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Check if your energy meter is faulty

This advice applies to England

Meter faults are rare. But there could be a problem with your meter if: 

  • you're paying more than usual
  • you get a bill you weren’t expecting
  • your prepayment meter is showing an error message

Your supplier is responsible for making sure your meter works properly.

If you're a tenant and your landlord pays the energy bills, tell them you think the meter might be faulty. They will be responsible for contacting the energy supplier and sorting out the issue.

Coronavirus - if you need a home visit to get your meter repaired or replaced

If you’re ill, self-isolating, or worried about a home visit, tell your supplier. You should be able to rearrange it.

If you have a prepayment meter

If the screen is blank or showing a message such as ‘error’, ‘call help’ or ‘battery’, there’s probably a fault with the meter. Tell your supplier straight away or you could be left with no energy.

They must send someone out to repair or replace the meter within:

  • 3 hours on a working day (Monday to Friday except bank holidays)
  • 4 hours on a non-working day

The supplier doesn’t have to send someone out if they can fix the problem remotely - but they must do this within the same time.

If you need to top up your meter while you're waiting for your supplier, they should provide you with replacement tokens.

If your supplier doesn’t take appropriate action within the time they must pay you £30 compensation within 10 working days. If they don't pay you on time they have to pay an extra £30 for the delay.

If you have a credit meter

Carry out these checks to see if your meter is faulty:

  • switch off all the appliances in your home including any pilot lights
  • check if the numbers on the meter's display are still moving

If the meter stops, turn on 1 appliance at a time and check the meter. If the meter starts to move very quickly, the appliance could be faulty.

If the meter is still moving, it's probably faulty. If it's a gas meter, you might have a gas leak - report it immediately to the National Grid Gas Emergency line on 0800 111 999.

You should contact your supplier to investigate the problem with your meter. They can arrange for it to be tested. From the day you tell your supplier about the problem, they have 5 working days to update you. When they update you they must do all of the following:

  • tell you what they’ve done to investigate the problem
  • tell you what they’ll do to fix it 
  • offer to confirm everything in writing, including how long it will take to fix the problem

If your supplier doesn’t do all of these things within 5 working days they have to pay you £30 compensation for each thing they didn’t do. They must do this within 10 working days. If they don't pay you on time they have to pay you an extra £30 for the delay.

If your supplier finds that it’s not faulty, they might ask you to pay a fee.

Getting your meter tested by your supplier

Your supplier might first ask you to take daily meter readings over 7 days to check your usage. If this doesn’t prove anything, they will carry out further tests to check whether the meter is faulty. The testing process is different for gas and electricity meters.

It’s a good idea to take a reading before the meter is tested to avoid any dispute if you receive a bill.

If your meter is being tested

Be aware that you’ll have to pay for the costs of the test if the results show the meter is not faulty.

How electricity meters are tested

Your supplier will come to your home to test the meter. They’ll normally either:

  • carry out a ‘load test’ to test how your current meter is working
  • install a second meter temporarily to see if it works any better

The examiner will send you a certificate telling you if the meter is faulty or not. If it is, your supplier should replace it.

If you’re not happy with the way your supplier carries out the test, you can ask for your meter to be checked by an independent examiner. You might have to pay for the costs of this though.

How gas meters are tested

Your supplier will take your meter away to be tested by an independent meter examiner. They must install a replacement before they do this.

After your meter is tested

The examiner will send you a certificate telling you if the meter is faulty or not.

If it’s faulty, your supplier should replace it. They should also refund you any money they owe you as a result of the fault, for example extra money you paid on a bill.

You might be able to claim compensation too - ask your supplier.

If it’s not faulty, you could have to pay for the cost of the test.

If your supplier has gone bust

You should contact your new supplier to report any problems. You can get their contact details from their website. 

It might take a while for your information to be moved from your old supplier to your new supplier. This means your new supplier might not be able to help with your problem straight away.

If you’re not happy

If you feel that your supplier has not followed the correct procedure, or you’re unhappy with the result, you should make a complaint to your supplier.

Further help

Contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline if you're having problems with your meter and need advice. 

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