Electricity Meter FAQs
Whether you’re about to start a new construction project or you’re moving home, there are a range of questions that come to mind regarding your electricity meter. We’ve comprised the main ones we get asked to help clear a few things up.
- How does an electricity meter work?
- How long do electricity meters last?
- Can I install my own electricity meter?
- What is an electricity credit meter?
- Can my electricity meter be moved?
- Where can my electricity meter be installed?
- How can I check my electricity meter?
- What happens if my electricity meter stops working?
- What are the different types of electricity meters?
- Why would an electricity meter be removed?
If you have any queries that aren’t covered here, please give our friendly team a call on 0161 549 8454 and they will be happy to help.
How does an electricity meter work?
An electricity meter works by measuring the amount of electricity consumed in the form of a numerical value or dial readout. The electricity is measured in Kilowatts Hours regardless of the meter you have and is calculated in watts over a period of time (hence, kWh). As an example, if a 100 watt light bulb is switched on for 10 hours, the electricity will be calculated as 100 watts x 10 = 1,000 or 1 kilowatt hour.
How long do electricity meters last?
Different types of electricity meters have varying lifespans. The more traditional electro-mechanic meters have a lifetime of around 30 years but need to be serviced every few years to make sure they are relaying accurate usage. The more modern electronic (smart) meters tend to last anywhere between 15 to 20 years. As you do not actually own the electricity meter, it’s the responsibility of your utility provider to make sure that the equipment is working correctly.
Can I install my own electricity meter?
You can legally install your own electricity meter, as long as you have the supplier’s permission and the person installing the equipment is qualified to do so. It’s not recommended for anyone not qualified to attempt the installation, as it is a dangerous procedure to undertake.
What is an electricity credit meter?
The majority of properties connected to an electricity supply are fitted with a credit meter, this is just a different term used for any standard electricity meters. Credit meters measure how much electricity you have consumed and generate a bill based on the readings provided (usually every 3 months).
Can my electricity meter be moved?
Yes, your electricity meter can be moved, however this depends on the distance and location. In some cases, such as the meter is difficult to access and you are unable to read your meter, your electricity provider may move it for free. If you want to move your meter for cosmetic reasons, such as building work or renovations you will need to pay for the work to be completed.
Electricity suppliers generally have restrictions as to where you can move your meter within you property, but this varies from one supplier to the next. If you would like to move your electricity meter to a different location within your property, we require the following information:
- Address of property of work required
- Full name and telephone number
- How far you wish to move the electricity meter
Where can my electricity meter be installed?
An electricity meter can be installed either inside the property or outside, as long as it’s secured to a permanent structure or within a meter kiosk. Regardless of meter the meter is located, the metering equipment needs to be as close to the main supply as possible. In urban areas this will be the wall closest to the road, which is generally where the main supply has been installed.
How can I check my electricity meter?
As with any electrical equipment, your meter can develop a fault which can lead to inaccurate energy consumption readings. you are paying more for your electric, you receive a bill you weren’t expecting or if you have a prepayment meter it is displaying an error message.
Your supplier is responsible for making sure the metering equipment is working correctly, so if you suspect a fault, you need to contact them as soon as you are aware something isn’t right.
If you are using a standard credit meter, you can test the equipment by turning off every single appliance that uses electricity, including your boiler. Once everything is switched off, check if your meter’s display is still moving. If the meter has stopped, turn on an appliance, then, if the meter starts to increase or the dials move very quickly then your meter is faulty.
If you have identified an error or fault with the metering equipment, contact your provider who will be able to determine whether your meter is faulty.
What happens if my electricity meter stops working?
If your meter stops working you can follow the same process as above: switch off all of your appliances and turn just one of them back on to see if the meter registers the electricity requirement. If this does not work, then get in touch with your electricity provider as soon as possible.
What are the different types of electricity meters?
There are 4 different types of electricity meters: dial, smart, digital and electronic. They are broken down into 2 categories: credit and prepayment meters.
Credit meters track the amount of electricity consumed and then a bill is generated based on the increased numerical values given on the display. A prepayment meter needs to be topped up with credit and provides an allocated value of electricity remaining on a display.
Why would an electricity meter be removed?
An electricity meter would only be removed if it’s being replaced due to a malfunction, it’s being upgraded to a newer model or the building is being demolished and the energy provider wishes to reuse the meter elsewhere. It is very rare for an electricity meter to be removed for non-payment as the energy supplier will always try to find an alternative method of payment.
If you have a smart meter and would like it to be removed, your energy supplier may charge you to make the switch to a conventional meter, but this is down to the discretion of the energy company.