If you think your energy meter is faulty
Meter faults are rare. But if your energy bill is much higher than usual and you can't find another reason for this, you may want to check whether there's something wrong with the meter.
This page explains what you should do if you think your meter is faulty.
If you have a prepayment meter
A faulty pre-payment meter could leave you without any gas or electricity. Report it to your supplier immediately.
Testing your credit meter
If you have a credit meter, carry out this simple test to see if there's a fault:
- switch off all the appliances in your home
- if it is a gas meter, turn off the pilot light
- check the meter to see if it is still moving.
If the meter stops
If the meter stops, turn on one appliance at a time. Check the meter after you turn on each appliance. If the meter starts to move very quickly after you turn on an appliance, there may be a fault with that appliance.
If the meter is still moving
If the meter is still moving when everything is switched off, there is a problem. There could be a gas leak. Report it straight away.
If you smell gas or suspect a gas leak, call the 24-hour Northern Ireland Gas Emergency Service on 0800 002 001.
If you suspect there is an electricity emergency, contact Northern Ireland Electricity’s customer helpline on 03457 643 643.
Reporting the problem
If you think the test shows there is a problem with the meter, report it to your supplier. They may:
- ask you to take meter readings daily over the next seven days to look at any patterns for the energy you use
- install a check meter next to your current meter for a few weeks, to see if it records the same amounts of energy
- carry out a standard load test for an electricity meter. This is where your meter only serves appliances with known levels of consumption, so can test the meter to ensure it is registering consumption properly
If the tests show that your meter isn't faulty, your supplier may charge you for the cost of the tests.
If there is a fault
If it turns out your meter does have a fault the supplier will repair or replace it.
If you were paying too much, your supplier has to give you a refund.
If you were being undercharged, you'll have to pay extra. The amount will be based on how long the meter has been wrong and by how much. If paying it off will cause you financial hardship, ask the supplier to spread the payments over a longer period.
If you’re not happy with the results
If you're unhappy with the outcome, you can ask your supplier to arrange an official test. You have to pay for the test, but you'll get the money back if your meter turns out to be faulty. Both sides have to accept the results of the test.
If the tester wants to take the meter away, make a note of its serial number and the reading beforehand. This may help avoid disputes over billing later.
Do you still have to pay your bill?
It is a good idea to pay your supplier something, while you wait for the results. Pay what you think is the cost of the fuel you have used. If you don't pay anything, your supplier may take action to disconnect you.