Energy bills: How to give a meter reading as Ofgem price cap falls

The price cap is dropping from the current £1,690 for a typical dual fuel household to £1,568, a drop of £122 over the course of a year.

Close Up Of Smart Energy Meter In Kitchen Measuring Electricity And Gas Use With Woman Boiling Kettle
Household bills will go up on Monday. (Getty)

The average household energy bill is to fall by 7% from July after Ofgem lowered its price cap in response to wholesale prices.

The regulator announced it is dropping its price cap from the current £1,690 for a typical dual fuel household in England, Scotland and Wales to £1,568, a drop of £122 over the course of a year.

This is around £500 less than the cap in July last year, when it was £2,074.

Households are regularly urged to submit meter readings to their suppliers to ensure they only pay what they should. Logging a meter reading will prevent suppliers from determining bill prices that aren't accurate to your usage and is also essential if you are disputing a bill.

If the reading is lower than your provider's estimate, you can ask them to lower your monthly direct debit to a more suitable amount.

When you give a meter reading, your supplier can accurately calculate your usage and charge you fairly based on the current prices. However, if everyone tries to submit their readings on the same day, it can cause the supplier's website to crash or phone lines to become congested.

To ensure this doesn’t happen, Money Saving Expert advises you to submit your reading a few days either side of the due date as any difference in charges should be small. Some suppliers will let you backdate your reading, meaning a reading can be taken between 1 January and 31 March and submitted later.

The simplest way to record your meter reading is by taking a picture to capture the details and logging in to your online account or entering the information using a web form on your supplier's website. Most suppliers will also allow you to send readings through text messages or WhatsApp (and similar mobile apps). Alternatively, you can call them and enter the readings on automated phone lines.

The OVO Energy app on a mobile phone is held against a laptop screen displaying details of a one-year fixed rate OVO Energy tariff for customers as the supplier has offered its first deal below the Government's £2,500 cap on typical household bills amid falling wholesale gas prices. The energy giant is offering a one-year fixed tariff of £2,275 to existing customers - undercutting the Government's energy price guarantee (EPG). Picture date: Sunday March 26, 2023. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
Citizens Advice said it was helping record numbers of households with energy debt. (Getty)

The latest fall offers further relief to households given the previous quarter-on-quarter drop seen in April, but analysts have said they expect Ofgem to increase the price cap in October, before dropping it again in January 2025.

Ofgem changes the price cap every three months based on several factors, the most important of which is the price of energy on wholesale markets.

The price cap does not limit a household’s total bills, people still pay for each unit of gas and electricity they use – the figures provided are just for an average-use household.

On Wednesday, Ofgem chief executive Jonathan Brearley told the Energy Security and Net Zero Committee that prices “are still significantly higher than they were before, and when we look further out our best estimate is that prices are going to stay high and volatile over time”.

Mike Thornton, chief executive of the Energy Saving Trust, said: “Today’s confirmation that energy prices are coming down for the next quarter is very welcome.

“However, no-one should take this lower price cap as a sign of stability.

“Forecasts show that energy prices are set to rise again this autumn and will be staying high overall for the next decade.