Last updated on November 1st, 2019
Electric meter reading is always a black box. There is no straightforward way to determine your energy consumption… Until now. We will highlight everything you need to know about how to read your electric meter for power and energy consumptions.
Electric Meter Reading Guide: Determine Your Energy Consumption
The electric meter allows the electric supplier to calculate the energy consumption and charge its consumer for the price of electricity used. The reading of an electric meter tells the whole story that how much kilowatt electricity was consumed during the previous month.
Most of the electric meters are digital. It is quite easy to get the reading and calculate the overall monthly cost. Electric meters display numbers, which represent the amount of electricity in kilowatt/hours.
There are 1,000 watts in a kilowatt. This means that if a 100-watt bulb stays ‘on’ for one hour, it will consume 100 watts or 0.1 kilowatts.
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After discussing some basic information about an electric meter, let’s see how to conduct electric meter reading.
What is Electric Meter Reading?
These are the readings, which involve noting down the numbers displayed on an electricity meter. The numbers represent the units consumed by a household or commercial building.
The energy suppliers need these numbers to calculate the amount of total energy consumption for each month.
This is done to make sure that each consumer pays the correct amount of bill.
If your meter is working properly, there are no chances of overpaying or underpaying regarding your electricity bills.
Why Meter Readings Are So Important
Normally, when consumers switch energy supplier, they will get an estimated figure of usage rather than an accurate one. Therefore, taking meter readings makes sure that you are paying for the energy you have consumed.
If your consumption is exceeding the amount expected by the supplier, it may end up in a massive bill, payable by you. Hence, you need to keep an eye on the meter and take the correct reading periodically.
Similarly, if you consume fewer units, you can ask the supplier to lower your direct debit. This will allow you to minimize the bill and use the saved money on other things.
Therefore, providing regular meter reading to the suppliers is essential. You should do this almost every month.
You can become smarter at reading a meter by using a Fronius smart meter to make better decisions.
How to Read Digital Electric Meter Kwh
In fact, electric meter reading doesn’t involve rocket science. The most common types of electricity meters are the single-rate digital meters, variable-rate digital meters, and dial meters.
Usually, your utility will use master metering or utility sub-metering.
You should know the difference, which you can read more about here.
Single-Rate Digital Meters
As stated earlier, the basic unit to measure electricity consumption in kilowatt hours. Hence, every electricity meter measures energy in kilowatt hours (kWh).
The single-rate meter is easy to read, as it has only one set of numbers.
To start taking an electric meter reading, you need to write down all the numbers from left to right. But don’t include the number that comes after the decimal point.
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Reading an Analogue or Dial Meter Readings
These are the older versions of electric meters and are relatively hard to read. Normally, you will see four to five dials on the face of such a meter. These dials show the amount of electricity consumed.
Each of these dials moves opposite to each other. For example, if the first dial moves clockwise, the second dial shows the anti-clockwise movement.
There are small arrows in each dial, which point towards a specific number. If the arrow doesn’t point to a number on the dial, just ignore it.
To take a reading, follow the procedure mentioned below.
- Just start with the dial located on the left side
- Read the number in the dial, which is pointed by the arrow
- When you notice a pointer within two numbers, record the lower one
- If the arrow is between nine and zero, read it as a nine
- In case you observe any red dials, just ignore them
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Reading the Economy 7 Meter
In order to read the economy 7 electricity meters, just press number 6 on the electric meter’s keypad. After that, you will see ‘IMP R01’ and some 8 digits. Repeat this process to see what digits appear on the meter.
Usually, the day and night readings are different. A few meters display day readings only during the day and night readings during the night.
Hence, you won’t get both of the readings at one time.
You may see these readings as listed into Rate 1 and Rate 4 or Rate 1 and 2. The rate for day or night is different, which depends on the type of meter.
However, it may either say ‘normal’ for day and ‘low’ for the night.
Reading a Smart Meter
Reading a smart meter is similar to running an app. To start, just press number 9 on the keypad available on the meter depending on your app and smart meter. You will see different choices but for this time, just select the meter reading.
You will get an ‘IMP kWh’ reading, showing the digits that represent the consumption in ‘kWh’.
After getting this reading, you can deduct it from the previous month’s reading and get the figure.
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Top Smart Meters to Own
Consider using some of these smart meters in your home to manage your meter reading more effectively that would help you save money.
Electric Meter Reading Calculator
If you have been receiving high bills, it is essential to take a reading every month and compare it with the previous reading. This will make things more clear that how much electricity you are consuming.
Every electric appliance or device consumes electricity. The presence of these appliances in a home definitely increases an electricity bill on average.
Therefore, make sure to calculate your own tab. This will allow you to identify, which appliance is consuming more electricity. You can use any kind of alternatives to these appliances and lower your bill.
By staying aware of the electric meter reading, you can minimize the chances of receiving an overcharged bill.
If you conduct the electric meter reading by yourself, you will be sure that there is no error in it. Before we go into calculating the electricity bill, you must have a clear idea that what type of tariff or per unit cost your supplier is charging you.
Often, energy suppliers bill their clients by taking into account an estimate of their previous use. This is the biggest issue that causes electricity bills to go high.
If the supplier continues to charge you on the basis of such estimates, you will be paying for the energy that you haven’t consumed.
It usually happens when you move to a new house and receive a high electricity bill. This is the estimated bill, which your supplier calculated from the monthly usage of previous residents.
After obtaining that reading from your meter, you can calculate the total amount of kWh used. Just deduct the reading from the previous month’s reading. In this way, you will get your present month’s units.
To calculate the bill, just multiply the number of units with cost per unit. This gives you the cost of energy consumed. If your supplier is charging you a fixed fee, add it into the final figure.
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The formula for reading your electric meter and determining your energy costs
Current electric meter reading – last month reading = Total kWh used for the current month
Total kWh or units used x Cost per kWh = Total cost of Electricity consumed
Total electricity cost + Fixed fees = Final electricity bill
The equation mentioned above is easy to understand and allows you to track your energy consumption. The task is quite simple but proves to be highly essential, especially when you are receiving estimated bills.
It can save you a lot each month, making it a huge amount when you continue to save the whole year. Moreover, if you have concerns about your carbon footprint and sustainability associated with your energy consumption, you can track your electricity usage through this method.
Now when you know how to read the electric meter and calculate the cost of consumed electricity, let’s take a look at the causes of high electricity bills. Like these calculations? Consider these facts about electricity to spur your knowledge.
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What is a High Electric Meter Reading?
The most disturbing factor for your monthly budget is the high electricity bill. If you are wondering why you are getting such high bills, there are various reasons behind it.
For many years, we are witnessing a constant increase in energy bills. This rise in cost does result in raising electricity bills. However, this increase isn’t abrupt but comes gradually.
On the other hand, if you feel that your current electricity bill is much higher than the previous one, contact your supplier and share the issue. Chances are there that your supplier was sending low bills due to estimated readings.
Once the supplier knows about the difference in estimated and actual electric meter reading, they send you a bill including the additional kilowatt-hours used.
In some other cases, you need to investigate the reasons for such a hike. If the supplier has increased the tariff, you should switch to another supplier offering cheaper rates.
Even if the energy supplier tells you that there were no errors when calculating your bill, verify it on your own. You are liable to pay the full bill if there is no difference in the present and previous month’s reading.
When you don’t find anything suspicious in the bill, it’s time to see whether there are some other causes of a high electricity bill.
The following are the aspects that you should keep in mind while investigating the causes of a huge increase in your electricity bill.
See Related: Mass Metering vs Utility Sub-Metering
Issues with the Wiring
One of the culprits that are responsible for an increase in energy consumption is faulty electrical wiring. Besides, it is dangerous too, as it may cause severe damage to the home and its inhabitants.
Electrical wires that are connected loosely, cause electric leaks. This means you are losing energy without even using it.
These wires are also responsible for the irregular supply of electricity to the appliances, causing damage to them. You might save money if you switch to prepaid electricity.
Domestic appliances are known to consume a huge amount of electricity. These include washing machines, electric oven, dishwashers, heaters, and geysers.
While using the appliances regularly, they develop some faults. If you don’t keep an eye on their performance, it will cost you in terms of high energy bills.
For instance, if your electric geyser has developed some leaks, it will take more time to heat the water. This means it will consume more energy than a regular geyser of such capacity.
Therefore, it is essential to check the performance of your home appliances. Follow our energy efficiency blog to help you become more efficient with your energy consumption.
See Related: What is Net Metering and How Does It Work
Other Notable Issues With a High Meter Reading
If all your appliances are in good condition and working properly, you can think of some other issues that are causing an increase in your electricity bills.
Just take a look at some of these causes.
- Additional energy consumption due to an event in the house
- You don’t switch off the appliances like LED TV, sound systems, unnecessary LED lights during the night
- You have changed your tariff and failed to take advantage of low tariff hours or consumed more energy during high tariff hours
- Your home is less energy efficient; hence, it requires more energy to keep it cold or warm
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Is it Possible to Reset a Digital Meter
If you wonder how to reset a digital electric meter, stop thinking about it. This is so as, it is an act that is illegal or a serious crime in most of the countries. You can turn back your meter and reset it to zero.
The numbers on the meter are there to rise and you can’t reverse them. These numbers show how much energy you have consumed since the installation of such a meter.
However, smart electric meters have some sorts of options to calculate your monthly usage.
This is the portion that you can reset and restart the counter to know how much energy you consume on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
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Conclusion on Electric Meter Reading
After reading this extensive guide on electric meter reading, you have the right knowledge to track your energy consumption. The first thing to consider when reading an electric meter is its type.
You need to use a specific method to read a different meter. It is only possible to make correct reading if you are using the right method. If you are dealing with the issue of high bills, don’t take it lightly and discuss with your supplier immediately.
Note: Always make sure to wear safety gloves when going near any electric appliances.
What do you know about electric meter reading? Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.