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Meters and meter readings

From ‘how’ to take one, to ‘when’ and ‘why’.

How do I read my meter?

Firstly, you need to know which type of meter you have. Take a look below to find the one that’s yours...


If your meter looks like this, you need to:

  1. Write down the numbers from left to right, including any zeros.

  2. Ignore the number in red, plus any after a decimal point.



How to read an Economy 7 meter (or Economy 10)

  1. Write down both sets of numbers from left to right, including any zeros.

  2. Ignore the number in red, plus any after a decimal point.

It’s important to note down which reading is ‘day’ and which is ‘night’.

You’re seeing two readings because your plan charges you different rates for nighttime and daytime energy use. One reading shows the electricity you’ve used during the day (at ‘peak’ times), and one shows the electricity you’ve used overnight (at ‘off peak’ eg. cheaper times).

Your exact 7 or 10 hour ‘off-peak’ depends on your meter set-up

Most Economy 7 meters run between midnight and 7am. That’s when the meter switches back to ‘peak’. You can check your off-peak times by contacting us (or your electricity provider if you’re not with OVO). Oh, and if you’re not sure whether or not the meter clock changes from GMT to BST when the evenings get lighter, you can check that with us (or them) too.

It doesn’t matter when you read your meter (day or night), it’ll always give you accurate readings.

How do I read my digital meter? 

These are really easy to read:

  1. Just write down all the numbers you see.

  2. And ignore the decimal points – we won't need them.   

How do I read my dial meter?  

Dial meters are slightly trickier. To read yours, you should:

  1. Write down the reading for the highest-numbered dial first (in this example the dial is 10,000 and the reading is ‘5’)

  2. Then write down the readings you see from left to right, including any zeros (ignore any red dials).

So this one reads:

10,000 - 5

1,000 - 6

100 - 2

10 - 0

1 - 6

Remember to:

  1. Write down the number that the pointer's just passed (even if the pointer is nearest to the next number). If the pointer sits between 5 and 6, you should write down 5 – even if it's closer to 6.

  2. If the pointer on one dial is sat over the 5, but the pointer on the nextdoor dial (to the right) is between 9 and 0, you should write 4 for that left hand dial.

Once you've recorded them, you can submit your meter readings in My OVO.

If you get stuck, just call us on 0330 303 5063 – and remember, having a recent photo of your meter is really handy, just in case we ask you to send one in so we can check it for you.

Do I need to give meter readings?

You sure do! Giving us regular monthly meter readings will make your bills as accurate as possible.

Why do we need meter readings?

Its so we can work out how much energy you’ve used and therefore how much to charge you.

We like to get a meter reading from you the day before we calculate your bill, so we know exactly what you’ve used. If we don’t receive a current meter reading we’ll create your bill by estimating the amount of energy you’ve used since the last meter read. We’ll take into account any meter readings given since the last bill, and estimate any missing days – even if it’s only 1 day. Or if we haven’t had a meter reading at all, we’ll estimate your entire usage since the last bill.  

How do we estimate energy use?

We take a few factors into account to give us the most accurate estimates possible:

• Industry data that tells us how much energy has been used in your home over the last 3 years.

• The history of your energy use, based on the meter readings you’ve sent us.

• Weather forecasts and weather history in your area.

• The time of year (so we’ll assume you use more energy during the winter months and less in summer).

The trouble with estimating readings

As meter readings come in they’re shared with the industry and added to the data on a home’s energy use. This can take a few months. So if a previous occupier used much more or less energy than you did, or you’ve recently made a change to your energy use (by adding solar panels or a heated pool for example), estimated readings may be out of line with your actual energy use.

Also, since the estimated readings are generated by our system, even if you tell us that your use will be different i.e. if you’re going away on holiday, we won’t be able to incorporate that new knowledge into the system.

That’s why it’s best to give us actual readings the day before we calculate your bill and try to avoid us having to estimate your use.

Why do we need regular meter readings?

If we have to estimate your meter readings all the time without being supplied actual meter readings, the estimates will inevitably drift out of line with your real energy use. If our estimates are too low, then you finally give us a meter reading and find out there’s a large debt on your account, you understably won’t be very happy.

So the best thing is to give us regular meter readings when you can (the day before we calculate your bills if possible) so we can work out exactly what energy you’ve used. You pay for exactly that, no more, no less.

Or even better...

Smart meters send meter readings to us automatically

If you have a smart meter you don’t need to provide meter readings at all, the smart meter does it all by itself. Smart huh?

Click here if you’d like a smart meter, or want to find out more.

What happens if I get into energy debt?

It makes switching suppliers more difficult – and means your account won’t be in credit, so you won’t be eligible for the 3% OVO Interest Reward.

Why are opening meter readings so important?

They let us open your account with all the right details, so you pay the right amount from day one. We also send them to your old supplier, so your final bill with them is spot on too.

When should I give opening meter readings?

Between five days before and three days after your supply start date – but don’t worry, we’ll send a letter or email reminder. If you don’t give your opening meter readings when we ask for them, we’ll use estimated ones. With estimated readings you’ll either pay too much, or (even worse) you’ll pay too little – which means you’ll end up owing us money.

It’s easy to give opening meter readings.

It takes literally seconds in My OVO or you can call us.

How often will you take meter readings?

If you have a smart meter that we installed, we won’t ‘take’ meter readings as such, your smart meter will send them to us automatically. Whereas if you’ve got a traditional meter (or a smart meter that another supplier installed), it’s your responsibility to send us monthly meter readings. Here’s a bit more about it all...

If you have a smart meter

Smart meters allow us to take meter readings remotely; either once a month, once a day, or every half hour – it’s up to you how often. You get to make this choice on the day your smart meter is installed, when we’ll ask you about your ‘data preferences’. If you’ve just moved home or recently switched to us, and already have a smart meter, we’ll contact you to check your ‘data preferences’ once we start supplying your home.

For the most up-to-date bills and statements, we’d recommend half-hourly readings.

If you don’t have a smart meter

If you haven’t given a meter reading for 6 months, we’ll ask a meter reader from Morrisons Data Services to visit and take your meter reading. If you’re not at home when they visit, or they can’t access the meter for some reason, they’ll pop a card through your door to let you know when they’ll pop by next. The card will have instructions on how to submit the meter reading yourself, which means the reader won’t need to visit again.

If you’re on the Priority Services Register (PSR)

If you’ve told us you need extra help (for example, if you’re a pensioner or disabled) – and you’re on our PSR list – one of our engineers will pop round at least twice a year to read your meter. You can find out more about the free PSR service, here.

Do I have to let a meter reader into my house?

If they’re simply coming to read the meter, then no – you don’t have to let them in – but it’s in your best interests to do so. They’ll be able to spot errors with your meter – which means you won’t end up with inaccurate bills – and pay too much or too little.

If, on the other hand, we believe your meter is faulty, or has been tampered with, we’re legally entitled to enter your home. If this happens, we’ll contact you beforehand to let you know we’re coming.

Just to make sure you’re extra safe, we always recommend asking to see the ID of any person who wants to enter your home. And, if for any reason, you’re unsure whether they’re legitimate, you can call us to check.


If you need more help

More help is on hand for this topic on the OVO Forum. And if you don't find the answers you need, feel free to ask a question and one of our forum users can help.

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