Knowing how to read an electric meter could alert you to discrepancies on your electric bill and help you keep track of your monthly energy use. There are four types of electric meters: digital, electronic, smart meters, and traditional dial meters. Use this handy guide to help learn how to read your electric meter, no matter which kind you have.
How to Read a Digital Electric Meter
On your digital electric meter, you’ll see a series of numbers. Copy them down from left to right except for any numbers in red or surrounded by a red box. If you have two rows of numbers on your meter, copy the second row the same way. Two rows of numbers indicate that you’ll have a “day rate” and a “night rate” listed on your electricity bill.
How to Read an Electronic Electric Meter
On your electronic electric meter, you may need to press the display button to see your reading, unless it has an automatic scroll feature. Copy the numbers from left to write except any red numbers or numbers with a red background. If you have two rows of numbers, copy them down the same way.
How to Read a Smart Electric Meter
Believe it or not, a smart electric meter can be one of the most confusing to read. If your smart meter has a keypad, pressing 9 will usually bring up your readings. You will see the abbreviation “IMP KWH” followed by 8 numbers with “kWh” at the bottom of the screen. This is your reading. If your meter records day and night readings, you’ll have to hold 6 down on the keypad until you see “IMP RO1” and a series of eight numbers, which is usually your night reading. If you press and hold 6 again, you’ll see “IMP R02” followed by another eight numbers. This is usually the daytime reading. Some smart meters have instructions for finding your readings listed right on the meter; otherwise, your manual should list the steps as well.
How to Read a Dial Electric Meter
Dial meters can also be a little tricky to read. Each dial on your meter turns the opposite direction of the one that comes before it and has numbers listed between 0 and 9. Always read the dials from left to right, and if the arrow 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 the arrow of the dial you’re reading is between 9 and 0 and the one before it reads 7, record 9 and 6. Ignore the last dial on the right.
Once you’ve recorded your electric meter reading, find your electric bill from the previous month. Since your meter will never reset to zero, you’ll have to subtract last month’s total from your current reading. The result will be your total kWh usage for the current month. Multiply this by the amount your electric company charges per kilowatt hour and add any fixed fees. The total should be a close estimate of your current bill. If you notice a significant difference in the total of your actual bill when it arrives, first double check your calculations, then call your electric company. Tracking your meter readings can give you a better understanding of your energy consumption habits and help you control your impact on the environment.