From the date upon which you move into the property yourself, and any housemates, become liable for all utility charges. It is worth checking with your landlord when you first move in:
i. How the property is heated (i.e. is it gas central heating or electric storage heaters) – whilst all properties will use electricity this will give you some idea of how expensive your electricity charges will be as a house solely heated by electricity will incur higher electricity charges than one where the tenants also need to pay for gas to heat their property
ii. How the electricity is paid – some properties have a prepayment meter and others may require that you pay a bill either upon issue or via direct debit beforehand. If there is a prepayment meter installed you need to contact your electricity provider and inform that you have just begun a new tenancy so that they can check that your card is not also charging you for any arrears owed to them by a previous tenant prior to your topping up the card
iii. Where the electricity meter is located – it is likely that left to your own devices you would be able to find this but it is just as easy to ask and then take a reading with your landlord present so that the reading can be verified by the landlord then and there. If the landlord is not present you should take a photo of the meter as you take the reading and email this to your landlord straight away as proof that this was done on moving in day
iv. Who the current electricity supplier is – it is this company that you will need to contact to set up a payment plan or to check that the payment card that you will be using is not in arrears. It may be that the landlord gives you permission to change the electricity supplier during your tenancy. If this is the case it may be worth taking some time to research which company has the best package for you as utility bills can quickly add up
How to Read your Meter
This differs depends upon the type of meter that you have.
v. Digital Electricity Meter
1.Standard Meter - With One Row of Figures
Read the numbers on the dial from left to right, including any 0’s at the beginning. DO NOT include any red numbers in your reading.
2.Economy 7 or Domestic Economy Meter - With 2 Rows of Figures
The two rows will be marked as either Low or Normal. Take readings for both rows stating which is the Low reading and which is the Normal Reading. The readings are taken in the same way as above by reading the numbers from left to right, including any 0’s at the beginning. Again, DO NOT include any red numbers in your reading.
You will have an electronic meter if you are on a Superdeal or Flexiheat price plan, check with your gas provider or landlord. You may also have one if you are on an Economy 7 price plan. Here you will need to take 2 readings: one for normal and one for low. It is important that you are aware of which rate is your Normal (N) rate and which is your Low (L) reading. This can be done by checking your readings an hour apart. So long as you are aware of which rate you are currently on, generally Normal during the day and Low overnight, then whichever rate has changed will be the one which is correct for that time of day. You can then record the numbers on screen as being the two separate rates.
vii.Dial Gas Meter
There will be a number of dials. Read the dials from left to right starting with the dial marked 10,000. If the dial is between two numbers use the lower number and if the number is between 9 and 0, use 9, even if this is not the number which the pointer is closest to. If the pointer is exactly on a number underline it. If any of the underlined numbers are followed by a 9 you need to subtract 1 from the number that you underlined. DO NOT read the dial marked 1/10.