Read Your Meter

Keeping an accurate record of electrical and water consumption helps you know how much energy & water is being used in your home. To do this, read your meters regularly (daily, weekly or monthly) and write down in your records the numbers on the dials.


Reading Your Water Meter

  • Locate Your Meter

    Your water meter is generally located near the curb in front of your home. Meters are typically housed in a concrete box usually marked "water" or in a meter pit with a cast iron lid.

  • Read Your Water Meter

    Water meters in the U.S. typically measure volume in gallons or cubic feet. One cubic foot = 7.48 gallons and 100 cubic feet = 748 gallons.

    The large red flow indicator hand on the dial measures water use in gallons or cubic feet. One gallon or one cubic foot of water passes through the water meter as the hand moves from one number to the next (e.g., 0 to 1). A complete rotation equals 10 gallons or 10 cubic feet depending on the unit measured. Most analog dials have a low-flow indicator that turns as water moves through the water meter. This typically looks like a small triangle (shown), star or gear.

Reading Your Electric Meter

  • Locate Your Meter

    Electric meters are usually mounted on the side of your home or building about five (5) feet above ground level.
    The electric meter is generally round with a transparent covering. It sometimes is mounted near the main fuse box or panel of the circuit breakers.

  • Read Your Electric Meter

    Electric meters will either have a digital read-out that can read directly off the display. Sometimes they will have a mechanical display with four (4) or five (5) clock-like dials on the meter face.

    Reading the Digital Meter -The digital meter displays electricity usage that can be read directly off the digital display, with usage measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh).

    Reading the Mechanical Meter – The mechanical meter will either have four (4) or five (5) clock-like dials. A pointer on each dial indicates a digit, 0 through 9. When all the displayed digits read from left to right, they comprise the number of kilowatt-hours (kWh) used.

    To read a mechanical meter:

    Start with the dial on the left and, proceeding to the right, record the numbers indicated by the pointers.

    • If a pointer is between two numbers, record the LOWER number.
    • If a pointer is directly on a number, check if the tip on the dial to the right has moved past zero. If it has NOT passed zero, record the lower number from the original dial.

    The 4- or 5-digit number (depending on the number of dials on your meter) you've just recorded is your new meter reading.

    For either meter type: To calculate the amount of electricity consumed, record the read of the meter at the beginning of the time period being measured. At the end of the time period being measured, record the read on the meter again. The difference between the two reads is the amount of electricity consumed.

    Once you have determined the energy used, multiply the number of kilowatt-hours (kWh) by the cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Visit our rates page to find the current cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh).

    Making notes of any high-energy consumption activity that occurred during the time frame measured (i.e., laundry or cooking, air conditioning/heating, hot water usage, etc.) will give you an idea of what causes your energy use and how much those items are costing. Repeat these steps as often as you like to track your energy usage.