Springfield Utility Board

Electric Meters

Each household has an electric meter that is installed on the exterior of the residence, located 2-5 feet from the front corner of the house, about 5’6” from the ground and at least 3’ from windows, doors and fire escapes. It should have unencumbered access. Please contact our Electric Service Center for meter location specifics.

Electric meters measure energy use in “kilowatt hours.” A kilowatt hour is the amount of electricity required to burn one 100-watt bulb for ten hours.

Your electric bill is calculated in kilowatt-hours. By reading your meter at the same time each day, you can see exactly how much electricity you used in a 24-hour period. Just subtract yesterday’s reading from today’s reading By writing down your consumption daily, you can chart increases and decreases in your energy use. By noting high consumption activity, such as laundering or cooking, you will know how you are spending your energy dollar.

If you’d like to know how much energy your household is using, select a time of day and read your meter. Then read it again at the same time the next day. Subtract the smaller number from the larger and the remainder is the amount of energy (expressed in kilowatt hours) your household used in that 24-hour period.

How to read your meter
If you are interested in watching your watts, your meter will tell you how much you are using from month to month. But you’ll need to learn how to read your meter. Depending on whether you have a newer digital meter or one of our standard mechanical meters, reading the meter will be different.


For digital meters, just read the number from left to right, as you would a car odometer. You may or may not have a “zero” in the first position. If you do, ignore it and write down all the numbers afterward. If you don’t, just write down the number as-is.








Reading a mechanical meter isn’t difficult, but some special knowledge is required.

Most electric meters have a series of either four or five dials that look like clock faces. To read them, start at the dial furthest to the right and then read them going from right to left. Write the numbers down right to left also (i.e. opposite how you will finally read them).

NOTE: The last dial on your meter turns clockwise, but the dial to its left turns counterclockwise, and the numbers are printed counterclockwise as well. The dials continue to alternate from clockwise to counterclockwise.

If the needle on the dial is between numbers, record the smaller number. For example, if the needle is between four and five, write down the number four.
If the pointer seems to be directly on a number, look at the dial to the right. If the pointer on the right side dial has passed zero, then write down the number the pointer seems to be on. If the pointer on the right side dial has not passed zero, then write down the lower number on the dial you are recording.

One other thing to watch out for: if the dial is between nine and zero, think of the zero as the number ten.


Ready to test yourself? Here are some examples to try:


Learning to Read your Electric Meter

Electric meters are extremely accurate, and new meters are spot-checked for accuracy before they are installed. Occasionally older meters run slow and register too few kilowatt hours, so SUB is actually billing too little. We’re replacing those meters gradually, in a cost-effective manner.

A final note: Never do anything to your meter except read it. Unauthorized meter entry is illegal and can result in disconnection, prosecution and multiple service charges. Moreover, it exposes you to the risk of shock, explosion or fire.



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