After being over charged on my electric bill, I decided to learn to read my electric meter. I was confronted with an extremely high bill for July and August. This prompted a need to know how the meter works so that I could actually know how much electricity I was using. It is so simply. It is almost embarrassing that, after all the years of paying an electric bill, learning to read the meter has become important. While speaking to the customer service representative, she said she would tell me exactly how to read the meter and here are her instructions.

First, there are two different types of meters. One is a digital and it is the easiest to read. Just look at the numbers on the meter and that is your reading. The other one is a meter with 5 dials. These are a little more difficult to figure out until it is explained and then they are almost as simple as the digital.

The 5 dials have a single hand much like a clock. Each dial has numbers from 0 to 9. The 0 is like 10 actually, if you want to think about it that way. Your meter will not go back to zero each month. The first dial goes clockwise, second goes counter-clockwise, third goes clockwise, fourth goes counter-clockwise and the fifth goes clockwise. Not sure why some go counter-clockwise and others go clockwise but they do. There is also a wheel that spins under the dials, I assume this is what makes the dials hands move. The faster it goes the more electricity you are using.

Read your meter from left to right. Look at the first dial that is moving clockwise. If the hand is between the 6 and 7, you will write down the 6 which is the number that the hand just passed. Read the second dial going counter-clockwise. If the hand is between the 2 and 3, you will write down the 2 which is the number the hand just passed. Read each of the 5 dials across and that is your reading. If by chance the hand looks like it is exactly on the number, remember that you use the number that the hand has just passed. If it has not pass the number, use the lower number. If it looks like it is on the 7 but has not passed yet, use the 6. It is so simple yet looks so confusing.

After you get your reading, you can look at your last month bill and figure out how many kilowatt-hours you have use by subtracting your last reading from your current reading. You can also tell how many kilowatt-hours a day you are using by reading your meter daily. Multiply the kilowatt-hours by your rate and you can tell what it is costing you daily for electricity. If you have questions or are not sure about rate, call your electric company and ask questions.

I have found a few ways to make that wheel under the dials to move slower which has lowered the kilowatt-hours I use daily. These are the savers I discovered.

1. I have a Bunn coffee maker that keep the water hot all the time so that it is ready to make coffee any time. I only make one pot of coffee in the morning so I
turn off the coffee maker when it is finished and turn it on the next morning for a few minutes before I make coffee.

2. The hot water heater is one of the things that uses alot of electricity. Since my husband and I are the only ones home now and don’t use alot of hot water, I
turn off the hot water heater. The water stays hot for along time if it is not used so it only take a few minutes to heat it back up to the temperature we use.

3. Everything plugged in and turned on is using electricity. We have a power strip that we use for recharging cell phone, flash lights, rechargeable things
whether we are recharging or not. Now we turn it off unless we are using it.

4. Dryers are another big electric users so I hang dry clothes and just fluff a bit when they are dry. Big savings and saves your clothes also.

5. The weather is cooling down here so I turn off the a/c and open the windows and doors more. Big saver also. Electric company says never turn off your A/C
just lower or raise the thermostat. I prefer to turn it off.

6. The porch light was always left on at night for the kids when they came home and it became a habit. Since they are all married and left home, I decided I
could turn it off also. Night lights are unplugged also until the Grandchildren come.

7. The microwave is much quicker to use to heat up things instead of using the stove and saves electricity. I have never been much of microwave user but
decided to use it more since it is there.

8. Using cold water for laundry when you can is saver also. Always rinse in cold water.

9. Open your curtain and blinds and let the sunshine in. Turn off the lights.

Basically, it has become a challenge to see where I can conserve and lower our bill and it has amazed me that little things make a big difference. After only
1-1/2 weeks I have cut my kilowatt-hour down drastically. My husband is not so excited about it all but he works away from home alot so I can conserve while he is gone and maybe he will get on board some day. With the increase in prices of everything, it is time we all learn to save a little.

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