What are meter readings?
Most of the time, when you get billed for something, the company billing you has tracked how much you’ve used or spent, and they’ll give you an up-to-date bill.
The energy industry is one of the only industries where the customer needs to tell their supplier how much they’ve used
An electricity reading will be displayed in kWh (kilo-watt hour - the equivalent of using a kilo-watt of electricity for one hour). This is the same unit that’s used to measure your energy costs during the year.
How do readings show up on a meter, and what does the reading mean?
There are quite a few different types of meter, for both electricity and gas. Broadly, these are digital or analogue meters. (we'll cover smart meters below).
For all types, they should show you a record of how much you've used and are shown as a row of numbers, e.g. 00012345.6.
There will be a decimal point somewhere in the number, and/or some numbers will be in red. You don’t need to submit these numbers, or any zeroes at the start of the number in the reading.
So, in the example above, the meter reading would be 12345.
Economy 7 and Multi-Rate Meters
Most meters are single-rate meters, and only have one dial or figure to display, because all the energy being used is the same price.
Sometimes, you might have two or more electricity readings, for example “LOW” and “NORMAL” or “DAY” and “NIGHT”, or “RATE 1” and “RATE 2”. This means you have an Economy 7 meter, or some other kind of multi-rate meter that measures more than one pricing rate for your electricity.
A gas meter reading will be displayed in either ft3 (cubic feet, the imperial measure) or m3 (cubic metres, the metric measure). Your supplier will do some maths on this reading to turn it into a kWh figure like the electricity in order to bill you.
If you have a smart meter for your gas, it will always be a metric (m3) meter.