Back several years ago, a friend taught me how to read my electric meter at my house. By doing so, I was able to compare the amount of kilowatt hours the power company claimed I used with what I actually DID use. Bam! The first month I did it, I found a discrepancy. “Aha!” I thought, “They’re ripping me off!” Come to find out, there’s a lot of estimating going on with the power companies and there are a lot of advantages to knowing what they’re up to and now I was motivated.
My electrical utility didn’t actually send someone out to read the meter every month, but instead guessed estimated my electrical usage. They always overestimated, but I called them on the carpet every time and was able to get my bill reduced by up to 10% some months. I wasn’t going to let them bust MY budget!
Reading my own electrical meter paid off.
Here are the basics of reading your own meter:
The basic unit of measure of electric power is the watt. One thousand watts are called a kilowatt. If you use one thousand watts of power in one hour you have used a kilowatt-hour (kWh). Your electric company bills you by the kWh. The standard electric power meter operates like a clock, driven by the electricity moving through it. As your home draws electrical current from power lines, a set of gears move inside the meter. The little dials you see on the face of the meter record the number of revolutions and the speed of those revolutions depends on the amount of current drawn — the more power consumed at any one instant, the faster the gears will rotate.