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Estimated bills and meter reading

A meter reader generally visits properties once every three months, and the meter data is then sent through to the provider. If the meter reader is not able to access the meter (e.g. due to a locked gate or a dog in the yard), the provider will issue an ‘estimated’ read, based on the customer’s past usage or the usage of comparable households.

If a bill is based on an estimated read, this should be clearly shown on the bill. If the estimated bill results in the customer being over or under-charged, this will be adjusted in the bill following the next actual meter reading. Below are common questions we receive about estimated bills and meter reading:

How often are bills issued?

For customers on a standard retail contract, a provider must issue bills at least once every three months. For customers on a market contract, the frequency of their bills will depend on the terms and conditions of their contract.

Can a meter reader enter my property?

An authorised meter reader can enter a property to read the meter without the prior consent of the customer.

Man reading meter

How is an estimated bill calculated?

If the meter reader is unable to access the meter and provide an actual reading to the provider, the customer’s bill will be based on the estimated read provided to the retailer. The estimate may be based on historical metering data for the customer or, where this is not available, on average usage of a comparable customer.

The provider can base three consecutive quarterly bills on estimated reads, but must arrange for an actual read to be taken if access to the meter continues to be a problem after 12 months.

Can I provide a self-read to my provider?

If you have a non-digital meter and receive an account based on an estimated reading, you can ask your provider to adjust the bill by providing your own meter reading.

What is a special meter read?

A special meter read is an actual meter reading taken outside of the usual reading cycle. If you are concerned that your bill is high because the estimated reading is incorrect, you can ask your provider for a special meter read. The provider is only allowed to charge customers for a special meter reading if it confirms that the billing is correct.

How often is my meter read?

The provider must do its best to ensure that actual readings are carried out at least once every 12 months. If access to your meter is a problem, you may be asked to make an appointment for a special read and you will be charged a fee for this.