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 is everything you need to know about managing your gas and electricity.

Woman doing paperwork at home

How to read your meter

Your gas or electricity meter records how much energy you have used, and your energy supplier will use this to calculate your bill.

You should provide your energy supplier with regular meter readings to ensure your bill is always accurate. There are three main types of energy meter:

  1. Digital meters show five numbers in black or white, and may be followed by a number in red. Write down the first five numbers from left to right, ignoring the red numbers.

  2. Electronic meters are used if you have dual rate electricity, which is charged at a lower cost at night. Your meter reading will be displayed on a screen and you should write down the first five numbers from left to right, and ignore any numbers in red.

  3. Dial meters have five dials, which move from 0 to 9. Read the meter from left to right and write down the first five numbers, ignoring the last dial. If the pointer is directly over a number, write it down. If it is between two numbers, record the lower number.

You can give your supplier a meter reading by calling them, and some suppliers let you send updates via their website.

If you have a smart meter, an accurate reading will automatically be sent to your supplier each month.

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. You can find out more about prepayment meters in our guide.

Metric or imperial?

The way your energy bill is calculated depends on whether you have a metric or imperial energy meter:

  • Metric: This is the standard measurement for most new meters, and your energy is charged in cubic metres. 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 charged in cubic feet. Your energy usage will be displayed on a dial system.

Your meter should be clearly marked to show whether you are charged for your energy in cubic meters or cubic feet, and your energy company should automatically charge you based on the correct measurement.

You can read more about the difference in metric and imperial meters on the GOV.UK website.

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

If you think you have been overcharged or undercharged for any other reason, here is how to handle problems with your gas and electricity.

Changes to your details

You should call your energy supplier if your personal details change, so that they can still contact you with information about your service. You should let them know if you:

  • Change your name: You may need to do this if you get married or divorced.

  • Add or remove an account holder: If you need to remove a joint account holder, you also need them to confirm this with your supplier.

  • Change your contact details: Your energy company 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.

  • Change bank details: If you pay for your gas and electricity by direct debit, you will need to contact your energy supplier with any changes to your bank details.

You may be able to make basic changes on your supplier's website, so contact your supplier to see how you can make changes to your personal details.

Changes to your price plan

If your energy supplier increases the price of your tariff, they have to notify you at least 30 days before the change is due, unless:

  • Your prices are changing because you have changed the way you pay

  • You are on a staggered tariff, which includes set price increases on certain dates

  • You are on a tracker tariff, where your prices go up and down

If you are 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.

Read our guide to energy tariffs for help choosing the best price plan.

Energy tariff ending

If you are on a fixed rate tariff which is ending, 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 without having to pay exit fees, so make sure you find the cheapest energy deal available.

Change of address

You may be able to switch your energy tariff with your existing supplier to your new home, but you should check as this is not always possible.

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

  1. Letting your current supplier know you are moving, at least 48 hours before

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

  3. 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 lets you check that your final energy bill is accurate.

After you move

Once you are in your new home, you will 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 by contacting the Meter Number Helpline on 0870 608 1524. You should contact your regional supplier to find out who supplies your electricity.

Contact the existing supplier before you load any money, 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. Read our guide to prepayment meters for more information.

How to switch your energy

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

If you are on a fixed term tariff, you should check with your supplier if you have to pay an exit fee to cancel your contract early.

You can find the best energy deals on the market by using our comparison.