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How to manage your energy service

You may need to contact your energy supplier from time to time to make changes to your account. Here’s everything you need to know about managing your gas and electricity.

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Last updated: 25 February 2021

In this guide

  • How to read your meter

  • How do I notify my supplier of a change in personal details?

  • What happens if the price of my energy or tariff changes?

  • What happens if I move home?

  • How to switch your energy

How to read your meter

Gas and electricity meters accurately record how much energy you’ve used, and your energy supplier will need a reading from this to calculate your bill.

If you’ve had a smart meter fitted by your current energy supplier, then it will send it regular, automatic – and accurate – readings to ensure you don’t overpay or underpay what you owe on your energy bill.

Not everyone has a smart meter, while some smart meters lose their automatic send functionality when you switch supplier. In either case, it’s up to you to provide your energy supplier with regular meter readings to ensure your bill is always up to date and accurate.

Here’s what you need to do to read one of the four main types of energy meter:

Updated 20 April 2023
Meter type What it displays What to record
Standard Show five numbers in black or white, and may be followed by a number in red Read the five black numbers from left to right. Ignore the red numbers.
Dial Five black dials, which move from 0 to 9.Read the numbers from left to right (if the dial is between two numbers, choose the lower number). Again, ignore any red dials.
Digital A series of numbers with a decimal point after the first five figures. Take a note of the first five figures, ignoring any numbers beyond the decimal point.
Dual-rate meters You’ll see two separate figures, one marked low rate, the other high rate. Read both figures using the guides above depending on the type of meter.

You should be able to submit your meter reading by phone or via your online account if you have one.

Can I change my gas or electric meter?

If your meter is faulty or you want to upgrade to a smart meter, you should contact your energy supplier.

You should also call your supplier if you want to change to or from a prepayment gas or electricity meter.

Does my energy meter use metric or imperial units?

While you’re charged for gas in kWh, your gas meter records usage based on a different measurement, which varies depending on whether you have a metric or imperial energy meter:

  • Metric: This is the standard measurement for most new meters, and your energy is measured in cubic metres (or m3). The units are often highlighted in red and separated by a decimal point.

  • Imperial: Some older meters use this older form of measurement, and your energy is measured in cubic feet (ft3). Your energy usage will be displayed on a dial system.

Your meter should be clearly marked to show whether it’s showing cubic metres or cubic feet, and your energy company should automatically charge you based on the correct measurement, which it converts into the kWh figure you’ll see on your bill.

What should I do if I think I’ve been incorrectly billed for my energy?

If you’ve been charged incorrectly due to a mix up over whether you use a metric or imperial meter, your supplier should contact you to give you a refund.

If you think you’ve been overcharged or undercharged for any other reason, check out our guide to handling problems with your gas and electricity.

How do I notify my energy supplier of a change in personal details?

To record changes to your account, you should be able to contact your supplier by phone, post or online. You’ll need to contact them if any of the following changes:

  • Your name: typically if you get married or divorced.

  • Add or remove an account holder: this is especially true if you need to remove a joint account holder for any reason.

  • Contact details: your energy supplier may need to contact you with information about changes to your energy plan, so you should keep them updated with any changes to your phone number or email address.

  • Bank details: if you pay for your gas and electricity by direct debit, you’ll need to contact your energy supplier with any changes to your bank details.

Check your supplier’s website for contact details, or log into your online account to see if you can record any of these changes without having to speak to anyone.

What happens if the price of my energy or tariff changes?

If you’re on a variable tariff, then your supplier must give you at least 30 days notification of any increase in your tariff before it comes into effect, except under the following circumstances:

  • Your prices are changing because you have changed the way you pay (for example, from prepayment meter to monthly direct debit).

  • You’re on a staggered tariff, which includes set price increases on certain dates.

  • You’re on a tracker tariff, where your prices go up and down regularly.

If you’re on a fixed rate tariff, your energy company cannot raise their prices unless the government has increased VAT, or the changes were part of your existing contract. Your energy company must let you know at least 42 days before your contract is due to end.

This gives you time to shop around for a new energy deal without having to pay exit fees, so make sure you take advantage to find the cheapest energy deal available.

What happens to my energy if I move home?

You may be able to transfer your existing energy tariff with your existing supplier to your new home, but you should check as this is not always possible depending on where you’re moving to.

If you’re on a fixed term tariff and cancel your service, you may have to pay an exit fee. You can find this out by checking the exit fees section of your energy bill.

Before you move

If you’re unable to move your current energy tariff, you’ll need to cancel your existing service and set up a new tariff by:

  • Letting your current supplier know you are moving, at least 48 hours beforehand.

  • Taking a meter reading on the day you move and giving it to your existing supplier.

  • Giving your new address to your supplier, so they can send you your final bill.

Keep a record of the reading and the date you contact your old supplier, as this will allow you to verify that your final energy bill is accurate.

After you move

Once you’re in your new home, you’ll need to set up your new energy service:

  • Find out who supplies your home.

  • Contact them with a meter reading.

  • Compare tariffs to find the best deal.

  • Switch to the cheapest tariff.

You can find out who supplies your gas using the Find My Supplier website. You should contact your regional supplier to find out who supplies your electricity.

What if my new home has a prepayment meter?

Contact the existing supplier before you top up any credit, to avoid paying any debts owed by the person who lived there last.

Consider replacing the meter with a standard credit meter, to avoid overpaying for your gas or electricity.

How to switch your energy

Switching supplier could save you hundreds of pounds on your energy bills each year.

If you’re on a fixed-term tariff, you should check with your supplier to see if you have to pay an exit fee to cancel your contract early – note, if you’ve entered the final 49 days of your contract, then you’re in the switching window and shouldn’t be charged for switching.

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