To read a dial electricity meter, start reading from left to right and always choose the lower number when the dial hand is between two numbers. When the hand of the dial points directly to a number, write down that number. However, if the dial has the hand between the 9 and the 0, subtract one from the number of the dial to the left of dial. Ignore the rightmost dial when taking a reading.
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.
Many energy companies replaced older dial electricity meters with digital electricity meters. To read a digital electricity meter, start reading from left to right, and ignore the rightmost dial. Digital electricity meters may have two sets of numbers, recording energy use at peak times on one meter and energy use during the rest of the day on the other.
If your electricity company pays you for solar energy, you may have a smart electricity meter that records the amount of electricity your house contributes. A smart electricity meter displays both the energy used and energy received. These meters may use the letters "rec" to label the solar energy the electricity company received from your house and "del" to label the energy you used from the electricity company. The "rec" label does not display the total energy your solar panels produce, just the net energy that flows back into the grid.