Each household has an electric meter that is installed on the exterior of the residence:
- Located 2 to 5 feet from the front corner of the house
- About 5 to 6 feet from the ground
- At least 3 feet from windows, doors, and fire escapes
It should have unencumbered access. Please contact our Electric Service Center for meter location specifics.
How to Check Energy Consumption
Electric meters measure energy use in “kilowatt-hours.” A kilowatt-hour (kWh) is the amount of electricity required to burn one 100-watt bulb for 10 hours.
Your electric bill is calculated in kWh. 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
- Read it again at the same time the next day
- Subtract the smaller number from the large
- The remainder is the amount of energy (expressed in kWh) 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 4 or 5 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)
- If the needle on the dial is between numbers, record the smaller number.
- For example, if the needle is between 4 and 5, write down the number 4
- 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 0, then write down the number the pointer seems to be on
- If the pointer on the right-side dial has not passed 0, then write down the lower number on the dial you are recording
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.
One other thing to watch out for: if the dial is between 9 and 0, think of the 0 as the number 10.
Ready to test yourself? Here are some examples to try:
Electric meters are extremely accurate. 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.
Automated Electric & Water Meters
SUB uses automated electric and water meters that allow staff to accurately record usage using a handheld device.
Unlike smart meters, which generally use active 2-way communication via a network connection between the meter and the utility, SUB’s automated meters emit a 1-way, low-power, intermittent radio frequency (RF) pulse that communicates with the handheld device via a short RF pulse. The meters transmit a total of about 20 seconds each day at RF energies far lower than levels emitted by other common household devices, such as cell phones, baby monitors, satellite TVs, microwave ovens, and WiFi.
SUB meters meet all local, state, and federal health and safety requirements.