Reading your Electricity Meter

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If you are moving in a previously occupied residence, the time it will take to activate your account once you have made the request will be quick (a few hours). But if you are moving in a previously vacant residence, when you call to activate your account, your electricity meter will require to be activated by a technician, which can take 24h to 1 week, depending on your utility company. Your utility company also checks the meter every month either by receiving a wireless transmission from the meter, or by reading the meter in person.

Why read your meter

You normally are not required to read your meter, but there are some cases in which you might need to read it yourself:

  • You are entitled to do so if you wish to keep personal records of your electricity consumption, or if you wish to check the correctness of your bill at the end of each month.
  • If the technicians of your utility company do not have access to the meter. For example, this can be because you live on a private property, and the landlord refuses access to the employees of the utility company.

This is not a problem for most utility companies, and it is easy to do the meter reading yourself.

Locate your meter

If you do not know where your meter is, contact the manager, supervisor or landlord of your property for him/her to show you the location of your meter. If he/she does not know where the meter is, call your utility company and they will walk you through the steps, or send over a technician to help you. Take a picture of the meter, send it to your utility company and they will explain it to you. If not, follow the steps below and you will understand the meter reading yourself.

Examples of meters

There are different types of electric meters:

An Analog Electricity Meter

A Digital Electricity Meter

Another Digital Electricity Meter

Reading your meter

The number shown on the display will be in units of Total Accumulated Energy. The unit will be shown next to the numbers, and will most likely be the kWh (kilowatt hour).

The analog electricity meter might be difficult to read, so here is an explanation on how to read it:

Record the numbers from the left (the 10,000 dial) to the right (1 kWh per div). When a dial hand points exactly on a number, record the number, and when a dial hand points between two numbers, record the lower number.

On this example picture, the meter reads 60269.1 (the .1 value is shown on the red dial). Do you think that the 4th dial (10) should read 7 or 6? The hand is close to reaching 7, but it is still at 6, since the 5th dial is at 9. therefore these two dials together read 69. Thus the total meter reads 60269.1 kWh.

The next time you make a meter measurement, you will read a higher number. The difference between these two numbers will be the amount of electricity you have consumed in that period of time.

We also have a description of the different types of electricity meters.