Martin Lewis warns British Gas, EOn and Octopus customers not to break law today | Personal Finance | Finance

Today is meter reading day – and everyone is being urged to take action whether you’re with British Gas, Eon, EDF, Octopus Energy or OVO.

If you haven’t taken a photo of your gas and electricity meters yet, you need to do it as soon as possible – even if you’re on a smart meter.

Everyone in the UK was being urged to take a meter reading on their gas or electricity meter before midnight due to a change to bills but if you haven’t done so yet, it’s important to do it as soon as possible, alongside a photo to prove the reading.

But customers at EDF, British Gas, OVO, E.On and others including Scottish Power and Octopus Energy have been warned not to fall foul of the law when taking a meter reading from today onwards by Martin Lewis.

Ofgem has handed out a price cut from Monday, July 1 for every household in the UK currently on a variable tariff, which means if you’re not on a fix, your price will have gone down about 7 percent, or £122 for a household on typical usage.

Most customers won’t be on a fix because fixes have been so expensive lately that they haven’t been worth doing, apart from some good products like the E.On Next Pledge Tracker, but even that fix technically follows the market price.

Energy customers not on a fix have been told to take a meter reading close to midnight this morning or as soon as possible today – that’s because energy used today is 7 percent cheaper so you don’t want to be charged yesterday’s prices for today’s usage. 

If you took the reading last night, with a photo, you can still submit the reading today or any time this week and backdate it to Sunday. That’s because everyone used to log in at the same time and submit it at 11.55pm, crashing all the energy websites, so most of them will now allow you to backdate.

But one reader asked if they could game the system by submitting a meter reading in a few days’ time and pretending that the usage last week was actually this week, and then getting the energy cheaper. Unfortunately, that’s fraud, and you would be breaking the law.

The key thing is to make sure you don’t get charged higher Sunday prices for usage on Monday or Tuesday, after the price has dropped. But if you submit falsified readings to pretend last week’s use was this week you will be breaking the law. Energy firms will have a record of your typical usage and if they see a sudden spike in usage this week because you fudged the numbers, it will be obvious.

That’s why you must take a reading accurately and take a photo to prove it. That way, if you have been saving a load of washing for the cheaper rates today, you can prove it’s legitimate usage.

Martin Lewis previously said about meter readings during price change periods: “To make sure there are no discrepancies in the amount you’re charged on the higher rate and on the lower rate when prices change, it’s a good idea to give a meter reading to your supplier on or around Sunday. This stops your supplier from estimating your usage, and potentially assuming you’ve used more at the higher rate than you actually have.”

Martin Lewis’ MSE website confirms something Martin Lewis himself has also said on his ITV The Martin Lewis Money Show Live before: “We get asked this one a lot – can you submit a lower meter reading ahead of a price drop, so more of your usage is charged at the lower rate?

The short answer is no, you shouldn’t do this – it’s fraud.”

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