How to Read Your Electric Meter? Full Guide

how to read electric meter

To keep track of your electric energy consumption, learn how to read your own electric meters.

Until they receive an unexpectedly high electric bill, many homeowners never think to check their electricity meter. However, merely glancing at the data on your electric meter will be useless if you lack the knowledge necessary to understand what it means.

Kilowatt-hour (kWh) units are used by your electric meter, a precise device, to measure the flow of electricity. To compare your energy use during the heating season to the number of degree days during the same time period, compare your energy use during the cooling season to the number of degree days.

When reading a digital meter, read it from left to right like you would a car odometer. How to read your electric meter is shown here.

How to Read Your Electric Meter?

Electric meters come in three different variations. You might have a dial electric meter, a digital electric meter, or a smart electric meter. It’s not too difficult to learn how to read a meter once you’ve identified the type that you have.

Which one you have at home can affect your electrical bill and requires different reading techniques. We have outlined how to read your electric meter in the following steps:

Dial Electric Meter

Dial Electric Meter

Electric meters with dials, also known as analog meters, typically have 4-6 dials on the face. The central disk, which controls these dials, moves as the electricity is used, turning the dials.

Record the dial numbers that each arrow is pointing at in order to read this kind of meter. The numbers must be entered from left to right. The readout, using the image above as an illustration, would be 61820.

Pick the smaller of two numbers if you can. You will need to locate your most recent electric bill to find this number, which represents kilowatts per hour (kWh), as your meter won’t be reset. How much electricity you used last month can be calculated by deducting it from the total on your meter.

Digital Electric Meter

Digital Electric Meter

Things are a lot simpler if you have a digital meter. Simply search for the number on the display face to find it. After that, to determine your current electricity usage, use your most recent electric bill and subtract the sum from the reading on your electric meter.

If there are daytime and nighttime numbers, that is something to be aware of. Utilizing electricity during peak times occasionally results in higher costs. To learn if there is a tariff on electricity during specific hours, you may need to contact your electrical provider.

Smart Electric Meter

Smart Electric Meter

Your kWh should be displayed on a smart electric meter similar to a digital meter so you can more easily determine your electricity usage. You might also be able to track your usage using an online energy monitor, depending on the kind of smart meter you have.

Smart meters can track your electricity usage based on the time of day it is used, just like digital electric meters can. Smart meters actually track at 30-minute intervals, enabling electric companies to impose peak, daytime, and nighttime rates.

Additionally, you don’t have to accept your current meter if you don’t like it. With your help, we can guide you through the process of having your electrical panel’s wiring and meter replaced.

About Electric Meters

The watt is the fundamental unit used to measure electrical power. A kilowatt is one thousand watts. A kilowatt-hour (kWh) is equal to the amount of energy used if it is 1000 watts in one hour. Your electric company charges you per kWh.

how to read electric meter

The electricity flowing through the typical electric power meter powers a device that resembles a clock. The home draws current from the power lines, which causes a set of tiny gears inside the meter to turn.

The dials that are visible on the meter’s face are used to keep track of the number of revolutions. The amount of current drawn determines how quickly the gears rotate; the more power used at any given moment, the faster the gears will turn.

When reading an electric meter, read and write down the numbers as shown on the dials from right to left. Look at the dial to the right when the cursor is directly over a number. Use the next higher number if it has increased from zero.

Use the smaller number if it hasn’t reached zero. The value of the dial to your extreme right should be noted first, followed by the remaining numbers as you reach them. When a dial’s hand is between two numbers, choose the lower of the two.

Further Reading: Smart Meter Not Working: How to Solve It?

What to Do When Your Electrical Usage Spikes?

There are some things you can do to reduce your electricity usage if your electric meter shows that it has increased but you haven’t added anything to your backyard, like a hot tub, to cause it to do so.

how to read electric meter
  • Have your electrical system inspected – Your electrical usage may occasionally increase if there is a problem with your electrical system. Our electricians can perform an electrical inspection to help identify the source of the issue with your electrical system since it can be challenging to pinpoint the issue’s location.
  • Replace your electrical breaker panel – You risk having too much electricity flow through your electrical breaker panel when it’s broken. Sometimes a single circuit is a problem, but other times you need to install a whole breaker panel to replace a broken one.
  • Check for electricity thieves – Even though it’s a rare occurrence, shady electricity thieves may occasionally use your outdoor outlets, causing a spike in your electric usage. You can avoid this issue by equipping your outdoor electrical outlets with locking covers.
  • Contact your electric provider – It’s likely that your electric provider can tell you if you don’t have a meter that records when you use electricity. Once you are aware of the peak times for electricity use, you can take action to lower your consumption during those periods.
  • Have your meter replaced – Electric companies take their responsibility to replace meters seriously. If it is evident that the meter is broken and overcharging you, you can get a new one installed.

Conclusion: Read Your Electric Meter

A dial meter should be read from right to left, one dial at a time, and the numbers should be recorded in the same sequence, from right to left. Record the number that the pointer just passed on each dial, beginning with the one on the extreme right.

Your meter reading will enable the electric company to generate an accurate bill for you. Instead of estimating how much electricity you use, they bill you based on readings from your meter. Most meters are scheduled to be read every two months outside of self-read areas.


Do I Press a Or B on My Electric Meter?

Here’s how to find your readings if your smart electricity meter has two rates (typically a day rate and a less expensive night rate). For the meter readings to appear, press the “B” button for 2 seconds. To navigate through the meter’s screens, press the “A” button.

How Much is 1 KWh Equal To?

A kilowatt-hour is 1,000 watts used for one hour. A 100-watt light bulb, for instance, would use one kilowatt-hour if it was on for ten hours. Here are a few examples of electrical appliances that can be found in most homes.

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