Meter reading day – what you need to know

Meter reading day – what you need to know

On Saturday 1 October, energy prices are changing for most households, so it's a good idea to give a meter reading to your supplier around that date to avoid a dispute over what you used before or after prices rose. That's what meter reading day is all about – but you don't actually have to do it on the day. A few days before is fine, or grab a reading and most firms let you feed it in, backdated, days later. We've a full supplier-by-supplier breakdown below.

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Martin's meter reading day briefing

We've full info below, but if you'd prefer to watch rather than read, see Martin's meter reading day video briefing.

Martin Lewis explains what to do ahead of Meter Reading Day
Embedded YouTube Video

The clip above has been taken from The Martin Lewis Money Show Live, which aired on Thursday 22 September, with the kind permission of ITV Studios. All rights reserved. You can turn on subtitles by selecting the closed captions icon at the bottom right of the video. You can also watch the full episode on the ITV Hub.

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

If, like 85% of households, you're on a standard variable tariff, prices are set to rise by 27% on average, though you will get £400 back from your provider under the Government's energy bill support scheme (see the Energy price guarantee rise calculator). Or, if you're on a fixed tariff, your rate will likely be dropping (see our Price guarantee for fixed prices guide).

In either of these cases, to make sure there's no discrepancies, it's a good idea to give a meter reading to your supplier on or around meter reading day on Friday 30 September. 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.

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

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. Yet there is a trick some can use to potentially 'stockpile' electricity at the cheaper rate – see our Prepay top-up trick guide for full info.

3. If you don't have a smart meter, it's a good idea to give a meter reading, but it's doesn't have to be on meter reading day

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 with the last meter reading day on 31 March 2022).

To avoid that, you can give a reading a few days before, or most firms let you backdate your reading, so you take the actual meter reading on Friday 30 September or Saturday 1 October and note it down, but then submit it at a later date.

When to give a meter reading before 1 October price cap change

Supplier How can I give a meter reading?  Can it backdate meter readings after 1 October 2022?
British Gas In your online account, via its web form, text message and over the phone. Yes, until 14 October 2022 via its web form.
Bulb Via its app or in your online account. You can submit a reading three days after 1 October 2022, it will use it for your September bill. It can be backdated even further if you email it.
E.on/E.on Next  In your online account, via email or over the phone. Yes, you can submit a reading five days after 1 October 2022. 
EDF Energy  In your online account, via a web form, WhatsApp, SMS or over the phone. Yes, you can submit a reading taken on 30 September 2022 or 1 October 2022 up until 7 October 2022.
Octopus Energy  In your online account, via its web form, its app and email. Yes, up to a week after the 1 October 2022.
Ovo Energy  In your online account, via its app or over the phone. Yes, but only over the phone.
Scottish Power Awaiting a response. Awaiting a response.
Shell Energy  In your online account, via its app or over the phone. Yes, up to 30 days from 30 September 2022.
So Energy  In your online account, via email or over the phone. No.
SSE  In your online account, via its app, text message, or over the phone. Yes, but only over the phone.

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 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.

5. Some ask: 'Can I inflate my meter reading now, so I'm charged future use at today's rate?' That'd be fraud

We get asked this one a lot – can you submit an inflated meter reading ahead of a price increase, 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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