Sending regular meter readings is the best, and only, way for you to get accurate energy bills for your property. These readings are so important because they tell our energy suppliers exactly how much energy you have been using in your property, so they can bill you for exactly the right amount. Without these reads, the suppliers will bill your property on estimates. These are usually at least 30% higher than actual bills, so it’s really worth your while to send them in, and without a real read, we can’t challenge them on your behalf!
The most important meter readings you can send us are your opening meter reads, and the sooner you send them in the better. When you first move into a house, the energy supplier that was supplying the last tenants will still be supplying the property until we make the switch to our supplier. The old supplier will have put you on their most expensive tariff, so the quicker we can switch you to, the more money we can save for you.
Where can I find my meters?
Most meters are on the ground floor, where the energy enters the house. They could be under the stairs, in the hallway, in the kitchen, or in a cupboard. If you are in a block of flats they could also be in the basement. They can sometimes be inside a beige cabinet bolted or built into the outside walls of the house.
Quite often gas meters are located in these beige boxes on the outside of the house. The boxes should be open and if not there should be a meter box key within your property for you to open that box and access it. If not, your letting agent or landlord should provide one. Alternatively, you can buy meter box keys from most hardware shops for a few pence.
If you’re not sure, ask your landlord or agent to help you locate them. Once you’ve found them, make a note of where they are. If you tell us, we’ll record the information for other tenants to help them.
If they are inside the property, they could be under the stairs, in the hallway, in the kitchen, or in a cupboard. If you are in a block of flats they could also be in the basement. There might be several meters in the same area in flats, so make sure you are reading the right meter for your property.
Your gas meters will look a little something like these:
Quite often they have a yellow sticker on them, which helps to identify, although this is not 100% of cases. Gas is measured by the volume used, so you’ll see a message like m3 or ft3 or Vm near the reading.
Your electric meter should look a little something like one of these:
Electricity is measured in power, so you’ll see a message that says kWH near the reading.
How many meters will I have?
Most houses have two meters, one for electricity, and one for gas. However, if you’re in a block of flats, there may be a set of meters for each flat. You may also only have a single electric meter. A tell-tale sign is if you don’t have a gas cooker! Electric only supplies are more common in smaller flats or new builds. Finally some pseudo smart meters can read both gas and electricity, so if you can only find one meter with a keypad, this may do both. If you’re not sure, please check with your landlord or letting agent, and they can clarify this with you. Once you’ve found them, we suggest you label them with your flat/house if there are loads of them to make life easier in the future.
So I’ve found my meters, and know how many I have – what do I do now?
Given that reads are so important, you’d think that the energy companies would make it easy to read them, but sadly no. There are over 100 different types of meter out there, but thankfully they all fall into 3 types:
What do we need from you?
We need two things for each meter:
So, let’s read that meter!
Mechanical meters (dials)
These are just weird! Just do you best, going left to right, ignoring the last red dial, but send us a photo and we can make sure it’s correct (Our supplier OVO has some more help if you need it: https://www.ovoenergy.com/help/meter-readings#how-do-i-read-my-meter)
Mechanical meters (counters)
These are much easier. Just provide the numbers, including the leading zeros, but ignore the last red digit.
If you have an economy 7 meter, it will have two counters. Read them as before, but label each read with what the meter says – Day, Normal R1, or Night, Low, R2. ( Again our supplier OVO has some more help if you need it: https://www.ovoenergy.com/help/meter-readings#how-do-i-read-my-meter)
These are usually straight forwards. Just provide the numbers, including the leading zeros, but ignore the digit after the decimal dot. It gets a bit more complicated if you have an Economy 7 electric supply. We need two reads, normally labelled in a small LCD flag as “R1” and ”R2” The display normally shows the “R1” read, but you will have to press a button for it to display the “R2” read. Normally the button is blue and labelled, but you can push any button, nothing bad will happen. Just photograph each screen if you are unsure, and we’ll sort it out. If you have an economy 7 meter, it will have two counters. Read them as normal, but label each read with what the meter says – Day, Normal R1, or Night, Low, R2. ( Again our supplier OVO has some more help if you need it: https://www.ovoenergy.com/help/meter-readings#how-do-i-read-my-meter)
Smart meters are in fact mostly stupid meters! It was a great idea, but the vast majority of smart meters out there are called SMET 1’s and have stopped properly working years ago. They are slowly being replaced or updated to SMET 2’s which will work as advertised, but the majority of rented accommodation, if they have them, has the old SMET 1’s sadly. So, we still need the reads, and to confuse us, these meters can produce up to 20 reads, of which normally only one is useful. Here’s how to get that read:
Phew! We know it looks really complicated, but once you get a handle on it, it’s not too bad. Some of our tenants just video the whole stream of screens for us, and that’s fine, we’ll decipher them for you. As a note, the costs shown are based on the rates the original energy company provided back in 2007 or so, when they were fitted so please ignore them, they will not be accurate!
If you are still unsure on how to read your meter, the best thing to do is just to drop us a call on 0333 358 3377 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be happy to talk you through it! We will be asking for your meter readings every month, so it’s really worth finding out how to do this sooner rather than later.