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Paul Coughran

Paul Coughran

Updated 01/08/2021

How to read and understand your gas bill


If you're wondering how to read your gas meter, or why you should, you've come to the right place.

Your gas meter provides an indication of your household gas usage.

It will display a series of digits, representing either cubic metres or cubic feet, depending on your gas meter type.

This information will be converted to megajoules (MJ) on your energy bill.

Key Points

  • There are two types of gas meters: Imperial and metric.

  • They both differ in their appearance and units of measurement.

  • Reading your gas meter will give you a better idea of your household gas consumption.


So, why should you learn how to read your gas meter?

Checking on your gas meter will help to keep you informed about your gas consumption and energy costs.

In the event that you receive an estimated bill, you will be able to read your meter to confirm the actual usage.

When an estimated bill is sent to you, this can mean one of three things.

  • Your meter reader was unable to access your meter to read the data

  • The meter reader has been unable to provide your supplier with the data

  • You have submitted your own meter reading to your supplier

If you're unsure about which gas meter you have in your home, we'll help you determine this.

Where can I find my gas meter?

Your gas meter should be located either at the front or back of your property.

In some cases, it could even be located inside your home.

This is more commonly found in older properties.

If you live in a unit, apartment or townhouse, you will usually find your gas meter in the same location as your other meters, all in one central area.

If you live in an older unit or apartment block, you may find there is only one gas meter shared across the whole property.

In these cases, your landlord will determine the amount charged for usage by residents.

How do you know which meter is yours for sure?

Every meter, whether water, electricity or gas, has an identifier number on it.

Your gas meter will have what's called a "Meter Installation Reference Number" (MRIN) and you can find it on your gas bill.

What type of meter do I have?

You will have either a metric meter or an imperial meter.

You can determine which meter you have based on the way the digits are displayed.

If your digits are displayed horizontally, you have an imperial meter.

If your digits are displayed within round dials, you have a metric meter.

If you are still unsure, check out the images below to confirm which gas meter type you have.

You can also learn more about the different types of meters here.

How to read an imperial meter

Imperial meters have dials instead of digits.

They measure usage in cubic feet.

The hands on each dial rotate in alternating directions, as indicated by green arrows on the graphic below.

Each dial will represent one digit.

Record the digit on each dial, from left to right.

For example, see below:

This meter would read 7848.

If a dial hand is positioned in between two numbers, record the lower number.

In other words, you always round down.

The exception is when the dial is between 0 and 9, in which case you should write down 9.

For example, in the first dial above, the hand is between the 9 and 8.

Because the dial is turning anti-clockwise, you will read the number here as 8.

How to read a metric meter

As you may have noted in the above images, metric meters display digits instead of dials.

They look similar to an odometer you would find in a vehicle and they update in the same way.

Unlike imperial meters, metric meters measure in cubic metres.

Reading a metric meter is simple.

All you need to do is record the digits on display from left to right.

The below example reads 17246.46.

Note that in Victoria and South Australia, the red numbers should be omitted.

In New South Wales all numbers should be included.

To find out the amount of gas used in your home, record your meter reading at the start of your billing period and subtract the number from the meter reading at the end of your billing period.

You can convert this number to megajoules by using the following formula:

Difference between readings (in cubic metres) x pressure factor x heating value = megajoules used.

If you have an imperial meter, you will first need to convert the reading from cubic feet to cubic meters in order to correctly conduct the calculations.

The conversion is as follows:

1 cubic metre = 35.3 cubic feet.

Gas is typically charged in cents per megajoule, so once you have identified the number of megajoules consumed, check your tariff rates to get an indication of how much your gas consumption will cost you.


This guide is opinion only and should not be taken as financial advice. Check with a financial professional before making any decisions.

^Energy and Water Ombudsman, Ways to save on your bills, accessed 31st March 2022.

Paul Coughran is the General Manager of Emerging Verticals at Compare Club. Paul has over 20 years of experience across a wide range of industries including Banking and Finance, Telecommunications and Energy. Paul leads a team of trusted experts dedicated to helping individuals make informed decisions about their insurance and utilities needs.

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Meet our energy expert, Paul Coughran

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