Meter Reading Disputes - What are they?

Meter Reading Disputes - What are they?
Userlevel 7

Updated on 11/04/22 by Jess_OVO


Switching suppliers can seem complicated so we’ve explained the full switching process on this great guide.


Once you’ve made the decision to switch, the next important thing to remember is to submit some opening meter readings when your new supplier asks. If that new supplier is OVO you can submit these on your online account or OVO app (download for Android or iOS). 


You may be wondering, what happens if you forget to submit the meter readings in time? 


As with your monthly summary, if we haven’t received an opening meter reading (either submitted manually or sent automatically by your smart meter) we’ll use an estimated reading. This estimated reading will be based on the history of your meter readings held by the energy industry and will be agreed with your previous supplier to use on your final statement with them.

If it’s been a while since you’ve submitted readings to a previous supplier, you might notice that the opening reading doesn’t line up to your actual meter readings, which will mean that the final statement from your previous supplier and the first monthly summary issued by OVO may be inaccurate. In order to get this sorted out we need to follow an industry regulated process known as a ‘Meter Reading Dispute’. 


Either supplier involved in the switch is able to get this process started. If you’ve switched to OVO we’d advise contacting the Support Team to check whether a ‘Meter Reading Dispute’ is possible.

The ‘Meter Reading Dispute’ Process

- We ask you to take two meter readings at least two weeks apart
- We use these to calculate what the meter reading should’ve been on the date you switched
- If there’s a big enough difference between the reading used and the reading calculated, we can officially raise this as a ‘Meter Reading Dispute’
- We contact your previous supplier with our calculated read
- Once they’ve agreed to this new reading, we can amend opening meter reading and reissue your opening statement. Be aware that your previous supplier may also re-issue their final statement with you.
- This whole process can take up to 12 weeks as we have to wait for the calculated reading to be received and agreed to by the other supplier.

During this process your regular monthly billing will be paused whilst we look to correct the opening statement. If you pay via Direct Debit these payments will continue, building up a credit balance in your account to cover the opening statement once it’s issued.

If you don’t yet have a Direct Debit in place, we’d recommend setting one up with our Support Team, to avoid a large balance to pay when your initial statement is re-issued.

It may sound complicated but we’ll handle all the details and make sure your account is opened to a reading that fairly reflects your usage.

Has anyone experienced the ‘Meter Reading Dispute’ process before?  Comment below with any advice for others or further questions you might have. We’re always happy to help here.


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26 replies

I've recently moved to Ovo and had a nightmare with it all from start to finish. The level of incompetence from all parties is amazing. For something that should be pretty much automatic I can't figure out how it's gone so wrong. No doubt it'll be me that loses out.

I knew something would come back with this transfer. All started when the correspondence I got from OVO said I had until December 4th to submit my reading (I submitted on the 4th) but it wouldn't accept it online so I had to do it over the phone. I was told this would be fine.

Now I understand what has actually happened. Basically OVO have just take it upon themselves to send BG a made up reading (how is that even legal). Meaning BG are now chasing me for missing hundreds ££.

So, first, How do I ask a question on a Saturday to get this sorted? I've been told by my previous supplier (BG) that this dispute needs to be sorted ASAP because if I don't pay the balance they claim I owe before 2nd Jan they will start recovery proceedings. As OVO are shut on a Saturday (they don't make a big deal of that in their advertisements), how do I get this moving quickly? There's not even an email address that I can find.

Second, how do i get OVO to send BG the correct meter readings? The figures that they sent to BG are completely made up. Something that I am furious about.

Any help appreciated here.

Userlevel 4



Crikey! I feel for you. Sadly I don't have anything to say that can put your mind at rest other than to say you can contact OVO by email. Usually it takes about 1-2 days to get an answer. By all accounts you can also reach out to OVO via their Twitter or Facebook pages.

When you email them add your new OVO account number in the opening sentence so they can find your account.

As an additional suggestion could you contact BG and give them your correct meter reading?

Good luck at sorting it...


I appreciate the post Nancy, but the problem is I have absolutely no idea what is happening. British Gas say the issue is with OVO and OVO day it’s British Gas.

when I called OVO yesterday I was told to submit a new reading (which I did). I also emailed OVO too (as I was asked to). I’ve received no confirmation that anything is being done.

as far as I know British Gas will take £260 out of my account on 2nd Jan for something that isn’t my fault. And for something that I haven’t used. In my view this is theft! Yet I am powerless to stop it.

BG Have taken £75 out of my account today for no obvious reason (my previous monthly DD was £130). Yet the bill states it would be 2/01. BG I’ve already said they will instruct debt recovery if I don’t pay the £260 in Jan, but in my eyes I owe nothing.

and no one is prepared to tel me anything. I’m furious that it’s nearly 2019 and this can happen. Why can’t you energy companies pull your finger out and sort it? It really is the most simple thing in the world. It’s called communication and in this day and age it’s the simplest thing in the world to implement.

instead i’ll no doubt be out of pocket in cash terms and time that I have to spend speaking to various people on the phone who cannot/will not help me.

Great start to the new year!
Just to re-iterate. I was informed by OVO to submit meter readings by the 5/12 for my transfer of service. I submitted readings on the 4/12. Yet the transfer used a completely made up figure then on the 29/11.

no one informed me of this. My account states I submitted this reading (I did not). So either your systems cannot distinguish between estimates and actual readings or someone impersonated me and submitted false information.

either way, it’s me having to mop up the mess.
Userlevel 4

Given the circumstances and the lack of any proper communication from either British Gas and OVO you need to write a letter of formal complaint to both companies and wait for their response. It's frustrating that you need to do this but it might just speed up the process and give you some answers. If you are not happy with the response or you receive a letter of 'deadlock' you can refer your matter to the Ombudsman, link below...

Both OVO Energy & British Gas are members of this scheme

Userlevel 5
Hey @temporary-new-name, I'm sorry to hear you haven't received any communication from us about this. It sounds like the industry have intervened and re-estimated your opening meter readings.

If you submit an opening meter reading to your new supplier, it's checked by the energy industry against your history of readings with your previous supplier. If it's deemed to be "out of line" at all, it may be amended before being send back to both suppliers to open/close your account. We can change this if they've got it wrong. We just need a backup set of readings, and we can send the information off.

During the course of a reading dispute, your billing with us will be 'suspended'. Your Direct Debits will continue to be paid into your OVO account, but we won't deduct any bills until the dispute has been resolved. If you've left British Gas completely at this point, you're perfectly entitled to cancel your Direct Debit with them via your bank. If there's anything outstanding ti pay once this is resolved, you can make a one off payment to cover it. They shouldn't chase you up for anything outstanding if they know there's a dispute ongoing.

It can take up to 12 weeks to resolved a reading dispute. Without your account details, it's difficult to be more specific than this. If there's anything that still needs clearing up, please drop the team on Facebook a message with your account number, full name and DoB and they'll be able to look into this for you.

Thanks Nancy. I appreciate the response but much of this doesn’t make sense. The estimated reading was supplied to OVO before I submitted my opening reading. I’ve no idea who did this (I had been told by OVO that I had to submit a reading before 5th December, which I did but the ‘false’ reading was submitted on 29th November by someone).

I've submitted a formal complaint to OVO and British Gas as I don’t want to have to wait 12 weeks while BG are threatening debt recovery for money I don’t owe.
Just to follow up on the Read Dispute that I submitted to OVO. I've heard from British Gas (my previous supplier) that they only received a correct reading for the Electricity meter and not both Gas & Electricity.

BG are blaming this on OVO for submitting the wrong readings to them on 29th November. All I know is that this seems to be getting deliberately dragged out and I'm caught in the middle.

I've submitted emails, online contact and used this forum. I've raised official complaints to both BG and OVO. Yet I hear almost nothing (at least BG have got in touch. Even if it is to deny it's their problem).

Can someone please just sort this out?
Userlevel 7

BG are blaming this on OVO for submitting the wrong readings to them on 29th November. All I know is that this seems to be getting deliberately dragged out and I'm caught in the middle.

Can someone please just sort this out?


Not good to hear, @temporary-new-name

The readings used in a transfer will be decided on by a third party on behalf of the new supplier (us in this case), but the suppliers involved can get them changed.

If this reading dispute needs chasing up, get in touch with our Customer Care team to get this done. We’re on FacebookTwitter and our Help Centre has online chat!


Userlevel 4

Don't waste your time emailing or using Twitter, this is clearly causing you distress which needs prompt answers. Telephone the above number, they're usually very helpfully.

Don't waste your time emailing or using Twitter, this is clearly causing you distress which needs prompt answers. Telephone the above number, they're usually very helpfully.

That would be a great idea, only they're not open at weekends. I work during the week and I'm usually way too busy to be making calls and having to explain (for the tenth time) the whole sorry saga over & over again.

As you say, it is causing me distress, but neither BG or OVO seem to give a s***. It's the same scripted replies and repeating of the same 'stuff' to sort it out. Either that or one just blames the other.

I'm just amazed, that in 2019 two companies cannot communicate more effectively and that, what should be a simple process, causes so much hassle. It's incredible that I can switch bank accounts, all debit card payments migrated, all direct debits seamlessly migrated, all communication done through an app, with security checks through the app & any future payments made incorrectly to the old bank seamlessly arrive at the new account... Yet changing, what is effectively just a change of billing & administration (who sends bills for gas & electric) is so chaotic with no one knowing what is happening and just blaming each other.

I'm leaving it now and just ignoring the bills BG continue to send me. If it does go to debt collectors then I'll let OfGem sort it out.
Userlevel 4

Obviously I can't advise regarding debt collectors but I would think any such action would fail anyway under the circumstances. You've taken all the right steps to resolve the issue but either BG or OVO are preventing or delaying resolution.

Whilst I do understand how annoying this situation is for you it might be best to take @Tim_OVO advise, I know that means going out of your way but at least you can demonstrate you've exhausted every avenue of support.

I'll end on a familiar mock Latin aphorism, it seems quite fitting under the circumstances, you'll have to Google it's meaning...

'Illegitimi non carborundum' 😉
I didn't realise about the number. Are you sure on that? Obviously it's past 1pm now so i can't check but the web site says it's mon - fri only.

Regardless, I can't be bothered now. I've contacted both companies to record the objection (three times). The first one I submitted with Ovo only went through to BG for electric (Ovo seemingly ignored the gas). The second time was with BG, because they hadn't corrected the gas, and the third was corrected earlier this week with ovo, after I found out Ovo had only queried the electric with BG (which was never a problem anyway). So we'll see if it gets sorted. Although time is counting down to when I refer to OfGem.

As I've said. I just don't understand how in 2019 this can even be a problem. It's such a simple thing to sort out. I'm an IT consultant and I deal with processes far more complex than this, with businesses & government departments and data that is far, far more complex than sending 2 sets of 5 digit numbers. Often using designs & solutions that have already been designed and proven. Why can't the energy companies?
Userlevel 4

I'm sure it will be solved sooner or later, it's just a shame your stuck in the middle of the two companies while they sort it out and being powerless to do anything to speed things along must be infuriating.

If worst case scenario happens and neither company can resolve the issue you should eventually receive a letter of deadlock at which time you will have the opportunity to fight your case through Ofgem

I don't know if you've seen this video but it should help you understand the process.

See this link: Energy complaints procedure: A video guide
I am currently trying to leave OVO and although I had a smart meter fitted, they are still claiming after over 8 weeks that they have incorrect final meter readings. They have now advised me it may take up to 12 weeks to sort this out, whilst they are sitting on £290 of my money. I have reported them to the Ombudsman.
Userlevel 5
I am currently trying to leave OVO and although I had a smart meter fitted, they are still claiming after over 8 weeks that they have incorrect final meter readings. They have now advised me it may take up to 12 weeks to sort this out, whilst they are sitting on £290 of my money. I have reported them to the Ombudsman.

Sorry to hear this, @UnhappyOVOcustomer, unfortunately validating the final readings can take a little longer if there's industry issues.

It sounds like we've raised a read dispute, read through this topic for more help with this.

Here's some more information on our complaints procedure.
Userlevel 4

Watch this weeks episode of BBC Watchdog, they helped the OVO customer who was on that show and he was owed several hundred pounds. OVO sorted the problem pretty quick in that instance.

Watch from 26 mins onward

BBC Watchdog Episode 5

I have a read dispute going on.  This is based on an 'estimateed reading when starting my account.  This is despte being with Ovo previously,  having an ovo smart meter, briefly tryng a new provider and returning to ovo within a month,  where on doing so I provided ovo with the correct reading prior to leaving and returning with the addition of ovo being already connected to their smart meter to take a reading on leaving as well as returning which already matched mine.  My projected monthly statement is now nearly 3 times my monthly average despite having switched back about 4 months ago,  and having a steady no change in my usage per day which is nigh on exactly my same usage as the previous 13 months + i originally spent with ovo and the yearly forecast is double despite it beinging impossible to be so.


Am i now going to be dragged as a consumer through 12 weeks of 'your fault my problem' 

Userlevel 7

Thanks for posting, @Auxradar 


As you have smart meters and provided readings, I would like to think this change in the opening meter reading will be done quicker then the full 12 weeks. 


Any billing will be paused, and monthly payments will continue, so the hope is that you won’t be that effected, no matter how long it takes. Give or take...

I'm in a real quandary with this too. We have a smart reader that automatically sends readings through to OVO. We've just left OVO (who, by the way, have been exemplary up to now) for a cheaper supplier. I've just received an email from OVO telling me that they're raising a read dispute with my new supplier as the final reading was an estimate even though we have a smart meter that sends accurate readings literally all the time. I don't get it? Why the need for estimates? They're sitting on over £800 of my money which I presume I now won't see for a further 3 months. I just don't understand this at all  Can anyone help me with this please? 

Userlevel 5

Although you have smart meters @Bertiz, your final and opening reading need to be validated by a third party. It sounds like the readings aren’t inline which is why we’ve raised a read dispute. We may be able to do a partial refund while you’re waiting for the read dispute to be resolved. You can get in touch with the team  on FacebookTwitter and our Help Centre has online chat!

I have tried to switch from Ovo to Bulb as of March 2019. 10 months on, my Ovo account has not been closed due to an outstanding read dispute.

This has been rumbling on for many months where first Ovo say they raised a read dispute, and escalated it 4 times, but Bulb claimed it was not on the system. Bulb claimed they were missing some meter information, so would not upload my opening meter reading that I sent them. Once Bulb received this information from Ovo, they made it possible for me to see the meter readings they had uploaded on to my account. 

I saw Bulb made a typo on the opening reading, and I told them that they must change it. They then raised a read dispute.  I have been in contact with both Bulb and Ovo over the last 3 months since then and each say that the other has not responded to the read dispute and that I should chase up the other one!

Has anyone got a suggestion that I should try to resolve this? If I go down the route of official complaint, do I write two separate complaint letters to each company? It might be one of the companies is telling the truth, or there is some miscommunication between them somehow, but from my view point I cannot tell which! They both just tell me that they cannot do anything until the other responds!





Userlevel 6

I’ve moved your post here, @nsmy17, the top of this thread fully outlines the read dispute process. 

Read disputes are lengthy but they shouldn’t take 10 months, I’m sorry to hear this is an ongoing issue. 

If you’re looking to go down the complaint route, here is some info on our complaints process: https://www.ovoenergy.com/feedback

I really hope this is resolved soon! 

Hi, I’ve been a loyal Ovo customer since 2012. I have recently received from Ovo a large gas bill, I would like to question the amount that Ovo state we have used for July/August.

I managed after several hours to have contact with an agent yesterday at 12:20, the person said she couldnt assist and would transfer me to another department. At 21:30 yesterday I was still waiting!

Guess I’ve been lucky up to now, not really having to contact Ovo much. But yesterdays episode is really frustrating.

Going to try and waste another day trying to ring them, if no joy I am going to cancel my dd and see if that gets a response.

Not a happy bunny!

Userlevel 7

Hi @Alf - thanks for sharing the latest. It sounds like a really frustrating experience trying to get through to us yesterday. So sorry to hear. 


I’ve replied to your other topic on this same issue. Check it out when you can: