Electricity Meter Types - Everything You Need To Know

What do the numbers on your electricity meter mean and how can you use them to save money? Find out how to read different types of meter displays today.

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by Gary Andrews

Last update 1 May 2021

Overview

It's a good idea to know how to read your electricity meter as this allows you to remain aware of how much energy your household is using.

This way it's easy to determine how much energy you have used in a billing period, which can give you a better idea of how much it costs.

Simply record the number on your meter at the start of your billing period, then subtract that from the number you see at the end of the billing period in order to find out how much energy (in kilowatt hours) you have used.

Unless you have a smart meter, a meter reader will need to visit your home to physically read the meter.

If the meter reader is unable to access the meter, you may receive an estimated bill based off of your previous usage.

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It's best to ensure that your meter is always accessible in order to achieve an accurate reading. See below for instructions on how to read different types of meter displays:

Dial Display

A dial display meter will have four to six dials that resemble clock faces. Each dial indicates a range of 0 through 9.

Moving from left to right, record the number on each dial in order to obtain your total usage.

If the indicator is between numbers, record the lower of the two numbers.

The exception is when the dial is between 0 and 9, in which case you should write down 9.

Cyclometer (Odometer) Display

The number displayed represents your energy usage in kilowatt hours.

Simply read the digits from left to right and record the number.

Electronic Display

A flat-rate electronic display will typically have one setting that shows total kilowatt hours used.

Smart meters and interval meters have a range of display options that could include total kilowatt hours, off peak usage, hot water usage, or solar energy.

You can usually scroll through these manually by pushing the display button, though some meters are set to cycle through the displays automatically.

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This guide is opinion only and should not be taken as financial advice. Check with a financial professional before making any decisions.