Take regular meter readings
It can be hard to spot if your energy meter is faulty, particularly if it’s wrong by a small amount. Unusual bills or meter readings are generally the best clue.
If you’re on a time-of-use tariff, you should be able to check the clock on your meter or see if the rate changes at the time of day it’s supposed to.
If you’re worried your meter is running fast, you could try turning off all your appliances and watching the meter. It shouldn’t still be registering significant amounts of energy.
If you suspect your meter is faulty, you should record regular meter readings. These will help prove your case.
You could also invest in an energy monitor. These let you view your real-time energy use.
Although an energy monitor isn't a fool proof way of checking meter accuracy, they can be a good guide if you already have suspicions.
- Take regular meter readings and make a note of what appliances you've been using.
- If you're on a time-of-use tariff, check that the clock on the meter is working properly.
- If you're still unsure, ask for your meter to be tested.
Get your meter tested
Energy suppliers are required to investigate faulty meters. So if you suspect your meter is faulty, contact your supplier and ask them to carry out a test.
Electricity meters are initially tested on-site by your supplier, who will carry out a preliminary check.
If the test is inconclusive or if you're unhappy with the findings, you can request that an independent expert tests the meter at an independent laboratory.
Gas meters can’t easily be tested on-site so will be sent away to an independent laboratory.
You have the right to witness tests being carried out if you wish. The results will show if the meter was inaccurate and by how much.
If your meter is sent away to be tested, your supplier will fit a new meter beforehand so you won't be left without one for the duration of the test.
Paying for a test
Testing of meters is free but suppliers can charge for the cost of removing and replacing your disputed meter.
Unfortunately there is no set rule on how much this should cost. Ask your supplier about cost up front so you're happy with how much you'll have to pay.
Be aware that any cost will only be refunded if your meter is actually inaccurate so try to gather as much evidence as possible before reaching the test stage.
Can I get a refund?
If you have been overcharged, your supplier should refund you for the period that your meter was faulty.
If you have been undercharged, your supplier shouldn’t back-bill you for more than 12 months.
Are smart meters more accurate?
Smart meters should mean more accurate bills because they should send readings directly to your supplier – meaning no more estimated bills.
But they are still machines and inevitably can - and may very well - go wrong. Only time will tell if they will be more accurate at providing meter readings.