Energy meter reading day: when to submit gas and electricity readings to avoid being overcharged

Energy meter reading day: when to submit gas and electricity readings to avoid being overcharged

Millions of Brits risk being wrongly charged on their energy bills unless they submit their meter readings by this weekend.

Ofgem’s price cap is set to drop by 12.3 per cent from April 1, meaning people could save a few hundred pounds on their energy bills.

However, people living in households without smart meters should send their readings off before the price change to prevent being charged at a higher rate.

That’s because energy companies will often estimate your reading if they don’t have up-to-date information on your energy usage.

One in five families without a smart reader is believed to have not submitted an energy reading in the last three months.

"If you delay submitting your readings, some of your energy usage could end up being charged under the higher rates we're currently facing," a representative for Uswitch said, according to Sky News.

The cap is a limit on the amount that is charged per unit of energy. However, it is typically expressed in average household bills for direct debit customers in a two- to three-person household. It is not a maximum household bill, meaning those using a large amount of energy could pay more than the cap amount.

The new cap means that rather than paying around £1,928 a year for energy, an average household will pay around £1,690.

Before the update, here’s everything you need to know.

When should I take meter readings?

Ideally, people with a regular meter in their home should try to submit a meter reading by March 31. That’s because the new energy cap will be introduced the following day — April 1.

An updated meter reading helps prevent your supplier from calculating bill prices that aren’t accurate to your usage.

Most providers will let you backdate meter readings for around a week, but it’s always worth double-checking.

Why should you submit meter readings?

Sending regular meter readings is crucial to avoid your provider overestimating energy usage and overcharging you. This is especially important because of the upcoming price cap change, meaning you’ll pay less from April 1.

Submitting your reading before the change will ensure you pay for any energy already used and keep your bill as accurate as possible.

Otherwise, your next bill will be based on an energy company estimate of how much electricity and gas you used before the unit price changed.

How to take your meter reading and send it to your energy company

Locate your digital electricity meter and write down the five numbers in black and white, excluding the sixth number in red.

If you have a two-rate digital meter, write down all the numbers in black and white, from right to left, and ignore the red figures.

Send these figures to your energy company via their website, app, or phone.

If you cannot reach the energy company, take a visible photo of your meter reading and serial number and submit it as soon as possible.

How does the Energy Price Guarantee work?

The Energy Price Guarantee limits the amount you can be charged per unit of gas or electricity. It is not a cap.

Bills will continue to be influenced by how much energy you use — some people will pay more if they use more than the average amount, and some may pay less.

If you’re on a prepayment meter, the Energy Price Guarantee will be applied to the rate you pay for each unit of energy. This makes the money you put on the meter last longer than it would have.

What is the average UK monthly energy bill?

Gas and electricity usage depends on multiple factors including region; the size of your home; the energy efficiency of it or its appliances; and how many people live there.

British Gas has said that for those living in smaller one-bedroom households or flats housing one to two people (using 7,500 kWh of gas and 1,800 kWh of electricity), the monthly average can work out as £104.86.

For those in roughly three-bedroom households with three people (using 11,500 kWh of gas and 2,700 kWh of electricity) it looks to be about £147.45; and for anyone in a five-bedroom household (using 17,000 kWh of gas and 4,100 kWh of electricity), they could pay £201.21.