If you're on a standard meter and don't send meter readings to your supplier, 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.
It's important to be able to read your electricity meter and gas meter to make sure your bills are accurate. Once you know how to take a meter reading, it's easy to submit the reading to your supplier. Many providers offer a meter reading upload feature on their app or when you log in to your online account, so there's usually no need to call.
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, 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. If you don’t have a smart meter, you should ensure that you read your gas meter and send regular readings to your supplier to make sure that your energy bills are accurate.
You can read the meter by noting down the kWh number on the screen - this is what you'll need to enter into your account either online or by calling your supplier to tell it how much gas you've used.
In much the same way that a gas meter will tell you how much gas you have used, your electricity meter will tell you how much electricity your household has consumed. Again, it’s important that you know how to read your electricity meter and send readings regularly to your electricity supplier.
Similarly to gas meters, there should be a kWh reading on the meter's screen that you can enter into your online account or otherwise notify your supplier so it knows how much electricity you've used since the last reading.
It is estimated that about four million homes in the UK have a prepayment meter. 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 should be able to see how much credit you have left on the meter's screen so you know when you're getting low and need a top-up.
All UK households are expected to have been offered a smart meter by the end of 2025. Smart meters have a number of advantages over traditional energy meters. The main benefits are that, because the meter automatically sends readings to your supplier, you should get more accurate bills and you don't need to manually submit meter readings or have someone come round to read them for you. In addition, you can use apps like Utrack to see where you're potentially using energy unnecessarily, so you can lower their usage. This should help households conserve energy and lower energy bills.
If you have a smart meter, you won’t need to know how to read an energy meter as it’s all done automatically. But if you’re curious about your energy usage, you can use the in-home display that comes with your smart meter to see how much energy you’re using in real time.
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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