Understanding Your Gas Meter

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Gas is a reliable and responsive source of power, which could explain why more than two million Aussies use natural gas in their homes. Whether it’s for cooking, heating or certain appliances, gas has a range of useful functions, as well as being quite a cost-effective way of powering your home.

Now, you may think that households are all billed the same way for using gas, however it will depend on a few factors which we’ll discuss in this guide. To get you up to speed, we’ll cover:

But before we dive in, let’s glance over the basics.

What is a gas meter?

gas meter

A gas meter is a device that records natural gas consumption in households and businesses, which is relayed to energy retailers for billing purposes. A property’s gas usage is measured in megajoules (MJ) and recorded by a gas meter. Most gas appliances will detail energy consumption in terms of megajoule-hours (MJ/h), meaning an oven with an input of 20 MJ/h will use 20 MJs in one hour.

Gas Meter Types

The two main types of gas meters in Australia are imperial and metric meters. The type of gas meter connected to a property will depend on the gas pressure available in that specific area and the type of regulator on the gas meter. Here are the differences between the two gas meter types:

  • Gas imperial meter: Measures gas usage in ‘cubic feet’ with multiple cyclonic dials on the display. Gas imperial meters are being phased out and are normally found in older homes.
  • Gas metric meter: Measures gas usage in ‘cubic meters’ (M3) with a digital display of numbers on the panel. All new homes will be equipped with a gas metric meter.

Where is my gas meter located?

Gas meter on external house wall

The location of your gas meter will depend on what type of house you live in, as well as when the property was built. If you live in a standalone house, your gas meter would usually be positioned on a rear exterior wall or front porch, within proximity of your electricity meter. Older homes may have gas meters located in the garage, hallway, laundry or even under the kitchen sink.

For those living in apartments, townhouses or multi-dwelling buildings, your gas meter could be in the basement, carpark or under the kitchen sink. If you’re unsure of its location, contact your body corporate or talk to the building manager.

Compare Gas Prices

Gas Plans Compared in VIC

Here are some of the cheapest gas deals on our database for VIC. These estimated annual costs are based on the Australian Gas Network in Melbourne and yearly gas usage of 29,830MJ, but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest estimated cost. This table includes products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Gas Plans Compared in NSW

Here are some of the cheapest gas deals on our database for NSW. These estimated annual costs are based on the Jemena Gas Network in Sydney and yearly gas usage of 18,542MJ, but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest estimated cost. This table includes products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Gas Plans Compared in WA

Here are some of the cheapest gas deals on our database for WA. These estimated annual costs are based on the ATCO Network in Perth and yearly gas usage of 7,672 (units), but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest estimated cost. This table includes products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Gas Plans Compared in SA

Here are some of the cheapest gas deals on our database for SA. These estimated annual costs are based on the Australian Gas Network in Adelaide and yearly gas usage of 11,875MJ, but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest estimated cost. This table includes products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Gas Plans Compared in QLD

Here are some of the cheapest gas deals on our database for QLD. These estimated annual costs are based on the Australian Gas Network in Brisbane and yearly gas usage of 6,842MJ, but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest estimated cost. This table includes products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

How to read your gas meter

Before reading your gas meter, you’ll need to identify which type of meter your property is connected to – imperial or metric. Imperial gas meters tend to be a little trickier as you’ll need to read each dial, while metric gas meters look more like a car odometer. Better yet, a digital smart meter will display the numbers on a screen, making it easy to interpret.

Imperial Gas Meter Reading

Take note of the pointer on each dial and record the numbers from left to right. If a pointer is positioned between two numbers on a dial, always read the lowest number. Some old imperial gas meters may have an additional two dials on the top or bottom which are for testing purposes only, so disregard them. Once you’ve noted the numbers from each dial, you’ll need to convert it from cubic feet into cubic metres, with one cubic metre roughly equal to 35.3 cubic feet. The meter pictured below reads 7,205 cubic feet, making it about 204 cubic metres.

imperial gas meter

Metric Gas Meter Reading

The meter should have a display panel of about eight numbers with M3 next to it. Record each number from left to right, ignoring the numbers in red as these are for testing. If you have a digital gas meter, you’ll need to move the decimal point within the sequence of numbers over two spaces. For example, it may read 17.225, which equals 1,722.5 cubic metres. The metric gas meter below reads 1,374 cubic metres.

metric gas meter

Who reads your gas meter?

Gas meter readings are carried out by your energy distributor – a company that owns and maintains the gas pipes and infrastructure in your region. Once a representative from the distributor has conducted a meter read, that information will be passed onto your energy retailer who looks after your bills. Distributors normally read gas meters every three months.

How do I find my gas meter number?

Your gas meter number should be listed somewhere on your gas bill, which matches the number that is physically imprinted on your gas meter. Typically, your gas meter number will be located on a face plate in plain sight, either on top or the bottom of the meter. In NSW, gas meter numbers usually begin with two letters followed by six numbers (i.e. AB123456), while in Victoria, they’ll have four numbers followed by two letters (i.e. 1234AB).

What are your responsibilities with your gas meter?

You must provide safe and clear access to your gas meter for maintenance, meter readings and supply connections or disconnections. On your gas bill, there should be a scheduled date of the next meter reading, so make sure there are no obstructions present, such as a locked gate or unsecured dog. Failure to provide safe and clear access will result in your energy retailer estimating your next bill.

Can you save money by reading your own meter?

Lady with notepad writing down gas meter reading

If you’re questioning a recent gas bill, then it could be because your energy retailer has sent you an estimated reading, meaning the bill amount is based off your property’s historical usage habits. This would normally only happen if the distributor does not have safe and clear access to your gas meter.

However, if you’d prefer to ensure your bills are based off accurate data from your meter, you can submit an actual meter reading to your energy retailer, either through its website or via an app. This will take a lot of the guess work out with estimated readings and give you peace of mind once your next bill arrives.

Understanding your gas bill

By having a better understanding of your gas bill, you’ll be able to recognise how much you’re spending, and find ways to reduce overall utility costs. If you’re one of many Aussies who rely on natural gas it’s worth getting familiar with your meter, just in case you ever need to record a reading on the back of a larger than expected bill.

No matter your circumstances, if you haven’t compared gas prices recently, you may be missing out on deals better suited to your budget and needs. Rather than scanning endless gas supplier websites for plans and prices, use our free comparison tool below. You can compare a wide range of gas deals in your area in minutes. Get started now.

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Image credits: garmoncheg/Shutterstock.com, ermess/Shutterstock.com, Peter Horrax/Shutterstock.com, Wikipedia Commons, Yevhen Prozhyrko/Shutterstock.com, Denis Klimov 3000/Shutterstock.com

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