Electric Meter

Every energy company monitors the amount of electricity that each home uses during a certain billing period. This is how the company knows what to bill each consumer at the end of the month. However, smart consumers should also be monitoring their own energy usage through their home electric meter.

Every home has some type of electric meter. Some feature a series of dials while other, newer models, may have a digital display. Knowing how to read your electric meter is important because it can help you save on your monthly energy costs.

In most situations, your energy company will be able to accurately monitor your home?s energy use. However, there may be some situations where the company makes a mistake overcharges you. In these situations, if you take the time to read your own electric meter, and call the company about your mistake you can get reimbursed for the difference.

While no one ever wants to expect that their electricity company would overcharge them, it is important that you are cross-referencing your energy bill with your electric meter to make certain you are not overpaying. This can also help you monitor your energy saving efforts. If you are trying to decrease your monthly energy consumption or even your weekly consumption, this is the most accurate way to keep track of your progress an one of the most effective ways to keeping your electricity bill low.

If you have a digital electric meter, reading the device is pretty self explanatory, you just have to write down the number from the day you start managing your usage so you can do some simple subtraction and see how much your overall usage has changed.

For example if you want to see how much energy you have used in a month, write down the number on your meter on the first day of the month. Say that number is 2000. Then on the last day of the month, check your meter again, say that number is 2259. This means you used 259 kilowatts of power during that month.

Not all electric meters are this easy to read. Some electric meters will have a series of dials on them with the numbers 0-9 featured in a circle. I this is the type of meter you have, here is how you read your dial.

  • Start by reading right to left so begin with the dial farthest to the right
  • Read that dial clockwise and write down the last number the dial has moved past, not the dial it is moving towards. Write down that number.
  • Move to the dial to the left of this one, read that dial counterclockwise. Write down that number to the left of your first number.
  • Move to the dial to the left again, read this number clockwise and keep alternating between clockwise and counterclockwise, always writing down the last number the dial has passed.

Once you have written down all of your numbers, you will have your meter reading. If the first dial, the one to the farthest right read as 2, and the next one a 4 and the next one as 6, your total number would be 642.

Electric meters can sometimes be confusing to read, especially if you are attempting to figure out the dials. Just remember to always read the last number the dial has passed not the nearest number to the dial, just like you would read an odometer on a car.

Learning to read your electric meter is an imperative first step in being able to monitor your energy use and to keep yourself on track as you attempt to keep your monthly electric bills low.