How To Read Your Electric Meter

Being an adult is all fun and games until you’re asked to read your energy meter. 

In case you have no idea what we’re talking about, it’s that cryptic-looking dial you might find at the back of your house or in the basement of your building. Spooky!

If you’re a first-time homeowner or simply haven’t had to deal with electric meters in your lifetime yet, reading one might be intimidating. All those dials? All those numbers? And what’s the deal with some of them going counterclockwise? 

Unfortunately, figuring out your energy usage is just part of being an adult, so we’re here to make it a little easier for you.

Why should I know my electricity readings?

Understanding how much energy you consume is helpful for a few reasons. 

When you know your readings, you can easily make predictions about future usage. This helps you reduce your energy costs. 

It can also indicate when it’s time to switch suppliers (i.e., if you’ve been paying way too much for what you’re consuming).

Sounds good, but…what is an electric meter?

Your electrical meter is the device that displays your home’s electricity consumption, measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). The meter sends usage information to the corresponding energy company to generate the electricity bill for that billing cycle. Generally, this device is installed, operated, and maintained by your utility company.

Great. How do I read it?

You’ll see several dials on the face of the meter.

Reading Your Digital Electric Meter

Each dial is pointing to a number, 0 through 9. You will read the dials from left to right. Note that some will go counterclockwise.

If the pointer is in between two numbers, use the lower number. If the arrow is between the 9 and 0, use the 9 and then subtract one from the previous dial.

For example, if it’s somewhere in the middle between 1 and 2, then the pointer has passed 1 but it hasn’t passed 2. The reading is 1. 

Once you have all the numbers, you’ll end up with your reading. So, if the numbers are 1, 8, 2, 3, 5, your reading is 18,235 kilowatts/hour.

Subtract your last reading from the most recent reading to get a glimpse of your current usage.

Smart meters don’t have dials — you’ll be able just to see the reading on your screen.

That’s it! Not too scary, right?

by | Aug 29, 2022

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