Checking your meter
Gas meters must be installed in a readily accessible position and, if situated in a box or compound, you must be given a key. If you are disabled, your meter may be repositioned or replaced with a specially adapted one for free1Sch 6 para 1 EA 1989; Sch 2B para 6 GA 1986 – ask your supplier to do this for you.
You may also be eligible to reposition your meter if you are on the Priority Services Register and you are unable to readily access it. This should be permitted by your energy supplier.
You can check your meter by using the following method.
•Switch off all appliances, including pilot lights.
•Turn on an appliance with a known rate of consumption and note the time.
•Leave the appliance on for a measured period of time, preferably in whole hours.
•Switch off the appliance and read the meter again.
If everything is working properly, the following formulae should work.
Difference in readings = rating of appliance (kW) x time on (hours).
If your electric fire has a one kilowatt (1kW) rating and is switched on for one hour the figures on each side of the ‘=’ sign should both be ‘1’.
Where an electricity meter is faulty and its readings are outside the statutory margins of error, you fall within the standards regulations and may be entitled to bring a claim. For electricity, the margin of error is laid down by paragraph 13 of Schedule 7 of the Electricity Act 1989.
Difference in readings =
(hundreds of cubic feet) x 3.6 = appliance rating (kW) x time on (hrs)
(calorific value* for region) x 2.83
*The amount of heat produced by burning a specific amount of gas
The rating for an average gas fire is 2.5 kilowatts (kW), assuming that the fire is on full and all the elements are being used. If it is switched on for one hour in an area where gas has a calorific value of 38.2, then the figures on each side of the ‘=’ sign should both be 0.023 – ie, the reading should be 2.3 cubic feet.
To find out the rating of an appliance, if it is not marked on the appliance itself, contact the manufacturer, the appliance supplier or the gas supplier. The calorific value for the area will be shown on your gas bill, or you can ask your supplier.
Where a reading falls outside a specified margin of error, there may be the basis of a claim under the Gas Standards Regulations. The relevant standards are those set out in the Gas (Meters) Regulations 1983.