How to Read Your Business Gas Meter

19 January 2017

If you don't have a smart meter or AMR device installed, you may have to submit meter readings. When up-to-date and accurate meter readings are not submitted, business energy suppliers have to use gas usage estimates. This leads to inaccurate bills.

Whether that inaccuracy leads to you paying too much or too little, it is still a headache. Paying too much means giving the gas supplier money that could have been used in your business. If you pay too little, you’ll have to make up the difference, so you will see a spike in your gas bills.

It is therefore important to regularly send gas meter readings to your supplier.

Types of Gas Meters

There is no standard type of gas meter installed in UK businesses. For example, there are domestic, commercial, and industrial meters. Domestic meters measure much smaller volumes of gas compared to commercial and industrial meters. That said, many businesses have "domestic" meters installed as they don’t use a lot of gas.

In addition to size, gas meters also differ in their design and in the units they measure:

  • Imperial - measuring cubic feet (ft³)
  • Metric - measuring cubic metres (m³) 

On most meters, you will see either ft³ or m³ or something similar to indicate whether it is metric or imperial. You have to include that on the reading you send to the gas supplier.

There are four main types of meter displays:

  • Digital imperial
  • Digital metric
  • Electronic
  • Dial

Digital Imperial, Digital Metric, and Electronic

These meters are fairly simple to read with only a couple of things to remember:

  • Read the numbers from left to right.
  • Ignore anything in red. This could be a red number or numbers in a red box. If there is a decimal point, ignore any numbers after the decimal point, i.e., numbers to the right of the decimal point.

Dial

Dial meters are more complicated than digital or electronic meters, but they are straightforward to read when you follow the steps. One thing you should remember is that the dials can move in opposite directions.

Here are the steps to read dial gas meters:

  • Read from left to right.
  • If there are multiple rows of dials, only read the bottom ones. If there is one dial that is larger than the others, you should ignore this too. Also ignore dials that are red or any with the label "100 per rev".
  • If the pointer is directly on a number, write it down.
  • If the pointer is between two numbers, use the lowest one unless it’s between 9 and 0. In this case, use 9.
  • If the pointer is directly on a number, you’ll have to subtract one from it if the next dial is a 9. For example, if the dials show "5-8-9-3" and the pointer on the second dial points exactly at 8, you have to subtract one from it because the third dial is a 9. Therefore, the meter reading you should submit is "5-7-9-3".

Finally, make sure you submit a meter reading to your energy supplier every month. This is the best way to ensure you only pay for the gas your business uses.

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