Meter reading made easy
By Becca Talbot - firstname.lastname@example.org
Written on 21 June 2008
Meter reading made easy
After promising their online meter reading system was a piece of cake, EnergyChoices.co.uk has been inundated with complaints about British Gas. “Come on British Gas, sort it out,” writes one disgruntled energy customer.
It seems maybe submitting your meter reading online isn’t as easy as British Gas claim it to be. Working undercover, this fortnight the Consumer Spy goes direct to the source of the problem...
Signing up for paperless billing and online account management is a great way to boost your savings when you switch energy providers. As an environmentally-friendly alternative, it saves suppliers money on postage, paper and technicians to read meters – all savings they can then pass on to you.
As a paperless billing customer, you are required to take your own meter readings and submit them online, filling in a meter reading form. Npower, E-on and British Gas now all have paperless billing tariffs.
However, when British Gas announced theirs EnergyChoices.co.uk was flooded with complaints and enquiries from desperate customers who couldn’t manage to fill in the online forms.
“I am pulling my hair out trying to submit my first meter reading,” wrote Alan Bodicoat, and Mr L Crotch said “I am trying to give you a meter reading online but it’s impossible.” So, first things first, the Consumer Spy checked out the online submission form. As British Gas described in their customer letter, it seems pretty straightforward. So why are so many customers finding it difficult?
I contacted British Gas’s customer service, asking for instructions on how to fill in the form. The reply was minimal, but served its purpose:
“Please visit our website www.britishgas.co.uk and click on Submit Meter Readings on the left of the page your account will be shown. Choose the account to leave a meter reading for and click on Continue. Input your current reading and click on Submit, your account will be updated within 48 hours. You’ll receive an email confirming that we‘ve received your reading straight away.”
With my instructions and last British Gas bill in hand, I braved the form, unaware of what horrors may await me, scared by the comments left on the Click Energy 5 story…
The Consumer Spy has cracked the meter reading code.
Although I can see how it could be confusing, British Gas customers really should persevere, as submitting your own meter readings online could save you hundreds in the long term. For signing up to the service alone you’ll make a saving of £108, and Dual Fuel customers will get a £15 discount.
Below is the Consumer Spy’s own step-by-step guide to filling in the form, complete with handy diagram:
|The British Gas online meter reading submission form|
Step 1: Go to http://www.britishgas.co.uk/meter. This is where you submit your first meter reading
Step 2: You’ll need to put in either your electric meter number or your gas meter number. This number is written on your most recent bill, in the break-down summary box of your energy usage. It is between 6 and 10 digits long. Make sure you only put in the number of the meter you are submitting the reading. This may have been where people were going wrong…
Step 3: Fill in the rest of your details as they appear on your energy bill
Step 4: Click ‘continue’
Step 5: Type in the meter reading, and press ‘submit’
That’s it, job done! You’ll receive an email within the next day or two saying that your account has been updated, and then you’ll get another email when your direct debit has been taken out. It really is quite easy.
Consumer Spy hopes that this has helped clear up any queries or qualms you may have had about the online submission service, and wishes you luck in filling in that form.
As always, Consumer Spy is on the look out for hidden catches and dubious clauses, putting you in know.