The time may come when a consumer wishes to change their electricity meter, but sometimes this is imposed by the system operator. Let’s take a look at the applicable circumstances and reasons.


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If you wish to replace your electric meter, you have probably asked yourself lots of questions. Who to contact?  What steps to follow? The cost of the operation? Don’t worry, here are the answers!

Why request a new electric meter?

Yellow light bulbOne of the reasons that could push you to change electric meter is a malfunction. As it approaches retirement age, at about 35 years of age, it can start to idle. If this allows consumers to receive a lower energy bill than their actual consumption, it is actually not good news. Indeed, they must pay the difference when the meter is replaced and the bill is then usually quite hard to swallow.

In addition, there is no point in hoping for the installation of a meter with this kind of anomaly: the distribution system operators (DSOs) systematically replace defective or obsolete devices. In the latter case, it is even a legal obligation. In other words, an old meter, even if it still works properly, will be withdrawn if it no longer meets the requirements set by the FPS Economy. This is in order to ensure the accuracy of consumption readings.

Is this systematic replacement really for the benefit of the consumer? Indeed, a failed meter can also lead to an error that directly affects them negatively. If the unit displays, for example, too high a reading, the consumer will receive an exorbitant energy bill. And in such a case, it is still reassuring to be able to resolve the problem easily and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Besides, a malfunctioning meter is not the only situation that leads to the replacement of the meter. It can also be done on the initiative of the customer who wants a new meter for whatever reason. For example, because after calculating, they realize that taking advantage of the dual off-peak/peak system would benefit them.

Contact the DSO to perform an installation

Electricity and gas meters are the property of the active distribution system operator in the district concerned. Therefore, the DSO replaces, or sometimes moves or modifies them. This may take place when increasing the power of the meter (‘meter reinforcement’), which doesn’t require actually replacing the device.

As a general rule, note that your DSO is responsible for the quality of the system and your connection to it. It therefore ensures the technical monitoring of your energy meter and ensures that your supply is not disrupted. In the event of an electricity (or gas) failure, then contact your DSO if you notice that the fault extends to the whole neighbourhood.

How does the change take place?

Removing a meter to install a new one involves a strict procedure which varies depending on the situation. There are two main ones.

1. Replacement of an old or defective meter

When an old meter needs replacing, the DSO takes the necessary steps. Besides, it is not required to inform the consumer of its visit to their home to proceed with the change. Three situations can then arise:

  1. You are at home when the technician comes: s/he immediately replaces the meter.
  2. You are not at home but the meter is accessible: If it is in a meter room, for example, it can be changed by the technician without prior authorization. S/he will leave you a letter informing you that the power supply has been cut off temporarily.
  3. You are not at home but the meter is inaccessible: the technician places a letter in your letterbox inviting you to contact your DSO in order to arrange an appointment.

For your information, the replacement of a meter requires little time. In practice, the technician begins by noting your old meter reading and interrupts the power supply. S/he then makes the change, notes down the new meter reading and reconnects the power. S/he affixes to the new device such information as the date of replacement and the old meter number. Finally, s/he takes away the old meter so that it can be destroyed.

2. Replacement of a meter at the request of the customer

Like symbol made up of mini-LikesWhen you wish to change your meter, you are required to request a connection modification with your DSO. To do this, you must fill out a form, generally available on the Internet, and specify the type of intervention you require.

In this case, most of the time it will be to change from the single to the dual tariff, knowing that the opposite can also be considered without having to change the meter. But it may also be to definitively remove the old meter, install another, such as an exclusive night meter, or the opening and closure of a meter. It’s for you to decide at the time.

Once the request has been sent, another five stages are needed

  1. Receipt of the price offer by your DSO for connection;
  2. The implications of your agreement;
  3. Planning the date for the completion of the works;
  4. Completion of the preparatory works, that is, the work that you must perform before the technician comes so that s/he can change the connection. For example, you may be asked to buy such materials as a casket;
  5. The arrival of the technician and the performance of the desired intervention.

How much does it cost to change an electric meter?

Depending on the situation, the distribution system operator either charges for its interventions or not. The rule is that as long as the meter works perfectly, there no reason to touch it. It is for this reason that when it’s the customer who wishes to change it or make a modification for their personal convenience, the company charges a fee.

A consumer who, for example, wants to enjoy a dual meter and the DSO is ORES, will have to pay between 270 and 400 euros for the installation of the device. If they live in the Brussels Region, to replace their meter will cost 361.17 euros including VAT. For the rest, we invite you to contact your system operator directly so that it can inform you of the rates and services available in your municipality.

Please note, however, that the DSO does not charge for the replacement of a defective or obsolete meter. This is logical because the consumer is not responsible for any technical problems.

In these cases, it’s pointless changing your energy meter!

Having your current meter removed to install another remains an isolated case. In most instances, this should not be performed. Unless you have made the request, your DSO deems it necessary, or your provider wants to impose a pre-paid meter.

Green tick and red cross

The installation of a new meter is rarely necessary.

In practice, this means that moving house and transferring your energy contracts to your new address or just changing electricity supplier has no impact on the meter. Indeed, your supplier, the company that provides your electricity, does not answer to your distribution system. This is another reason why it is very simple and not very costly to change provider. Let us recall that since 13 September 2012, individuals and businesses connected to low voltage are free to leave at any time and no longer have to pay a termination fee.

Therefore, take advantage of the opening of the energy market to competition to compare the prices charged by energy suppliers and thus buy the cheapest deal on the market! Need help? We’re here to help you, call us on 0800 37 456.

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