People have been urged to take readings of their gas and electricity today ahead of tomorrow’s price increase which will see costs rise by up to 54 per cent after the energy price cap – the maximum suppliers can charge.

It means as of April 1, people in England, Scotland and Wales could be paying as much as £700 more for their energy usage. The rising cost has meant Money Saving Expert founder Martin Lewis has already advised people to read their meters today to make sure they don’t pay too much for supplies used before the hike starts.

Those with a smart meter do not have to do anything but everyone else is advised to give their supplier proof of how much energy was used under the old price to stop paying any unnecessary cost.

READ MORE: E.On apologises for ‘ill-considered’ Martin Lewis tweet as it issues update for customers taking meter readings

Martin Lewis has also warned people not to break the law by trying to deal with the energy companies with false readings. He said on Twitter: “Many asking me Q. Can I give a falsely inflated meter reading on 31 March – so I get more at the cheap rate that I use in April? A. That’s called fraud I’m afraid.”

But with a range of different meters it can be difficult to be sure you are doing it right. Citizens Advice have come up with a handy guide on how to tackle each one.

### Single rate digital meter

A digital meter has an electronic or digital display. It will show 5 numbers in black or white, and might be followed by 1 or more red numbers.

1. Write down the first 5 numbers shown from left to right.
2. Ignore any other numbers.

## Two rate digital meter

If you get cheaper electricity at certain times, you might have a two rate (or ‘dual-rate’) meter. This means it will have 2 rows of numbers.

The top row (labelled ‘low’ or ‘night’) shows how many units of cheaper electricity you’ve used.

The bottom row (labelled ‘normal’ or ‘day’) shows how many units of standard-price electricity you’ve used.

1. Read both the top and bottom rows.
2. Write down the numbers shown left to right.
3. Ignore any numbers shown in red.

## Two rate signal display meter

Some two rate (or ‘dual rate’) meters only have 1 digital display. They will either flash up the different rate readings in a cycle or have a button that you need to press to make the display cycle through the readings for the different rates.

To read the meter write down the numbers shown left to right, for each reading.

1. Write down the numbers shown left to right.
2. Make sure you get both readings.

### dial meter

An electricity dial meter has five or more dials. They each turn to point to a number between 0 and 9.

Each dial on your meter will turn in the opposite direction to the ones next to it. Some dial meters start with a clockwise dial and some start with an anticlockwise dial – check the direction of your dials before you read them.

1. Read the first five dials from left to right – ignore any red dials or dials marked 1/10.
2. If the pointer is between two numbers, write down the lower number – if it’s between 9 and 0, write down 9.
3. If the pointer is directly over a number, write down that number and underline it.

If you’ve underlined a number, check the next dial to the right. If the pointer on that dial is between 9 and 0, reduce the number you’ve underlined by 1. For example, if you originally wrote down 5, change it to 4.

## smart meter

Firstly, make sure it is not your in-home display.

When you get a smart meter installed, you’ll also normally get a small portable device with a screen on it. This is called an ‘in-home display’ (IHD) or a ‘smart energy monitor’ – it either plugs into a socket or runs on batteries.

It can be easy to confuse your smart meter with your IHD.

You might be able to take a reading from the IHD but it’s best to take one from the meter itself. The meter will be fixed to a wall or board – it’s usually somewhere like a kitchen cupboard or a box on a wall outside your home.

The way you take a reading from a smart electricity meter depends on the type of meter you have.

Start by checking if you pay:

• a single rate at all times
• two rates – one rate during the day and a cheaper rate at night

Most people pay a single rate at all times. If you have an ‘Economy 7’ meter, you pay two rates. If you’re not sure, check your bill to see if you pay two rates.

Single rate-

1. press 9
2. wait until you see the letters ‘IMP KWH’
3. you’ll then see numbers followed by ‘KWH’ – this is your reading
4. write down the numbers from left to right
5. ignore any zeroes at the beginning and any numbers after the decimal point

Two rates-

1. press 6
2. wait until you see ‘IMP R01’ followed by numbers – this is usually your night or ‘off-peak’ reading
3. press 6 again until you see ‘IMP R02’ followed by numbers – this is usually your day or ‘peak’ reading
4. write down the numbers from left to right
5. ignore any zeroes at the beginning and any numbers after the decimal point

If the meter has A and B buttons

1. press the A button
2. press the A button again until you see ‘TOTAL ACT IMPORT’ and numbers followed by ‘KWH’
3. write down the number from left to right
4. ignore any zeroes at the beginning and any numbers after the decimal point

If your meter has a green A button and white B button below it

Start by checking if you pay:

• a single rate at all times
• 2 rates – one rate during the day and a cheaper rate at night

Most people pay a single rate at all times. If you have an ‘Economy 7’ meter, you pay 2 rates. If you’re not sure, check your bill to see if you pay 2 rates.

Single rate-

1. press the white B button – the screen will light up
2. wait until the screen says ‘meter boost’ – press ‘A’ to select ‘no’ and you should see numbers followed by ‘KWH’
3. write down the numbers from left to right
4. ignore any zeroes at the beginning and any numbers after the decimal point

Two rates-

1. press the green A button
2. press the green A button again until you see ‘Rate 01 Act Imp’ – this is usually your night or ‘off-peak’ reading
3. press the green button again until you see ‘Rate 02 Act Imp’ – this is usually your day or ‘peak’ reading
4. write down the numbers from left to right
5. ignore any zeroes at the beginning and any numbers after the decimal point

If your meter has three buttons to the right of the screen

Again, check to see if you pay a single or two rates.

Single rate-

1. press the middle button
2. write down the number below ‘IMP’ from left to right
3. ignore any zeroes at the beginning and any numbers after the decimal point

double-rate-

1. press the middle button – it should say ‘R1’
2. write down the number below ‘IMP’ from left to right – this is usually your night or ‘off-peak’ reading
3. press the middle button again – it should say ‘R2’
4. write down the number below ‘IMP’ from left to right – this is usually your day or ‘peak’ reading
5. press the middle button again – it should say ‘T’
6. write down the number below ‘IMP’ from left to right – this is your ‘total’ reading

Ignore any zeroes at the beginning of numbers and any numbers after the decimal point. You’ll only need the ‘total’ reading if your supplier asks for it.

If you have one orange and two blue buttons

These meters have a row of numbers followed by KWH.

1. press the orange button to the left of the screen
2. write down the numbers from left to right
3. ignore any zeroes at the beginning and any numbers after the decimal point if there is one

If you have a meter with two white buttons to the right of the screen

Your meter should have ‘Kaifa MA 120’ printed on it. It will automatically change between four different screens, so you don’t need to press anything.

1. wait for the screen that shows numbers followed by KWH
2. write down the numbers from left to right
3. ignore any zeroes at the beginning and any numbers after the decimal point if there is one

If your meter has two buttons to the right of the screen and one says ‘reconnect’

Your meter will have one button which says ‘reconnect’ and another button which says ‘display’ or ‘display select’.

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1. press the ‘display’ or ‘display select’ button
2. press the ‘display’ or ‘display select’ button again until you see numbers followed by KWH
3. write down the number from left to right
4. ignore any zeroes at the beginning and any numbers after a decimal point if you have one

If your meter has a green A button and a gray B button to the right of the screen

1. look at the screen – you don’t need to press any buttons
2. write down the number next to ‘KWH’ from left to right
3. ignore any zeroes at the beginning and any numbers after the decimal point if there is one

www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk

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#### George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.