Friday 11 February, 2011
By Dominic Welling - firstname.lastname@example.org
As many energy companies now ask Brits to read their own electricity meters, it’s important to know how to do it accurately.
Electricity meters vary but in essence all of them tell the same story - how much electricity you have used. You can then relay this information to your supplier who should then hopefully issue you with an accurate bill.
Electricity meters are usually located inside your building, unlike gas meters which are often in the garden against an outside wall.
If you live in a house, the electricity meter will most likely be in a cupboard in the hall or kitchen, however if you live in a flat a collection may well be found in a more communal area.
You should still be allowed to access you meter if you live in a shared building, but may need to ask permission or access from the building manager or landlord.
If you have a digital meter you will usually see either one or two rows of numbers.
The rows are known as registers so if your meter is like the one in the photo above then you have a single register meter.
|This reading is: 07576|
There should be six numbers in a row - the first five are black and the sixth is marked red. When you make a note of your meter reading you ignore this final number.
Each of the number columns are marked in order - starting with the 10,000kWh column on the left running to the 0.1kWh column on the right. Again ignore this final column, so stop reading after the 1kWh column. Then you can see how many kilowatt hours you have used.
To work out how many kilowatt hours you have used you simply deduct the previous meter reading from the current one and work out the difference.
You will notice that in the middle of the meter is a disc which slowly spins around.
The central disc is programmed so as it revolves a certain number of revolutions equate to one kilowatt hour. That’s how the numbers rack up.
There should be some information written at the bottom of the meter which will tell you how many revolutions account for one kilowatt hour.
|This reading is: Rate 1 - 63013 Rate 2 - 00003|
The electricity meter with two rows, or registers, works in a similar way to the single register meter, however they are designed for households on split tariffs.
For example if you are on a tariff which gives you lower off-peak electricity but charges higher on peak rates then you will probably have a meter with two rows of figures.
The top row will record your use of electricity during off peak hours and is usually marked something like “LOW”, “NIGHT” or “RATE 1”.
The bottom row will record your electricity use at the normal rate and will usually be marked “NORMAL”, “DAY”, or “RATE 2”.
|This reading is: 25833|
A dial meter has six small dials which should be read from left to right, once again ignoring the last one. A key point is that each of these dials move in opposite directions - so make sure you know which direction before attempting to read the meter.
When you take your meter reading from a dial meter, you should always note down the number that the pointer has passed.
Be aware however that this may not necessarily be the number nearest to the pointer. So, for example, if the arrow is somewhere in between 3 and 4 you would always right down 3.
If it is directly over a number then you should write down that number and underline it. If the following number is a 9 then reduce the underlined number by one.
You may have an electronic meter if you are on an Economy 7 price plan, or a similar split rate tariff.
Electronic meters are easy to read. Simply press the button on the front and read the display. The meter will always show the charging rate currently in use.
To use your meter just follow the instructions that apply to your meter. The manufacturer's name will be on the front of the meter.