Everyone with an older gas meter is being warned they could be overpaying on their energy bills by hundreds or even thousands of pounds.

The issue is due to an error in how their usage is being recorded, as people are being warned to check their gas meter and their energy bill for discrepancies.

Paul Hampson, Managing Director of CEL Solicitors, who specialise in cases of mis-selling and mis-pricing, said the error could be costing customers.

He explained: “The error occurs when gas and energy providers mistakenly believe that a customer’s meter reading is an imperial measurement – cubic feet – rather than metric, which is in cubic meters.

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“This is probably due to a new meter being fitted but the relevant paperwork not being processed.

“Consumption is measured using either of these two scales, while people are actually billed in kilowatt hours (kWh).

“To switch 100 cubic feet into cubic meters, which is how the conversion works, means multiplying by 2.82.

“But if an energy provider wrongly believes a customer is still using an imperial meter and metric readings are unnecessarily converted, they are left holding a bill almost three times higher than intended.

“Therefore, when meter information is incorrect it can and does result in costing customers hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds a year.”

Paul added: “The first step should be to identify which measurement is being used, metric or imperial. Imperial will display phrases like ‘ft³’ or ‘cubic feet’ while metric meters will show ‘M³,’ ‘M’ or ‘cubic metres’.

“You should do the same check to identify whether your supplier is recording metric or imperial readings. Look for the same indications on your utility bill.”

If the information isn’t shown on your bill then you should contact your supplier to find out, he explained.

While another indicator that something isn’t adding up would be your meter giving you five digits to report to your supplier but only four digits are accepted when you submit the result.

This issue was highlighted by BBC Watchdog in 2008. In 2016, the issue of misreporting meter readings came up again.

In 2016, OFGEM stated: “The affected supplier has taken action to identify affected customers, and through Energy UK, notified other suppliers that they may be affected by the same issue.”