Your electric meter works for you constantly, but how much do you know about it? Swipe (or scroll) down to know the details on analog and smart electricity meters, how they track energy consumption, where the meter number is located for electric meter readings, the utility company's responsibility for them, and what to do when changing electricity providers (nationally) or switching electric providers in Texas.
An electric meter is a device that measures the consumption of electricity used by your household as it passes into your home. Typically it is installed at the point where the power lines enter your building. Like the mileage display in your car that shows you the total distance your car has traveled, the electric meter displays the total amount of power that has been used since it was set, and works constantly.
Electricity meters measure energy consumption in kilowatt-hours (kWh). To find out how much electricity you have consumed within a given time period, you must take two readings and subtract the second reading from the first. While different types of meters exist, they all perform the same function and include the same basic components:. A unique meter number that is used to identify your consumption.
A display of total electricity consumption. There are two main types of electric meters used by most utilities: electromechanical meters and automated ("smart") meters.
However, Americans who install microgeneration capacity must install a third type of meter, a bi-directional meter. Check out our guide for more information about different types of meters.
The electric meter that is connected to your home is given a unique number so that your consumption can be identified and billed correctly. You will need to indicate your meter number when you submit a meter reading to your Transmission/Distribution Service Provider (TDSP - also known as your electric utility). This is not the same as the ESI ID#, which is used to localize your meter number, and link your consumption to your meter number.
You will find the meter number on the face of your electricity meter. On a digital meter the meter number is found below the consumption screen. The meter number on an analog meter is found at the bottom of the electricity meter. In the meter illustration, the meter number is 08365. Moving to Texas or already living there?Texas residents have options! The ESID meter number is on the meter face or use the Utility Choice ESID lookup by entering an address.
Living in deregulated electric zones, a majority of Texans enjoy the competition between +70 providers and can choose electricity plans that use 100% renewable energy, have rate type options, or annual summer energy rate freezes!
Electromechanical meters contain the following components:. A plastic or glass cover. The cover is sealed so as to reduce the possibility that it can be damaged or tampered with. The unique number for the particular meter. A disk that turns as power is consumed. Dials that indicate the total amount of power consumed. Electromechanical induction meters are the most common type of electricity meters currently used the US.
They contain an electrically conductive, non-magnetic metal disk that rotates at a speed proportional to the amount of electricity consumed. The disk is propelled by the interaction of the magnetic fields produced by two electromagnets surrounding the disks: one that is powered by the power being supplied from the incoming power lines, and the other by the current being demanded by the building's electrical circuits.
The rotation of the disk is slowed by two permanent magnets that exert a proportional opposing force. The numbers on the dial turn as the disk rotates, keeping a continuous tab on total energy consumed. Automated meters (or "smart" meters) work in a similar manner to traditional electromechanical meters, but they also contain a battery and a communication chip.
This communication chip sends meter reading data by radio signal to a mobile collector (and rests dormant between these times). This meter reading information is sent to the electricity utility several times of day, through the power lines, or by radio frequency or cellular networks.