How to Read Electricity Meters

How to Read Energy Meters

First of all, let’s call these electricity meters as Energy Meters because this is their real name. Secondly reading of Energy Meters is not a task that a techy person can only do. Any lay person can read their Electricity Meters. I will discuss here only relevant and commons parts and try to use least technical language.

The focus of this article is mainly Digital Energy Meters because they need a little bit attention to understand them. Disk Energy Meters are easy to read as only total Energy Units are present on its dial.

Read an article about Energy Units here.

Meter manufacturers from all over the world does not follow common rule to interpret information. That’s why we will not use any specific Electricity meter rather use a General Digital Energy Meter which is giving common information regarding some specific Electricity Consumer.

Meter Serial Number (MSN)

Every meter is assigned to a consumer by its serial number. On the LCD of some Energy Meters you will find some random number which will at first not make any sense. That is your meter serial number, after examining whole meter you will find same serial number printed on the body of meter. Look at the image below to understand this point.

 Energy Meter Serial Number
Figure 1: Energy Meter Serial Number

In this image meter serial number (MSN) is 92404500.

How to read Total Units consumed?

To capture your required values always try to find units written after the readings like (kW) or (kWh). Therefore to find total units consumed from the date of installation of meter, find (kWh) written after the readings. To understand the point, observe the image below:

kWh written on Energy Meter
Figure 2: kWh written on Energy Meter

To get the total readings you need to find (TL) or (kWh) with some readings like image above. That is your required readings. If you want to get units consumed in some specific month, you need to take two readings at the starting of month and at the end of month. Take difference of these two readings that will be your required unit consumption for that month.

How to read dual tariff based readings?

Commercial and industrial consumers mostly charge on dual tariff. It means price of Energy Unit will be different for different time of day. Mostly 6pm to 10 pm consider as peak timings (T1) and other than these timings consider as off peak timings(T2). You need to add both T1 and T2 to get your Total kWh readings. Remaining process will be same as above. Look on the images below to get an idea:

Off Peak Readings on Energy Meter
Figure 3: Peak Readings on Energy Meter
Off Peak Readings on Energy Meter
Figure 4: Off Peak Readings on Energy Meter

Adding T1 and T2: 14047 (kWh) + 20192 (kWh) = 34176 kWh which will be your ultimate consumed units.

Side Note: In some countries, even T3 is also used, if T3 is present then add it as well.

How to read MDI (Maximum Demand Indicator)?

As its name suggest MDI gives the information about the Maximum Demand of some specific consumer.

Study about MDI in this article

Moreover, Unit of MDI is (kW), so to find MDI you need to search kW with MDI written like the image below:

The importance of MDI is that you can find your maximum load demand that can reach any time of day. Now the real question is why do you need information about MDI? It is because all utility companies impose penalties if some consumer’s MDI is greater than the approved load. Load is varying and it always increase with time due to obvious reasons. So always check your MDI and compare it with your approved load to save yourself with penalties.

If you need any more help, feel free to comment below. Also don't forget to like our facebook page. 🙂


Electrical engineering is my profession, my hobby and my passion. I completed bachelors of electrical engineering in 2015. Currently I am working with an Electric Utility Company. Power Electronics, Embedded Systems and Energy Metering are my fields of specialization. In free time I listen music and watch movies.

What do you think?