Published On: Wed, Jul 3rd, 2024
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Martin Lewis 24-hour ‘act now’ warning to British Gas, EOn and Octopus customers | Personal Finance | Finance

Customers at major energy firms including British Gas, EOn, EDF and Octopus Energy are being urged to take a meter reading and submit it now.

Martin Lewis last week issued a warning to customers at every energy firm that they need to take a photo of their gas and electricity meters and submit a meter reading by Thursday, July 4 following a drop in the Ofgem price cap of 7 percent, or £122 on average usage.

The reading can be backdated to Monday, July 1 as long as it was taken on that date, because most major energy firms including British Gas and EOn will allow you to backdate the reading to Monday as long as it is submitted by Thursday. But in any case a reading taken on Monday or today could save you money against an estimated bill.

This is because Martin Lewis’ old ‘meter reading day’ advice used to crash websites as everybody rushed to take their readings at once. But if you took a reading on Sunday or Monday, now is your last day of the timeframe to submit it and maximise the benefit of lower prices.

Martin Lewis said on his latest podcast: “When I first did this I suggested meter reading day and I crashed virtually every energy site.

“The real advice is, some point between now and next Wednesday-Thursday because you can backdate, go and get a meter reading.”

He had explained already: “On Monday, July 1, the energy price cap which dictates the price that 85% of homes in England, Scotland and Wales pay for their energy is dropping, it’s getting cheaper, by 7 percent.

“It’s the unit rates that are dropping, the standing charges are staying the same.

“The unit rate has dropped and that means higher users will see slightly more than 7 percent cut, lower users slightly less but for everyone it’s going down.”

If you don’t take a meter reading though, and you just allow your energy firm to estimate your usage, it could end up with bills which are higher than they should be and you being overcharged.

Martin added: “Most people pay by monthly direct debit, where your average use is taken over the year and it’s smoothed out so you don’t have big cashflow issues in the winter.

“That is based usually on estimates of what you will use. Because the price is going to be dropping 7 percent, if you allow your energy firm to estimate your usage, it could estimate more at the higher rate before July 1 than it does afterwards because if it’s looking across a couple of months it might choose to allocate some of those units that you use to the higher rate period.”

Although it isn’t Martin Lewis’ advice, people are also encouraged to take a manual meter reading even if they have a smart meter. That’s because some energy firms only take a smart reading once a month, so are still estimating usage in-between, as one customer found out.

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