Energy companies report that increasing demand for meter reading submissions has caused their websites to crash today, but households should still make sure they are taking a meter reading.
Tomorrow the energy price cap is set to skyrocket – the average household bill for those capped tariffs is rising by £693 a year to £1,971 – and experts have urged people to take a reading today Make sure energy suppliers are not overcharging for recent usage.
But most energy companies are reporting problems, including British Gas, E.On, EDF Energy, Shell Energy and Ovo (SSE), meaning households are struggling Access to online accounts due to “technical issues” and “essential maintenance”.
Nevertheless, a reading can still be carried out today and submitted at a later date when the rush has calmed down. This is Money explains what to do.
The websites of British Gas, E.On and EDF Energy all crashed today as thousands of customers tried to upload their latest meter readings ahead of April’s energy price hike
How to read your meter reading today
In recent weeks, customers have been asked to make a note that they must read meter readings today before the energy price cap rises tomorrow.
This is to ensure that once the energy price cap goes into effect, they will only be charged the higher tariff for gas and electricity they use – not for units that were previously used.
For those with smart meters, this shouldn’t be a problem, but it can still be worth taking readings. However, for those with old-fashioned manual counters, this is an essential step.
Customers trying to submit metrics en masse have crashed provider websites, but that shouldn’t stop you from taking one – a photo with your phone will be timestamped and can be used as proof.
GoCompare energy spokesman Gareth Kloet says don’t panic if you’re having trouble submitting a meter reading today.
He said: “The important thing is to try and get the meter readings today or as close to today as possible so you have a record of the reading and the date you took it.”
He advised you to get proof of your readings e.g. Take a photo, for example, and note the date you took the measurement, and if you don’t succeed today, try again tomorrow or as soon as practical in the next few days.
He added: “All energy companies give you a variety of contact options. This typically includes contact methods such as: email, telephone, online portals, apps or web chat.
“Typically, when you take your readings and try to report them to your energy company, you need to provide some sort of identification, such as your ID. B. Your name, address, account number (so they can find you in their systems) and of course your reading and the date you took that reading.
“They won’t normally ask for proof, but if you would like to send a photo of the reading please do so, but keep that photo until you know they have accepted the reading and processed it on your account.
“If you can’t get to their website or app, email is a good method of contact because it’s fast and efficient.”
What are energy companies and customers saying?
Octopus Energy users have been told to wait until April 2 to submit readings, as they told users to “expect a wait” in a recent tweet.
Ongoing problems appear to be affecting account login pages, with Scottish Power, for example, telling customers they can send meter readings over an automated phone line instead.
But experts have also warned that phone lines could be congested, as providers like EDF have encouraged customers to submit their readings online.
Many customers have taken to social media to complain that they cannot access their supplier’s website, with one Twitter user @willhargreaves5 saying: “What a surprise. Can’t submit my meter reading, Shell Energy, you’re a joke.’
@TimDouglasHR said: “Is it just me, or has Shell Energy shut down its app to avoid customers reporting their meter readings one day before prices skyrocket tomorrow?”
While @RadioKate1 added: “I was just trying to submit my meter readings the day before the new energy price cap comes into effect and the Eon Next website is down. Login is not possible. Not happy.’
Customers rush to submit meter readings as utility sites crash on demand
How do I submit a meter reading on March 31st if my energy company’s website is down?
Households that can submit their meter readings online should aim to do so, as energy companies expect to be inundated with calls from customers trying to submit their meter readings before April 1st.
An intelligent meter usually automatically sends measured values to your energy supplier at certain dates and times. However, your meter may not automatically send a reading on March 31, so it’s worth checking your settings.
If you’re still having trouble submitting your readings online, it’s a good idea to take photos that clearly show them and the meter’s serial numbers.
You can then submit this to your energy supplier at a later date, who should adjust your energy bill accordingly.
British Gas encourages customers to use their online form to submit a meter reading when the app is unavailable.
MP Tom Tugendhat tweeted about the technical issues
Why read the meter reading?
Marking National Meter Reading Day, March 31st has seen unprecedented demand from utility companies as households begin their final energy consumption reviews.
Around 22 million households are expected to take advantage of the new capped gas and electricity tariffs and pay over 50 per cent more on their most important bills from tomorrow, with more price increases expected in six months.
But anyone who reads the meter reading today should receive the best and cheapest tariffs for all of the energy consumed until the new price cap comes into force.
GoCompare energy spokesman Gareth Kloet said: “The cost of living crisis is affecting everyone – so if there is a way to save money off your bills this April we would urge all bill payers to take both gas and electricity meter readings by March 31st and be sure to submit this to your supplier.
“And if you’re paying by direct debit, it might also be a good time to revise your monthly payments to account for the higher rates.”
The imminent price hike was announced by regulator Ofgem in February after gas prices rose sharply last year as the global economy recovered from the pandemic.
Wholesale energy prices have continued to rise since Russia’s all-out invasion of Ukraine a month ago prompted sanctions on companies like Gazprom and declarations by various European governments to reduce their reliance on Russian energy.
This has pushed up the cost of new fixed-rate contracts for energy, meaning many who don’t benefit from an existing fixed-rate contract are better off simply paying the price-cap tariff, which keeps costs in check.
There are widespread expectations of another significant hike in the price cap in the fall, with the Office of Budget Responsibility last week suggesting it could rise by 40 percent.
Hundreds of thousands of families are at risk of falling into poverty as gas and electricity costs soar, while UK inflation hits its highest level in three decades.
Following Ofgem’s announcement, Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled a €9bn package of measures
Council taxpayers in bands AD are due a £150 rebate in April, while local authorities get a £150m boost in funding to support vulnerable people, with the Warm Homes Discount being extended to 3m properties.
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How to submit a meter reading when your energy company’s website crashes
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