When we send out your OVO statement each month, under Electricity Used (and Gas Used if you’re on a dual fuel plan) we list the meter readings on which we’ve based your bill.
If you have a traditional meter and send us regular readings, this is what happens:
The first one is the estimated reading on which we based your previous month’s bill.
The bottom one is the estimated reading we’re using for this month’s bill.
If you’ve given us a reading during the month, it will appear in between.
If you’ve given us more than one reading, we’ll show the most recent one.
So, why do we use estimated readings? Why don’t we simply base your statement on your own meter reading?
We use estimated readings because we need to bill you for the amount of energy you’ve used up to the exact date of your statement.
Our system works out how much energy you used each day between the first estimated reading and your own meter reading. Then it calculates what reading you would have reached on the day we issue your statement, if you’d carried on using gas or electricity at exactly the same rate each day.
So, for instance:
We issue a gas statement for the period ending 1 October at a reading of 8000.
On 25 October you give us a reading of 8025, so you’ve used 1 unit a day over those 25 days.
Your next statement covers the period up to 31 October, so for those extra 6 days we add on another 6 units.
Your statement would show:
Estimated Reading 01 October 2015 8000
Customer Reading 25 October 2015 8025
Estimated Reading 31 October 2015 8031
Meter units used in the charge period 31
Even if you’d managed to give us your reading on 30 October, we’d still have had to estimate the extra day. And if you gave a reading on 31 October, it might have reached us just after we’d calculated your statement.
So no matter how accurate and reliable you are at providing meter readings, your statement will always be based on an estimated reading.
However, as long as you keep giving us monthly readings, our estimates will be pretty accurate, and will balance out over the year.
Of course, if you only give us meter readings once every six weeks, or even every six months, our estimates are likely to be less accurate. If that happens, you might end up paying too much, or not enough and finding you’re in arrears.
The government wants every household and small business to have smart meters by 2020, and at OVO we’re installing them for our customers on an area-by-area basis. When our engineers are due to be working in your neighbourhood we’ll be in touch to ask whether you’d like a smart meter, and arrange to install it at a time that suits you.
When we install your meter, we’ll also ask you for your ‘data preferences’. That means ‘How often would you like your meter to share information with us?’ The choice is once a month, once a day, or once every half hour.
Clearly, if you choose ‘once a month’ we’ll still base your statement on estimated readings. But if you choose ‘every half hour’, your statement will be based on a reading that’s accurate to the nearest 30 minutes.