Ensuring that meters register the correct quantity of gas and electricity consumed.
The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPS&S) is only responsible for gas and electricity metering accuracy and complaints about billing should firstly be directed to the supplier concerned. The Citizens Advice consumer service can assist you with this and provide independent advice on energy supply. If your supplier is unable to resolve your dispute then the Energy Ombudsman can investigate.
Any gas or electricity meter used for the purpose of billing, whether by a licensed energy supplier or a landlord, must be of an approved design. All domestic and smaller industrial/commercial metering applications are covered by this requirement and only meter types that operate to defined accuracy and performance requirements will be approved.
The approval of meter types under GB national legislation is carried out by OPS&S (previously the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem)), or an equivalent EC member state body. Since 2006, meters have also been approved under the European Measuring Instruments Directive (MID 2014/32/EU - previously 2004/22/EC). The MID enables a ‘European Type Approval Certificate’ to be issued and the instrument can then be used in any EU member state.
Your gas and electricity meter at home should either be approved under GB national legislation or the MID.
The use and performance of gas meters is governed by Section 17 of the Gas Act 1986 and supporting legislation in the form of Statutory Instruments (SI). The key documents are:
The Gas Act 1986
The provisions set out in the Gas Act 1986 have the effect that:
‘No meter shall be used for the purpose of ascertaining the quantity of gas supplied through pipes to any person unless it is stamped either by, or on the authority of, a meter examiner appointed by the Secretary of State.’
In addition, a meter cannot be stamped unless it is of an approved pattern and construction.
This requirement applies to all meters for domestic, commercial and light industrial billing (i.e. meters up to a maximum flow rate of 1,600 cubic metres per hour at standard conditions of temperature and pressure).
The use and performance of electricity meters is governed by Schedule 7 of the Electricity Act 1989 and supporting legislation in the form of Statutory Instruments (SI). The key documents are:
- the Meters (Approval of Pattern or Construction and Manner of Installation) Regulations (SI 1998/1565)
- the Meters (Certification) Regulations (SI 1998/1566)
- the Electricity (Approval of Pattern or Construction and Installation and Certification) (Amendment) Regulations (SI 2002/3129)
- the Measuring Instruments (EC Requirements) (Electrical Energy Meters) Regulations (SI 1995/2607)
- the Measuring Instruments (EC Requirements) (Electrical Energy Meters) (Amendment) Regulations (SI 2002/3082)
- the Measuring Instruments Regulations (SI 2016/1153)
The Electricity Act 1989
It is a requirement under Schedule 7 of the Electricity Act 1989 that all meters (i.e. primary and secondary) used for billing purposes must be of an approved pattern or construction and installed in an approved manner.
Prior to October 2006 electricity meters were approved under GB national legislation and a list of approved meters is available from Schedule 4 (this list is commonly referred to as ‘Schedule 4’ as this list is a requirement under Schedule 4 of the Meters (Certification) Regulations (SI 1998/1566)).
Schedule 7 of the Electricity Act 1989 also requires that meters are certified, although this requirement is not applicable to meters installed in non-domestic premises or for secondary meters (e.g. in a landlord-tenant situation). However, where certification is not required, there must be an agreement, in writing, between the supplier and consumer to dispense with certification and the meter is still required to be approved (i.e. for billing purposes it is not possible to dispense with the requirements for approval).
If you believe your gas or electricity meter is inaccurate, you should always contact your supplier. The legislation does allow for you to have your gas meter or your electricity meter independently tested.
The Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme is administered by Ofgem. In some cases, meters have been affected by the installation of renewable electricity generating equipment, causing the meter to be inaccurate.
OPS&S publishes a range of information and guidance on the legislation that we are responsible for. If you have a specific enquiry regarding the accuracy of your gas and/or electricity meter, we recommend you complete the online enquiry form, choose the relevant legislation and follow the on screen instructions.
Alternatively you can contact the OPS&S helpdesk on 0121 345 1218.
It is open:
- Monday to Thursday 09:00 to 17:00
- Friday 09:00 to 16:00
Or in writing to:
Office for Product Safety and Standards
Lower Ground Floor
Victoria Square House