Meter reading day – what you need to know

On Monday 1 April energy prices fell for most households. To avoid being charged more than you should, it's a good idea to give a meter reading to your supplier as soon as possible to avoid a dispute over what you used before and after prices changed. You can still do it for a few days after, and some firms even let you feed in backdated readings from on or before 1 April. We've a full supplier-by-supplier breakdown below.

1. Why it's worth considering giving a meter reading

If, like about 90% of households, you're on a standard variable tariff, annual prices fell by 12% on average on Monday 1 April.

To make sure there are no discrepancies in the amount you're charged on the lower rate, it's a good idea to give a meter reading to your supplier on or around Monday 1 April. This stops your supplier from estimating your usage, and potentially assuming you've used more at the current higher rate than you actually have.

There will be winners and losers here – as some will gain and others lose against what their supplier would have estimated – but if you do a meter reading, you know it's fair.

MSE weekly email

FREE weekly MoneySaving email

For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes simply sign up today – it's spam-free!

2. If you have working smart meters (or you're on prepay), you don't need to do anything

If you have smart meters that are working properly in smart mode, so they're regularly sending meter readings to your provider, there's no need to do anything for meter reading day, as they do it automatically.

You may want to double-check your meters are sending reads, though. You can usually see this in your account or on your bill. You can also take a photo of your meters on the day, so you have the readings for safety.

You also don't need to send a meter reading if you're on prepay, as you pay for your energy as you go – though if you have a non-smart electricity meter, it's a good idea to top up your meter on or soon after Monday 1 April, so you start paying the new lower rates.

3. If you don't have smart meters, it's a good idea to give meter readings, but it didn't have to be on 1 April 

Giving a meter reading means your supplier will know exactly how much you used when prices change, so you're fairly charged.

Yet if all of us rush to do this on the same day, it can lead to suppliers' websites crashing and phone lines becoming jammed, which can affect vulnerable people (as we saw in March 2022).

To avoid that, you can give a reading a few days after and any discrepancy should be minor. Or, some firms let you backdate your reading, so if you take the actual meter reading now, note it down, but then submit it at a later date.

When to give a meter reading for 1 April Price Cap change

Supplier How can I give a meter reading?  Will it backdate meter readings after 1 April?
British Gas In your online account, via its app, a web form or over the phone. Yes, until 14 April
EDF Energy  In your online account, via its app, via a web form, WhatsApp, SMS or over the phone. Yes, until 7 April
E.on Next  In your online account, via its app, by email or over the phone. Yes, up to a week after 1 April
Octopus Energy  In your online account, via its web form, its app or by email. Yes, up to a week after 1 April
Ovo Energy  In your online account, via its app or over the phone. Yes, up to 10 days from 1 April
Scottish Power In your online account, via its app or over the phone (0800 027 8000), 24 hours a day. Yes, until 5 April
So Energy  In your online account, by email or over the phone, 24 hours a day. Yes, if you have proof of the date you took the reading
Utility Warehouse In your online account, via its app or over the phone. The supplier is encouraging customers to give meter readings in the five days leading up to 1 April

Updated April 2024.

4. How to give a meter reading

The easiest way is to take a picture of your meters, so you have the readings to hand. Then you can log in to your online account or to a web form on your provider's site to enter the readings.

Most also let you send readings via text message, or through mobile apps such as WhatsApp. You can also call them up – most have automated telephone lines where you can give the readings, to save you joining a queue or clogging up the lines for those who need help.

5. Some ask: 'Can I give a lower meter reading now, so I'm charged for more use at the lower April rate?' That'd be fraud

We get asked this one a lot – can you submit a lower meter reading ahead of a price drop, so more of your usage is charged at the lower rate?

The short answer is no, you shouldn't do this – it's fraud.

MSE weekly email

FREE weekly MoneySaving email

For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes simply sign up today – it's spam-free!

Spotted out of date info/broken links? Email: brokenlink@moneysavingexpert.com