Steps to Read Your Electric Meter

It's always a good idea to learn how to read your electric meter. After all, this little box is what is responsible for calculating how much electricity you use in your home. It records it every day, which is then read by the meter reader as he or she walks around your neighborhood. However, there may be times where you may have to read your own meter and then forward the information on to your electric company.

Rocky Mountain Electric Metering Association (RMEMA) provides coursework and training to those looking to get into the electric meter industry. Our meter school offers meter training for beginners, intermediate, and advanced students. Our meter classes are taught by seasoned pros who have decades of experience in the electrical industry. Our courses are hands-on and comprehensive, so when you complete your coursework, you are ready to begin as an electric meter reader. Below, we'll go over the steps of how to read an electric meter. Contact our meter school today to register!



Find Your Electric Meter

You should always know where your electric meter is, and it is advised to check it regularly so that you can ensure it is in good working order. Your electric meter is usually located on the outside of your home or office between the power line coming from the power pole and your inside electrical panel. With modern subdivisions being built, some electric lines are now underground, so you may not be able to see it. Still, they are big boxes with dials on them.

Take a Moment to Look at the Parts

While the face of your electric meter may look complicated, it's not. When you look, you'll see either four or six dials that turn as a central disk turns. As the electricity comes off the power lines, it turns the disk which is what counts the electricity as it enters your home. Thus, the disk will turn faster if you are using more electricity, or slower if you are not. Your electricity is measured in kilowatt hours, which is the electricity needed to burn ten 100-watt light bulbs for one hour just to give you some perspective. You can ignore the words and numbers printed. These are identity numbers.

Read the Dials

Each dial has 10 numbers, 0 through 9. You will read the dials from left to right, just like you would a book. It's helpful to have a piece of paper or use your cell phone to record the numbers. You read the number, write it down, and this is your electric meter reading. The direction of the arrows does not matter, as every other dial is counterclockwise. All you need are the numbers. Read the number exactly where it is pointing. If the arrow is between two numbers, always choose the lower number. Some companies, however, do round the number up. Rocky Mountain Electric Meter Association recommends that you ask when you are on the phone with them.

Calculate the Kilowatt Hours You Have Used

Most electric meters just keep going, and your electric meter company just uses your previous reading and then subtracts that number from your new reading to get today's reading. Oftentimes, you will just report the number to your electric company. However, if you need to find the kilowatt hours used, you simply look up your previous month's bill and subtract that way.

Smart Meters & Digital Meters

To read your digital meter, there are no dials you have to worry about. All of the work is done for you; all you have to do is record the number that is showing. Many new digital readers will transmit your reading directly to the electric company for you. Rocky Mountain Electric Metering Association wants to remind you that you only read the big number. Your digital electric meter may have a few other numbers displayed as well. These numbers may be reference numbers or power status numbers. Ignore them when reading your meter.


For over 45 years, the Rocky Mountain Electric Metering Association has been helping those interested in entering the electric meter field do so. Our meter school offers the best coursework in meter reading, and our instructors have decades of experience. Our hands-on training will ensure you are well-prepared for whatever lies ahead.

Rocky Mountain Electric Metering Association focuses a lot on safety and precision, while keeping up with the latest trends and advances in technology. From basic principles of electricity and safety to electric codes and load profile metering, you can progress through our levels up to our hands-on track, which will teach you how to wire and verify various meters. No matter which meter reading course you choose, you'll learn everything you need to know about electric meters in order to begin and grow your career. Contact us today to get started!