Life

Why you should submit a meter reading today

Submitting a meter reading to your energy supplier before April 1 could save you £47 on your fuel bills as the cost of living soars

meter reading

Customers should be able to submit a meter reading by phone, online or through an app. Image: Ben Simpson/heatable.co.uk

Energy bills for households across the UK are expected to shoot up from April 1 as the much publicised increase to the energy price cap means bills could increase by 54 per cent. Tens of millions will feel the effects on their fuel bills – but a well-timed meter reading could limit the damage to household finances.

Average energy costs for a household could hit £3,000 per year, experts have warned, and economists are already looking ahead to October with fears that prices will rise again. 

The cost of wholesale gas has soared on a global level in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, affecting costs for everyone. That includes the UK, despite the country’s limited reliance on energy imports.

It led to Ofgem’s announcement in February that the energy price cap would rise by £693 for people on default tariffs who pay by direct debit, from £1,277 to £1,971. Those on prepayment meters – who are more likely to be on the lowest incomes – will be hit even harder by a £708 rise to £2,017.

Why should I submit a reading today?

The energy price cap does not actually place a total cap on your bills, but limits how much suppliers can charge for each unit of gas and electricity used.

Sending regular meter readings is important to avoid your provider overestimating how much energy you have used and charging you more than necessary. But it’s of particular importance before the price you pay for fuel soars overnight.

Submitting a meter reading to your supplier today – Thursday March 31 – allows customers to “draw a line in the sand” with energy companies, according to financial guru Martin Lewis.

It means the energy you used this week, for example, will not be charged at the higher rate set to be applied to usage for the rest of the billing period.

Submitting a meter reading before the energy price cap increases lets customers say “‘I’ve only used this amount at the cheaper rate, don’t start charging me more on the higher rate and estimating I used some of it afterwards’,” the Money Saving Expert said.

How do I submit a meter reading?

For those without smart meters, most meters will show five numbers in black or white. 

To let your supplier know how much energy you have used to date, send them the first five numbers shown from left to right. Any red numbers after these can be ignored.

Submitting a meter reading is simple for most customers and can be done over the phone, online or through an app if your supplier provides this service.

Remember to take readings for both your electricity and gas usage, which usually display on separate meters.

“The cost of living crisis is hitting everyone,” said Gareth Kloet, GoCompare’s energy spokesperson.

“If there’s a way to shave money off your bills this April, we would urge all bill payers to take both gas and electricity meter readings on March 31 and make sure you submit these to your supplier.

“And if you pay by direct debit, it might also be a good time to look at revising your monthly payments to take into account the higher rates.”

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