How do meter readings help me manage my monthly Direct Debits?

As time goes on we get a better idea of how much energy you're using, and what your bills may be in the future. That's why up to date meter readings are really important - they show us exactly how much gas or electricity you've used and how much we need to charge on a monthly basis, by Direct Debit.

You can give us a meter reading at any time but there are two points during your billing year when they really help us to work how much energy you're using.

You'll also receive a visit from one of our meter readers at least every two years to check that your meters are safe.

Tell me more about what happens in a billing year...

We create a schedule to read the meters at your address twice in a 12 month period. That doesn't always line up with when you joined us. It's frustrating, we know.

It depends on where you live, rather than when you joined npower, and we know that doesn't make much sense - but it's an industry standard. We'd like that to change to make life easier for you, but for the moment that's what we're stuck with.

Your first meter reading will be between 1 and 7 months after you join us. This marks the start of your 'billing year'.

Over the 12 month period of your billing year, we aim to make sure you pay just the right amount - not too little, not too much - so that by the time you come to the end of that period, in an ideal world you don't owe us any money (and you haven't paid too much, either).

To make sure you're on track, we do a check after 6 months, ideally based on an actual meter reading, At this point we may adjust your monthly Direct Debit - moving it up if we forecast that you'll use more energy than we estimated or if you've built up a debt on your account or down if we forecast you'll use less energy or you have built up a credit.

Don't worry, we'll give you 10 days notice on your statement of any change to your monthly Direct Debit and give you choices if you have built up a credit or debt.