Electricity Meter Access

I live in one house in a terrace of five local authority owned houses on my estate. The entire estate consists of a number of blocks of houses built in this fashion dating from around 1972. When the houses were built, it was decided that the electricity meters of each property would be placed in a 5ft x 3ft metal wall cabinet on the outside gable end wall of an end property of each terrace of houses. The cabinets also contain the electricity isolation switch for each property in the block. I pay my electricity bill by direct debit and I've found that I need to check the meter reading fairly often due to over-estimates by my electricity supplier Recently, a new tenant has moved into the end property of my terrace of houses and he has proved to be quite an objectionable and difficult character. He is very unsympathetic towards my need to check my meter and to make matters worse, the council has locked the cabinet and provided him with a key just like they've done with other terrace blocks on the estate. (continued below)
22:31 Fri 25th Jan 2008
 
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Where do I stand with this legally? Can I insist that the tenant provides me with the key so I can read my meter? Is there a law that states that a consumer should be able to read his/her own meter no matter what? As I see it, the tenant can't object to me going onto his property to request the key as the land belongs to the council - he's a tenant just like me. Alternatively, would I be within my rights to ask the council to provide a duplicate key to the cabinet so I can gain entry when I need to?

To clarify, I would like to add that each property has it's own consumer unit and the supply to each property of the terrace goes through the attic of the adjacent properties. We have approached the council to see if they would be prepared to arrange for each property to have its own meter inside the property or in a cabinet outside, but they say that cannot afford to do so for the foreseeable future.

I would be very grateful to receive any comments on this vexing matter which is causing me many sleepless nights. Thank you.

jadyn
You must have access to an isolation switch by law. The switch on or before your consumer unit (fuse box) probably conforms to this already. If there is no switch then you should have 24 hour access to the meter cupboard. Or your landlord must install an isolator.
The meter is the property of the electricity company and you have no fixed right to inspect it. However I am sure you can insist that the electric company read it after three estimated bills. The supplier has a legal obligation to inspect the meter at least every three years or they can be fined by the licensing authority. They even have to get a warrant of entry to do this when refused access.
I'd send a letter to the council requesting a key to the cupboard.
Question Author
Thanks BillyBB. Would you happen to know the particular law involved that says I have to have access to the isolation switch? I'm afraid my local council is pretty awkward in this respect and might well need the particular legislation spelt out to them.

Thanks.

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