Whether it’s an electric or a gas meter, it must be read at specific times. Good news, it’s quick and easy, provided you know how!

In the energy sector, there are inevitable processes including meter reading. If you are moving for the first time, you might not know what it consists of, but do not worry, we are here to help you.  

Index

1. What does “reading your energy meter” mean?

The reading of your electricity or gas meter is the responsibility of your distribution system operator (DSO). Each year, according to its own schedule, the DSO sends a technician to your home or requests by regular mail that you inform it of your reading in order to pass it on to your energy supplier (Octa+, Luminus, Poweo etc.). With this information, your provider can determine your annual consumption and therefore establish the settlement invoice, also known as “regularization bill”.

Did you know? Taking a reading under no circumstances implies replacing the energy meter. Quite the contrary, the technician takes care of this when carrying out this type of operation.

2. How does the supplier calculate annual consumption?

To find out your annual consumption of electricity and/or gas, your gas and electric supplier subtracts the reading for the previous year from the latest reading.

Examples:

In August 2016, the electricity meter reading was 45,400 kilowatt hours (kWh). A year later, in August 2017, it read 48.000 kWh. Therefore, your real electricity consumption for the period elapsed is 2.600 kWh.

For gas, the calculation is made in two stages. If the reading has gone from 2,000 m³ to 3,800 m³ the following year, a difference of 1,800 m³ should be recorded. However, this corresponds to the volume of gas delivered and not to the amount of energy actually consumed. That’s why your provider converts the reading into kWh and stipulates the figure obtained on your gas bill. This may be a surprise to you especially if your gas connection is recent.

Note: When your DSO asks you to take a meter reading, it is important to distinguish it from the meter number. Indeed, confusing these two data will lead to a billing error that could increase the amount claimed by your provider considerably. To avoid such a situation, remember that the meter number is always composed of 8 to 10 digits compared to 5 before the decimal point for the reading.

Do you have any questions or are you afraid of making a mistake? Our energy consultants are here to help you. You can contact them on 0800 37 456 from 9 am to 12:30 pm and from 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm or by e-mail to info@energyprice.be.

3. When must electricity or gas meter readings be taken?

Your distribution system operator, whether it is for example of ORES, Tecteo, Resa or Sibelga, may require your reading in several situations.

When moving out or moving in

Green key the end of which is in the shape of a houseWhen moving house, energy-related requirements are few, little binding, but must be respected. Indeed, not complying may cause you some problems such as having to pay the consumption of the next tenant or get cut off in your new home. Among the procedures to be carried out is taking your electricity and/or gas meter reading(s). Remember to include them on the energy transfer form (PDF) so that your current provider can establish the closing invoice for your old address.

Changing address is also the ideal moment to review your energy contracts. Take advantage to use an electricity and gas price comparison tool and find the power contract that suits you. It might be, for example, the cheapest energy deal on the market or a deal based on green electricity. Then all you have to do is inform your new supplier when commissioning your power in your future home.

When switching provider

When you switch energy provider, you receive a request for a meter reading from your DSO. This request is received between one and two weeks before the actual start of supply by the new supplier.

The meter reading is essential as it allows your former supplier to know what consumption it should take into account to issue the closing invoice and again from what reading to charge you.

Remember, you can switch supplier whenever you want. No need to wait for your contract to expire. The only restriction is that each time you must inform your DSO of your meter reading. For your information, you will also have to inform your new supplier of your EAN Code.

If you are unable to obtain your EAN number, feel free to contact our staff on 0800 37 456.

At the annual reading by your DSO

Whether you switch energy provider during the year or not, your DSO schedules a meter reading every twelve months. To do so, it either sends one of its technicians to visit your house or it sends you a letter asking you to send it your reading by post, by telephone or online.

The meter reading takes place on a fixed date and depends only on the calendar of the system operator. In other words, it does not necessarily take place at the beginning of the calendar year.

When you take the reading yourself

It may happen that a meter reading is scheduled outside of the annual reading period. You or your supplier or your DSO might have requested it for a variety of reasons. For example, because there was an error at the time of the previous reading or because some data were missing.

The “self-reading” of gas or electricity meters can also be carried out for information purposes or to adjust payment invoices. However, it does not replace the annual reading process. Its advantages: it offers better visibility of your consumption and, if necessary, allows billing that is far closer to your actual consumption in order to limit disputes between energy providers and consumers.

Specifically, for the purposes of reviewing payments, readings are taken by the customer, sent to the DSO and then sent on to the provider. According to the CWaPE, the Walloon energy market regulator, this is only possible “if they have a frequency greater than three months”.

4. Why take a meter reading?

Meter reading process and organization in timeBy taking your electricity and/or gas readings you will find out the exact number of kilowatt hours consumed in the year and thus adjust the amount of your instalments for the following period.

The aim is that at the time of regularization, you do not have the unpleasant surprise of receiving a big payment invoice and so have to pay a large supplement . However, this is only possible if your consumption remains similar. If you purchase new energy-consuming domestic appliances or if your household grows in number, consider increasing your monthly payments.

In addition, the opposite situation can also prove unpleasant. When your real consumption is less than the estimated consumption, your supplier will refund the overpayment at the time of the settlement in the form of a credit note. However, you will have advanced money that you could have invested elsewhere.

5. Must I be present when the DSO comes to read the meter?

Ideally it’s best if you can be on hand when the technician comes.

If you are not at home when your DSO technician comes, he or she will drop a card in your mailbox with the date of his next visit. You can be there then either? Then fill in the reading card and leave it for him or her.

If you forget to display it and the technician has not been able to get access to the meter(s), you will receive a letter inviting you to take the reading yourself. You will then have to inform your DSO of the reading by calling customer service or you can do so from your online space.

Note: When the DSO does not receive the requested reading, it will perform an estimate based on your last reading and your consumption records. For gas, it also takes account of the variations in temperature. You should know that it will also perform an estimate if it deems the consumption unrealistic and was not able to check it for itself at your home.

6. How to read your electricity or gas meter?

Has your distribution system operator asked you to send your energy meter readings? To read and record them properly, you must identify two pieces of information: the meter number and the reading. Once this is done, you just have to write them down on the reading card.

For a standard or night rate only electric meter

Traditional electric meters, i.e. the standard, and the night rate only meter both have a single dial . The readings of these two devices are therefore easiest to take.

  1. Check that the last four digits of the electric meter correspond to the number set out on the reading card.
  2. The reading should take account only of the figures before the decimal point.
Explanations as to how to read a conventional electric meter

Photograph: Sibelga

(1)The reading is: 5419.
(2) The last four digits of the meter number are: 9527.

Do you need help? Our energy consultants are here to guide you and are available on 0800 37 456 or by e-mail to info@energyprice.be.

For a dual hourly rate electric meter

The dual hourly rate meter is also known as “day/night meter”. To reminder you, the peak and off-peak times are set by the DSO and so may vary from one municipality to another.

This type of electric meter has two dials.

  1. Check that the last four digits of the electric meter correspond to the number set out on the reading card.
  2. The reading should take account only of the figures before the decimal point. Be sure to differentiate between the day reading, represented by a sun, and the night reading, represented by a moon. Depending on the model of the meter installed by your DSO, the day reading will be above the night reading, or vice versa.
Explanations as to how to read a day/night electric meter

Photograph: Sibelga

(1) For the day meter (sun), the reading is: 2180. For the night meter (moon), the reading is: 7543.
(2) The last four digits of the meter number are: 6945.

For a pre-paid electric meter

The pre-paid meter is recommended to customers facing difficulties in paying their energy bills. Indeed, it works with a pre-payment system that requires charging an amount to a card to be able to consume. However, it is not necessary to read the meter.

  1. Check that the last four digits of the electric meter correspond to the number set out on the reading card.
  2. Start by noting the reading indicated on the electronic meter. In the case of a standard rate meter, you must usually press the blue button four times to find out the total. The latter is, however, accessible after pressing six times with a dual tariff. To distinguish between peak and off-peak hours, scroll down the information on the screen, also using the blue button. Then, note the reading of the meter in the same way as for a conventional meter.

For a gas meter

Taking a gas meter reading is quick and easy because, in the same way as for a standard or night only electric meter, it has just the one dial.

  1. Check that the last four digits of the gas meter correspond to the number set out on the reading card.
  2. The reading should take account only of the figures before the decimal points.
Explanations as to how to read a gas meter

Photograph: Sibelga

(1) The reading is: 2862.
(2) The last four digits of the meter number are: 5486.

For a pre-paid natural gas meter

Just as for electricity, the pre-paid natural gas meter works with a rechargeable card. However, it is not necessary to access the information requested.

  1. Check that the last four digits of the gas meter correspond to the number set out on the reading card.
  2. Start by noting the reading indicated on the electronic meter by pressing the grey arrow six times. Then, note the reading of the mechanical meter in the same way as for a conventional meter.

Quick, easy and free

In short, reading your electricity and/or gas meter is within the reach of us all. It may be required at different times of the year and it allows the supplier to provide precise and transparent billing and the customer to know the exact number of kilowatt hours consumed.

If, at the time of the annual regularization, you have the unpleasant surprise of having to pay a large surplus, you can make sure it never happens again. Indeed, there are two ways to reduce your electricity or gas bill:

  1. By consuming less by installing energy-saving bulbs, for example;
  2. By finding the cheapest supplier and becoming a customer with it.

Of course, we are here to help you in these different procedures. So, to make savings quickly, feel free to call us on 0800 37 456.

Respond!