Energy meter reading: submit yours to avoid getting overcharged

Now the new energy price cap is in effect, households should take a meter reading as soon as they can if they haven’t already to avoid being overcharged. Here’s everything you need to know. 

The amount we pay for energy fell on 1 July. That’s because of the new energy price cap, which will mean that households with typical energy use will pay around £2,074 per year, according to Ofgem

It cancels out the energy price guarantee, which limited the unit cost of the gas and electricity we used since October 2022. That was set at £2,500 for the typical household, so the new energy cap now means a saving of almost £500 on the average bill.

However, households have been encouraged to take a meter reading to ensure they avoid being overcharged. 

Why do I need to take a meter reading?

Most of us are on variable energy tariffs at the moment, which are subject to the energy price cap. As a result, we will be entitled to cheaper energy from 1 July.

By submitting a meter reading, you remove the chances of your supplier hitting you with an estimated bill. Instead, they will know precisely how much energy you have used under the old energy price guarantee, and also how much you use under the new energy price cap.

A more accurate bill means you should not be overcharged. If you don’t submit your reading, the supplier will be effectively guessing how much energy you’ve used and charging you accordingly.

Who doesn't need to submit a meter reading?

If you have a smart meter, you do not need to submit a meter reading as your readings are automatically sent to your energy provider. 

Those on a prepayment meter also do not need to submit meter readings. 

If you are on a fixed tariff, your deal will not be subject to the energy price cap, so there won’t be a change in your bill from 1 July. However, it’s still important to submit regular meter readings, so that you get charged accurately by your energy supplier.

What should I do if my supplier's website crashes?

Previously energy firms have struggled when meter reading day has been on the horizon, with websites crashing and customers not being able to submit their meter readings. 

For example, just before the new cap came into effect in April 2022, suppliers including EDF, E.ON, Octopus Energy, British Gas, SSE and So Energy came under fire from Citizens Advice because so many customers were complaining about having issues logging their meter readings.

The good news is that some energy providers let you submit your meter reading up to 30 days later, and then backdate the meter reading to 30 June. 

You could also take a picture on your phone of your meter reading, so there is proof of the reading and the date it was taken. If you email it to yourself, that’s further evidence of the date you took the meter reading.

How to submit a meter reading

Submitting your meter reading on your supplier’s website is one option, but since they struggle with the volume of customers on their website near meter reading day, you may also need a backup. 

Most energy providers will have an app you can use, while it is also worth checking if they have an online chat feature or text service which you can use to submit your meter readings. 

You can also phone your energy provider directly, but keep in mind their phone line hours and prepare to be left on hold for some time before you get through to someone. 

If you miss the meter reading day deadline, still send your meter readings to your provider and explain why you submitted them late.