Do you know how to read a digital electric meter? Have you tried to understand what your energy company is talking about when they explain the power bill?
If you’ve never looked at your electric meter before, it can be a bit confusing. The numbers are backward and the letters might seem like gibberish. But once you know what to look for, it’s a piece of cake.
In this blog post, I will teach you everything you need to know about reading an electric meter and understanding your energy bills.
Before that, let’s first go with the definition of a digital electric meter.
What is an Electric Meter?
The electric meter is a device that measures how much electrical energy you are using. It can record your total consumption and also your cumulative consumption for the billing period.
It’s hard to say when people started measuring their electrical usage, but it was around the time of Thomas Edison (1847-1931) who introduced the first commercially viable light bulb.
And the first electric meter was invented in 1881 by William Wallace.
William Wallace (1844-1916) was a Scottish inventor who is best known for having created the world’s first working electric meter or “energy monitor.”
How to read an electric meter?
To read a digital electric meter follow these steps:
1. Look at your meter
All electric meters are different, but the common ones look like this:
There’s a metal circle on the inside of my house. When I turn off power to each electrical item in my house, there is a little number next to it that tells me how many kilowatts I am using right now.
2. Determine the units
There are usually two different kinds of numbers on an electric meter – big numbers and small letters.
The big number tells your total energy use in kilowatt-hours (kWh). The small letter tells you what period that kWh measurement represents, such as “this month” or “last month”.
3. Read the big numbers
You’ve probably noticed that there are two different-sized digits on your electric meter. The larger numbers tell you how many kilowatt-hours you have used in total since your last meter reading (or from when your energy plan began). Let’s say my meter shows 1,154 kWh.
1,154 means that my house has used 1,154-kilowatt hours of electricity since the previous meter reading.
Remember that this is a total measurement for all your appliances combined. This number will likely be different from what you saw on your last power bill.
Now let’s say I want to know how much energy my air conditioner uses in 30 minutes. I look at the smaller letters. If it says “049 kW”, I know that my air conditioner uses 49 kilowatts of electricity in 30 minutes.
4. Read the small numbers
The small numbers tell you for which measurement period your big number applies – for example, this month or last month. My meter reads “177”. This means this month, I’ve used 177 kWh.
If the last two digits of your electric meter read “90”, this means that you have used 90 kWh in the past 30 days (i.e., since your last meter reading). If they read “272”, then you have used 272 kWh in the past 60 days (or since your last meter reading).
Now let’s say I want to know how much energy my air conditioner uses in 30 minutes. I look at the smaller letters. If it says “634 kW”, I know that my air conditioner uses 634 kilowatts of electricity in 30 minutes.
What is the Importance of Calculating Your Home’s Energy Consumption?
An electric meter is an important tool that allows you to track your electrical consumption. It also helps utilities plan for future energy needs, such as adding new power plants or upgrading the power grid.
If you don’t know how much electricity you use, then it will be hard to find ways of saving money on your bill. Your home’s energy consumption affects the environment in several ways – large amounts of CO2 are created by running coal-fired power plants and this contributes to global warming.
Having information about your daily energy usage allows you to take steps towards reducing your environmental impact through conservation techniques like recycling, reducing water waste, etc. You can even calculate how many trees are required each year to offset household emissions.
You may not need to read your electricity meter every day, but it’s a good habit to get into. You can use the information about your home’s consumption and set goals for reducing energy waste or even tapping solar and wind power as alternative energy sources.