how to read a smart meter

December 2023

How To Read A Smart Meter In December 2023

Have you ever found yourself pondering the meaning of all the digits, numbers and symbols displayed automatically that appear on the screen of your smart metre? 

Then you are not alone. This article will explain how to read a smart metre by describing the various types of metres, their digital displays, and how to interpret the readings. We will also discuss the advantages of smart metres and how they can help you better manage your energy consumption.

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What is a Smart Meter?

A smart meter installed in a metre is a digital device that records your energy usage and provides real-time data on your consumption. Smart metres automatically transmit metre readings to your energy provider, eliminating the need for manual meter readings and guaranteeing accurate billing. 

These devices also include additional features, such as in-home displays, which allow you to monitor your energy consumption and make informed decisions regarding your energy usage.

The Benefits of Smart Meters

Monitoring systems offer several advantages over traditional metering systems:

Accurate billing

By automatically transmitting metre readings to your energy provider, smart metres eliminate estimation errors and ensure you only pay for the energy you consume.

Real-time monitoring

You can monitor your energy consumption in real time with an in-home display, allowing you to identify patterns and adjust to reduce consumption and save money.

Easier switching

Accurate metre readings make it easier to switch energy providers and find the best deal.

Improved customer service

Using smart metre data, energy suppliers can provide customised recommendations on reducing energy consumption and saving money.

Types of Smart Meter

The United Kingdom has several intelligent electricity metres, including standard smart metres, Economy 7/10 metres, and multi-rate metres. Each type of electricity meter has its characteristics and methods for measuring energy consumption.

Standard Smart Meter

Standard smart metres record energy consumption based on a flat-rate tariff. Smart metres for electricity and gas have comparable displays and buttons for accessing the readings automatically.

Economy 7/10 Meter

Economy 7/10 metres record energy consumption by a two-rate tariff, with separate meter readings for peak and off-peak hours. Accessing off-peak meter readings requires additional steps with these metres.

Multi-Rate Meter

Multi-rate metres accommodate more complex tariffs, such as time-of-use rates with multiple rates. A more advanced understanding of your tariff and metre is required to read these metres accurately.

Digital Displays and Buttons on the Meter

LCD Display Screen

The LCD screen displays your metre reading, energy consumption, and other pertinent data. You can navigate the various options and lessons in the home display by pressing multiple buttons to the right.

Middle Button

The middle button, often a blue arrow labelled “OK” or “Select,” is used to confirm selections or access additional information on the metre display.

Orange Buttons (Two or Four)

Orange and b buttons navigate the meter’s options and configurations. You can scroll through different meters and various readings and screens by pressing the orange buttons to the left and the white buttons to the bottom right of the screen.

Blue Button (Optional)

Some smart metres have a blue button for specific purposes, such as accessing off-peak readings on Economy 7/10 metres.

Reading an Electric Meter

Taking a Manual Reading

Follow these steps to read electricity readings from a standard smart electricity metre manually:

  • Determine the LCD screen’s location that app electric metre’s main screen.
  • Press the middle button or one or more press orange button buttons to cycle through the readings until you see a row taking lessons labelled “kWh” or “Total Act Import.”
  • The number displayed on the right of the screen is the current metre reading.

Follow the same steps to access the peak reading on an Economy 7/10 metre, and then press the blue button to access the off-peak lesson.

Benefits of Smart Meters

Using the LCD Display Screen on

The Electric Meter

Follow these steps to read the meter index number shown on the LCD screen on your electric metre:

  • Pressing the middle green button or one of the orange buttons will wake the metre from sleep mode.
  • Utilise the left and right orange buttons to see a row of a few to navigate between screens.
  • Find the “kWh” or “Total Act Import” screen to determine electricity usage.

For Economy, 7/10 metres, the blue press button may be required to press the button to access off-peak readings.

"A smart meter installed in a metre is a digital device that records your energy usage and provides real-time data on your consumption."

Reading a Gas Meter

Taking a Manual Reading

Follow these steps to obtain a manual reading from a standard smart gas metre:

  • Locate the gas meter’s display and select the LCD meter display screen.
  • Press the middle button or orange button(s) to automatically cycle through the readings until the “m3” or “Volume” row appears.
  • Take note of the number displayed on the right of the screen; this is the number shown in your current cubic metre reading.

Using the LCD Display Screen on the Gas Meter

Smart gas metres, like intelligent electricity metres, have an LCD that displays various information, such as your metre readings and energy consumption. Follow these steps to read your intelligent gas meter or any smart gas meter or electricity meter that’s an LCD screen:

  • Pressing the middle button or one of the orange buttons will wake the metre from sleep mode.
  • Utilise the left and right orange buttons to navigate between screens.
  • The “m3” or “Volume” screen will display your gas reading.
What is a Smart Meter

Other Considerations When Reading a Smart Meter

Batteries Used to Run the Digital Readouts

Batteries power smart metres’ digital displays. If they appear on the screen display if you read your smart metre blank or challenging to read, it may be time to change the batteries. Consult the user manual to read your smart metre or contact your energy provider for battery replacement instructions.

Cubic Metres vs Cubic Feet Measurement for Gas Use

Typically, petrol consumption in the United Kingdom is followed by m3, measured in cubic metres (m3). Nonetheless, some older petrol metres may display measurements in cubic meters or feet (ft3). Use the appropriate measurement unit when reading your gas metre and submitting readings to your energy provider.

Understanding how to read a smart metre is essential for accurately monitoring energy consumption and billing. By becoming familiar with the various types of metres and their digital displays, you can take charge of your energy consumption and make educated decisions to reduce your energy costs. 

If you have questions or require further assistance reading your smart metre, consult the meter’s user manual or your energy provider.

How do you read an intelligent metre code?

Find the metre display on your smart electricity or gas metre to read an intelligent metre code. If the metre is in sleep mode, press the button, middle button, A button, or orange button(s) must be encouraged. 

Use the left and b buttons, right or blue arrow buttons to navigate through the screens until you see a row with the metre reading. The smart metre code or current meter reading will be displayed as you see a row or series of numbers.

How many digits is an intelligent metre reading?

The number of digits in an intelligent metre reading can vary depending on the metre type and the requirements of the energy provider. 

When reporting the value, provide all digits before the decimal point, all numbers after the decimal place, or end in the decimal place. Check with your energy provider to ensure that your metre reading contains the correct number of digits.

how to read a smart meter in the UK

Are intelligent metres read manually?

Smart metres can automatically transmit readings to energy providers but can also be read manually. You may need to take manual readings if your smart meter or metre and energy provider cannot communicate or if you want to monitor your energy consumption closely. 

Follow the steps for reading your smart meter or metre code and record the displayed numbers to obtain manual readings.

What does an intelligent metre look like?

A smart metre has a compact design with an LCD screen and multiple buttons, including pressing the orange, left, and blue buttons and the middle and white buttons. 

The screen displays current metre readings, energy consumption, and tariff details. The appearance of intelligent electricity metres and smart gas metres may differ slightly, but their layouts and functionality are identical.

What is a metre code?

A metre code, also known as a metre, meter index, or metre or electricity or gas meter reading only, is a unique set of numbers on your smart metre representing your energy consumption. 

The metre code is essential for accurate billing, as it allows energy providers to determine your electricity or gas consumption during a particular billing period.

How to calculate a gas bill?

To determine your monthly petrol bill, follow these steps:

  • Note the cubic metre (m3) reading on your smart gas metre.
  • To assess your petrol usage for the billing period, subtract the previous metre reading from the current one.
  • To convert electricity meters from cubic metres to kilowatt-hours, multiply the gas consumption by the conversion factor (usually 11.1868). (kWh).
  • Multiply the number of kWh by the petrol unit rate (in pence per kWh) according to your energy provider’s standard electricity tariff.
  • Add any applicable standing charges, discounts, or extra fees to your energy plan.
  • To convert pence to pounds, divide the total amount by 100. This yields the final petrol bill amount.

Always consult your energy supplier’s guidelines or bill for precise calculations, as the exact method may vary based on your supplier and tariff.

How do I take a smart metre reading for a second-generation (SMETS2) metre?

Locate the display on your smart electricity metre or smart gas metre before taking a reading for a second-generation (SMETS2) smart metre. If the metre is in sleep mode, press the A or middle circle button to wake it. 

Utilise the left and right arrow buttons to navigate the screens until the metre reading is located. For the electricity meter readings, look for the screen that displays “Total Active Import” (kWh), and for the smart gas meter readings, look for the screen that says “cubic metres” (m3). 

Note the numbers that appear before numbers after the decimal one or decimal point, as the metre reading.

What is the difference between first-generation (SMETS1) and second-generation (SMETS2) smart metres?

First-generation (SMETS1) intelligent metres have compatibility limitations between different energy providers. In the event of a supplier switch, the metre may lose some of its other intelligent meters capabilities and require manual readings. 

These compatibility issues are resolved by second-generation (SMETS2) smart metres, allowing you to switch suppliers without losing smart meters functionality. You can view your smart electricity and intelligent gas consumption on the displays of both types of metres.

How do I read an Aclara gas metre?

To read an Aclara gas metre, locate the display and, if the metre is in sleep mode, press the grey B button or the top left button arrow to push the green control once again. 

The metre reading will be displayed in cubic metres (m3) on the right of the screen. Record the numbers before the decimal point as your metre reading is displayed.

How do I read a dial metre?

Dial metres could be more brilliant, but some older installations still utilise them. Examine the meter’s display and note the position of each dial to read a dial metre. Beginning with the dial on the left, record the number towards which the needle is pointing or the nearest lower number. 

Repeat this process for each dial to the right, creating a series of even numbers after the decimal first. After the decimal point is part, the final dial meter reading will be the sum of all dial” numbers.

How do I submit an intelligent metre reading to my energy supplier?

To submit an intelligent meter reading to your energy provider, you must first take the meter reading by following the instructions for your particular intelligent metre type. 

Then, visit your energy provider’s website or use their mobile app to enter the metre meter reading. Some suppliers may also accept metre readings via email, phone, or text. Include all pertinent information, such as your account number and the date of the last meter reading done.

Meet the author

Jane Parkinson

Jane Parkinson

Jane is one of our primary content writers and specialises in elder care. She has a degree in English language and literature from Manchester University and has been writing and reviewing products for a number of years.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How is my smart metre a first-generation (SMETS1) or second-generation (SMETS2) metre?

Check your meter’s documentation or contact your energy provider to determine whether your smart metre is a first-generation (SMETS1) or second-generation (SMETS2) model. Before 2018, SMETS1 metres were typically installed, while SMETS2 metres became more prevalent after that year. In addition, SMETS2 metres are frequently more compatible with various energy providers, allowing seamless switching without losing smart functionality.

Can I still use a smart metre on a standard electricity tariff?

You can use a smart metre even if your electricity rate is standard. Intelligent metres are compatible with various tariff types, including standard and time-of-use. Smart metres provide real-time data on your energy consumption, allowing you to monitor your usage and make decisions to reduce your energy costs regardless of the tariff you are on.

Do I need to take metre readings manually if I have a smart metre installed?

Installing an intelligent metre generally eliminates the need for manual metre readings, as smart metres automatically transmit your energy consumption data to your supplier. However, there are times when you may need to take a manual task, such as when you switch energy providers or if your meter’s remote communication is experiencing technical difficulties. In these instances, you can manually read your smart metre by following the instructions in the preceding answers.

How do I ensure my intelligent metre readings are accurate?

To ensure the accuracy of your brilliant metre readings, it is crucial to maintain a clean and unobstructed metre display. You can also compare the tasks to your energy bill or online account information to confirm their accuracy. Contact your energy provider if you notice any discrepancies or have concerns about the accuracy of your brilliant metre readings. They can investigate potential issues and provide additional guidance to ensure that your smart metre provides accurate readings.

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