How to read your meters

Reading your meter can help you better understand your energy usage. Below we explain how to read various types of electricity meters, including smart meters, as well as your gas meter.

Smart electricity meter

Smart electricity meter

A smart electricity meter measures and records the amount of electricity consumed in 30 minute usage intervals. The usage data is encrypted and stored in the smart meter until the meter remotely communicates this information to ActewAGL.

Understanding your electricity usage in 30 minute intervals can enable you to better understand when and how electricity is consumed in your home and can lead to better management of your electricity usage.

How to read your smart meter

The following guide will help you read your meter. The displays shown are typical screens and there could be variations.


Single phase general purpose meter

Press the SELECT button located on the top right of the meter front.

Scroll through the options available to view the meter data.

Single phase general purpose meter

Display reference

01 - Standard current date and time

02 - Excess energy consumed

03 - Excess energy exported

Single phase general purpose and dedicated off-peak circuit meter

Press the SELECT button located on the top right of the meter front - under the green coloured button.

Scroll through the options available to view the meter data. 

Single phase purpose meter and dedicated off-peak meter

Display reference

01 - Standard current date and time

03 - Excess energy consumed

13 - Excess energy exported by the solar system

07 - Total energy consumed by the hot water service


Three phase general purpose and dedicated off peak circuit meter 

Press the SELECT button located on the top right of the meter front - under the Reconnect button.

Scroll through the options available to view the meter data.

3 phase general purpose and dedicated off peak circuit

 Display reference

 01 - Standard current date and time

 03 - Excess energy consumed

 13 - Excess energy exported by the solar system

Electronic electricity meter

The electronic electricity meter is read using the display button to switch through a series of screens. All readings are recorded in a non-volatile electronic memory, so no readings will be lost in the event the meter loses power.

There are many different styles of electronic meters. The following illustration and instructions pertain to a common example of the electronic electricity meter.

Diagram of electronic electricity meter showing screen, button functions and communications socket

To read the meter, press the display button. The first screen is the test pattern and shows a series of eights. To read the other screens, press the display button to move onto the next one. Beside each reading a number will appear:

  • 01 shows the time
  • 03 shows the total main circuit kWh reading
  • 07 shows the total off-peak reading
  • 13 – 14 show 'on' and 'off' times for the first off-peak period
  • 15 – 16 show 'on' and 'off' times for the second off-peak period
  • 18 shows the serial number of the meter

Not all electronic electricity meters look like the illustration above. For example, the latest meters installed display the kilowatt hours used in three separate registers.

Time Of Use (TOU) electricity meter

TOU meters have a scroll rate of five seconds for each display window. To manually scroll through each window, momentarily press the right-hand button to access the next screen. In some cases this button will activate the boost function for controlled loads (such as storage hot water) if the button is pressed for five seconds. Boost mode switches on controlled load devices outside of programmed off-peak operation times.


Electricity time-of-use meter
Not all TOU meters look like the illustration above.

For more detailed information on how to read 3-phase meters (sprint 200), single-phase single element meters (with green push buttons) and single-phase twin element meters (with blue push buttons) you can download our guide to reading TOU meters (PDF, 300kb).

The default display for all customers will be a TOU display, however consumption will be billed as per the pricing plan you have in place with your retailer.

Analogue electricity meter with dials

The analogue electricity meter used as an example below uses five dials to give a reading.

  • Starting from the left-hand dial (10,000), record the numbers from left to right
  • When a dial hand points between numbers, record the lower number

Electricity analogue meter showing dials
Using our example image above, the numbers recorded should be 3-4-9-4-6. This reading shows 34,946 kilowatt hours of electricity.

Are you confused by the second number recorded from the dial reading in this image?

  • In the above example, the "1000" dial appears to be indicating that the pointer is on the number 5, but if you look closely you will see that the pointer has not quite reached the number 5. This is because the "100" dial (to its right) has not completed a full revolution yet (it is between numbers).

    Once it does, the "1000" dial will move fully to the next number, 5. For now, the correct reading is 4.

Not all dial meter displays look like the above example. In some meters, the placement of numbers in each dial runs in the opposite direction to the dials shown above.

Odometer electricity meter

This analogue electricity meter looks like an odometer in your car. Numbers are read from left to right.
The meter has five white digits that show the kilowatt hours of electricity that have been used.

Electricity odometer type meter showing numbers
The above image shows 92,992 kilowatt hours of electricity.

Gas meter

The numbers on your gas meter's dial show the total volume of natural gas that has passed through it in cubic metres.

To calculate the amount of gas you have consumed during this period, you need to deduct the previous reading from the figure on the meter. You can find your previous reading on your last gas bill.

You can then work out your energy usage in mega joules (MJ). Using this consumption figure multiply it by the conversion factor that is on your gas bill. The conversion factor refers to the amount of energy (MJs) per cubic metre of gas.

Photograph of a natural gas meter

Gas hot water meter

There are many different kinds of models of hot water meters. On most hot water meters you will see a series of numbers.

When reading your meter you should read all the numbers from left to right including any leading zeros. Both the black and red numbers should be included and if you have a digital meter read the whole number.

By reading the meter at two different points in time (such as at the beginning of the day and at the end) you will be able to determine what your water usage is for that amount of time.

For residential blocks of about fifteen or more stacked residential apartments, centralised hot water can be cheaper and take up less space than individual water heating.

A typical gas centralised hot water system supplying residential dwellings includes:

  • one or more central hot water heaters, with corresponding gas meters
  • insulated piping to each apartment, with individual hot water meters.

The total amount of gas consumed to provide hot water is split amongst the dwellings supplied.  Each dwelling’s gas consumption quota is calculated based on the amount of water flowing from the boiler to the dwelling measured by the hot water meter, and is reflected on your the gas bill.

Centralised hot water diagram

If your bill is too high

If your centralised hot water systems has problems, or the hot water meter is registering incorrectly, your gas bill may be very high.  If you think you are experiencing an issue related to centralised hot water, please contact your gas retailer for assistance.  Your retailer’s contact details can be found on your gas bill.

More questions?

We have created a brochure outlining gas centralised hot water systems in multi-unit buildings.

If you require any further assistance with reading your meter please contact our Assist Team on 13 14 93.