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The importance of accurate meter readings

Posted on 2015-07-17

Accurate meter readings are incredibly important for both tenants and landlords alike; as they ensure that landlords don’t get unexpected bills and that tenants pay what they should. There’s currently a Government backed incentive for all homes to have smart meters by 2020, which will eliminate manual readings (although some believe this target may be missed). In the meantime, taking readings manually is essential.

Before the start of your tenancy

Accurate meter readings at the start of the tenancy are necessary as they ensure that the right person’s paying for the energy consumed during their occupancy.

If, for example, you begin your tenancy without informing the energy company that you’ve moved in, and don’t provide an accurate meter reading, you can quickly become in debt, and your landlord may receive your bills.

As a result, it’s recommended that you take accurate meter readings, while your landlord or letting agent is present, at the check-in stage of your tenancy.

It’s also wise to place the record on your signed inventory, so there’s no room for dispute. Taking pictures of your meter readings, with timestamps, can be really beneficial if any problems arise.

During the tenancy

During your tenancy, ensure that you take meter readings regularly and update your energy provider with the new readings; otherwise you could be hit with an unexpected bill. If suppliers don’t have accurate readings then they’ll calculate estimates based on past consumption.

If you feel like you’re overpaying, take your own meter reading and compare this to the estimated reading on your next bill. If there’s a substantial difference in these figures, contact the energy company immediately.

This process should be done regularly because, if the estimated reading’s lower than your actual reading, you could face a bill for the difference when you leave the property.

Dealing with disputes

If you have energy disputes, there are a number of places that you can go for advice, including the .GOV website.

Any problems that you have about billing should firstly be directed to your supplier and, if you have any questions, or are in need of guidance, the Citizens Advice consumer service can help you, providing independent and impartial advice on your energy supply. If your supplier’s unable to resolve your complaint, then contact the Energy Ombudsman.

At the end of the tenancy

It’s critical to take meter readings at the end of your tenancy when the property’s been inspected by your landlord. This is because, if you fail to take one at the end of your tenancy and notify the provider you’ve left, you may keep getting charged for energy that someone else is using.

Like during check-in, note the final readings on your signed inventory when you pass your keys back to the landlord and contact the energy company immediately to notify them you’ve left. Make sure to also leave an address that they can send outstanding bills to, so you can settle any money you owe. 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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