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How to read your gas meter

Your gas supplier measures how much energy you use with a meter. If you have a gas credit meter, try to give your supplier regular meter readings, so that your bills are based on how much you really use, not an estimate. This will reduce the chances of you paying too much or too little.

This page explains the different types of gas credit meter, and how to take a reading. This information does not apply to you if you have a prepayment meter.

Top tips

If it’s difficult for you to access or read your own meter, you may be able to enrol on your energy supplier’s Priority Services Register. This scheme offers extra free services to people who are of pensionable age, are registered disabled, have a hearing or visual impairment, or have long term ill-health. This service is provided by all energy suppliers.

Services may include:

  • moving your meter free of charge to make it easier for you to access
  • free quarterly meter readings if you tell your supplier you can’t read it yourself

Find out more about the Priority Services Register

Reading your gas meter

There are several different types of gas credit meter. Check which kind you have before you read it.

Digital metric meter

A digital metric meter will have an electronic or digital display, showing five numbers then a decimal point, followed by some more numbers.

To read the meter:

  • write down the five numbers shown from left to right
  • ignore the numbers after the decimal point, sometimes shown in red.

Digital metric meter

Digital metric meter

In the diagram, the meter reading is 00544.

Digital imperial meter

A digital imperial meter has an electronic or digital display, showing four black or white numbers, followed by two numbers shown in red.

To read the meter:

  • write down the four numbers from left to right
  • ignore the rest of the numbers, shown in red.

Digital imperial meter

Digital imperial meter

In the diagram, the meter reading is 1860.

Dial meter

A dial meter has four or more dials. Each one turns to point to a number between 0 and 9.

To read the meter:

  • read the four dials from left to right along the bottom row only
  • write down the number closest to each pointer. If the pointer is between two numbers, give the lower number. If the pointer is between 9 and 0, write down 9.

Dial meter

Dial meter gas

In the diagram, the meter reading is 7041.

How is gas usage calculated?

Gas units read on your meter are measured either in cubic feet (ft) or in cubic meters (M). A calculation is then done to convert gas usage to kilowatt hours (kWh):

gas units used  x  metric conversion factor  x  calorific value  x  volume correction divided by 3.6 = kWhs

You can check if the number of gas units read on your meter corresponds with what your bill says. You should find the other figures used to work out gas usage on your gas bill.

You’ll only have a metric conversion factor if your gas is measured in cubic feet (ft) The volume correction factor evens out variations between different types of meter and the calorific value of the gas is how much energy is released when the gas is burned.

If you think the number of kWhs doesn’t match what the energy company says you’ve used, query your bill with your energy supplier. There may be a difference if you’ve had your meter changed from imperial to metric or if your bill is estimated.

Also make sure that the serial number on your meter matches the meter number shown on your bill.

Next steps

Other useful information

  • Find more examples of different meter readings, including picture examples, from www.britishgas.co.uk

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