Our electric meter measures your use of electricity in units called kilowatt-hours or kWh. One kWh is 1,000 watts used for one hour (the same as ten 100-watt bulbs left on for one hour).
There are three types of residential electric meters. Each meter uses different metering technology.
Some residential customers on special rates have a different meter that not only monitors usage, but also collects data in thirty-minute intervals. This device, known as an interval data recorder (IDR), puts a date and time stamp on the data it collects, recording the exact date and time electricity is consumed. Due to the recent passage of the Energy Act, which resulted in a Daylight Savings Time change in 2007, these meters are being deployed for Time-of-Use (TOU) customers. If you're on a special rate, you can view your meter summary data when you manage your account.
The dials on the front of an electric meter work like the odometer on your car. When the hand on one dial makes a complete circle, the hand on the dial to its left moves up one number.
The meter has four or five dials with the numbers 0 to 9. The pointers rotate in different directions. Read the dials from left to right. When the pointer is between 0 and 9, the reading would be 9. If the pointer is directly on a number, look at the next dial on the right. If that pointer has not reached 0, the reading of the dial at the left is the lower number. If it has passed 0, the reading is the higher number.
In this example, the meter reads 19666.
Subtract the reading taken on an earlier date - or the reading on your latest bill - from the current reading to get the number of kilowatt hours you've used since the earlier reading. To practice, use the Interactive Electric Meter below.
With your mouse, position each pointer as they appear on the meter. The meter reading will be shown below.
Digital meters have a digital screen that display the current consumption at the location. Use this reading in conjunction with the last bill to calculate your current usage.
Example: If the last bill meter reading was 1000 kWh and the current reading is 1200 kWh, the difference is 200 kWh in usage since your last meter reading.>> Meter Reading Schedule
In 2009, Dominion began installing smart meters in portions of its service territory.
Smart meters have a digital LCD screen that cycles through three screens, the “kwh” screen, the local area communications path screen and the maintenance screen. The Communication and Maintenance screens display information relevant to Dominion meter operations and are not used in calculating usage or consumption.
The “kWh” screen shows the customer the cumulative consumption of the smart meter at this location. Use this reading in conjunction with the last bill to calculate your current usage. Example: If the last bill meter reading was 1000 kWh and the current reading is 1200 kWh, the difference is 200 kWh in usage since your last meter reading.