Electricity Meters Explained: What you need to know

Electricity Meter

What’s in this guide?


Your meter is the gateway to your energy consumption, with your supplier using it to estimate your monthly bills.

That means that there is a lot of power contained in that little box.

If it starts to break, you could end up being under or overcharged £100s, and the more you know about it, the more money you can save.

Let’s take a closer look at electricity meters, including what they are, the different types and how you can save.

What is an electricity meter?

An electricity meter typically sits on the outside wall of your home.

It will be placed where your power enters your home, so you may be able to look it up to find out where it is located.

Your meter tells you exactly how much electricity you have used.

This makes it far more accurate than energy companies who often try and estimate your bills based on the size of your home or the people living in it.

It is also why your supplier will ask you to send regular meter readings. So you won’t be under or overcharged for your energy due to estimates.

What type of electricity meter do I have?

Now that you know what an electricity meter is, let’s find out what kind of meter you might have.

Standard Electric Meter

You will likely have a standard electricity meter.

This type of meter works by using a dial which turns depending on how much energy you use.

In short, it means that the more energy you use, the more the dial will turn and the higher number it will display.

What you need to do to read it, is to start with the digits that are on the left and move from there to the right, noting down these numbers.

Only note down black numbers.

Digital Meter

These are easier to read; you need to write down the first five numbers.

You may need to push a button if there are no numbers.

After 0.1., do not take notice of any numbers.

Note these numbers down.

Dial Meter

These types of meters work by rotating some dials. The more energy you use, the more the dials turn.

Start from the side on the left and move over to the right and make a note of the digits that are displayed.

But you need to change any number before a 9 and reduce it by 1.

So if it reads 479, then you should change the 7 to a 6.

It should now read 469.

Only write down the black numbers.

Economy 7 Meter

Customers that are on an Economy 7 meter pay different prices for their energy.

One for your day rates and a separate one for your night rates.

Typically, your Economy 7 will have two different displays.

The display that is typically at the top will let you see your usage for the daytime.

Then, the next row will show you your usage for the night time.

Prepayment Meter

Push a button on your meter if it is displaying your current credit.

It will display your energy use information.

Note this down like a normal meter.

What happens if my meter reading is very high?

You may want to consider switching energy suppliers.

Did you know that on average someone switching from a ‘big six’ energy company could save up to £400 a year on their energy costs?

Yes, really.

Take a quick look at the comparison tool to see how much you could be saving.

Why compare?

So why compare suppliers or tariffs?

There are hundreds of deals out there from many different suppliers, each with their pros and cons and it can be challenging to decide which one is better for you.

That’s where EnergySeek comes in.

Not only can you use the handy, simple comparison tool at the top of the page, but you can also make use of the extensive guides on offer.

These will tell you everything you need to know about each supplier that interests you.

Including their tariffs, prices, extra services or even their customer satisfaction.

Have you decided that comparing might be a good idea?

You need to take into consideration what it is that you want the most in your supplier.

This could be value for money, customer satisfaction or even based on the extra services that they offer, such as the British Gas boiler care.

Next, you need to have some information to hand. This will make it a lot easier to compare electricity and gas tariffs – you will need this information:

  • Your location
  • Annual consumption or spend
  • The size of your home
  • Email
  • Phone number

Finally, you can then use a tool such as the EnergySeek comparison tool to compare tariffs and energy suppliers to see which would be best for you.

Switching FAQ

Is switching complicated?

A long time ago, switching may have been complicated and stressful.

However, regulations are now protecting you as the customer from having to deal with complicated procedures or documentation, so your new supplier will take care of everything for you.

How long does it take to switch?

Firstly, you will have a 14 day cooling off period where you can cancel your switch without a fee, so your new energy company will not do anything during that period.

After that, it can take around a month and a half to complete the process.

Energy suppliers will keep you updated on your switch, often by post or by email.

Aren’t all energy suppliers the same?

Many customers say that customer service, which is where many energy suppliers differ, are more important than the price of the tariffs.

Customers say they are happy to pay a bit more regarding price to stay with a helpful and considerate supplier.

Can my tariff come with me when I move?

Some suppliers will allow you to take your cheap tariff with you when you move, but you need to get in contact with your supplier first and check.

You should also check the energy costs in your new area with a postcode if you have it.

Once I switch, will my supplier tell me if prices rise?

Costs are predicted to rise between 30% and 40% in the next five years unless there are some massive changes politically in the world.

Suppliers have to warn you about these price increases with a minimum of a months notice.


Interested in learning more about your energy?

Did you know that you could be saving up to £500 on your energy bills every year?

Take a look at the EnergySeek guides to find out more about your energy, or see reviews of the top 7 energy switching sites to compare gas & electricity.