How to read the old type analog dial electric meters?

How to read an electric 5 dial meter Click here to enlarge this electric meter dial diagram

The old analog dial electric meters will soon be a thing of the past. These dial meters required a meter reader to come out once a month to take down the reading so that you could be charged based on your actual electric usage.

To save on costs after you built up a certain amount of historical electric usage data the meter electricity company will sometimes estimate your electric usage and may not come out to read it for several months.

New smart electric meters will change all of this as they send actual electric meter data as it’s being used directly to the electric utility company.

If you would like to read your dial electric meter you will need to follow the steps below.

  • Read the dials from right to left.
  • Dial one has to move a full rotation before the next dial will begin moving.
  • On the first meter write down the number the dial has passed as if reading the time on a clock.
  • The second dial will need to be read counter clockwise. Go ahead and write the 2nd dial number down.
  • The 3rd dial will be read clockwise again. As you can see we alternate the direction of the reading every dial.
  • If you notice the dial directly on top of a number you have to look back at the dial prior to this one. The dial prior to the one in question will need to show as having completed a revolution or past zero to determine if the next dial truly has reached the number it is on.
  • Write the numbers down from left to right in order to get the total kilowatt hours that have been recorded on the analog dial electric meter.
  • In our example the number is 17325. You will need to know what the previous months reading was and then simply subtract the two numbers to get the reading for this month. If you don’t have last months meter reading simply record the number for this month and do this same process next month. You will then have two numbers you can subtract to come up with the current months electric meter reading.
  • Now you can look at your electric bills “estimated” or “actual” meter read number and verify it with what you have recorded. If the number is way off you may call your electric utility and they will send someone out to check the meter or recalculate your estimated usage.
  • If the meter is faulty you will receive a correction on your electric bill on the next billing statement.
  • Take note that if your electric meter has been running for a few years and has rotated to 100,000 kilowatt hours on a five dial meter you must add a 1 in front of the next reading in order to compute the correct amount of kilowatt hours used that month.
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