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Are you losing money due to faulty electricity meter clocks?

Clock with light

They say time is money. But would you be surprised to hear that simply checking the clock on your electricity meter could save you hundreds of pounds a year? Clocks showing the wrong time are going unnoticed…

That’s the experience of a number of Which? members who have told us about problems with time-of-use tariffs, such as Economy 7 or Economy 10.

These types of tariff offer electricity at a cheaper rate during some hours and a higher one the rest of the time.

So, if your meter clock is wrong, you may find you’ve been charged over-the-odds for what you thought was cheaper electricity.

That’s what happened to Which? member Gary Day, who told us he found his own and his neighbours’ meter clocks were up to three hours out.

Thousands in over-payments

GaryRetired engineer Gary only spotted the problem when he went away for a few months, leaving just his heating on during the low-rate hours. When he returned he was shocked to discover a bill showing he had used most of his electricity at the higher rate.

Gary then found his and his neighbours’ clocks were all telling the wrong time and has told us how they won back about £2,300 in over-payments from supplier Swalec. He told us:

‘I have only checked four meters and every single one of them was wrong. I am horrified that there are probably hundreds of others that have these clock errors and don’t realise it.’

Checking your clock

Swalec said staff don’t have to check the clocks when they read meters – but added if they happen to notice any problems they must report them.

Unless the customer owns the meter, it is the supplier’s responsibility to ensure meter clocks are correct. However, current rules don’t require suppliers to check the clocks.

They do say suppliers must take ‘reasonable steps’ to ensure the accuracy of the amount and time the electricity was supplied – but this isn’t exactly the same thing.

If you suspect your electricity meter is faulty, the supplier must investigate. But this means the emphasis is on you to check.

And that’s not always simple. Peak and off-peak times vary between tariffs, regions and seasons. Add the fact that the clock can be hard to find on many meters and it can become a pretty tricky task.

Do you think it’s fair that suppliers don’t have to check the accuracy of clocks? Have you found that your own clock is inaccurate?


There is a great deal of structural work involved in a heat pump system and the need to have vast amounts of heat outlets doesn’t help either. Supplemented with an additional boiler, it makes better sense, but that’s a lot of pipe work which ever way it is installed. It is all very well pinching heat from nature, but I would look to solar and wind as a better source for a modern house on an estate: that and some possible community heating system (with back up) in built when houses are planned. If this were electric, it could also provide power for car charging.

Anonymous says:
15 June 2021

Hi all,

I have two questions to ask if anyone knows the answers.

I have an E7 meter and my supplier says the night rate runs between midnight to 7am.

The clock for the E7 meter is an old style analogue clock which is out of synch with ‘actual’ time. Instead of switching over at midnight, the rate seems to switch over at around 8am.

I tried experimenting with the storage heaters, and between midnight to 7am they did not charge up at all, but they did charge up whilst I was at work between 8am-5pm.

My questions are:
1) Do storage heaters only turn on during the night rate, and
2) Am I charged the night rate according to the ‘actual’ time (i.e. midnight to 7am), or according to what time my E7 meter ‘thinks’ it is?