Electric Meter

Understanding Your Electric Meter

Many homeowners never bother to look at their electric meter—-that is, until they receive an unusually high electric bill. But, without the ability to know what the information on your electric meter means, just looking at it won’t do anything useful.

Your local electricians here at HedgeHog Electric are here to assist you with learning more about your electric meter and help you understand what information it is conveying.


There are three different types of electric meters. You may have a dial electric meter, digital electric meter or a smart electric meter. Once you determine which type of meter you have, learning how to read it is fairly easy. Which one you have at your home can impact your electrical bill and will also need to be read in different ways. We have outlined how to read your electric meter in the following steps:

Dial Electric Meter

A dial electric meter—also called an analog meter—is one that has between 4-6 dials on the face. These dials are controlled by the central disk, and as the central disk moved with electricity use, the dials will turn.

To read this type of meter, record each dial numbers that each arrow is pointing at. The numbers need to be recorded left to right. Using the image above as an example, the readout would be 61820. If you are between numbers, choose the smaller number. This number measures kilowatts per hour (kWh), and you will need to find your last month’s electric bill, as your meter will not be reset. Subtract last month’s total kWh from the total on your meter to find out what your electrical usage has been.

Digital Electric Meter

If you have a digital meter, things are far more straightforward. All you need to do is look for the number on the display face. Then, with your last electric bill, subtract the total from your current electric meter reading to find your current electricity usage.

One thing to be aware of is if there are day and night time numbers. Sometimes, using electricity during peak hours can result in higher charges. You may need to contact your electrical provider to find out if there is a tariff on electricity during certain hours.

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Smart Electric Meter

With a smart electric meter, your kWh should be displayed similar to a digital meter, so you can more easily calculate your electricity usage. Also, depending on the type of smart meter you have, you may be able to track your usage through an online energy monitor.

Like with digital electric meters, smart meters can track your electricity usage according to the time of day it is used. In fact, smart meters track via 30-minute intervals, allowing electric companies to charge peak, daytime, and nighttime rates.

Also, if you don’t like your current meter, you don’t have to just accept it. With our help, we can assist you through the process of having your meter and wiring changed out and reconnected with your electrical panel.


In many cases, you likely will not need to look at your electric meter. However, if you have noticed an increase in your electric bill, but there is nothing that is different from your regular usage, then reading your meter can help.

Some utility companies provide clear graphs of your electrical usage, but many do not. By being able to track your own usage, you can easily see if something is wrong with your electric meter reading, which is possible due to a variety of things.


Should your electric meter indicate that your usage has spiked, but you haven’t gone and added something like a hot tub to your backyard to make it rise, there are some things you can do to get your electricity usage under control.

  • Have your electrical system inspected – Sometimes when there is an issue somewhere in your electrical system, it can cause your electricity usage to spike. As it can be difficult to tell where the problem is, having an electrical inspection performed by our electricians can help find the source of the issue with your electrical system.
  • Replace your electrical breaker panel – When your electrical breaker panel malfunctions, it can allow for too much electricity to pass. Sometimes the issue is with a single circuit, but there are times when you will need a complete breaker panel installation to replace a faulty one.
  • Check for electricity thieves – While not a common issue, sometimes your electric usage spike can be due to unscrupulous electricity thieves using your outdoor outlets. Outfitting your outdoor electrical outlets with locking covers can help prevent this problem.
  • Contact your electric provider – If you don’t have a meter that tracks when you are using power, it is likely that your electric provider can tell you. Once you know when the main electric usage occurs, you can take steps to reduce your electricity usage at those times.
  • Have your meter replaced – Meter replacement isn’t something that electric companies do lightly. However, if it is clear that the meter is malfunctioning and overcharging you, then you can have your meter replaced.


While your electric meter is the property of your power provider, HedgeHog Electric can help you with your electric meter needs. From assessing and inspecting your electrical system to assist you through the process of receiving a new electric meter, you can count on us.

To work with our expert electricians to take care of your electrical needs, feel free to contact us. We will do our best to take care of your electrical issues as soon as possible.