How to Easily Take and Submit Your Meter Reading

Illustration of an energy meter next to two electricity bolts

Trying to work out how to read your gas or electricity meter may seem a daunting prospect at first. However, there’s no need to fret - once you know how, it only takes a minute or two. Read on to learn more about meters of all shapes and sizes, and why taking regular meter readings can help you keep on top of your energy bills.

Why should I take a meter reading?

Illustration of a gas meter reading

Unless you have a smart meter, sending your energy supplier a meter reading is the best way to be assured that you’re paying the right amount for your energy usage.

If you’re not able to submit meter readings yourself, your energy provider will instead estimate how much your bills should be, based on your previous energy consumption, meaning you could either be overcharged or undercharged for your gas and electricity. While paying less in the short run may sound great, you will have to pay the difference eventually, through added charges on later bills.

Taking a meter reading has never been easier. These days, you can enter your meter reading online, over the phone, or through the supplier’s smartphone app.

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How to take a meter reading

To start with, you’ll need to locate both your gas and electricity meters. These are usually hidden away out of sight, in places such as a cupboard under the stairs or a metal box outside of your house. If you live in a flat or apartment, your meter may be in a room on the ground floor, together with all your neighbours’ meters.

Electric meters

Single rate digital meter

Single rate meters have a digital display and are probably the easiest to read. For this electricity meter type you will need to do the following:

  1. Write down the first five digits on the screen panel reading from left to right.
  2. If there are extra digits (usually shown in red) you should ignore them.
A single rate energy meter  showing a reading
Reading: 02732

Two rate meter

This electricity meter type is used for prepayment and Economy 7 customers, who have both a peak and off-peak rate. This is usually a non-digital type of advanced metering, with two number dials rather than a screen. For this meter type you’ll need the following:

  1. Both 5 digit numbers on reading from left to right.
A two rate electricity meter
Reading: 94206 & 49761

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Two rate single display meter

This type of electricity meter can also be used for residential prepayment or Economy 7 customers and is much the same as the above ‘two rate’ meter. However, as it only has one screen, it alternates between your two rate measurements. This could mean that your household may have heating and some appliances on a separate circuit.

Many of these meter types will alternate automatically between the first and second rate, though some have a button which you’ll have to press in order to switch. While this may be a digital meter, it does not mean it has smart metering abilities. For this meter type you’ll need:

  1. The first five digits on the screen panel reading from the left to right. This should be done for both numbers, allowing it to automatically change or pressing the button.
A two rate single display energy meter
Reading: 45131

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Dial meter

This is perhaps the most difficult meter type to read. It should consist of five black dials and one red, which you can ignore. The five dials, as shown in the example below are the five numbers that make up your meter reading. If your dial is in between numbers, always report the lower number. For this meter type you’ll need to:

  1. Write down the five numbers from the dials
  2. Remember that if it the dial is in between numbers, always report the lower number.
Dial meter showing reading
Reading: 4
dial meter showing reading
Reading: 73753

Digital metric meter

Similar to the ‘single rate’ electricity meter, this meter type has a simple digital screen with one number set. However, this one has a few more numbers - though you won’t need all of them. For this meter type you need:

  1. The first 5 digits to the left of the decimal point.
  2. You can ignore the other three, which may be displayed in red.
A digital electric gas meter showing a reading
Reading: 24804

Digital imperial meter

This meter type is an older model, though still very common in older housing estates. This is much easier to read than the digital gas meter. There is one simple set of numbers and you’ll need:

  1. The first 4 large digits reading from left to right, ignoring the two smaller digits in red.
An imperial gas meter showing a reading
Reading: 2684

How to submit your reading

White Selectra tick in a blue box

Each energy supplier differs in their preference for receiving gas and electricity meter readings, but most do now offer an online metering submission service. As such, you should go to the website of your energy supplier and log in to your account to find out how to submit your reading.

More and more apps are available for the majority of suppliers, where you can simply enter the digits you need. Alternatively, you can still submit your reading the old fashioned way over the phone by calling your energy supplier.

Once you know your meter reading, you’ll be able to get a much better idea of what you should be spending on energy per month. To find out if you’re getting a fair deal, why not speak to one of our friendly energy experts and see if you could save money by switching energy supplier or tariff.

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