changed.

Site reference number This is a unique reference number used by your supplier. This is not the MPRN or the MSN.

Half hourly electric If you have a Half Hourly electric meter (where your electricity usage is high and your supply demand is over 100kW) then you should always have actual reads as this meter is remotely read by your suppliers. If you have a Half - Hourly electric meter then your electricity bill may have additional charges compared to the Non-Half Hourly bill.


Gas use is read in cubic meters (m3 ) or cubic feet (ft3 ) and consumption measured in kWh.

Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN) A unique number identifying the supply of gas to a property. It consists of between 6 and 10 numerical digits and does not change even if you change supplier.

Meter Serial Number (MSN) A unique identification number found on the actual meter. It will remain the same if you change supplier, but change if the meter is replaced. For those sites with an Automatic Meter Reader (see below for more information), this number will stay the same and the meter will be not changed, a logger device will simply be 'plugged in' to the meter.

Calorific Value (CV) - this indicates the energy content or heating power of natural gas when burnt. It is usually measured in megajoules per cubic meter (MJ/m3 ).

Correction Factor (CF) - this is applied to account for the temperature and atmospheric conditions under which natural gas is consumed.

Site ID – this is a unique reference number used by your supplier. This is not the MPRN or the MSN. Transportation Charge – transportation charges are made up of two components.

Fixed cost - the cost recovered by National Grid for reserving transportation capacity. It is paid regardless of the actual throughput of gas. It is charged in pence per day.

Pass thru - the cost recovered by National Grid for the actual transport of gas through the system. It is charged in pence per kWh transported. Admin fee: meter cost- covers the costs charged by National Grid for collecting consumption data and rental of the meter asset.

Understand your energy bills

Bills are based upon the difference between present and previous meter readings. The type of meter reading is denoted on your bill next to the readings:

  • A = Actual read where the company reads the meter manually themselves
  • C = Customer read where you supply the company with a manual reading you have taken
  • E = Estimated read which the company predicts based on consumption profile

If you have been billed based on an estimate, you can provide the supplier with a customer reading for them to reissue the bill.

How to read your meters

We often have to check that meters are working correctly and ensure that sites are being billed accurately. In order for us to do this we may ask for sites to take meter reads, we need sites to know how to accurately take these reads as there are often many different types of meter which can get confusing.

Display energy certificates

All public buildings including schools are legally required to display an up to date Display Energy Certificate and possess an Advisory Report.

Requirements under the scheme will be dependent on the size of your building:

Size of Building

Display Energy Certificate

Advisory Report

1,000m² Required - Valid for 12 months. Required - Valid for 7 years.
500m² - 1,000m² Required - Valid for 10 years. Required - Valid for 10 years.
250m² - 500m² Required - Valid for 10 years. Required - Valid for 10 years.

Read more about Display Energy Certificates and Advisory Reports (PDF).

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