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Reading Your Meter

Decoding your digits.

Your electric or gas meter tells Unitil how much energy your property has used in the previous billing cycle, keeping you informed of your monthly energy use. For electricity, usage is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh), and for natural gas, usage is measured in one-hundred cubic feet (ccf).

By comparing your monthly energy use over time, you can make more educated decisions about your future usage and lower your monthly bill.

digital electric meter face

How We Read Your Meter

Unitil uses both Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and an Automated Meter Reading system (AMR) to capture customer meter readings. These technologies provide accurate readings on the final day of the billing cycle but provide data at various intervals throughout the billing period.

For gas meters, Unitil utilizes the AMR system to capture customer meter readings wirelessly, without visiting your location. Our electric service customers have a combination of digital, odometer and dial displays, most of which are equipped with AMI technology. The AMI system allows us to take accurate meter readings on a daily basis. In turn, we can provide very detailed energy consumption information back to the customer.

How You Can Read Your Meter

We provide you with your monthly energy usage on your bills. However, you may still wish to read your meter from time to time.

If your meter has a digital display, the numbers should be read exactly as they appear, from left to right.

Here are the steps to decode a dial meter:

  • Read and record the number from each dial starting from the left and going to the right.
  • When the hand is between two numbers or has just passed a number, record the smaller number (if the hand is between the 3 and 4 or has just passed the 3, record the number 3). This is unless it’s between 0 and 9 — in this case, record 9.
  • When the hand appears to be directly on a number, check the dial to the right. If the hand has not passed zero, record the smaller number instead.
Illustration of digital meter on side of house

Customized Rate Options Are in Your Future

Recently, Unitil upgraded its system to the next generation of Advanced Metering Functionality (AMF). This technology includes the capability to record consumption at 15-minute intervals, which opens customers up to participating in Time-of-Use rate pricing programs if they are using smart-home technologies.

Time-of-Use is when you pay different prices for the electricity you use, depending on when you use it (time of day, week and year). With this latest upgrade, we are looking to the future of developing customized rate options, and in turn encouraging more customers to invest in sustainable energy technologies like electric vehicles, self-generation, energy storage and home energy management solutions.

woman controlling smart home functions with smartphone

Helpful Resources

Understanding your bill, taking control of your energy usage and exploring alternatives can help you keep your meter dials low. Knowledge equals savings.