A familiar question asked by many Aussie householders whilst performing their DIY HOME ELECTRICITY AUDIT is, “How do I read my mechanical type electricity meter?”
Let us now make the exercise of recording this electricity meter's data, easy for you.
Looking at the electricity meter illustrated, you will notice there are five clockwork dials. The electricity meter has the ability to read up to 99999 kilowatt hours of electricity, before going around the clock again. The kilowatt hours are stated as kWh on your bill and are also known as units of electricity.
The first dial on the left records these units in the ten thousandths, the next dial recording one thousandths and so on, down to 1 kilowatt or unit of electricity.
- Starting from the left-hand dial (10,000), record the numbers from left to right.
- Whenever a dial points between numbers, always record the lowest number.
On the electricity meter shown here, you should be seeing a reading of 39803 kilowatt hours. This is your total electricity usage to date. Your electricity bill will show the previous meter reading and the last reading. The difference being your new electricity usage and costs, stated on the bill.
There is an art to reading these mechanical electricity meters. And it is easy to be confused and take an incorrect reading. The secret to this confusion, is to always refer to the dial to the right of the one your reading.
So where the first dial in our example, reports what looks like the number 4, this is NOT correct! The correct reading is a 3, as the dial is between numbers, even though this is hard to see. Remember we are recording the lowest number. To see the dial is between numbers, can be proven by checking the second dial . This dial has not quite reached a full revolution. It has passed 9, but not fully reached 0. When it passes 0, only then will it mean the first dial  is at a true count of 4. So to make a correct reading 100% of the time, always check the lesser dial's readings. Take a look again until you can see 39803 kilowatt hours.
Not all electricity meter displays, look like the above example. With some meters, the placement of numbers in each dial, may run in the opposite direction. And not all meters have the number of kWh stated on the dials, as was the case in our example. We added the numbers so as to explain how to read the meter.
Learn more about the types of electricity meters in Australia by visiting our webpage AUSTRALIAN HOME ELECTRICITY SUPPLY GUIDE.