How to read a meter and submit a reading

Reading your meter is a pain that millions of people will go through at some point in the near future, but with this guide we hope to help you through what can be a frustrating task. The first couple of steps that are absolutely key – what type of meter are you attempting to read, and why?

Why do I need to submit a reading?

The most common reason to submit a reading is you are starting a new contract with a new supplier, and it is used to calculate your final bill. Alternatively, if you are using a slightly older gas or electricity meter you may still need to provide monthly readings to help your supplier calculate your monthly invoice. This varies from customer to customer, and energy suppliers are well equipped to help you every step of the way.

What type of meter do I have?

Smart meters: There are two different generations of smart meters – SMETS1 and SMETS2. They both negate the need to submit manual monthly readings to your supplier. So, if you have one of these, you’re in luck! These are usually quite easy to tell if they are ‘smart’. If you are unsure if you have a smart meter, contact your supplier and they will be able to let you know.

Digital: These do not come with the bonus of automatic monthly readings, so you will have to read and submit these manually. As you can probably deduce from the name – this is shown in a digital format for ease of reading. Later in the guide we will provide more information on how to read all of these meters, and how to submit your readings.

Electronic: Often these meters show your readings on an electronic display. Quite often these meters require a little bit more navigation to find your readings location – but we will explain all of this later. These meters are the ones most commonly confused for smart meters, so remember if you are unsure on what type you have – contact your supplier.

Dial Meters: These meters are becoming a little dated over time, but are absolutely still reliable! Instantly recognisable by the numerous dials on display. These can be tricky to read, but with a little patience – it is easily done. Most varieties of dial meters are distinctly recognisable!

How to take a reading?

About: We have formulated this guide to not differentiate between gas or electricity meters – rather the type of meter itself. It is easy to over-complicate meter readings by separating into hundred of sub-sections and meter models. One thing large energy suppliers want is to bombard you with industry jargon and buzzwords. Not us. We feel this is the clearest and most concise way to impart our expertise knowledge of meter readings to you, the customer.

Digital Meters: Digital meter displays vary slightly – some will have a single row of figures, and others two. This is nothing to worry about as the process of reading remains the same. Using our example from earlier we will now explain how to read your digital meter.

Digital meters are read from left to right – and should be written in the same form. The largest units lie on the left, and smallest on the right. When noting down your reading you should always write in the same way displayed – 4 6 0 4 3. You should always ignore any numbers displayed in red, or in a red surround – these are the smallest units and are not usable for calculating your monthly bill.

If your digital meter has multiple rows of figures, the process remains the same. Note your numbers from left to right, ignoring any in red or a red surround. Also try to keep both rows of numbers separate to avoid confusion. There are a few reasons for why you would have two different rows of data – the most common is if you are signed up to a tariff that offers lower priced off-peak energy.

Electronic Meters: We will again use our example display from earlier to help explain how to read your electronic meters. Like digital displays, these should always be read from left to right and noted in the same form.

The larger units lie on the left, and the smallest to the right. There will often be numbers shown in red or in a red surround which should be ignored when writing down the reading. The reading for the example above would be 4 6 0 4 3.

Depending on your model of electronic meter, some may require a little bit of navigation to find your meter reading screen. Look for a button on the user interface with labelling ‘cycle display’ or similar, press this until you find your desired location. Some meters will cycle through their different display options automatically so it a just a case of waiting.

Again, it is common for two separate rows of figures to be shown on your meter. These should both be noted down and read from left to right – ignoring the red figures.

Dial Meters: These are without a doubt the most difficult to read accurately – which is one of the reasons they are slowly being phased out. We’ll use a slightly different image to our earlier example but hopefully, it’ll help grow your understanding.

It can be seen that there are five dials here, that should read from left to right. Often there will be another dial to the right shown in red – this should be ignored, and has been removed from this example. This is for the same reason as the other meters, the units on display are too small to matter to your monthly bill. Often this dial will have a   symbol next to it – denoting the units.

The MOST important thing to remember is that these dials often turn in different directions – for no other reason than to be difficult. Be aware of this, and remember the number to note for each dial is the number the pointer has just passed – from left to right. If the pointer points to a number exactly, then underline it (In the example above, this would be the second dial pointing at number 4). At this stage, your reading should look like:

1 4 9 7 0

Then look to the number following the underlined value. If it is between 0 and 9 – then reduce the underlined number by 1. This is one downside to dial meters. Although the second dial appears to lie exactly on the number 4, you can see from the following numbers it actually hasn’t reached that value yet. Your final meter reading should be shown as:

1 3 9 7 0

About Smart Meters: As already mentioned, there are two different generations of smart meters – the SMETS1 and the SMETS2. The SMETS1 is a slightly earlier version and the SMET2 the most recent. SMETS stands for ‘Smart Metering Equipment Technical Specifications’. SMET1 smart meters are much more common, with an estimated 18 million currently in use. They transmit data over 3G to communicate directly to your supplier, so if you recently switched supplier then they will lose some of their functionality and work more like a traditional meter.

SMETS2 feed information directly into a central data network that all suppliers have access to – which means you will retain smart-meter functionality post switch.

SMETS1: The most likely reason for providing a manual reading from a SMETS1 meter is due to a change from the supplier that originally installed the meter. If you are unsure of the functionality of your meter, contact your current supplier – they are there to help! To manually read your smart meter is still very simple, and is quite similar to examples already outlined.

The most difficult aspect of smart meters in general, is navigation. With all of the different models out there, there is no one universal guide that holds the key for every model. We instead recommend finding out the model of your meter, and by following the manufacturer guide become comfortable with the user interface.

Once you have navigated to the appropriate menu section – you will see either one, two, or three different values. Two values will be shown if you are on more than one unit rate, and both numbers should be noted down in similar form to an Electronic Meter. You can ignore the numbers after the decimal point as these are too small to be considered. Sometimes there will be a third value with the labelling ‘T’ – ignore this, it is the total of peak and off-peak readings and not needed.

SMETS2: It is not often you will be asked to provide a reading from your SMETS2 meter, but you will always have to provide your first readings after switching supplier manually. There are far fewer brands of SMETS2 meters – so much easier to identify the manufacturer by the branding on the front of your unit. Again, we recommend finding a user manual and using this to become confident in menu navigation.

Just like the SMETS1 – the SMETS2 often shows either one, two, or three values for meter readings dependant on your contract type. You should ignore any values after the decimal place, and the total of peak and off-peak readings. Confusingly, there is a variety of terminology used between manufacturers so if you see your readings listed under ‘Rate 01 Act Imp’ and ‘Total Active Import’ – don’t panic!

Where do I submit my meter readings?

At Niccolo Gas we pride ourselves on offering a wide variety of platforms for you to communicate your meter readings to us. Other suppliers often only offer one or two ways to submit meter readings, but we recognise that all our customers are unique and have different needs that should be catered to.

E-Mail: We have simplified the meter submission process for customers wanting to submit readings via e-mail. Simply submit your meter readings to our dedicated e-mail address with your related account information, and we will do the rest.

meterreadings@niccolo.co.uk

We also recognise that meter readings can creep up on you unexpectedly, and provide unnecessary stress. This is why we offer monthly email reminders to our customers, so you can plan accordingly. Not only this, but you can reply directly to the reminder with your updated meter readings!

Webform: We have an online webform for existing clients to submit their meter readings easily, avoiding the hassle of logging in to your account if you’re in a rush.

Telephone: We enjoy hearing from our customers whenever possible, most commonly over the phone. If you would prefer to speak to an actual human instead of a screen, we completely understand! You can provide your meter readings over the phone to us at:

0131 610 8868

Billing Platform: Our billing platform is accessible 24/7 for all of our customers. It doesn’t matter if you’re a night-owl or an early-bird, you can submit your meter readings from your online billing platform whenever you like! You can find the associated link within the platform to input your readings here:

billing.niccolo.co.uk