The energy costs usually represent the second largest part of the running costs of a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). It is therefore crucial to increase the energy efficiency of these infrastructures and to implement energy management systems, where quantitative performance metrics, such as performance indicators (PIs), play a key role. This paper presents energy PIs which cover the unit energy consumption, production, net use from external sources and costs, and the results used to validate them and derive their reference values. The results of a field study with 17 Portuguese WWTPs (5-year period) were consistent with the results obtained through an international literature survey on the two key parcels of the energy balance – consumption and production. The unit energy consumption showed an overall inverse relation with the volume treated, and the reference values reflect this relation for trickling filters and for activated sludge systems (conventional, with coagulation/filtration (C/F) and with nitrification and C/F). The reference values of electrical energy production were derived from the methane generation potential (converted to electrical energy) and literature data, whereas those of energy net use were obtained by the difference between the energy consumption and production.