It's no mystery! Your electric meter can easily be read if you understand some basic rules. Each of the five dials represent one digit of the present reading. As you can see, the dials move both clockwise and counter clockwise. When the hand of one of the dials is between numbers, always take the smaller number. For example:
If you cannot tell if a hand is past a number or not, simply look at the dial to the right. If it has passed zero, then the hand is pointing to the correct number. If the dial to the right has not passed zero, then use the next smaller number. Totally confused? Let's try an example.
The third digit is a three because the digit to the right has not yet passed zero. If the second dial from the right was between the zero and the one, then the third digit would have been a four. Easy isn't it! To practice, go outside to your home or business and record the readings for several days in a row. By subtracting yesterday's reading from today's reading, you can get a feel for how much energy (kilowatt hours) you use each day.
Keep in mind that when the power company representative reads your meter, they do NOT set it back to zero. Therefore the dials keep turning until the next time the meter is read. By subtracting two consecutive readings, the amount of kilowatt hours is determined for the month.
How to read your digital gas meter
Your gas meter measures the amount of cubic feet of natural gas you use in a given month. The meter measures the gas by counting the filing and emptying of the compartments inside the meter. Though meters vary in size and shape, they all record gas use in the same basic way. Well-maintained gas meters have proved to be over 99 percent accurate.
Most residential gas meters operate like the odometer on your car. Read the numbers left to right. The gas meter shown to the right, for example, reads 1396.
How to read your dial gas meter
If your residential meter is a dial meter, there will be five or six dials depending upon the type of meter you have. You will notice that the numbers will go clockwise on some dials, but counterclockwise on every other dial.
Your gas consumption is determined by the top four dials. The dials should be read from left to right. If the pointer is in between two numbers, record the smaller number. The meter shown to the left reads 5687.
Subtract the previous reading from the current reading to find out how many cubic feet you are using.
How to read your water meter
Your water meter is read monthly, and your consumption is determined by subtracting the previous month’s reading from the current month’s reading. Water meters are highly accurate and dependable for water consumption evaluation.
You will notice that your residential water meter has only one dial. The dial has a sweep hand which measures water usage in gallons. The meter operates like the odometer in your car. On the example meter above the meter reads 0385940. Since the odometer registers in hundreds of gallons you do not record the last two numbers. (The last number is a permanent number and the next dial registers tenths.) The remaining dials register the actual (in hundreds) water used. The water bill would show a reading of 3859.
Subtract the previous reading from the new reading and you will know how many hundreds of gallons of water you have used.