Reading A Smart Electric Meter

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POST a QUESTION or COMMENT about inspecting, installing, replacing residential electric meters. InspectAPedia tolerates no conflicts of interest. We have no relationship with advertisers, products, or services discussed at this website. Smart Meter Electric meter reading and decoding:. This article explains how to interpret the common readouts found on digital electric meters.

This article series describes types of electric meters, meter inspection points, and how to read an electric meter.

We also discuss electrical arc burns at the meter base and we include case reports of electric meter base overheat and arcing damage, failures, and repairs. We also provide an ARTICLE INDEX for this topic, or you can try the page top or bottom SEARCH BOX as a quick way to find information you need.

What is a smart meter?

Photo: above, a digital electric meter in Campo San Maurizio, Venice, Italy in 2018.

If you pay 2 rates

If you have 1 orange button and 2 blue buttons

Electric Meter Reading & Accuracy Guides

[Click to enlarge any image]. Our photo above and those below illustrate that digital electric meters or smart meters are provided in a variety of shapes, sizes, and displays.

Reading your smart electricity meter

However all of them will display the same basic information that we will list below. Smart Meters or "Smart Electric Meters" are digital electric meters that us an LCD display that automatically cycles through the following images:.

I’m not very tech-savvy. Will I be able to use it?

Smart Meter Display Test: All 8's or the numeric digit 8, or on some meters like the one we show here (in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico) the display may display all test characters.

  • Electricity Inflow: the cumulative total of electrical usage since the meter was installed, in kilowatt-hours or KWh.

Electricity Outflow: either 00000 OR if the customer is participating in net metering this number, also in KWh, indicates the quantity of electricity supplied back to the electrical grid by the customer.

  1. Current Date, typically in the U.S. in format MM DD YY for Month Day Year.
  2. Current Time, typically in 24-hour format HH MM. Status of Electric Service: displaying either CLOSEd - or - SLS: indicating that electrical power is ON, or OPEn: indicating that the electrical power or service has been disconnected.
  3. In this case contact your utility company for help. 2018/08/12 Kia said:.

I life in a single mobile home and the landlord has done something to cut power to the house.

  1. the light company said everything is good on there end but my outside meter is reading open. This Q&A were posted originally at MOBILE HOME ELECTRICAL WIRING FAQs.
  2. If your SmartMeter is reading "OPEn", according to Com Edison's guide, If the meter display reads “OPEn,” or “OPN,” your power is disconnected.

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You should contact the customer service for your electric utility company or service provider.

  • Watch out: if your landlord has modified the electric service entry wiring or service drop at your property the result could be unsafe.

Ask your utility company to send an expert to the site.

  1. Don't just rely on what their computer tells them.
  2. When calling your electric utility to ask for help with your service or your electric meter, it will be helpful to have the electric meter number, shown on the meter label such as that in our photo above.
  3. 4 Sept 2015 THOMAS said:. I have seen comments to the effect that meter base jaws are sized to fit analog meters only, and the blades of SmartMeters are thinner and therefore more subject to arcing.

This seems very unlikely to me, but it is often seen in blog comments.

  1. Is there any truth at all to this? Interesting question, Thomas.
  2. A scholarly search for research found plenty of research citing the properties of smart electrical meters and no research or papers discussing mounting clip problems.
  3. One would *think* that for cost reasons if a replacement meter is to mount on an existing meter base the new meter's connectors would be sized to fit the existing clips.

Smart Electric Meter & Smart Meter Installation & Testing Guides

In fact loose electrical meter connections is a concern with ANY electrical meter, particularly if the meter has been pulled and replaced as that process might spread the receiving meter connectors.

  • That this is a known concern for all meters is reflected by patent disclosures such as I cite below.

What I infer from this is that there is probably not a special problem with under-sized smart meter bayonets but there might be occurrences of poor connections in removing and plugging in ANY electrical meter, including smart meters being installed to replace older conventional units.

  1. Smart Meters used for elecrical use metering and billing are usually accurate, pre-tested, and depending on where you live, your electrical utility company may be required to prove the accuracy of their electric meters before theyt can be installed.
  2. Depending on where you live you may be served by an electric utility company that charges different rates for electricity usage by time of day.
  3. Some electricity usage metering systems or the charges you see for electrical use may then vary depending on your particular pattern of electricity usage versys time of day.
  4. Older analog electric meters don't have the ability to relate usage to time of day.
  5. Watch out: unless you are trained in proper and safe electrical work do not try to dis-assemble, open, or touch any electrical connections, switches, panels, or devices as you could be shocked or killed.

Otherwise, in normal and safe conditions (that is a building is not flooded, storm or earthquake-damaged, etc.) you should be able to operate normal user-operated switches or controls intended for use by a homeowner or building occupant.

  1. Best solution: if you have any reason to suspect that your electric meter is not working properly, call your electric utility company and ask for help.
  2. Watch out: if your electric meter is hissing, buzzing or arcing it is unsafe; you should avoid touching it or any electrical components and should call your electric utility or a local licensed electrician for emergency help as there may be shock or fire hazards present.

Digital or Smart Meter Electric Meters

On older dial-type electric meters, a slight mechanical noise is normal and not dangerous.

  • Turn off all use of electricity in the building.

To do this, Turn off the main circuit breaker or fuse that powers your building using the normal homeowner control such as turning off a main circuit breaker or pulling the mainf use block.

  1. See MAIN ELECTRICAL DISCONNECTWatch out: do not even touch an electrical panel if it is wet, visibly damaged, or the floor or building is/are wet; Call for help from a licensed electrician instead.
  2. Look at the electric meter: it should show no electricity usage on its readout. If not you have not found the main electrical shut-off or there is other wiring that may be improper or unsafe - Call for help from a licensed electrician .
  3. Turn your main electrical panel breaker or fuse back on. Turn off all circuits in the building: but leave the main breaker or fuse "on" - you should see no electricty usage.
  4. Turn on one circuit that powers an appliance that uses a lot of electricity such as an electric stove or electric heater.

Why do I need to read my smart meter?

Read the wattage consumption rate of the one appliance that is ON, and leave the appliance on for an hour.

  • Read the wattage used as displayed by your electric meter and compare it with the watts-per-hour or watt-hour rating of your appliance: the two numbers should be witin 5% of one another.

Remember to turn other circuits back on.

  1. If you are trained to do so safely you can use a DMM or VOM to measure the current consumed on an individual circuit and you can, by turning off other circuits, compare that with the electricity usage reported by your electric meter.
  2. AMPS MEASUREMENT METHODS describes how to measure the electricity used on individual circuits.
  3. Also see DMMs VOMs SAFE USE OF. Con Edison, HOW TO READ A SMART METER [PDF] Commonwealth Edison Company, ComEd Customer Care Center, P.O.
  4. Box 805379, Chicago, IL 60680-5379 USA, Customer Service Residential: 1-800-Edison-1 (1-800-334-7661), Spanish: 1-800-95-Luces (1-800-955-8237) Smart Meter Inquiries: 1-866-368-8326 (2018) retrieved 2018/08/12, original source:


  1. Johnson, David A., and Thomas L. "Meter bayonet tool and method of testing tension of meter socket jaws."
  2. Steiner, Richard, Michael Farrell, Shannon Edwards, Joni Ford, and Thomas Nelson.
  3. A NIST TESTBED FOR EXAMINING THE ACCURACY OF SMART METERS UNDER HIGH HARMONIC WAVEFORM LOADS [PDF] In 2018 Conference on Precision Electromagnetic Measurements (CPEM 2018), pp.

What will a smart meter cost?

Retrieved 2021/10/18 original source: Abstract Household and industrial electrical energy measurements are advancing into a Smart Gridstage, using solid-state watt-hour meters with communication capability, called smart meters.

  • As electrical products become heavily based on solid-state designs, such as LED lighting anddimmers, electrical loads are not purely resistive, but contain voltage and current spikes,introducing relatively high harmonic power to the grid.

This paper describes a testbedlaboratory that attempts to model LED household lighting loads, measure the energy bysmart meter and power analyzer, and correlate offsets to the waveform variations.

  1. Resultsshow that with large current crest factors up to 9, two meters (same manufacturer) out ofeight tested show an error near 4 %, with a combined uncertainty of ±0.18 %.
  2. Three metersshowed no variation outside a 0.07 % standard deviation that was typical for their normalrepeatability.Key words: crest factor; power quality; power system harmonics; power system measurements; smartgrid; smart watt-hour meters; watt-hour meters.
  3. Total Energies Gas & Power Co., Pearl Assurance House,7 New Bridge St W,Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8AQ UK, Web: Tel: 0333 003 7874 Excerpt on Smart Meter Accuracy in the UKSmart meters are as accurate as traditional meters.

How do I take a reading from an Economy 7 meter?

A BEIS study from November 2018 states ‘74% of consumers reported they were satisfied with their overall smart meter experience a year after installation’.

  • For more on this, please visit this Government report on the SMART METERING IMPLEMENTATION PROGRAMME [PDF] (2018) By law, all smart meters have to be certified by the Office for Product Safety and Standards to prove their accuracy, but if you do think there’s a fault, you can report it to your energy supplier in the same way you do now.


  1. 3-10, Dec 2000, Facilities Engineering Branch, Denver Office, Denver CO, US Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, retrieved 8/21/14, original source:
  2. Continue reading at ELECTRIC METERS & METER BASES or select a topic from the closely-related articles below, or see the complete ARTICLE INDEX.
  3. SMART or DIGITAL ELECTRIC METER READINGS at - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.
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The Basics of Smart Electric Meter

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  3. Photographs: Daniel Friedman. Srinivasan, MSEE, is a senior member of IEEE with 30 years experience in the electrical industry.


Srinivasan is in Vienna VA. Babin generously contributed technical editing about the effects of doubling ampacity in an electrical circuit (September 2007) . "Simplified Electrical Wiring," Sears, Roebuck and Co., 15705 (F5428) Rev. 4-77 1977 [Lots of sketches of older-type service panels.].

How to read a smart electric meter

"How to plan and install electric wiring for homes, farms, garages, shops," Montgomery Ward Co., 83-850.

  • "Electrical System Inspection Basics," Richard C.

Wolcott, ASHI 8th Annual Education Conference, Boston 1985.

  1. "Simplified Electrical Wiring," Sears, Roebuck and Co., 15705 (F5428) Rev.
  2. 4-77 1977 [Lots of sketches of older-type service panels.]. "How to plan and install electric wiring for homes, farms, garages, shops," Montgomery Ward Co., 83-850.
  3. "Home Wiring Inspection," Roswell W. Ard, Rodale's New Shelter, July/August, 1985 p.
  4. "Evaluating Wiring in Older Minnesota Homes," Agricultural Extension Service, University of Minnesota, St.

What if I have a prepayment meter?

Paul, Minnesota 55108.

  • "Electrical Systems," A Training Manual for Home Inspectors, Alfred L.

Alk, American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), 1987, available from ASHI.

  1. [DF NOTE: I do NOT recommend this obsolete publication, though it was cited in the original Journal article as it contains unsafe inaccuracies].
  2. "Basic Housing Inspection," US DHEW, S352.75 U48, p.144, out of print, but is available in most state libraries.
  3. Our recommended books about building & mechanical systems design, inspection, problem diagnosis, and repair, and about indoor environment and IAQ testing, diagnosis, and cleanup are at the InspectAPedia Bookstore.
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If you also need to read a smart gas meter

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How do you read a smart meter with no buttons?

You might need to read your smart meter in some situations, for example if:.

  • you’ve just switched supplier - you normally need to send the first meter reading yourself.

you switch supplier and they say they can’t connect to your meter - this can happen if you’ve got an older smart meter.

  1. you want to check your meter reading - for example, to see how it’s changed recently.
  2. Call your supplier to give them the reading - or check if you can submit one on their website or app.
  3. If you can’t get to your meter, your energy supplier might be able to give you extra help to read or move your meter.
  4. You can check if you can get extra help from your energy supplier.

Smart meter vs in-home display

When you get a smart meter installed, you'll also normally get a small portable device with a screen on it.

  • This is called an ‘in-home display’ (IHD) or a ‘smart energy monitor’ - it either plugs into a socket or runs on batteries.

It can be easy to confuse your smart meter with your IHD.

  1. You might be able to take a reading from the IHD but it’s best to take one from the meter itself.
  2. The meter will be fixed to a wall or board - it’s usually somewhere like a kitchen cupboard or a box on a wall outside your home.
  3. An example smart meter. The way you take a reading from a smart electricity meter depends on the type of meter you have.
  4. Start by checking if you pay:. a single rate at all times.

Check your meter - not your in-home display

2 rates - one rate during the day and a cheaper rate at night.

  • Most people pay a single rate at all times.

If you have an ‘Economy 7’ meter, you pay 2 rates.

  1. If you’re not sure, check your bill to see if you pay 2 rates. To read the meter:. wait until you see the letters ‘IMP KWH’. you’ll then see numbers followed by ‘KWH’ - this is your reading. write down the numbers from left to right.

If your meter has 3 square red buttons, these may or may not be labeled ‘A’, ‘B’, and ‘C’. Press the ‘A’ or left button to see your reading.

ignore any zeroes at the beginning and any numbers after the decimal point. To read the meter:. wait until you see ‘IMP R01’ followed by numbers - this is usually your night or ‘off-peak’ reading.