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Why is my bill based on an estimated meter read?


It doesn’t happen often, but there are a few reasons why your energy bill might be based on an estimated meter read. Here’s what you need to know.

First, confirm that your bill is actually based on an estimate. This will be written on the first page, above the account summary section and on the second page under the consumption charges. For more information on how to read the components of your bill, watch this video.

Next, it’s important to understand how your energy usage information is collected. Unless you have a smart meter, which can be read remotely, a contracted meter reader will visit your property approximately every 90 days. Regardless of which energy retailer you’re with, all meters in the ACT are read by the same contracted company.

The reason you would have received an estimated bill is because the contracted meter reader was unable to gather an actual read. This may be due to them:

  1. Being unable to locate your meter.
  2. Having trouble accessing your meter (for example, if it’s in a garage, behind overgrown vegetation or other equipment, or inside a locked fence or meter box).
  3. Bumping into your pet and not being able to get into your property.
  4. Discovering that your meter is damaged.
  5. Having to meet COVID-safe guidelines.
  6. Other unique circumstances at the time of attempting to read the meter, such as bee or wasp nests.

If this is the case, the meter data provider will give us an estimated reading and this is used to determine your bill amount.

You’ll only pay for the energy you’ve used

As soon as a meter reading is successfully taken, we’ll adjust your bills accordingly.

You can either wait for your next scheduled meter reading to take place, or have your estimated bill reissued with an actual reading. Here’s how to have your bill reissued:

  1. If you have a manually-read meter, you can submit your own meter reading. It’s quick and easy—details on how to do this can be found at How do I read my meter?
  2. Request another attempt to read your meter. Call us on 13 14 93 and we’ll arrange to send someone out.

How to prevent an estimated meter read

Know when the contracted meter reader is coming

Your next scheduled read date can be found on the back of your bill. The meter reader may visit your property three business days either side of this date, so it’s a good idea to be prepared.

Ensure your meter can be read successfully

  • Provide clear and safe access to your meter, preferably from the front of your property along a driveway or grass passageway.
  • Ensure any padlocks are removed.
  • Unlock any gates or you may need to be home to provide access.
  • Keep your pets away from where the meter reader needs to be. 

Upgrade your electricity meter for free*

New electricity meters are digital and can be read remotely. This means once it’s installed, it won’t need to be manually read by a contracted meter reader.

Other benefits of a new meter:

  • Track your daily electricity usage at My.ActewAGL anytime, without waiting for your next bill. (Allow up to 48 hours for recent usage information to be available.)
  • Make informed choices about how and when you use your electricity—which could save you money.
  • Switch to a new electricity pricing plan and change the way you’re billed. Find out more about new smart meter pricing plans.

As your energy retailer we can organise the installation of your new meter for you, for free*. Find out more and request your upgrade today.

Upgrade my meter

We’re here for you

We appreciate it can be frustrating to see an estimated reading on your bill. Please be assured that as soon as we receive an actual reading of your energy use, your bills will always be corrected and you’ll only ever pay for the energy you’ve used.

If you’d like to know more or have any questions, please submit your enquiry by logging in to My.ActewAGL and selecting Contact Us under the More tab. Or you can speak to a local Energy Consultant on 13 14 93 between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday.

*Terms and conditions

There is no upfront cost to have the new meter installed. However in some instances you may be required to have additional work completed by an electrician before we can install your new meter. In this case, your meter won't be installed on the first visit and we will contact you to discuss next steps.

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