Families urged to take a meter reading on 30 September - here's how to do it

Our money editor explains who should submit a meter reading and how to do it, before energy prices change on 1 October

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Recent updates

This article has been updated to reflect the upcoming changes to the energy price cap that come into force on 1 October, and the new date that families should take a meter reading.

Families across the country are being urged to submit a meter reading to their supplier before energy prices drop on 1 October

Make sure you know how to read your energy meter, especially if you are worried about how much energy bills will cost. Even though the energy price cap is set to fall again, gas and electric is still more expensive than it was at the end of 2021.  

Speaking of Meter Reading Day, Gareth Kloet, energy spokesperson at Go.Compare, said: “We would urge all bill payers to take both gas and electricity meter readings... and make sure you submit these to your supplier.”

When should I read my meter?

Households are encouraged to read their gas and electric meters on 30 September, as the price you pay per unit of gas and electricity that you use is due to change on 1 October. Under the current energy price cap, the average cost of gas is 8p per kilowatt hour (kWh) and it's 30p per kWh for electricity. But from 1 September, the energy price cap will fall, which means average prices will drop to about 7p per kWh for gas and 27p per kWh for electricity. 

By submitting a meter reading on the last day of the higher prices, you can make sure that you aren't charged a more expensive rate for energy you used when the prices have dropped. 

At the height of the energy crisis, at the end of March 2022, the websites of many suppliers crashed due to being unable to cope with the volume of people trying to submit their meter readings ahead of the 54% price increase that came into effect from April 2022. But it's important to understand that not everyone will need to submit a reading (we explain more below), but if you do and you can't submit your reading on 30 September, just submit it as close to that date as you can. 

woman on the phone sitting on a cushion in front of a radiator while her child plays in the background

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Do I need to submit a meter reading?

If you are on your supplier's standard variable or default tariff, and don't have a smart meter, then it's a good idea to submit a meter reading as the price you pay for your energy will be affected by the energy price cap. If you are not sure what kind of tariff you are on, you should be able to find this information on your energy bill. If not, give your supplier a quick call and they will confirm what kind of tariff you are on. 

If you are on a fixed-rate tariff, you do not need to submit a meter reading, as the price you pay per unit of energy doesn't change each month. Those with a smart meter won't need to submit a meter reading either. But for peace of mind, you may want to take a photo of your meter on your smartphone on 30 September should you need to dispute your bill with your supplier.

Similarly, if you are on a prepayment meter, you won't need to submit a meter reading. But a prepayment energy meter trick that it might be worth considering is holding off (if you can) topping up your meter until 1 October when the prices fall. 

How do I submit a meter reading?

You can submit a meter reading to your supplier by post, phone or online via your supplier’s website or app. Some suppliers may also have an online chat or text service you can use. Submit your reading online or via your supplier’s app rather than phone if you can.

If you are unable to submit your meter reading, take a photo of your gas and electric meters and email them to yourself so you have a time stamp of when the pictures were taken. This will be really useful should you find you need to dispute your bill with your supplier. 

couple looking at household bills in front of laptop at home

(Image credit: Getty Images)

How to read your meter

This depends on the type of meter you have, and whether you pay single rate or two rates. Most people pay a single rate. Those with an Economy 7 meter (where electricity is cheaper at night) will pay two rates - one for off-peak usage, another for peak usage. If you’re not sure how many rates you pay, you can check a recent energy bill to find out.

Reading an electricity meter

In general, if you have a single or two-rate meter, simply read the numbers from left to right, ignoring any numbers in red or after a decimal point.

For a dial meter, you record the figures shown on each dial from left to right. You can ignore any numbers in red. When the pointer is between two numbers, record the lower number. If it’s between the 9 and 0, record 9.

When the pointer is directly on a number, first check the next dial to the right. If the dial on the right reads 8 or 9, then lower the reading for the dial with the pointer directly on the number.

How to read a gas meter

Gas meters can be read in the same way as electricity meters. You might see that the gas meter measures in cubic metres (m3) or feet (ft) rather than kilowatt hours (kWh). Your supplier converts it into kWh on your bill.

close up of a smart meter with woman calculating energy bills in the background

(Image credit: Getty Images)

How to read a smart meter

Smart meters normally send readings to your supplier automatically. But there is a chance your meter may not be set up to send a reading on Meter Reading Day. You might find it beneficial to make a note of the meter reading in case of a dispute.

When it comes to reading a smart meter, this also depends on the kind of smart meter you have. You may have a smart meter with:

  • a keypad
  • a green button labelled A
  • A and B labelled buttons
  • or one with no buttons at all.

You can check your supplier’s website or visit our sister brand Look After My Bills for instructions on reading each type of smart meter. If you're bill is still high, it's also worth knowing how to save energy in homes and what to do if you can't pay your energy bill.

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Sarah Handley
Consumer Writer & Money Editor, GoodtoKnow

Sarah is GoodtoKnow’s Consumer Writer & Money Editor and is passionate about helping mums save money wherever they can - whether that's spending wisely on toys and kidswear or keeping on top of the latest news around childcare costs, child benefit, the motherhood penalty. A writer, journalist and editor with more than 15 years' experience, Sarah is all about the latest toy trends and is always on the look out for toys for her nephew or Goddaughters so that she remains one of their favourite grown ups. When not writing about money or best buys, Sarah can be found hanging out with her rockstar dog Pepsi, getting opinionated about a movie or learning British Sign Language.