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Reading Your Meter

Most gas meters have four or five dials. Electric meters usually have four or five dials. These dials rotate clockwise and counterclockwise. The first dial on the right registers in single units and rotates clockwise; the second registers in multiples of ten and rotates counterclockwise. The third, the hundreds digit, rotates clockwise, the fourth, the thousands digit, rotates counterclockwise and so on. You can always tell which way the dials go by the direction of the numbers.

Reading your meter is easy if you follow 3 simple rules:

  1. Read dials from right to left.
  2. On each dial read the lesser number nearest the pointer. For example, if the pointer is between 6 and 7, read 6; if the pointer is between 4 and 5, read 4. However, if the pointer is between 9 and 0, read 9.
  3. Write down the numbers in the order you read them - from right to left.

Look at the dials on this meter

On the right dial, the pointer has passed 7 and is on the way to 8, so you read it as 7. The pointer on the second dial is not quite on 9, so you read it as 8. On the next dial the pointer has not reached 4 and you read it as 3. On the fourth dial, the pointer is between 6 and 7, so you read it as 6. The meter reading is 6387.

What would this reading be?

Note the dial measuring the hundreds digit. The pointer seems directly on 8, yet it is read as 7. Why? Because it is only after the pointer on any dial to the right has reached 0 again that you can read the dial on the left at the next highest number. Thus, the correct meter reading is 6798.  


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