How to read your electricity meter

When is the last time you read your electricity meter? Knowing how to read your electricity meter is useful for keeping track of your electricity usage and alerting you to any discrepancies.

Meters show a measure of how much electricity is being used. There are many different types of meters these days that read and display information differently, and they can be unclear if you don’t know how to read one. Below we provide a list of how to read the most common types of electricity meters; dial, odometer, digital, smart and solar meters.

Dial Meters

A dial meter has several small clock faces. To conduct a reading, note the numbers on each clock face, from left to right. If a pointer is between two numbers, note the lower number. If it is between 0 and 9, note 9. Ignore the additional dial labelled 1/10 as this is not used to calculate your meter reading.

Your usage for the period is calculated by subtracting the meter reading from your last electricity bill with the meter reading you obtained.

Odometer Meters

Much like the odometer in your car, numbers are read from left to right, showing five digits of kilowatt-hours of electricity that you have used. This meter gives a direct readout of the total amount of electricity.

Digital Meters

This meter automatically cycles through various readings, therefore, all you have to do is wait and watch as the various readings appear. Similarly to the odometer meter, it gives a direct readout of the amount of electricity used.

Smart Meters

Smart meters give you up to date information about your electricity consumption. These meters generally require the data to be downloaded by the service provider and is available to view via an app or online. They record energy consumption at least once an hour, allowing you to keep track of how much you are using and when.

When there is sufficient usage history, you can view it on an annual basis to see how your consumption has changed. Some smart meters have instructions for finding readings on the meter, or steps listed in the manual.

Solar Meters

Reading a basic solar meter is simple. Watching the display, it will alternate between positive and negative numbers. The positive number is the amount of electricity you have imported from the grid (this is what you see on a normal electricity meter, without solar). The negative number is the amount of electricity you’ve exported from your solar system to the grid. In other words, the amount of electricity your solar has generated is more than what your house needed to use at the time. You get paid a ’Solar Bonus Scheme’ or ’Feed-In Tariff when this is the case.

The readings don’t show all the energy produced, only the power flowing to and from the grid.

Estimate your next bill

Find your electricity bill from the previous month. Since your meter doesn’t reset to zero, you will have to subtract last months total from the current meter reading. The result will be the total kWh usage for the month. Multiply this by the amount your electricity company charges per kilowatt hour, add any fixed fees and the total should be a close estimate of your upcoming bill.

Tracking your readings can help you understand how you are consuming electricity and how to lower your impact on the environment. Looking for ways to reduce your electricity bills or go green? Call us at TropicAir Electrical. We are always standing by for any of your electrical needs.

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