Student Bills – How to take an electric meter reading

student bills

Many students who are living in their first student home, will have never taken a meter reading. On top of this, taking a meter reading for the first time can also be fairly confusing. In this part of our guide to student bills, we will show you how to take an electric meter reading and teach you how to calculate the cost of any given appliance. 

 We’ll be covering:

Student Bills – Why you need to supply Meter Readings

Sending regular meter readings to your energy supplier, will ensure  your paying the correct amount for any energy consumed.

Without a meter reading, an energy supplier will take an estimated reading which will be based on past usage. These estimates can sometimes be over-estimated, therefore,  supplying regular meter readings is good way to ensure you don’t get overcharged and end up paying more money towards your student bills than you should.

As a result, it’s best to send meter readings once every two or three months, however, if you like to keep on top of your student utility bills, you can also send monthly readings.

Top Tip – One way to save on your student bills is to purchase a smart plug! If you ever leave your diggz and realise you’ve left stuff on, with a smart plug you can turn them off. Over the long haul this can save you £££’s

Types of Electric Meters

A variety of electricity meter types are installed in UK and Irish student homes. To help you identify which type of meter has been installed in your student home, we’ve outlined a brief description for each of the meter types and explain how to read and take the meter reading.

Standard Electric Meters

The most common meter found in most student accommodation is the standard electric meter. It is a basic meter which measures electricity in kWh (kilowatt hours). Taking a reading from this type of meter is reasonably straight forward.

To take a meter reading from a standard meter, jot down the number as displayed from left to right.
Numbers either displayed in red or which have a red background are the decimal point numbers, therefore, you can omit these numbers when supplying your meter reading.

If you do decided to include the decimal point number, ensure you remember to add the decimal point or you may end up with an unexpectedly expensive student utility bill.

Dial Electric Meter

Dial Electric meters contain a series of dials which look similar to miniature clocks. These type of meters are not the easiest to read and each of the small dials will turn in a different direction, going either clockwise or anti-clockwise.

The direction of the numbers flow around the dial, indicate the direction the dial goes in. Normally the first, third and fifth dial will flow clockwise with the remaining dials flowing anti-clockwise.

Each of the dials will run from 0 to 9, read the meter in the same direction the numbers flow in.

In order take a meter reading correctly, there are a few rules you need to be aware of and follow:

  • Starting with the left most dial, read the dials from left to right
  • If the dial hand is between two numbers go with the lowest number (if between 3 and 4, write down 3)
  • When the dial hand is between 0 and 9 or always go with 9
  • If you have taken a reading of 9 on any dial, reduce the reading taken on the dial to the left by 1. As an example, lets say the third dial reads 9 and the second dial reads 7, you would write 6 for the second dial instead of 7
  • You can ignore the last dial, displayed in red or labelled 1/10

Digital Electric Meter

This type of  meter is similar to the standard meter but with an LCD display.  Standard digital meters will be labelled as ‘Single-rate’ where as economy 7 and economy 10 digital meters will be labelled as ‘multi-rate’.

Taking a meter reading is fairly straight forward. Write down all numbers as presented on the digital LCD display from left to right. As with a standard meter, all numbers to the right of the decimal point can be ignored.

Economy 7 and Economy 10 Electric Meters (Multi-Rate Meters)

Multi-rate meters generally look fairly similar to standard electric meters and they measure the electricity usage in kWh. The main difference on these meters is that they display two separate dials. One for on-peak traffic and the other for off-peak, commonly referred to as economy 7 and economy 10.

The display on digital multi-rate meters typically alternates between the on and off peak readings. In order to tell which rate is being displayed you will see a small number displayed to the left hand side of the reading which will be either  display either a 1 or a 2.

To supply a reading, write down both the on and off-peak readings and send them over to your supplier. Normally these can be sent online with the required format will be outlined in the online portal.

If you happen to have one of the older mechanical meters, then both readings will be visible on the display.

Smart Meters

A smart meter is new type of meter which measures real-time electricity usage. With a smart meter you don’t need to worry about supplying a meter reading as it’s able to send your electrical usage direct to the supplier.

That’s really is smart and is one less student bill to have to worry about!

Top Tip! Using LED bulbs over conventual bulbs can heavily impact the cost of your electric bills. LED bulbs have been proven to use 75% less energy compared to conventional bulbs. A great and simple way to save some money!

Prepayment Meters

Prepay meters are usually digital meters. These meters typically have a button which allows you to switch the display between total electric usage and the remaining credit balance. With prepay meters you pay for the electricity upfront by loading credit onto a meter card or a meter key.

Because you pay as you go, there is no need to supply a  meter reading. What you may want to do though, is keep an eye on your credit balance.

In the highly likely event, you may forget to take check your credit balance, thus, running out of electricity, prepayment meters have an emergency balance option.

When your credit balance hits £0, the electricity supply will cut off. To allow you time to load credit onto your card or key you can activate the emergency credit by pressing a button on the meter. Any credit you use while in emergency mode will be deducted once you enter your loaded card or key.

Most meter have an emergency balance of £5, once this runs out you will need to load up your card in order to turn you electricity supply back on.

Student Bills – How To Supply a Meter Reading

If you want to learn how to supply a meter reading or any other aspects of student bills, then check out our ultimate guide to student bills. We’ll take everything you need to know in regards to student bills and also offer other useful insights which as well as making life easier, may also save you some £££’s.

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