How to Read Your Electrical Meter

An Electric Meter

By tracking the numbers on your Summerville, South Carolina, home’s electrical meter, you can catch potential discrepancies on your bills or put a stop to energy waste early. Here’s how to read the three main types of electrical meters you might find in your home.

Electronic/Digital Electric Meter

Electronic or digital electric meters might require you to press a display button to view the numbers. The numbers read from left to right. Write down every number except for those that are red or have a red background; these aren’t relevant to your usage. Two lines of numbers indicate a day versus night rate difference.

Dial Electric Meter

Each dial on these electrical meters runs opposite of the preceding dial. Read the dials from left to right. If the arrow is between two numbers, pick the lower number. If the arrow is between the 0 and the 9, pick 9 and subtract 1 from the dial before that. For example, if the arrow lands between 0 and 9 on a dial and 4 on the one before it, you’ll pick 9 and 3. Ignore the last dial on the right.

Smart Electric Meter

You might want to grab your instruction manual when it comes to reading your smart electric meter. These systems vary widely and can be complex. The first step is to bring up the display and navigate to your reading. As a rule of thumb, look for eight numbers followed by kWh.

To calculate your usage from any of these meters, subtract the reading on your previous month’s utility bill from the current one you just wrote down. The resulting figure will tell you this month’s kilowatt-hour usage. Multiply that number by your electrical rate and add in any fees, which you can also find on your previous bill.

Your meter reading can help you determine if something is wrong with your home’s electrical system. If you’re concerned that your energy use is too high, give our experts at Mister Sparky® of Charleston a call at (843) 418-0696 to set up an appointment.