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How to read your business energy meters

If you've never sent a meter reading to your supplier, they may be estimating your usage and you could be overpaying or underpaying for energy. That’s why it’s so important to take regular meter readings, to make sure your supplier is billing you correctly. Unless you have a smart meter or half hourly meter, you’ll have to take monthly readings yourself. Here’s everything you need to know about reading your gas meter and taking an electricity meter reading, to make sure your bills are as accurate as possible.

3 min read

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What type of business energy meter do you have?

There are a few different types of business energy meters available, and the one that’s right for your business depends on your circumstances, and the amount of energy you use. The most common types are:

  • Single rate meter: ideal if your business rarely operates outside the hours of 8am - 10pm. A single rate meter monitors your energy usage at a flat rate. It’s a good choice for offices, cafes and shops.
  • Two-rate meter: also known as Economy 7, this will charge you two separate rates for peak hours and off-peak hours. You’ll be charged a more expensive unit rate during peak hours - usually during the daytime - and a cheaper rate for off-peak hours in the evening and overnight. This is a good option if your business mainly operates between midnight and 8am - for example, takeaways, or food manufacturers who run chillers overnight.
  • Three-rate meter: charges you one unit rate for peak hours, another rate for off-peak hours, and another for weekends. This is a good option for businesses that regularly operate at weekends, such as restaurants and pubs.

If your business operates from more than one location, you may have a separate meter at each site.

How to take a gas and electricity meter reading

When it comes to reading your electric meter or taking a gas meter reading, you have to be aware of the type of meter you have, to make sure you’re reading it correctly. Here are the different types of displays you may encounter:

  • Dial display meter - there are two types of dial display meter, and the type you have depends on the amount of energy you tend to use on average. If the left-hand side of your meter is labelled 10,000 then you only need to record the readings in the first five dials. But if your meter is labelled 100,000 then you’ll need to read all six dials on your meter, from left to right. If the pointer in the dial is between two numbers, you should record the lower number. But, if the pointer is between 9 and 0, then you should read the higher number and reduce the dial to the left by one.
  • LCD meter - LCD meters are much easier to read. They show your energy usage on a screen, and all you have to do is make a note of the number shown on the display. If you’re on a multi-rate system, you’ll need to scroll through the options to find the recording you need.
    Mechanical display meter: these are the easiest to read, as they just show one number, and that’s all you need. If you’ve got a multi-reader, there will be more than one screen, so you’ll need to make a note of all the numbers available.
  • Electronic meter - modern meters display readings electronically, and depending on the size of the meter the readings will either be displayed one at a time or all together. The meter will show which register the reading relates to, such as peak or off-peak - remember to read one register at a time and make a note of the numbers from left to right. You can ignore any numbers after the decimal point.

If you have a half-hourly meter or a smart meter, you don't need to worry about taking readings as your usage is automatically shared with your supplier in real-time.  

How to submit business energy meter readings

When you’ve taken your meter readings, you need to submit them to your energy supplier. This is straightforward, and there are a few different ways you can submit:

  • Via your supplier’s website
  • On a smartphone app
  • Over the phone

If you have a smart meter, your readings will be submitted automatically, so you don’t need to do anything. Talk to Uswitch for Business today on 0800 188 4930 to hear how we can help you find the best deal for your business. We’ll run a business electricity plan comparison and take care of all the details involved in switching.

What type of business energy meter do you have?
How to take a gas and electricity meter reading
How to submit business energy meter readings

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