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How to take an energy meter reading

How to take an energy meter reading

It's vital to take a meter reading from your gas and electricity meters and send it to your energy supplier regularly if you don't have a smart meter.

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If you're on a standard meter and don't send meter readings, you'll most likely end up with an estimated bill, which could mean you end up over-paying or under-paying.

Under-paying might sound like a good thing, but unfortunately at some point your energy supplier will want their money, leaving you with an unexpected bill to pay.

How to take a meter reading

It's important to be able to read your meter to make sure your bills are accurate. Don't worry if your meter looks a little confusing - we've put together a video about how to read the different types of meters that are used to help you.

Once you've taken your meter reading, it's easy to submit it to your supplier. Many providers offer this feature on their app or when you log in to your online account, so there's no need to call.

Types of energy meters

There are a number of different types of energy meters out there. These range from modern smart meters, which tell you how much energy you’re using in real-time, to prepayment meters, which you need to top up manually.

Gas meters

Gas meters, as their name suggests, provide gas readings relevant to the home they are connected to. They tell you and your energy supplier how much gas your home is using.

You should ensure that you take regular readings from your gas meter to make sure that your energy bills are accurate. If you don’t your supplier will estimate your bills and you may end up paying too much, or too little. This will catch up to you when your supplier takes a meter reading and you may end up with a huge bill to pay!

It’s worth noting that if you only pay for electricity, i.e. your home does not use gas, then you won’t have a gas meter.

For more on gas meters and how to read them, click here.

Electricity meters

Want to know how much electricity you’re using? Your electricity meter is your first port of call.

In much the same way that a gas meter will tell you how much gas you have used, your electricity meter is the instrument that tells you how much electricity your household has consumed. It doesn’t estimate your consumption in the same way as your energy supplier and for this reason it is important that you submit frequent readings.

Want to know more? Our guide to electricity meters will answer any other questions you might have.

how to take a meter reading

Prepayment meters

It is estimated that 4.3 million homes in the UK have a prepayment meter (Ofgem, 2019). They work in much the same way as a pay as you go mobile phone – you will only have access to energy as long as you keep your meter in credit.

The way in which you top-up depends on what type of prepayment meter you have. Some require a token or a key and in some cases you can top up online or via an app. You can buy whatever you need to top-up at the Post Office as well as PayPoint or Payzone shops.

If you have a prepayment meter and want to know how to switch energy plan or even switch to a different type of meter, check out our dedicated guide.

Smart meters

The latest in energy meter technology, smart meters, are expected to be offered to all households in the UK by June 2025. Smart meters have a number of advantages over traditional energy meters.

The main benefits are more accurate bills, due to the meter being able to ‘talk’ to your energy supplier, and no need to submit meter readings or have someone come round to read them for you.

In addition, it’s hoped that when someone gets a smart meter installed, being able to access a breakdown of their energy consumption will push them to optimise and lower their usage. This should help households conserve energy and lower energy bills.

Want to know more? Our guide to smart meters explains how they work and what to expect when one is installed in your home.

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