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How to submit a meter reading

So, you’ve sussed out your gas and electricity meters – now you need to submit the meter readings to your energy provider. Here’s how and why you should do it.

So, you’ve sussed out your gas and electricity meters – now you need to submit the meter readings to your energy provider. Here’s how and why you should do it.

Sofia Hutson
Utilities expert
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Posted 2 AUGUST 2021

How can I submit a meter reading?

This depends on your energy supplier and whether you’re on a smart meter, if you are, the job is done for you. Most providers have made the process really convenient and will give you a range of options. You can submit your readings through either:  

  • Your online account
  • Your energy supplier’s app 
  • Your supplier’s online-chat service
  • Text message
  • Your supplier’s automated phone service

If you don’t know how to read your meter, see our guide on how to read an electric or gas meter

Why should I submit meter readings?

Providing regular meter readings is crucial to keeping your account in order and making sure that you don’t build up a big debt or credit on your account.  

How often should I submit my gas and electric meter readings?

Unless you’re on a smart meter, you should submit a meter reading every month, two days or so before your payment date, to make sure your bills are accurate. How often you submit readings will also depend on how you’ve chosen to pay your bills. If you pay quarterly, for example, you’ll only need to take meter readings every three months. 

If your supplier needs a reading from you, they’ll often send reminders before a bill – especially if you have an online account or app. If you have more detailed questions, your supplier should be able to help. 

What happens if I don’t submit meter readings to my energy supplier?

For most tariffs, it’s not compulsory to submit a meter reading. But it’s worth doing, as it means you’ll end up with a more accurate bill. There are some tariffs, however, that require you to submit a meter reading within a certain time period. If you don't supply the reading, you could be moved to a different, more expensive tariff. 

In most cases, if you don't provide a meter reading, your supplier will estimate your energy usage, then base your bill on a best guess. That means you could end up paying out more than you need to. Regular meter readings keep your bill as accurate as possible. 

I’ve been submitting regular meter readings – why is a meter reader still coming by?

Most energy suppliers still insist that their meter readers stop by at least once every two years, to make sure everything’s in order. Meter readers will always carry official ID, so be sure to check this before letting them in.  

I have a smart meter – do I still need to submit meter readings?

No. The beauty of smart meters  is that they automatically send meter readings to your energy suppliers, so that you don’t have to.  

My meter reading’s quite high. What can I do?

If your meter reading is higher than usual, there are lots of ways you can bring it down in time for your next bill. One way to work out why it’s high is to read our guide to which appliances use the most energy. It’s also worth exploring other tariffs with your current supplier and adopting a few  energy-saving tactics. Failing that, you can always switch energy providers, by comparing suppliers with Compare the Market. Give us a few details and we’ll provide quotes from a range of UK energy suppliers, to suit your needs and budget. 

How to submit meter readings to the ‘big six’ energy companies

Each energy supplier has its own preferred route for receiving meter readings. Here are some of them:  
British Gas 
British Gas encourages its customers to send readings automatically via a smart meter. Otherwise, it suggests that you submit your meter reading using its free app.  
EDF wants you to log into your account and submit your meter reading. You can also take a photo of your meter reading and upload it onto the app.  
The quickest way to submit a meter reading to E.On is through your online account. If you don’t have an account, there’s an online form where you can submit your reading.  
Scottish Power 
Scottish Power has videos on its website showing you how to read all types of meter. Again, you can log into your online account or download the app and submit your reading that way.  
If you’re with one of the other energy companies, like Octopus, Bulb or Shell Energy, visit their website to find out the best way to submit your meter readings.  

Frequently asked questions

How can I get a smart meter?

Both the government and the UK’s energy suppliers are extremely keen for us all to switch over to smart meters. This is partly so they can upgrade the UK’s ageing energy system, but also to help the UK reach its net-zero targets by 2050. 
This means your energy provider will most likely give you a smart meter free of charge. If your supplier hasn’t already contacted you about getting one, visit their website and find out how you can go about having one fitted.

Why should I switch to a smart meter?

Smart meters use mobile technology to automatically send meter readings to your energy supplier. Not only do they give you more accurate bills, they also help you keep a closer eye on your energy use. This makes it easier to cut back, which is good news for both the planet and your bills.   
Smart meters allow energy companies to see exactly how much energy you’re using and when. In the future, this will allow them to offer you more flexible tariffs.