Self-reporting of gas meter readings in (at least parts of) the UK

A Reverend Tim in the UK accidentally gave British Gas my email instead of his own, so despite living in Florida USA, I got an email request to submit my gas meter reading.

So, what’s the deal with people reporting their own meter readings? Are they spot-checked to avoid fraud, or what?

And how will the British Reverend Tim manage to pay his next bill, after I reported that he used more gas than a fleet of ocean liners shipping BMWs across the Pacific? just kidding of course

I’m in the USA and at my old house we read our own water meter and reported via postcard. They would physically read it one a year and make any adjustments. Never had any issues at all. The gas company in the UK may have a similar system. My electric meter is read digitally over the power grid.

Yes that’s pretty much how it works over here. I submit a reading every quarter, and they pop round every now and again for their own reading then make any necessary correction.

Assuming no overt tampering, reading the meter once a year would compensate for any… under-reporting in earlier billing periods.

Added to which, many smart meters can be remotely read up to 3 miles distance.

Some people think this dangerous; but even if so, I welcome the opportunity not to interact with people.

As a fellow Reverend, you should be ashamed. You could have reported his reading as a lot less than the previous month, and he could have gotten a big rebate.

They have a pretty good idea of what they expect your meter reading to be, so it it’s wildly out of line they’ll pop 'round and read it themselves.

I’m in the US and in the days when the meter reader had to come into the house , he’d leave a postcard if we weren’t home and we would either mail it back or call the automated phone system with the reading. Every six months or so they wanted an actual reading badly enough to send a meter reader when we were actually at home.

Providing your own reading is really about helping the customer make sure they are paying the right amount. Otherwise the gas company will estimate, which means you’ll either be paying too much, or too little, which is worse because you’ll get a big unexpected bill at some point when they readjust. They call round occasionally to take their own readings.

Most people pay their bills monthly by direct debit, usually a fixed amount based on estimated future usage, so it’s in your your own interest to make sure that estimate is accurate.

I have the same deal with British Gas, for both electric and for gas. (How they get gas down the electric wires is beyond me).

Each month they send me an email reminder and I go out to the garage and read the meters. I can submit the readings directly to their website and it tells me instantly what the bill will be. I pay by direct debit 15 days later. I get a small discount off the regular rate for this. Their website also gives me statistics on my energy usage - historically for me and comparative with the neighbourhood.

Before that I used to pay a fixed amount monthly. This is good for budgeting but not a great deal, because they always make sure that they are ahead by £50 or £100. This way I only pay for what I use, and I put money aside for it.

They send a meter reader round about once a year, and they read both meters. I am sure that if my usage differed wildly they would send someone round to check.

Energy supply here is competitive, and I can buy gas and electricity from several suppliers, without having to change the pipes and cables.

If you submitted a low reading, it would simply mean that he would get a bigger bill next month.