Types of Meter
You have just moved in into your new property and have yet to discover what type of meter the property has. There are three types of meter in common use in households.
A standard meter is a basic electromechanical induction meter, and usually measures your electricity consumption in terms of kilowatt-hours – the amount of energy used by a load of one kilowatt over the period of one hour.
When this meter is installed, all electricity units are charged at the same rate, 24 hours a day.
Variable rate meters
Often referred to as “economy 7″ meters, as they are used for the economy 7 tariffs that many suppliers offer, variable rate meters operate on the same principle as standard meters, except they give two readings: one for daytime electricity usage, and one for night-time electricity usage.
This allows your supplier to charge you a different (usually cheaper) rate for electricity used at night time under the economy 7 tariff.
Prepayment meters usually accept tokens or cards that can be bought or topped up, respectively. If the customer stops paying for electricity, the electricity supply will be cut off by a relay fitted into the meter.
The advantage of this kind of meter is that you can budget for how much electricity you use by paying for it before you use it.
How to read meters
If you have a standard meter with a numeric display, simply read off the first five figures of the number displayed there from left to right.
If you have a variable rate meter, read off both sets of numbers, missing off the last number from each row.
All meters used in the UK have to be approved and verified by Ofgem and meet certain accuracy limits before they can be used for billing. The owner of the meter has to ensure that the meter is accurate and if there is any dispute from either the consumer or the supplier as to the accuracy of a meter reading then Ofgem will provide a service to test and certify the meter.