What is National Meter Reading Day?
3rd April 2023
National Meter Reading Day is when energy companies collect meter readings from some of their customers the day before a change in the gas and electricity unit rates for those on variable tariffs.
When’s the best time to send in meter readings?
Need to send meter readings? If you don’t have a smart meter, it’s good practice to send regular meter readings to your energy provider, not just on National Meter Reading Day. Then you can avoid estimated bills and you’ll only pay for the energy you use.
The amount you pay for your energy is currently determined by the ‘price cap’ set by Ofgem, the energy industry regulator. A new price cap is currently set every three months.
It’s always a good idea to send in meter readings on (or near) the day a new price cap comes in – just to make sure you’re not paying for more energy than you’ve used.
When people talk about ‘National Meter Reading Day’, that’s what they mean. But don’t worry about sending readings on the exact day. Sending your meter reads a few days before, or up to 14 days after, means you’ll be able to avoid any technical issues due to too many people trying to submit their reads at the same time. And your energy supplier will make sure they use them.
Who should submit meter readings?
Only customers who don’t have smart meters and are on a variable energy tariff need to submit meter readings.
You don’t need to send meter readings if:
- You’re on a fixed rate tariff - your unit rates are fixed and won’t change I line with the price cap
- You have a smart meter – your smart meter sends meter readings automatically if it’s working correctly, so you don’t have to
- You have a Pay as You Go (prepayment) meter– you pay for the energy you use upfront, so there’s no need to submit meter readings
Submitting meter reads to ensure accurate bills throughout the year
Monthly Direct Debit customers. If you pay a fixed amount each month via Direct Debit, you’ll be asked to send a meter reading twice a year before your next Direct Debit review. You'll get a bill once you've submitted a reading, outlining any changes to your Direct Debit amount if needed. You won't receive a bill if it's outside of your Direct Debit review period.
Cash/cheque customers. If you pay by cash or cheque, you’ll be asked to submit a meter reading each month. If you don’t send a read, you’ll get a bill that’s based on estimated usage and you may be paying more than you need.
How do I send meter readings?
Your energy provider will send you regular reminders with instructions when it’s time to send in your meter readings. Depending on your contact preferences, this may be via email, text message or post. It’s quick and easy to do online.
- Write down the numbers from your meter in full starting from the left and including any zeros at the start
- Enter them carefully using the link provided in your energy company’s email or text reminder, in your online account, or on your energy company’s website or app
- You’ll see your meter reading history updated in your online account within a few days after you’ve submitted your reads.
Giving accurate meter readings means your bill is a true reflection of your energy usage, rather than just an estimate.
Got a smart meter but still need to send meter readings to your energy supplier? You’re not alone.
This fault is common for people who changed energy supplier at some point and have an older style of smart meter – a SMETS1 rather than a SMETS2.
The good news is, the energy industry is working to fix the problem and you should get automatic readings again soon.
How do I get a smart meter?
Getting a smart meter installed in your home is easy to arrange and won’t cost you a thing. Just contact your energy company and they’ll explain the next steps.
An engineer will come to your house and swap your old meters for smart meters. You’ll also get a smart energy monitor which will make it easy to see all your energy usage info in one place.
If you’re with British Gas for energy, you can apply for your smart meter here.
Have more questions about meters and energy?
There’s lots of useful information about energy meters and energy saving on our website. Take a few minutes to explore the links below.