How Do You Read an Electric Meter?


Quick Answer

To read a standard electric meter, record the numbers on the dials from right to left. Newer meters use a digital display that is read left to right. Complete instructions are available from the power company that provides the meter.

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Full Answer

Read the dials on a standard meter starting on the right-hand side and moving to the left. When the dial falls between two numbers, always record the lower number. When the dial is directly on a number, use the higher number if the dial to the right of it has passed zero; otherwise use the smaller number. Newer meters may use a digital display which is in standard left-to-right numerical form. The difference between one month's reading and the next is the amount that the user is charged for.

Standard electric meters consist of a spinning wheel turning a series of dials above it that keep track of the total electrical power flowing through the meter. The dials spin in alternating clockwise and counterclockwise directions. The wheel spins at a rate determined by the amount of electrical power flowing through the meter. That power is measured in watts and billed in kilowatt-hours, which equate to one hour's delivery of 1000 watts.

The power company that provides the electrical meter has the most accurate information on reading any particular meter installation. Contact the power company for more details on a specific meter.

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