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How to Read Your Meter

Taking the mystery out of meter reading

If you know how to read your electric meter, you can learn how much you’re spending on electricity.

The electricity you use is measured in kilowatt-hours. For example, a 100-watt light bulb burning for 10 hours uses one kilowatt-hour (kWh). Your electric meter records how many kilowatt-hours you home uses. Once you know that number, you can subtract the meter reading on your last month’s electric bill from the number you obtain off the meter to figure out how much electricity – in kilowatt hours – you’ve used since that bill.

Cherokee Electric Cooperative uses dial meters on its system. Reading a dial meter involves looking at five dials, similar to this graphic.
Reading a dial meter involves looking at five dials, similar to this graphic.
Click on the graphic for a more detailed explanation of how to read a dial meter, from Energy Right. (Link will open in new browser window.)

Cherokee Electric Cooperative uses dial meters on its system. Reading a dial meter involves looking at five dials. The dials, similar to a watch face, are numbered 0 through 9 with the 0 at the top.

The hands on the face of the dials move in the same direction as the numbers, low to high. To read the meter, you simply write down the number that each hand has just passed, beginning with the dial on the left and going left to right. If a hand is sitting on a number, look at the dial to the right. If that hand has passed zero, write down the number that the left hand is pointing to. If the hand on the right has not passed zero, write down the last number that the left hand passed.

Once you have the number from your meter, you can determine how much electricity you have used by subtracting the reading shown on your last power bill from the number you just read from the meter.