For residential and commercial premises the amount of gas and electricity used is gauged and measured by meters. However not every electric meter or gas meter is the same.

Ranging from standard to digital, from dial to pre-payment, there are numerous ways in which your gas and electricity usage can be gauged, monitored and measured.

To make sure you don't end up being under or overcharged by energy companies it is important to read your meter regularly and send the numbers to your energy provider. So whether you provide meters for your tenants, use them for your home or even your business it's important to familiarise yourself with the type of meter you have.

To give you an overview of the different types of meters here are a few tips on how to read each meter across the UK.

Standard meters
Electromechanical induction meters are typically referred to as standard meters. These meters count the number of revolutions on a metal disc that simply rotates proportionally to the amount of power used. The number of these revolutions measure the amount of gas or electricity used. To read the electricity or gas meter read it from left to right recording any black numbers but excluding any red numbers.

Digital meters
Digital meters are more straightforward you just read the first five figures on the digital display ignoring a final number if it begins with 0.1. To read these figures most of the time you will need to press a button to display the reading first.

Dial meters
Typically dial meters comprise of six dials, which again you read from left to right. Just read the first five dials. Start with the 10,000kWh dial on the left and stop after the 1 kWh dial.

There may be a final red dial but ignore this if it is present. When you review the dial needle if it is positioned between two figures then the figure that needs to be recorded is the one that the needle has just passed.

If the needle is between 9 and 0, reduce the reading taken on the previous dial by one; eg: if on the previous dial you recorded 4, simply reduce this to 3.

Prepayment meters or electric coin meters
A pre-payment meter is one where you pay upfront before using gas or electricity. The standard prepayment meters have either a single or two-rate reading. Topping up a pre-payment meter is typically based on how much you aim to use. Users on low incomes that struggle to pay their gas or electric bills are asked to use a pre-payment meter by their provider and in many situations a landlord will have one installed for managing gas and electric supply for tenants.

Smart meters
Smart Meters differ from other meters as they send the usage and billing information directly to the gas or electricity provider so that manual and estimated readings are no longer needed. The biggest benefit is that bills are naturally based on 100% directly accurate readings.

The UK government has intentions for every home to be fitted with smart meters and inline with this many gas and electricity providers have already started fitting these. An estimated 30 million homes will be fitted with smart meters by 2020.

Giving your meter readings to your supplier
Submitting your meter readings online to suppliers is a growing trend. This can be done as long as you have your account number and personal details at hand. You can also phone your supplier with your readings, as long as you have your account details.

If you cannot read your gas or electric meter what do you do?
When a person is physically unable to take their own meter readings, such as if they are disabled, they can contact their gas or electricity supplier and ask if they can come and take a meter reading for them.

People of pensionable age, restricted by a disability or chronically sick are eligible for a range of free services. You can take advantage of this by simply asking your supplier to let you join their Priority Services Register (PSR). This can make your life simpler in these circumstances.

Whichever type of meter you have, if you aren't happy with it or feel they could be due for an upgrade, simply contact your existing supplier to see how much changing them will cost and find out if this could be done for free. Alternatively you can take advantage of the services that can provide.