How to Convert the Reading on My Meter to the Kilowatt Hours on My Bill

Track your electric costs by reading your own meter.

Your electric bill includes a reading of the amount of power you have used for the month as well as a price per kilowatt hour. A kilowatt hour is simply 1,000 watts of electricity used for one hour. This is roughly equal to using a room air conditioner for an hour, or running 10 bulbs of 100 watts each. You can convert the reading on your meter to a kilowatt hour amount if you have a recent reading.

Step 1

Check your recent electric bill to see what the last reading was. The reading will be the actual meter reading, not the total of kilowatt hours. Make sure it is not an estimated reading.

Step 2

Check your meter to see what the reading is. If the meter is digital, this will be easy. If it is a dial meter, start on the left and read to the right, one dial for each digit. If the needle is between two numbers, use the lower number. Note that some dials will move clockwise and some counterclockwise. That doesn't matter as far as the reading goes; just use the lower of the two numbers on either side of the needle.

Step 3

Subtract the reading that's on your bill from your own reading. This tells you the amount of electricity you have used since the last reading. If you keep a log of your own, you will not need to check your bill for the most recent reading.

Step 4

Multiply the kilowatt hours used by whatever your power provider is charging for a kilowatt hour (listed on bill) to get an idea of the cost of the power used.

Things You'll Need

  • Calculator

  • Recent electric bill