Article

My supplier always estimates my energy costs

My supplier always estimates my energy costs

Suppliers are required to read and inspect your meter(s) at least once every two years, although some suppliers may visit more frequently.

Where bills are issued more frequently than actual meter readings are recorded, suppliers can use estimates of energy used, based mainly on past consumption, as the basis of the charges. As there can be a lengthy period between supplier readings, it is important you ensure that the estimated reading is close to that actually recorded by the meter. You can do this by recording the reading on the meter yourself and comparing this reading against the estimate soon after you receive your bill. If a large difference is found, contact your supplier who will normally use your reading to issue a revised accont. If your actual consumption is not similar to that estimated by your supplier the gap will be closed at the time the meter is actually read. This may mean that your supplier will require more money for the energy actually used or will arrange some form of refund where use is less than estimated.

There is also a small chance that a meter could be incorrectly read. Once again, a quick check of the reading stated within the bill against the register of the meter will ensure that errors are quickly detected.

 

Potentially lower your electricity bills

There are some things you can do right now to ensure you start receiving lower energy bills:

  • take and submit your own meter reading rather than accepting an estimated bill, remember suppliers are only obliged to read and inspect your meter once every two years
  • are you on the right tarrif? Ask your supplier for the cost of energy at different times of the day and ensure that you are being charged at the most appropriate tariff for your manner of consumption and the equipment you have connected
  • where possible use energy at times of the day when charges are low (ie in a nursing home, use of the washing machines or dishwashers)
  • keep a conscious note of what appliances are switched on and for how long they are on for
  • turn your computers off rather than leaving them on standby, leaving them on standby can use up to half the amount of energy consumed when the appliance is in use

Electricity and  gas meters are generally reliable and faults are rare. Like many machines when they go wrong they normally slow or stop working (under registering a as result), not speed up (over registering a as result) . So consider all of the many reasons that could have caused a change in your energy bill, for example:

  • particularly colder or milder seasonal weather causing you to use more or less energy
  • a change in circumstances (eg increased or decreased production, a change in shift patterns etc)
  • faulty equipment using more energy than it should because it is not operating correctly
  • changing types of appliance (ie moving from gas to electricity or vice versa)

If after analysing your usage you think there is a chance that your meter may have developed a defect causing it to register inaccurately, you should then contact your supplier who is required to investigate your complaint. They will tryto resolve your problem (including the possible installation of a ‘check meter’ adjacent to the disputed billing meter). 

Notes

Gas Meters - The digits on a gas meter are read from left to right and any digit shown in red is ignored. It is important that any other ‘zero’s’ are included in the reading you provide your supplier.

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