British Gas, EOn, OVO and Octopus customers told to ‘backdate’ reading | Personal Finance | Finance

Customers of energy firms including British Gas, EDF, OVO, Octopus Energy and other such as Ecotricity, E.On and Scottish Power are being urged to take meter readings by Thursday to make the most of a £122 average saving.

The advice even extends to those with smart meters, as one customer found out, and now everyone is being urged to submit the reading they have taken.

Ofgem introduced a new price cap from Monday, July 1 which has seen the average household gas and electricity bill reduced by 7 percent or £122 for typical usage from July 1 to September 31 2024.

However, because energy firms estimate your usage – sometimes, even if you have a smart meter – customers are being urged to lock in the saving and make sure you’re being charged correctly at the lower rate for power you’ve used this week.

Money expert Martin Lewis has previously urged people to take a meter reading on Sunday or Monday and submit it to their supplier ‘by Wednesday or Thursday’.

If you took a reading on Sunday or Monday when prices changed but you haven’t got around to submitting it yet, you are able to backdate your reading to Sunday or Monday even if submitted tomorrow, as long as you took the reading on Sunday or Monday, ideally with a photo.

If you’ve forgotten to take a reading yet, don’t panic, as a reading taken and submitted today or tomorrow (but not backdated in this case as the date of the reading must be true or it’s fraud) could still save you more money than if you forget for longer.

One E.On customer found that their smart meter only takes a real reading on the 23rd of every month, meaning that their bills would be estimated for 22 days of the month after the prices change.

The estimate might be correct – it might even be lower than what was used – but there’s also a chance the energy firm assumed you used more energy in May than you actually did and charged some of your lower usage at the higher rate.

If you haven’t done so already, now is the ideal time to submit a reading taken earlier in the week or take a new reading and submit it on the spot.

Martin Lewis told customers: “Most people pay by monthly direct debit, where your average use is taken over the year and it’s smoothed out so you don’t have big cashflow issues in the winter.

“That is based usually on estimates of what you will use. Because the price is going to be dropping 7 percent, if you allow your energy firm to estimate your usage, it could estimate more at the higher rate before July 1 than it does afterwards because if it’s looking across a couple of months it might choose to allocate some of those units that you use to the higher rate period.

“The real advice is, some point between now and next Wednesday-Thursday because you can backdate, go and get a meter reading.”

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