Meter readings

The importance of providing meter readings for businesses

Do you provide regular meter readings to your energy supplier? If you do, your energy bills are probably fairly stable and don’t give you sleepless nights. If not, when did you last give your gas or electricity company a meter reading? We look at the pitfalls this can cause.

There is no hard and fast rule to place the responsibility of meter readings on the customer or the supplier. Your energy provider cannot be relied upon to chase you for a meter reading. Therefore take ownership yourself and give your energy company regular meter readings.

Estimated energy bills

If your energy provider doesn’t receive meter readings for your business premises, then they have no choice but to estimate the meter readings on every bill they send you. Now, this could work in your favour if they overestimate these readings, as you will have built up a credit and the energy company will owe you money.

Estimated energy billHowever, if they underestimate the readings, then every month they do so, you are placing your business more and more in debt. We come across many examples where no meter readings have been provided for a year or more. These are always cases where the energy bills have been underestimated. We don’t complain when energy bills are low!

Energy companies will usually alert you to an estimated invoice. They state this clearly on the front of your invoice in a large font. This should be your warning to take a reading immediately.

Paying off the debt

At some point, your energy company will receive a meter reading and send you a large catch up invoice. Act quickly before this is taken from your account. If it has already been taken, a business should speak to their bank and use the Direct Debit indemnity to claim the money back.

Hopefully you have spoken to your energy company on receipt of the invoice. A payment plan will pay off chunks of the debt every month on top of the continued energy use.

Further cost to your business

By accepting invoices that estimate your energy consumption to be lower than the true amount, you are costing your business money in other ways.

Energy companies price on annual consumption shown on invoices. If your true annual consumption is actually much higher, you could have got lower prices by providing regular meter readings to prove the higher annual use.

And what if you want to move to another supplier? A debt with your current provider because of estimated bills means they will not let your supply leave until it is paid off.

Your business credit rating

A large debt can have an adverse effect on your business credit rating. A business can be in so much debt their energy company won’t even offer a new contract because of it. Much higher deemed rates will then be charged as well as the instalments.

Avoid all these problems with regular meter readings

Too busy running your business? Ask a member of staff to take readings every month,

Energy companies make it very easy to provide meter readings. They often have a dedicated phone number, or you can create an account online via their website. You can see all your bills here as well as enter meter readings. Some providers even offer an app you can download to your smartphone.

Call your energy company and see if they can install a smart meter at your premises. This will take all the worry away as it will send readings directly to the energy company.


Perfect Clarity can help businesses save money on their energy and water contracts. Call 020 3372 6517 for more information.