Wherever gas or electric meters are placed outdoors, you will always find that they are covered by a meter box. Meter boxes are essential in both domestic and commercial/industrial settings. They protect the apparatus of the meter itself from the elements, extremes of temperature, vandalism, tampering and anything else that might impede the meter’s function or create a safety issue. A property’s gas and electricity meters are absolutely vital in reporting the occupant’s usage to energy suppliers.
Whenever a household or business switches energy suppliers, the new supplier assumes responsibility for ensuring that the meter works properly. The caveat of this, however, is that the consumer is responsible for the upkeep of the gas or electricity meter box that protects the meter. There are many reasons why households may want to replace their meter boxes. The meter box may have been damaged by the weather, vandalism or wear and tear. Or the owner may simply decide that they want a box that better suits their exterior design concept.
Whatever the reason, the occupant is responsible for replacing their own meter box. Which begs the question, how much does it cost to replace a gas or electrical meter box?
Let’s take a look.
Different types of meter boxes
There are many different types of meter boxes available on the market. There are boxes designed to fit electricity meters, boxes designed to fit gas meters, and boxes for all kinds of different meter placement.
Let’s take a closer look at the different types on the market:
- Surface mount- These are the most common types of meter box and are mounted on the external wall of a building.
- Flush mount- These are actually recessed into the brickwork of a property, resulting in a mounting that appears flush from the outside.
- Underground- Commonly used for gas and water meters, underground meter boxes are embedded in the ground rather than wall-mounted. They can be either semi-submersible or fully submersible.
Factors that affect the cost of meter boxes
When you compare meter box prices, you’ll notice that there’s quite a lot of variation in cost between different units. Let’s take a look at some of the factors that might affect the cost of your meter box:
- Type of meter box: Whether surface mount, flush mount, underground etc.
- Size of the meter box: Larger gas or electric meter boxes will generally cost more as they cost more to make
- Material: Plastic meter boxes are generally cheaper than their metal counterparts
- Brand: As with most consumer products, bigger and more trusted brands tend to command a higher price
- IP rating: A meter box’s IP rating measures how weatherproof it is. The higher the rating, the higher the cost is likely to be
- Location: Urban areas may require a more robust meter box than rural areas due to the increased risk of wear, damage or vandalism
- Any features or accessories: Lockable doors, additional weatherproofing, fireproofing, and replacement keys or fittings will all add to the cost slightly
- Installation: While you can legally replace your own meter box when keeping it in the meter’s current location, if you want to move a gas or electric meter box you will need to get a professional. This will likely create an extra cost. In some cases your energy supplier will need to install the meter – particularly for a gas meter – so you should speak to them first if you’re planning to have your meter moved. They will be able to give you a guide price for the work – and if you are on the priority services register they will likely do it for free.
You will also need the help of a qualified electrician if you need to make any changes that involve disconnecting the electricity supply or gas.
Average costs of meter boxes
Because there are so many variables to factor into the cost of meter boxes, getting an average cost can be quite tricky. However, we can provide a rough average of different product types to give consumers an idea of what they can expect to pay.
Take a look at the table below to see an average cost for your replacement meter box:
Average Price Range
|Plastic Electric Meter Box||£68.99-£109.99|
|Metal Electric Meter Box||£120-£215|
|Plastic Gas Meter Box||£54.99-£127.99|
|Metal Gas Meter Box||£150-£185|
|Submersible Gas Meter Box||£46-£145|
Where to buy meter boxes
There are numerous locations where meter boxes can be purchased. If you want to go to a physical retailer, you’ll find meter boxes at all kinds of hardware stores and electrical supplies outlets. This is a good option if you want to get a good idea of the look and feel of a meter box prior to installation. However, since physical retailers have more overhead costs, you can expect to pay a little extra when you visit them.
Online retailers are often cheaper. However, it’s important to spend some time investigating each store’s social proof (online reviews, customer testimonials etc.) to ensure that they offer a high standard of customer service and support alongside their favourable prices. If you’re buying online, don’t make the mistake of assuming that free delivery comes as standard. Delivery fees may be applied and will need to be factored into your overall budget for the project.
Speaking of your budget, it’s important to factor in any supplemental costs on top of the meter box itself. Your meter box will usually come complete with all the necessary fittings, however, you may need to factor in the cost of extra keys, spare parts for future repairs, delivery fees and installation costs if you plan on having a professional install your new meter box.
Don’t forget that you may enjoy further savings when shopping online by actively searching for discount codes at voucher code sites, which are updated regularly. Following meter box suppliers on social feeds is also a great way to stay up-to-date with all their discounts and special offers.
Conclusion: Is it worth the cost of replacing my meter box?
If your meter box is damaged, you should absolutely rectify the situation as soon as possible. Damaged gas and electrical meter boxes can leave the meters vulnerable to the elements, wear and tear or vandalism. Unless you replace your meter box quickly, you may become liable for the cost of repairs or replacements to your utility meters. Now that you know the approximate cost of a replacement meter box and other ancillary costs to consider, you can start preparing to replace your meter box.
However, if your budget will not allow for a replacement, it may be cheaper to repair your meter box by replacing the damaged parts. A replacement door, for instance (one of the most commonly damaged parts of a meter box), will typically cost between £29.99 and £57.99 including VAT. This can help you to protect your meter at a lower cost than replacing the whole box.