How to read your meter

Meters come in all shapes and sizes and show numbers in different ways. A simple rule to remember when reading your meter: we don't need any numbers in red or after a decimal place.

To find your meter type, choose from:

Remember, you can submit your readings in seconds in your online account or Bulb app. And for most types of meter, the Bulb app can submit your reading for you using your phone's camera.

Electricity meters

Find your meter type below to find out how to read your electricity meter.

Single rate meters

A single rate meter showing a reading of 07220, and a red decimal between 9 and 0.

This meter reading is 07220. We read the numbers from left to right, and we don't need any numbers in red or after a decimal place.  

Two rate meters (sometimes called Economy 7)

A 2 rate meter showing a ‘low’ reading of 56315 above a ‘normal’ reading of 27347.

We need both meter readings.

• 'Low' is your night reading (56315 in the example above)
• 'Normal' is your day reading (27347 in the example above)

For both readings, write down the numbers shown left to right. We don't need any numbers in red or after a decimal place. 
 

Two rate, single display meters

A 2 rate, single display meter showing 11437 for Rate 1, 02939 for Rate 2 and a button above the display.

Some two rate meters only have one digital display. The display will either show the different rate readings one after the other, or you'll need to press a button to make the display cycle through the readings.

If you see a 'T' reading, we don't need this. This stands for 'total' and should be the total of the other two readings.

Dial meters

A dial meter showing a reading of 04515, and a sixth dial that should be ignored.

This meter reading is 04515.

The dials go around in an alternating clockwise or anti-clockwise direction. So if your first dial is clockwise, the next will be anti-clockwise, and so on. Each dial may have an arrow indicating which way it rotates.

We read these meters from left to right and don't need the number from the dial in red.

When the pointer is between two numbers, record the lower number. If it’s between the 9 and 0, record 9. 

If the pointer is directly on a number, check the next dial to the right. If that dial reads 8 or 9, then lower the reading for the dial on its left by one. 

If there are more spaces in the meter reading form than you have dials, just enter zeros at the beginning. For example, if you have 4 dials but the form asks for 6 numbers, enter two zeros and then your reading.

Gas meters

Find your meter type below to find out how to read your gas meter.

Digital metric meters

A digital metric meter showing a reading of 00254 and 3 decimal places that should be ignored.
This meter reading is 00254. Write down the numbers shown from left to right, leaving out the numbers after the decimal place.

Imperial meters

An imperial dial showing a reading of 0722 and 2 decimal places that should be ignored.

This meter reading is 0722. Write down the numbers shown from left to right, leaving out the numbers in red.
 

Dial meters

A dial meter showing a reading of 1461.

This meter reading is 1461.

The dials go around in an alternating clockwise or anti-clockwise direction. So if your first dial is clockwise, the next will be anti-clockwise, and so on. Each dial may have an arrow indicating which way it rotates.

We read these meters from left to right. The dial marked '1/10' is the number after the decimal, so we don’t need that.

When the pointer is between two numbers, record the lower number. If it’s between the 9 and 0, record 9.

If the pointer is directly on a number, check the next dial to the right. If that dial reads 8 or 9, then lower the reading for the dial on its left by one. 

If there are more spaces in the meter reading form than you have dials, just enter zeros at the beginning. For example, if you have 4 dials but the form asks for 6 numbers, enter two zeros and then your reading.

Smart meters

Find your meter type below to see how to read your smart meter.

For smart electricity meters, your reading will be for a number followed by 'kWh'.

For smart gas meters, your reading will be a number followed by 'm3'.

Leave out any numbers after the decimal place.

Find out how to read your smart meters if they were installed by Bulb.


If your smart meter has a keypad

A smart meter keypad, an ‘A’ button on the bottom left and ‘B’ button on the bottom right.

Press 9 on the keypad to see your reading.

For gas meters, you'll see 'Volume' and a reading followed by 'm3'.

For electricity meters, you'll see 'IMP kWh’ and a reading followed by 'kWh'. 

If you have a 2 rate meter (sometimes called Economy 7), to see your day and night readings:

  1. Press 6 on the keypad until you see 'IMP R01' followed by 8 digits.
  2. Press 6 again until you see 'IMP R02' followed by 8 digits.

Some meters only display day readings during the day period, and night readings during the night period.

The readings can also be listed as Rate 1 and Rate 2, or Rate 1 and Rate 4.

Which number is day and which is night varies from meter to meter. The guidance for your meter may be written on the meter itself, or it may say 'Low' or 'L' (night) and 'Normal' or 'N' (day) next to the readings.

If your smart meter has a green button labelled 'A'

A smart meter showing the words ‘Total Act Import’, and a green ‘A’ button to the right of the display.

This is an electricity meter. Press the green button until you see 'Total Act Import'. A reading should appear followed by 'kWh'.

If you have a 2 rate meter (sometimes called Economy 7), your meter will have a '01' and a '02' reading, which you'll find by pressing the 'A' button. You should record both numbers. Which number is day and which is night varies from meter to meter. 

If you've previously been on a free weekend energy tariff, make sure you submit the '01' reading.

If your smart meter has 'A' and 'B' buttons

A smart meter showing the words ‘Meter Index’ and a reading of 12345, with a red ‘A’ button and black ‘B’ button.

This meter reading is 12345.

Press the 'A' button until you see 'Credit On', then press it again to show 'Meter Index', and again to show your readings.

For electricity meters, it will show 'kWh'.

For gas meters, it will show 'm3'.

If your smart meter has no buttons

A smart meter with a display and no buttons.

The screen will cycle through readings.

The number starting with 'R1' is your electricity reading.

If you have a 2 rate meter (sometimes called Economy 7), your meter will have an 'R1' and an 'R2' reading, which you'll find by pressing the 'A' button. You should record both numbers. Which number is day and which is night varies from meter to meter. 

If you see a 'T' reading, we don't need this. This stands for 'total' and should be the total of the other two readings.

If you're not sure how to read your meter

If you're ever unsure about how to read your meter, give us a ring on 0300 30 30 635 or email a picture of your meter to help@bulb.co.uk and we'll be able to help.

Was this article helpful?