Understanding your meter
Understanding the type of meter you have and how it displays your electricity usage is fundamental to understanding how your electricity bill works. In Australia, there are three types of electricity meters. Each meter records and displays usage differently. To help you get a better understanding of each type of meter, we’ve included some helpful tips to determine what each meter looks like, and how to read them confidently.
Types of Meters
A basic meter (also known as an accumulation meter) has several dials that look like mini analogue clocks. There may be four, five, or six dials alternating in direction.
To read this meter:
- Look at the numbers shown on each dial, reading from left to right
- If the hand on the dial is between 2 numbers, read the lower number
- If the pointer is directly over a number, write down that one
- When it is between 0 and 9, read the 9, and reduce the reading you’ve already taken for the dial on its left by one. For example, if you originally recorded 5, reduce it to 4
- Don’t read the last dial on the right
Interval meters, also known as Time of Use meters, measure electricity usage every 30 minutes and record it. Depending on the energy retailer, this means customers can be charged cheaper rates for off-peak periods and higher for peak usage (some also include a different rate for shoulder periods) or be charged the same regardless of the time of day.
Unlike Basic meters, these are digital meters and the usage is recorded but the Energy Network Distributor must still visit your property to access the reads. In this case, the meter reader will attach an optical probe to a port on the meter and the information is automatically sent through to their system. Once validated, the readings are sent to your electricity retailer to generate a bill.
Your meter may, instead of having a display of dials, simply have a digital display. This will look similar to the odometer of your car. Your meter screen may cycle through a number of different displays. To read this meter, whatever number is indicated on the digital display that shows the letters ‘kw/h’ is the total number of kilowatt hours consumed at that point.
If you have a basic meter, your distribution network will send a qualified meter reader to visit your property periodically (usually at the end of each quarter bill cycle) to conduct a meter read. This will help your energy supplier (Nectr) determine a more accurate bill. If you’d like to learn how to conduct a self-meter read and track your usage click here.