Have you ever looked at those curious spinning dials on that round glass box attached to your house and wondered what it was. For those who know, that handy device is an electric meter. Even if you can identify it, you may still be left wondering how to read your own. Payless Power, your retail provider of cheap electricity in Houston, can explain how to make some sense of those dials and help you understand how to calculate your household’s monthly electricity usage. Knowing how to read your electric meter will enable you to compare your figures with what the electric company is charging you. It is also useful to monitor and record the amount of electricity you use each month to compare the changes from month to month, season to season, or from the current year to the previous years.
Something important to remember about your monthly electricity bill is that it is often based on company-specific calculations and is therefore subject to rounding while your electric meter notes the exact amount of energy you have used. As a result, you’ll be able to work with the actual figures to determine what your bill should come out to. It can pay to stay on top of your readings too, as maintaining a vigilant eye each month can help you avoid being overcharged for service.
How to Read Your Electric Meter
Types of Electric Meter
Electric meters have several basic types that are determined according to various factors including their method of display(analog or digital), type of metering point(primary and local distribution, grid, and secondary transmission), and how they are used in concert with payment(prepayment meters). These meters are read in different ways, so the first step to reading your own is determining what kind it is. Of the varieties, the easiest to read is the digital electric meter while the dial-based meters require the most amount of work. Below are step-by-step instructions aimed at teaching you how to read the different types of electric meters. An important note is that many electricity companies will not make adjustments to the number called out on the meter, meaning you will have to keep track of the updates over time as you continue to read your meter.
An electrical meter is located outside of the home or business and is responsible for measuring the electric energy consumed. This value is later used by service providers when determining the amount that must be billed at the conclusion of the month. The output of your electric meter will appear in kilowatt-hours, which can be simply multiplied by the rate your energy company is charging you to determine the total cost of your bill. Reading your electric meter is critical because when your bill comes, you do not want to be guessing how your energy company determined the amount you are responsible for pay. Even more important, you don’t want to pay more for your electricity than you need to.
Analog Electric Meter
The typical electric meter you are probably familiar with is a round glass and metal box that is usually attached to the outside of your house. The meter is enclosed in a clear container and has four or five dials inside it. Each dial is numbered 0–9 and they record the amount of kilowatts of power being used. To read the dials each month you will need to:
- Record the numbers you see starting from the left and going towards the right. If you notice that the pointer on the dial is between two numbers such as 3 and 4, you should record the lower number except when the ticker is between 0 and 9. You will always record 9 then.
- Once you have the number jotted down, subtract it from the figure from the last time you checked the meter. The answer you get will be the number of kilowatt-hours you’ve used.
- You can take the number of kilowatt-hours you’ve calculated and then multiply it by your rate to see how much you will have to pay for electricity.