The crucial thing households should do on 31 March to avoid higher energy bills
MoneySaving Expert Martin Lewis has urged households to take an energy meter reading on Thursday 31 March 2022, before the energy price hike comes into force.
Ofgem is increasing its price cap on 1 April 2022, and for those on a default tariff paying through direct debit, the amount may increase by almost £700.
The financial guru explained taking a meter reading on March 31 helps tell the energy provider how much gas and electricity is used before the price cap increase.
Why is taking a meter reading so important?
On the series finale of his ITV programme, Martin Lewis Money Show Live, he said taking a reading is a way to “draw a line in the sand”, and is a way of saying to the energy firm: “‘I’ve only used this amount at the cheaper rate, don’t start charging me more on the higher rate and estimating I use some of it afterwards.”
Prepayment customers will see a bigger hike, with their price cap increasing by £708 from £1,309 to £2,017.
The comparison website, GoCompare, has also urged households to take a meter reading on Thursday 31 March 2022.
Gareth Kloet, GoCompare's energy spokesman, said: "The cost-of-living crisis is hitting everyone – so if there's a way to shave money off your bills this April, we would urge all bill payers to take both gas and electricity meter readings on 31 March and make sure you submit these to your supplier.
"And if you pay by direct debit, it might also be a good time to look at revising your monthly payments to take into account the higher rates."
To cut bills, the website has written a 10 point guide to saving energy including turning down the thermostat, washing clothes at lower temperatures, installing new boilers and double glazing.
How to take a meter reading
The incoming price hike was announced by regulatory body Ofgem in February, after a huge jump in gas prices last year as the global economy recovered from the pandemic.
The energy price cap sets a limit on the rates a supplier can charge for each unit of gas and electricity you use.
Sending regular meter readings allows your energy supplier to estimate your usage and you could end up being overcharged.
A digital meter will show five numbers in black or white and might be followed by one or more red numbers.
To send a meter reading, you'll need to send the first five numbers shown from left to right (you can ignore any red numbers) to your energy supplier.
You should be able to do this over the phone, online or through an app.