Reading your electricity meter enables you to find out your energy consumption in kilowatt-hours by subtracting last year’s reading from this years’. When should you read your meter? How do you read different meter types (standard meter, dual-rate meter or budget meter)? And what’s the point? Answers in this article!

When should you read your electricity meter?

Various circumstances might lead you to read your electricity meter:

Moving house

You will need to fill in an energy transfer document (PDF). This form, completed by both old and new occupants, will indicate your contact details and the readings from your electricity meter. This way, you avoid any risk of billing errors.

Did you know? When you move into a new home, your energy supplier will use the consumption of the previous occupants to estimate the amount of your monthly instalments. So don’t hesitate to contact them if you think you are using less than they did. For example, if the previous occupants were a family and that you are living alone.

Once a year

You will receive a meter reading card through the post inviting you to submit your electricity readings. A technician’s visit may also be scheduled. If you cannot be home when they call, you can always place your completed card in your window or on your front door.

A DSO technician reads the electricity meter - Energyprice

The annual meter reading date depends on the distribution system operator (DSO) affiliated with your area. Most companies will allow you to submit readings by post, by telephone or via their website:

Once you have submitted your readings, your DSO will inform your electricity supplier, who will issue an adjustment bill. You will receive a settlement bill based on the difference between the current reading and last year’s reading and the instalment amounts paid over the last 12 months. If you have not paid enough in instalments, you will have to make up the shortfall. If you have paid too much, the surplus will be credited to your next bill.

If you change supplier

One to two weeks before your new contract begins, your DSO will ask you to take a meter reading. This reading will enable your previous supplier to calculate your closing bill and your new supplier to calculate your monthly instalment bill.

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Did you know? For perfect control of your energy consumption, you can read your electricity meter every three months and send the readings to your DSO. This “self-reading” enables you to adjust your instalment bills and limit the risk of big shortfalls.

How should you read your electricity meter?

The first thing is to check that the last four digits on your electricity meter match the number on your meter reading card (1).

Single-rate electricity meter

A standard electricity meter has a single display. Write the figures before the decimal point (in this example: 62224) on your meter reading card. This procedure also applies to night-only meters.

Diagram of a standard single-rate electricity meter - Energyprice
© Ores

Dual-rate electricity meter

A day/night meter has two displays. Write down the figures before the decimal point on the day meter, symbolised by a little sun (in this example: 16404); then write down the figures before the decimal point on the night meter, symbolised by a little moon (in this example: 54415).

Diagram of an electronic budget meter - Energyprice
© Ores

Budget electricity meter

Different from other meters, the electronic meter (or budget meter) requires you to press a button (the colours depends on the installation) several times to find the information you want. In general, the figure [1] appears for the “day” reading, and the figure [2] for the “night” reading.

Diagram of a dual-rate meter - Ores
© Ores

>> Read more : What are the different types of electricity meters?