Reading your electricity meter

Electrical Inspector

Performing a very personal service for you is your electric meter, which is the property of your Electricity Supplier.

The UNIT of Electricity

You use electricity by the Kilowatt hour [kWh] more commonly known as the UNIT. One UNIT is equivalent to 1,000 watts [kW] switched on for one hour. The wattage of an electrical appliance is its "loading" and is found marked on the small metal nameplate of the appliance.

The UNIT of electricity is a definite quantity, it does not vary and it cannot be diluted or adulterated.

See how long these common domestic appliances can be used at a cost of one UNIT of electricity.

Article Wattage Hours or minutes of use to consumer 1 UNIT
Blanket (Single) 70 14 hours
Clock 2 500 hours
Food Processor 60 16 1/2 hours
Heater (one bar) 1000 1 hour
Iron (Thermostat control) 1200 1 1/2 hours
Jug 1500 40 minutes
Jug 2000 30 minutes
Light 100 10 hours
Mixer 340 3 hours
Range Hob (large) 2000 30 minutes
Range Hob (small) 1200 50 minutes
Refigerator (Thermostat control) 200 5 hours
Stereo 100 10 hours
Television Set 150 6 1/2 hours
Toaster 1000 1 hours

Your Electricity Meter

As themeter records watts and hours it has a technical name of "watt-hour meter" and tus indicates UNITS of electricity.

Electricity meters are precision instruments, the great accuracy of which is controlled by meter test departments.

There are several types of meter dials - some older types of electricity meters have indicating dials (see figure 2 and 3) while others use a cyclometer register as illustrated in Fig 1 opposite. Some of the latest meters have liquid crystal displays similar to the familiar calculator. Occassionally meters have two separate displays for special tariff options.


Reading your Electricity Meter

Your meter is quiet easy to read and you can keep a record of daily or weekly consumption of electricty. Ignore small dials marked 1/10 and 1/100. Read the other dials from left to right. The dial hand should always be read as indicating the figure it has last passed and not the one to which it may be nearest. When the hand is between two figures write down the lowest figure. When the hand is between 0 and 9 writed down 9. When the hand is on a figure, say 7, you write down 6 not 7, unless the hand on the nearest dial on the right is between figure 0 and figure 1. Go through the same process with the other dials, writing down the figures in the order left to right.


In Fig 2 the reading of the meter is 9,469 UNITS, Subtract your previous reading from the present reading at the difference will be the number of UNITS used in the time between those readings.

Date Meter Reading Units Used Date Meter Reading Units Used

Why your account varies

Electricity meters are normally extremely reliable and very accurate (typically within 1/2% accuracy). Contact us for more information about costs and procedures for having your meter checked if you honestly believe it is not working correctly.

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