How to Read Your Meter

Knowing how to read your meter can help you track your energy or water use. If you've never read your meter before, follow the instructions below for reading water or electric meters - it is easier than you think!

Reading Your Water Meter

Step 1: Locate your meter, which is generally enclosed in a concrete or plastic box located near the street, inside the curb in front of your lot.  

Step 2: Remove the concrete or plastic cover carefully to avoid injury and damage and set it aside. Remember to close the lid and replace the cover securely when you are finished.

Step 3: Read your meter. There are two basic kinds of water meters - those with an odometer and those with multiple dials:

  • The odometer water meter reads exactly like the mileage indicator on your car.  Disregard any needle since this is used only for testing purposes.  
  • The multiple dial water meter has small dials in a circle, each marked off in ten divisions.  Each dial reads like the hour hand on a clock.  Note that every other hand turns counter-clockwise. To read the meter, start with the 10 dial (as marked) and always use the lower number.  Write the numbers down from right to left.  A "one-foot" dial is only for testing purposes.  If your read a meter a month later, subtract the old reading from the new and your will find the amount you have used in cubic feet of water.  Multiply by 7.48 and you will find the number of gallons of water used between the two readings.

Reading Your Electric Meter

Step 1: Locate your meter. If there are several meters on the wall, yours will be labeled with the Meter Number as seen on your bill. Here are additional tips:

  • The meter is usually near the main fuse box or panel of circuit breakers.
  • The meter is usually on the outside of the house or apartment building.
  • The meter is usually about 5 feet above ground level.
  • The meter has a round glass bowl covering four or five small dials that look like tiny clocks.
  • If there are several meters on the wall, yours will be labeled with the Meter Number in the Electricity Usage Section of your bill.

Step 2: Read your meter. Automated Meter Read (AMR) meters are now the standard for new and replacement meters at homes, apartments and condominium complexes in Pasadena. To read an AMR meter, simply read the Solid State Digital readout in the center of the meter. To determine usage for the current billing period, subtract the meter reading on the previous bill from the current meter reading.

Example:     Current Reading = 26064
                       Prior Reading     = 14212
                       kilowatt hours    = 11852

If your electric meter has 4 or 5 round dials numbered clockwise from 1 to 0, here’s how to read it:

Start with the dial on the right and proceed to the left, recording the numbers indicated.

If a pointer is between two numbers, record the LOWER number. If a pointer is directly on a number, check if the pointer on the dial to the right has moved past zero. If it has NOT passed zero, record the lower number from the original dial.

The 4- to 5-digit number is your new meter reading. To determine how much electricity you’ve used since your meter was read last, subtract the previous meter reading from your new reading.