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checking out our electricity meter

with 3 comments

I haven’t written much on the environmental or energy front lately, so I should rectify that soon. Today I want to focus on something practical, my own electricity usage and trying to get it down. Not that it’s horribly exorbitant or that I can’t pay for it, just that I’d like to know how much it is and how it breaks down in terms of appliances and such. And how to be more canny and conservational.

So the first thing to do is find your electricity meter and learn how to read it, and to see how it compares to your bill – just in case you’re getting diddled. Our house is new, and our meter shares a housing with our four neighbours. Their meters, though, are the old clockface meters, whereas ours is a more recently designed EM1200 meter. At the moment, I’ve no idea how to read the meter, but I’m about to find out.

The reading as shown above is one of six, each showing for about five seconds before moving on to the next one. One of them appears to be a simple clock reading, not adjusted for daylight saving, while two more just always show the same thing, a row of zeros, and a row of eights.

I’m downloading a brochure about the thing, which is advertised thus:

The EM1200 is a fully programmable single phase multifunction watt hour meter providing an affordable solution to your dynamic metering requirements through comprehensive and advanced functionality. With the very fast download times of the AMPY Email Metering proprietary protocol (90 days of ½ hour intervals in less than 5 seconds) the meter will meet the current and future needs of a continually changing power industry.

Kind of whets the appetite, don’t it. As I’ve said, there are six different display modes, with their codes, 01, 02, 03, 07, 30 and ’88’, which may not be a code at all.

Well, I thought I was downloading something like a user’s manual but it turns out to be something other, so I’m no wiser so far. I’ve also downloaded a report prepared for the Total Environment Centre on ‘Advanced Metering for Energy Supply in Australia’, which identifies three types of meter:

accumulation meters – the old standard meters,  which simply record energy consumption over time

interval meters – which record the quantities of quantities of energy consumed over set, frequent time intervals

smart meters – which, in addition to the intervalling capability, allow for one-way or two-way communication between the energy supplier and the meter.

I suspect, or hope, that our meter is an interval meter. It clearly isn’t a smart meter. Display 02, shown in the photo, is the date, and display 01 is the time, and display 03 appears to be the total usage in kilowatt-hours. I’m comparing this to a description [with photo] of an interval meter [which confirms that ours is also an interval meter] made by AMPY email, which has slightly different display codes, though 01, 02 and 03 are identical to ours [which is a Landis + Gyr meter, as shown]. The ‘how to read your meter’ sheet for the AMPY says that the kilowatt-hours number displayed is cumulative. Our number, displayed at 11.31am on October 15, is 5242.6. So now to go out and read it again. The reading, just now, at 9.12pm on October 16, is 5260.0. So the usage, presumably, has been 17.4 kilowatt-hours in a period of 33 hours and forty minutes. No air-conditioners or heaters were used during this time. Computers were used, a dishwasher, a washing machine, television and various other appliances. Two people in the house. I don’t know if this – about 12 kwh in a day – was a typical day’s usage. This site, which I think dates from 2003, tells me that the ‘average’ daily household consumption in Australia is 15 to 20 kwh a day. Still, our consumption is way more than it could be with a bit more discipline. I’ll try to improve it, and I’ll try to find out more about our meter, like what are those boost and scroll buttons for?


Written by stewart henderson

October 16, 2011 at 10:58 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. Hi there,

    I have just spent an hour researching the exact meter you are discussing. I had a particularly high electricity bill and AGL suggested I check the meter readings. The only problem is, I can’t make any sense out of it. I have looked at all the websites showing “How to read your meter” but my meter, which looks the same as yours, does not show the time or the date plus it shows other nonsensical numbers.

    If you find any other information, please post it.



    October 17, 2011 at 12:25 pm

  2. Hi
    Your meter should show a number of different readings, each one displayed for five or six seconds before ticking over to the next one. Display 03 should show the kilowatt hours, if it’s the same as mine. If not, perhaps you can let me know what readings your meter does display [just describe them], and I’ll try to work it out for you.


    October 17, 2011 at 2:12 pm

  3. honestly I tried to read this but got brain fuzz part way through, think I’ll leave it to my husband to sort out, like they did in the old days!


    October 22, 2011 at 9:22 am

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