Families are being urged to take a meter reading as soon as possuble – as the higher energy price cap comes into effect.
From today, the increased cap is in effect, raising average annual energy bills by £693. That’s an increase of 54%, leading to concerns about how much energy bills will cost. This comes at a time when household finances are being squeezed from all angles, with National Insurance also on the rise for some people.
Gareth Kloet, energy spokesperson at GoCompare, says: “…If there’s a way to shave money off your bills this April, we would urge all bill payers to take both gas and electricity meter readings… and make sure you submit these to your supplier.”
Why do I need to take a meter reading?
Households have been encouraged to submit a meter reading to their supplier on 31 March. This is to make sure that they are not charged the higher April rate for energy they actually used in March. Taking a reading means you have proof of how much energy you used before 1 April ahead of the new rate coming into effect and will help ensure your bill is accurate.
If you forgot, or were unable to submit your reading – don’t panic. You can still submit a meter reading – but do it as soon as possible.
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. With prices going up so much, your supplier’s phone lines may be extremely busy. Submit your reading online or via your supplier’s app rather than phone if you can.
If you are on a fixed-rate tariff, you do not need to submit a meter reading, as the price you pay for your energy will not change now the new cap is in effect.
Those with a smart meter won’t need to submit a meter reading. But for peace of mind, you may want to take a photo of your meter on your smartphone should you need to dispute your bill with your supplier.
If you are on a prepayment meter, you won’t need to submit a meter reading either.
My supplier’s website went down – what should I do?
The websites of many energy suppliers, including British Gas, EDF and E.On Next, crashed yesterday as people were trying to submit their readings. If you were unable to submit your meter reading yesterday, don’t panic.
31 March was the ideal date to submit your meter reading but all is not lost if you couldn’t. If you can submit your meter reading over the next couple of days that will still minimise the chance of your supplier overestimating your usage at the higher rate.
You could also take a picture of your meter reading on your smartphone. Make sure the reading is clearly visible on the photo. Then you can email it to yourself for a timestamp in the event you need to dispute your bill with your supplier. Some suppliers may even allow you to email photos as meter readings. Check your supplier’s website if you can access it.
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 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 write. 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.
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 31 March. 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.
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