﻿ Electric Meters - Electrical 101

# Electric Meters

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An electrical meter measures the amount of electricity that a home uses. Electrical power usage is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh). A kilowatt hour is 1000 watts for 1 hour of time (ten 100-watt light bulbs that are on for 1 hour).

Your electric bill is calculated by multiplying the amount of electricity you use (in kWh) times the electric rate. For example, if you use 800 kWh of electricity at a rate of \$0.115 (11 ½ cents) per kWh, your total bill will be \$92.00, plus service charges and fees.

Unless you have a smart meter, a representative from the electric company comes to your house and reads your meter once a month. The kWh usage is then recorded to determine your next bill.

How do I determine my electric rate?

How to Calculate the Electric Rate from Your Bill

## How to Read an Electric Meter

The following will show how to read an analog electric meter.

• When the dial is between two numbers, choose the lower number.
• When the pointer appears on top of a number, use the higher number only if the dial on the right has passed zero.
• The dials below indicate 24604 kWh total. If you read 24630 at the same time the next day your home has used 26 kWh in the previous 24 hours.

4

6

Pointer between two numbers, choose the lower number.

Pointer appears over number 6.

2

When pointer has passed zero,

use higher number. (6)

0

4

Digital Smart Meter

Analog Electric Meter

## Smart Meters

Many homes have had smart meters installed in the past few years. Unlike the traditional analog meters, smart meters are digital and have few moving parts. The smart meter can communicate with the electric company office using a wireless signal similar to a cell phone.

• Smart meters communicate with the electric company via network access points (relay stations).
• Your electric company can give you real-time energy usage information on your computer, tablet, and sometimes smart phone.
• If there is a power outage, the electric company will be notified immediately via smart meters.
• Smart meters work with the national energy grid to route and re-route power to different parts of the country.

### Electric Bill Higher After Smart Meter Installed

Older analog electric meters have many mechanical components and moving parts. As they get older the mechanisms can slow down or even stop. A malfunctioning analog meter could cause a smaller electric bill because it under measured the kWh used. This problem (for the electric company) could be fixed by calibrating or replacing the meter.

Smart meters are digital and have very few moving parts, and are much more accurate. It is very possible that the your old meter was not measuring the total kWh usage. After installing the smart meter, the bill is higher because the new meter is more accurate.

If your bill went up after a smart meter was installed, check your bill for any electric rate increases. See How do I determine my electric rate?

### How do I Know if my Electric Meter is Accurate?

All smart meters are not perfect. It is possible that a smart meter is not measuring kWh usage properly. If you suspect this, contact your electric company and request a test. They should send a technician out to test your meter to see if it is accurate. If you still think your meter is not measuring properly, you can install a power usage monitor on your meter.