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Division of Energy Regulation


How to Read Your Electric Meter

Your electric meter measures your use of electricity in units called kilowatt-hours or kWh. One kWh is 1,000 watts used for one hour; the equivalent of ten 100-watt bulbs left on for one hour. To read your meter:

  • Stand directly in front of the meter (this will give you the best view of where the dials are pointing).
  • The dials rotate in different directions. Read and record the number from each dial starting from the left and moving right.
  • When the hand is between two numbers or has just passed a number, record the smaller number (e.g. hand is between the 7 and 8 or has just passed the 7, record the number 7).
  • When the hand appears to be directly on a number, before recording that number, be sure to check the dial to the right. If the hand has not passed zero, record the smaller number instead (e.g. the third dial is on the number 5; however the dial to the right has not reached 0, so the dial would be read as 4).
  • Subtract the reading taken on an earlier date--or the reading on your latest bill--from the current reading to get the number of kWh you've used since that earlier reading.

illustration of meter