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Check if your energy meter is faulty

This advice applies to Scotland

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.

After it's been tested they should send you a letter explaining:

  • what they’ve done to investigate the problem
  • what they’ll do to fix it 
  • how long it’ll take

If your supplier doesn’t do this within 5 working days they have to pay you £30 compensation. 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.

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 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 your local Citizens Advice bureau or the Citizens Advice consumer service if you're having problems with your meter and need advice. 

Citizens Advice consumer service (Scotland)
Tel: 0808 223 1133 (Monday to Friday from 9.00am to 5.00pm)

The Citizens Advice consumer service will provide energy and postal service advice to Scottish consumers. You can find out more about the service, including how to get in touch online, on Contact the consumer helpline

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