Households anxious about the rising cost of energy have been given extra time to submit meter readings after suppliers’ websites crashed on Thursday.
The MoneySavingExpert founder Martin Lewis advised customers to take a photo of their meters to ensure the readings were accepted after the UK’s major suppliers suffered technical outages.
I have tweeted: “Can’t submit your meter reading? just take a photo of it, you’ve usually up to a week to get it to them.”
Customers reported issues logging in to supplier websites including British Gas, EDF, E.On, SSE, So Energy and Octopus Energy from early on Thursday as they rushed to submit meter readings ahead of Friday’s price jump.
Submitting the latest readings means households can benefit from the lower, pre-1 April costs for a larger chunk of their energy use, avoiding suppliers having to estimate how much gas and electricity was used prior to the hike.
Energy UK, the trade association for the UK energy industry, said “most [suppliers] are offering alternative options such as submitting at a later date or giving the reading via text”.
British Gas said its website was “having trouble dealing with the number of meter readings being submitted”, adding: “If you’re struggling to do yours, don’t worry it’s fine to do it later or in the next couple of days – we’ll still accept them.”
Eon advised customers they will be given until 9 April to submit their readings.
“We’re seeing unprecedented traffic to our website & app that we’re resolving. Meter readings taken today can be added to your account online in the coming days. We apologize for any inconvenience,” the company said.
“Smart meter customers don’t need to send readings as they’ll be sent automatically.”
EDF said it was also “experiencing technical issues with our website & app” and urged customers to submit their meter reading via an online form available from their website.
“We would encourage customers who usually submit meter readings to either take a photo, or make a note of their meter reading. Customers who have a smart meter, or are on a fixed tariff, don’t need to do anything at the moment,” the company said.
“We urge customers not to worry and want to reassure them, that they don’t have to submit meter readings to us today and can share these with us in the coming days.”
Scottish Power was urging customers on Twitter to message them directly with their meter readings, which the company said would be updated in the coming days, but did not give a deadline for submission.
Octopus Energy said: “It’s worth noting that Octopus Energy’s price change will actually not come into effect until 00:00 Saturday April 2. If customers are keen to give us a meter reading to coincide with the change, the best day to collect it is on April 2.
“If customers make a note of, or take a photograph of, their readings on Saturday April 2 they have a week to submit it to us via our online account or email, so needn’t worry if they can’t get it to us that day.”
Households saw the biggest rise in the cost of energy in living memory from Friday when bills increased by 54 per cent, or almost £700, to just under £2,000 a year.
The energy price cap for those on default tariffs who pay by direct debit is rising by £693 from £1,277 to £1,971 from 1 April.
Prepayment customers will see a bigger jump, with their price cap going up by £708, from £1,309 to £2,017.
The regulator was forced to hike the energy price cap to a record £1,971 for a typical household as gas prices soared to unprecedented highs.