How Does an Electric Meter Work

How does an electric meter work? You know that box on the side of your house that has all of those dials that twirl around madly? That is your electric meter.

How Does an Electrical Meter Work?
Your electric meter will have four or five dials on it. A power line carries electricity to your house and runs through the electric meter. As your lights and appliances draw electricity into your home, the electricity from the power line runs gears inside of the meter, which makes the dials turn. The more electricity that your electrical equipment requires, the faster the will dials turn. Some of the dials turn clockwise, while others turn counterclockwise. If the first dial at which you are looking runs counterclockwise, the one next to it will run clockwise.

Your electrical bill is measured in terms of kWh, or 1000 kilowatts per hour. To put this in practical terms, 1000 kWh is equivalent to lighting ten 100 watt light bulbs for an hour.

In order to read your meter, remember that if one dial is going clockwise, the next one is going counterclockwise. These are the rules of reading your electric meter:
If the arrow is between two numbers, use the smaller number.

When the arrow is on a number, look at the dial to the right. If the arrow has passed zero, the number that your original arrow is on is the right number to use.
However, if the arrow on the dial to the right hasn't passed zero, you would go back to your original dial and use the next lower number. 

You may be fortunate enough to have a digital electric meter. In this case, you would simply read the numbers.

Electrical companies don't reset meters every month. They take this month's reading and subtract last month's number to get your kWh used.

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