Martin Lewis: What the Energy Price Cap change means for you
27 November 2023
Meter reading day – what you need to know
On Sunday 1 October energy prices fell again for most households. To get the most benefit from this, 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 fell. You can still do it for a few days after, and some firms even let you feed in backdated readings you took on or before 1 October. We've a full supplier-by-supplier breakdown below.
If, like about 90% of households, you're on a standard variable tariff, annual prices fell by 7% on average from 1 October.
To make sure there are no discrepancies in the amount you're charged on the higher rate and on the lower rate when prices change, it's a good idea to give a meter reading to your supplier on or around Sunday 1 October. This stops your supplier from estimating your usage, and potentially assuming you've used more at the higher rate than you actually have.
There will be winners and losers here – as some will gain and others lose against what your supplier would have estimated – but if you do a meter reading, you know it's fair.
If you have a smart meter that's working properly in smart mode, so it's regularly sending meter readings to your provider, there's no need to do anything for meter reading day, as it does it automatically.
You may want to double-check your meter is sending reads, though. You can usually see this in your account or on your bill. You can also take a photo of your meter on the day, so you have the reading for safety.
You also don't need to send a meter reading in 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 to top up your meter as soon as possible after Sunday 1 October, so you start paying the new lower rates.
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 impact vulnerable people (as we saw in March 2022).
To avoid that, you can give a reading a few days before or after and any discrepancy should be minor. Or, some firms let you backdate your reading, so you take the actual meter reading on Saturday 30 September or Sunday 1 October and note it down, but then submit it at a later date.
|Supplier||How can I give a meter reading?||Can it backdate meter readings after 1 October?|
|British Gas||In your online account, via its app, a webform or over the phone.||Yes, up until 14 October|
|E.on Next||In your online account, via its app, by email or over the phone.||Yes, up to a week after the 1 October|
|EDF Energy||In your online account, via its app, via a web form, WhatsApp, SMS or over the phone.||Yes, until Monday 2 October|
|Octopus Energy||In your online account, via its web form, its app and email.||Yes, up to a week after the 1 October|
|Ovo Energy||In your online account, via its app, or over the phone.||Yes, up to 10 days from 1 October.|
|Scottish Power||In your online account, via its app or over the phone||Yes, until Thursday 5 October|
|Shell Energy||In your online account, via its app, over the phone.||Yes, up to 30 days from 1 October|
|So Energy||In your online account, by email or over the phone 24 hours a day.||No|
|SSE||In your online account, via its app, text message, or over the phone.||Yes, up to 10 days from 1 October, but only over the phone.
|Utility Warehouse||In your online account, via its app or over the phone.||Yes, up to 7 days from 1 October|
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 in 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 phone queue or clogging up the lines for those that need help.
We get asked this one a lot – can you submit an lower meter reading ahead of a price fall, so more of your usage is charged at the lower rate?
The short answer is no, you shouldn't do this – it's fraud.
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