Understanding your gas meter
Learning how to read your meter can be a handy skill to have and it is not difficult to learn.
Being able to read your meter will allow you to monitor your daily usage, to check the use of individual appliances, to check for possible gas leaks and to take action promptly instead of finding out from your next bill that something may be wrong.
The information below provides details about your meter, about the rights and responsibilities with regard to reading your meter and provision of access.
Each gas meter has a unique serial number located on its front.
You should quote your meter number when you contact your retailer, especially if you are moving, transferring, or if your address is difficult to locate.
As your meter number changes when a meter is replaced, there is a second identifier called a Meter Installation Reference Number (MIRN).
The MIRN is attached to your address and not your meter. You can find your MIRN on your gas bill.
Meters are usually in obvious places at the front or back of a property.
If you are in a unit complex it is likely that all of the meters are in a central location.
Who reads your meter?
The gas distributor Australian Gas Networks is responsible for reading your meter.
Your meter should ideally be read every three months and the distributor must use their best endeavours to obtain an actual meter read at least once every 12 months.
All meter readers must carry official identification when accessing your property.
You must provide clear access to your meter at all times for readings, connections or disconnections and maintenance.
If the meter reader cannot access your meter, your read will be estimated, and if you do not make alternative arrangements to provide access to your meter, your retailer may disconnect your supply.
You should contact your retailer to make alternative arrangements.
If your property has a gas meter, a supply charge may be payable, even if there is no account set up or ongoing usage.
If you do not wish to pay a supply charge you may want to consider the abolishment of the meter.
Contact the current gas retailer for more information.
The meter number on your bill should match the number on the meter at your property.
If they do not match, or any are missing, you should contact your retailer and provide the correct meter number.
If your meter is grouped with a large number of other meters, you may want to check which meter is yours. Turn off the gas tap to your property for a few minutes and see if the meter you believe to be yours stops recording usage.
If the meter does not stop it could mean:
- It is not your meter. Check to see if one of the other meters has stopped - that may be your meter.
- There may be something else connected to your meter that you are not aware of (a shed, or something from a neighbouring property or common areas).
- The meter may be faulty. You can contact your retailer and arrange a meter test. Be aware that the test is at your cost unless the meter is found to be faulty. It is rare for meters to be faulty, so a meter test should be the last resort.
If you know how to read your meter you can keep track of your usage between bills and check that your bills are correct when you receive them.
There are different types of gas meters.
Dial gas meters:
- Records your usage in cubic feet.
- Are read left to right.
- Only read the first four dials from the left.
The dials rotate in different directions and you should take the lower number if the hand is between two numbers (except if between 0 and 9, which would be recorded as a 9).
Digital gas meters:
- Records your usage in cubic metres.
- Are read from left to right.
- You ignore any red numbers.
For further information on how to read your meters visit the Government of South Australia's website.
Calculating your usage
Your gas meter records your usage in cubic meters or cubic feet.
By taking the current reading and subtracting the previous reading, you can calculate your usage for the period.
For digital meters recording cubic meters, take the number between the two readings and multiply it by 38.61
- e.g. 12 cubic meter x 38.61 MJ/cubic meter = 463.32 megajoules (MJ) of gas.
For dial meters recording cubic feet, take the number between the two readings and multiply it by 1.09
- e.g. 425 cubic feet x 1.09 MJ/cubic feet = 463.25 megajoules (MJ) of gas.
You can now divide the number of megajoules you have used by the number of days between the readings to get your daily average.