How To Read Your Meter
You can monitor your electric usage between bills by learning to read your meter. By reading your meter at the same time each day, you will get an idea of the amount of electricity you used. By writing each daily reading in an “Energy Diary,” you can “chart” increases and decreases in energy use. By making notes when a particular energy activity is done like running the air conditioner, doing laundry, or cooking, you will know how your “energy dollar” is being spent.
Your meter has several dials that look something like watch faces. These dials have pointers that turn very slowly when electricity is being used. They keep track of the amount of electricity flowing through the meter by measuring kilowatt-hours. The dials are similar to the odometer on your car where the number on the right records the smallest increments of travel. On an electric meter the dial on the right records one kilowatt-hour at a time.
How to Read Your Electric Meter
Notice that some of the dial hands on your meter turn “clockwise” and some turn “counter-clockwise.” Read the dials from right to left and write the numbers down in the same order. If the pointer is between the numbers, record the smaller number. When the pointer appears to be directly on a number, look back at the dial to the right. If the pointer on that dial has passed zero, that indicates the dial has made a complete revolution and you should record the number the pointer is on. If the dial to the right has not passed zero, record the next lowest number to the pointer.
Subtract the previous reading from the present reading to determine your usage. To calculate the cost of the energy you used, multiply the number of kilowatt-hours by the cost per kilowatt-hour. Take a look at your electric bill to find your cost per kilowatt-hour.
Remember, just reading a meter alone will not save money; however, it will help you become more aware of how much electricity you use, and being aware is the first step to saving energy and money.
Meter Reading Quiz
Test your skills with these meter reading examples.