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How to Read Your Electricity and Gas Meters

Electric and gas meters are essential for measuring the amount of energy that you use. Energy companies use this information to calculate your energy bills and ensure that you are charged correctly for the amount of energy that you consume and your commercial energy rate. Understanding how to get a correct reading from your meters is important for managing your energy consumption and ensuring that you are not being overcharged.

Electric and gas meters are similar in that they both measure the amount of energy that you use. However, gas meters measure the volume of gas that you use, while electric meters measure the amount of electricity that you use. Additionally, gas meters typically use dial displays, while electric meters can use both dial and digital displays.

How to Read an Electric Meter

Before you start, make sure you’re reading the correct meter. If you have a separate meter, it’s usually located outside your building, often on the side or the back. Some businesses may also have a smart meter, which is typically located inside.

If your business only uses part of the building, you might have a smart meter located in a utility room you don’t have access to. Ask your building owner if need help finding it.

Once you have located your electric meter, you will need to take a reading. Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1: Identify the type of electric meter

There are several different types of electric meters, but the most common types are the digital meter and the dial meter.

Digital meter: This type of meter displays the electricity usage in kilowatt-hours (kWh). To read this type of meter, simply take note of the numbers displayed on the screen. Make sure to write down all the numbers from left to right, including any zeros. If the meter has a decimal point, ignore it.

Dial meter: This type of meter has a series of dials with numbers and pointers. Each dial represents a number from 0 to 9. To read this type of meter, follow these steps:

  • Start with the dial on the left and note the number that the pointer has just passed. If the pointer is between two numbers, write down the lower number. If the pointer is directly on a number, write it down.
  • Repeat this process for the rest of the dials, moving from left to right. If the pointer is between 9 and 0, write down 9 and reduce the reading of the dial to the immediate left by 1.
  • To get the final reading, add up all the numbers you have written down.

Step 2: Record the reading

Once you have taken the reading, you will need to record it. Write down the date and the reading, and track readings over time.

How Do Electric Meters Work?

Electric meters are designed to measure the amount of electricity that you use. They do this by measuring the flow of electricity through a conductor, such as a wire.

The most common type of electric meter is the electromechanical meter. It has a spinning disk that turns when electricity flows. By measuring the speed of the disk, the meter is able to track how much electricity you use.

Another type of electric meter is the digital meter, which uses electronic sensors to measure the flow of electricity. Digital meters are more accurate and can provide more detailed information about your energy usage than electromechanical meters.

How to Read a Gas Meter

Similar to an electric meter, it’s important to ensure that you’re reading the correct meter. If you operate out of an office complex, there may be a communal meter that serves every business. In this case, you’ll need to speak to your property management company to find out how your bill is calculated. If you have a separate meter, it’s usually located outside your business, either on the side or the back of the building.

Once you’ve located your meter, you will need to take a reading. Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1: Identify the type of gas meter

There are several different types of gas meters, but the most common types are the digital metric meter and the dial meter.

Digital metric meter: This type of meter displays the gas usage in cubic meters (m3). You can read this type of meter the same way you read a digital electric meter: just note the numbers on screen, ignoring any decimal points

Dial meter: This type of gas meter has a readout very similar to a dial electric meter. You can measure it in the same way: note the number the pointer rests on for each dial from left to right, then add up all the numbers.

Step 2: Record the reading

Once you have taken the reading, log it in a spreadsheet or ledger to track your gas usage over time.

How Companies Use Energy Meters

Energy companies send meter readers to gather data from your energy meters, which they use to calculate your energy bills. This data is used to determine the amount of energy that you have used during a specific period, usually a month. The energy company will then multiply the amount of energy used by the price per unit of energy, which is usually expressed in pence per kilowatt-hour (p/kWh).

The data from your energy meters can also be used to provide you with more detailed information about your energy usage. Some energy companies offer online portals that allow you to view your energy usage in real time. This can help you to identify areas where you can reduce your energy consumption and save money on your energy bills.

Understand your Energy Use and Save Money

In conclusion, understanding how to read your electricity and gas meters is an essential part of managing your energy consumption. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can ensure that you’re being billed correctly for the amount of energy that you use. Additionally, understanding how energy meters work and how energy companies use the data can help you to make informed decisions about your energy usage and save money on your energy bills.

If you live in a state with deregulated energy, you might be able get a lower commercial energy rate by switching providers. Integrity Energy can help you find the best business energy rates available for your specific needs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: How can I determine if I’m reading the correct meter for my business? 

A: Identifying the correct meter for your business is crucial to ensure accurate readings. If your business occupies a portion of a building, there might be separate meters for each unit or a communal meter serving multiple businesses. Consulting with your building owner or property management company can help clarify which meter corresponds to your business.

Q: How can I use the data from my energy meters to effectively manage my business’s energy consumption?

A: Utilizing the data from your energy meters can empower you to make informed decisions regarding energy efficiency and cost savings. By tracking your energy usage over time, you can identify trends, peak usage periods, and areas of inefficiency. This information enables you to implement targeted energy-saving strategies, such as upgrading to energy-efficient appliances, optimizing heating and cooling systems, or adjusting operational schedules to minimize energy consumption during peak-rate periods. Additionally, many energy providers offer online portals or mobile apps that provide real-time energy usage data, allowing you to monitor usage patterns and adjust behaviors accordingly to optimize energy efficiency and reduce costs.

Q: Are there any common mistakes to avoid when reading electricity and gas meters? 

A: While reading electricity and gas meters, it’s essential to avoid common errors that could lead to inaccuracies in billing. Some common mistakes include misinterpreting dial readings, failing to record all digits accurately, or confusing meters with similar neighboring units. Taking time to double-check readings and seeking clarification when in doubt can help prevent such errors.