The electric meter at your house measures the amount of electricity you use in kilowatt-hours (kWh). One kWh is equal to using 100 watts of electricity for 10 hours. Your monthly electric bill is based on the amount of energy you use. (A customer who uses 2,000 kWh will have a higher bill than one who uses 1,000 kWh.)
Meter Reading Procedures:
SMECO will normally read your meter about every 30 days to record your kWh usage. The time between readings may vary from 27 to 34 days if a scheduled reading date falls on a weekend or holiday. The date the meter was read and the number of days in each billing period are printed on your bill.
Every effort is made to read your meter monthly. However, when conditions such as bad weather, locked gates, or unfriendly dogs prevent a meter reading, SMECO will estimate your bill. An estimated bill will have the word “estimated” printed on the bill. Any difference between your actual kWh usage and the estimate will be corrected with the next meter reading.
Smart Meters and Standard Meters:
The explanation below applies to SMECO’s standard meters. We are proceeding with smart meter installations throughout our service area during 2017. See our guide on how to read smart meters.
How to Read Your Meter:
Learning to read your meter can help you keep track of your kWh usage. Some meters have an easy-to-read digital display. Below is an example of the dials on a five-dial meter. (Most SMECO meters have five dials, with three running clockwise and two running counterclockwise. Other meters have four dials.)
To read the meter, begin with the right-hand dial and record numbers right to left. The pointers of the dials move in the direction of the black arrows.
When a pointer is between two numbers (such as the second dial), write down the lower number, the number the pointer has gone past. If the pointer is on a number (as in the third dial), look at the dial to the right of it (the fourth dial). If the pointer (on dial three) has not passed 0, record the smaller number (for dial three). If the pointer on the dial to the right has passed 0 (as in dial five), record the number the pointer appears to be on (for dial four). The example above would be read as 27591.
Any misreading of a meter is corrected when the next reading is obtained. For example, if the meter had been misread as 26691 instead of 26591, the customer’s bill for the prior month would have included an extra 100 kWh. For the following month, however, the 26691 reading would have been subtracted from 27591, leaving 900 kWh instead of 1,000 kWh. The customer’s bill for that month would then have been reduced by 100 kWh.
If your meter has a digital display, simply read the numbers as displayed. Then subtract the previous month’s reading from the new reading to determine how much energy you used.