How to calculate your electric bill

on November 1, 2021

Every appliance and electronic device in your home adds to your bill. By calculating your own tab, you can find out which appliances are costing you much more than they should. This awareness can both lower your bill and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time.

How to read your home's electric meter

By conducting your own reading, you can calculate how much your electricity bill should be. Your meter will be one of three types:

  • Digital Meter
  • Dial (Analogue) Meter
  • Smart Meter

Before we show you how to calculate your energy usage, let’s first take a look at how to get the reading from each type of meter.

Meters read your electricity in kilowatt-hours (kWh). One kWh is equal to one unit. Usually your bill will have a cost per unit, which will come in handy when we break down the equation for you later on.

When you’re dealing with a dial meter, you’ll usually see five different dials. If the dial is between two numbers, use the number that has just been passed. If the dial is directly over a number, read that number only if the dial to its right has passed zero.

You’re probably wondering the meaning behind these numbers. Well, they represent the amount of amount energy you consume. The more energy you use, the more your dial will turn, increasing its figure. Think of it as miles on your car’s dashboard. The more you drive your car, the more miles will be displayed on your dashboard. The same concept applies when it comes to reading your meter.

Digital and smart meters are much more straightforward and easier to use. For a digital meter, you only need to make a note of the first five numbers being shown. If for some reason you see a set of numbers that starts 0.1 after the first five numbers on your meter – ignore them.

Calculating your bill

Once you have your meter reading, you can calculate how much electricity you’ve used since your last electricity bill. To do so, first find your last month’s electricity bill to see the reported reading. You’ll then subtract last month’s reading from your current reading. The result is the total amount of kWh you’ve used since your last meter reading.

Your meter reading will never reset to zero. The number you see on your meter represents the kilowatt hours that have been used since the meter was first installed. So you’ll only see this number grow, making it important to compare your meter readings every month.

Sometimes energy companies will bill you based off of an estimate that was generated from your home’s previous use, which means you could be charged a higher bill just because those who lived in your home previously consumed a lot of energy.

To calculate your bill, you’ll also need to know how much your utility company charges per one kilowatt hour and if there are any fixed fees included in your bill. Once you’ve obtained that information and the total amount of kWh used since your last meter reading, you’ll be ready to proceed.

You’ll then take this number and multiply it by the kWh rate your power company charges and add any fixed fees.

  • Current meter reading – Meter reading reported from last month’s bill = Total kWh used since last reading
  • Total kWh used since last reading x Charge per kWh = Total energy charge
  • Total energy charge + Fixed monthly fees = Final bill

The equation listed above will help you track your energy consumption. It’s a simple task, which once implemented, can help you gain monthly savings. If you’re conscious about your carbon footprint, you shouldn’t be paying a high energy bill. Calculating it on your own will put a stop to your over-inflated bill.

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