To read a house's dial electricity meter, record the numbers on the dials from right to left. If the dial pointer is between two numbers, use the lower number. If the dial pointer is directly on a number, use the next lowest number, unless the pointer on the dial to its immediate right has already passed zero. Note that some dial pointers spin clockwise while others spin counterclockwise, but they always rotate in the direction in which the numbers increase.
As a house draws current from the power supply lines, electricity moving through a dial meter turns a set of gears inside the device to move the dial pointers. The speed at which the gears move is directly proportional to the amount of current the home draws.
The watt is the basic unit of electrical power, and 1,000 watts equals 1 kilowatt. Electric utilities bill customers by the kilowatt-hour. A kilowatt-hour is simply the power used, in kilowatts, multiplied by the number of hours over which it was used. So if, for example, a 100 watt light bulb burns for 10 hours, it has used 1 kilowatt-hour.
Some utility companies use a digital electricity meter. With this device, simply read the numbers from left to right, in a similar manner to an automobile odometer.