Reading gas or electric meters is something we all do every month – or at least we should – but sometimes, understanding how to get a meter reading isn’t all that simple. Luckily for you, we’ve compiled a super simple guide to meter reading.
Your energy supplier needs regular gas and/or electricity meter readings to work out how much you need to pay each month. If you don’t send your energy provider meter readings, they will simply have to estimate your usage. This could mean that your energy bill is too high or too low.
As well as letting your supplier know how much energy you’re using, it can be helpful for you to know too. It’s a good idea to know how to get a meter reading so that you’re aware of how much gas or electricity you’re using on a monthly basis. With energy prices increasing to record highs, it’s now more important than ever to be able to read a gas or electric meter and save energy at home.
In this guide, we’ll explain, step-by-step, how to get a meter reading. We’ll outline the different types of gas and electricity meters, how to read them and how to submit them to your provider.
Before we get onto how to get a meter reading, let’s find out why it’s so important to submit gas and electric meter readings to your energy supplier.
Although regularly taking meter readings can be a chore, it’s an essential task when it comes to your energy bills. You meter readings let your energy provider know how much energy you’re using – no more, no less. This allows your supplier to make sure your bills are as accurate as possible so you don’t end up paying far too much or far too little.
If you pay by fixed direct debit, taking meter readings also ensure you don’t build up too much credit or debit on your account. If you submit regular meter readings, your energy bill will show you how much energy you’ve used so far and an estimate of how much you’ll be using over the next year. This is really helpful as you can make sure you’re paying the right amount for your energy from the very start.
Finally, knowing to get a meter reading is important when you come to move house and cancel your energy supply. You’ll need to submit a gas or electric meter reading to your existing supplier to show how much energy you used before you moved out.
Then, when you move into your new house, you’ll need to set up your energy. To do so, you’ll have too take meter readings for your new property and send it to the relevant energy provider to show how much energy has been used before you moved in.
Now for the good stuff – how to read an electric meter…
How to read your electricity meter will depend on the type of electric meter you have. Below we outline how to read different types of electric meters:
A digital meter has an electronic or digital display. It will show five numbers in black or white and might be followed by one or more red numbers.
To read a single rate digital meter:
If you get cheaper electricity at different times of the day, you might have a two rate, or dual rate, electricity meter. This means it will have two rows of numbers.
The top row (labelled ‘low’ or ‘night’) shows how many units of cheaper electricity you’ve used.
The bottom row (labelled ‘normal’ or ‘day’) shows how many units of standard-price electricity you’ve used.
To read a two rate digital meter:
Some two rate meters only have one digital display. Instead, they will either flash up the different readings in a cycle or have a button that you need to press to make the display flick through the readings for different rates.
To read a two rate single display meter:
An electricity dial meter has five or more dials which each turn to point to a number between 0 and 9.
Each dial on your meter will turn in the opposite direction to the ones next to it. Some dial meters start with a clockwise dial, while others start with an anticlockwise dial. You should check the direction of your dials before you take your electric meter reading.
To read a dial meter:
You might only have electricity, but if you have both gas and electricity you need to know how to read both types of energy meters. Again, how you read a gas meter will depend on the kind of gas meter you have.
A digital metric meter will have an electronic or digital display showing five numbers then a decimal point, followed by some more numbers.
To read a digital metric meter:
A digital imperial meter has an electronic or digital display showing four black or white numbers, followed by two more numbers shown in red.
To read a digital imperial meter:
A gas dial meter features four or more dials, each of which turns to point at a number between 0 and 9.
Each dial on your gas meter will turn in the opposite direction to the ones next to it. Some dial meters start with a clockwise dial, while others start with an anticlockwise dial. You should double check the direction of your meter dials before you read them.
To read a dial meter:
Now you know how to get a meter reading – whether it’s a gas or electricity meter – you need to know how to submit it to your energy supplier.
Nowadays, most energy providers give you a wide choice of options when it comes to submitting your gas and electricity meter readings.
For example, you can often submit your readings by:
If you fail to submit your meter reading on a regular basis, your supplier will be forced to estimate your energy bills based on how much gas and/or electricity they think you’ve used. It is very unlikely that this estimate will be correct – you’ll either end up paying too much or too little.
It’s likely that your provider will end up sending out a meter reader if you continue not to submit meter readings. This will give them a better idea of how much energy you’re using and will help make your future energy bills more accurate.
If they find that you haven’t been paying enough for your energy, your next bill(s) might be much higher than you’re expecting in order to cover the debit you’ve built up.
With energy prices on the rise, it’s more important than ever that your energy bills are as accurate as possible.
To ensure your provider knows how much energy you’re using and how much you should be paying, it is essential that you know how to get a meter reading and submit them regularly.
If you’re not a fan of submitting meter readings, it might be better to get a smart meter installed. If you rent, you’ll need to approach your landlord before installing a smart meter in your property, though.