Understanding your electricity and gas meters

Why do you need to supply regular readings to your gas and/or electricity supplier? Many suppliers ask that you give regular meter readings, others receive automatic readings from a smart meter, and some will simply estimate your bills or a meter reader out to read the meter for you.

A smart meter sends automatic readings, but if you don’t have one, regularly providing readings from the gas and electricity meter will ensure your bill as accurate as possible. Reading your meter regularly can also help remind you if there is an error. You also have to read your meter if you move or switch gas or electricity suppliers.

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Not sure what type of gas and electricity meter do you have?

Standard gas and electricity meter

There are many types and designs of gas and electricity meters. But all must clearly display a series of numbers that show your latest energy use.

They also have a unique identification number – a Point Meter Reference Number for the gas and a Point Meter Administration Number for the electricity meter- which will be show on your bill.

Is your energy meter broken?

A recent investigation by Which found that many thousands of meters in the UK could be wrong – meaning customers could be owe a lot of money. Whilst checking your meter, you might also notice that the casing that protects it might need replacing. For a replacement Gas Meter box, visit www.meterbox.co.uk

Some common problems:

The meter runs too fast or slow

Gas meters that are approved by British law must be within 2% accuracy and electricity meters in + 2.5% and -3.5% accurate.

Government figures show that approximately 24% of gas meters tested annually from 2006 (21,243 in total) are wrong

Over 2,000 electricity meters tested from 2003 were incorrect, installed incorrectly or not the approved type

These figures only included gas and electricity meters where issues or queries had already arisen – tested because it was suspected that there was an error – so that the figure does not represent the population of 53 million meters of the UK as a whole.

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The meter says the wrong time

There are 3.9 million households in the United Kingdom with time usage rates, such as Economy 7, which get electricity cheaper at certain times. But investigations have found that 16% of people on these rates at found that their meter hours were wrong.

If that is true in the entire population, that means 624,000 meters can be wrong. We have heard from people who have been overcharged hundreds of pounds because of this type of error.

What to do if you suspect that your gas meter or electricity meter is damaged

Unusual bill or meter readings are usually the best clues to the wrong meter. If you use a usage time rate, you should be able to check the clock on your meter or see if the rate changes when it should.

If you suspect your meter is wrong, you should take note of the usual meter reading to help prove your case. You can also try turning off all your equipment and watching the meter. It should not still register a large amount of energy.



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