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Reading Your Meter

How to Read your electric or natural gas meter

Your Avista Utilities electric and/or natural gas meter is a precise instrument with an outstanding record of accuracy. Before being placed on your home, Avista Utilities employees calibrate meters to within five tenths of one percent of total accuracy.

The flat, wide disk in an electric meter, or the quarter foot hand on a gas meter, rotating, is your visual indicator that energy is being used. They turn at a speed directly proportional to the amount of energy flowing into your home at any given time.

Understanding your meter will help you understand your energy usage.


Avista Utilities meter readers generally visit your home for an actual "read" each month. Meters are read approximately every thirty days. Your meters will be read on or about the same day each month. Different areas are read at different times. Therefore, when a person moves from one address to another there may be a change in the day of the month the meter is read.

Electric and gas meters have clock-type dials, with rotating hands to indicate usage. Each hand rotates in the opposite direction of the preceding dial, either clockwise or counterclockwise.

To ensure accurate reads, it is important to stand directly in front of the meter and have sufficient lighting:

Instructions on Reading Your Meter (PDF)

1. Read the meter dials from left to right and record the readings in the same order.

2. When the hand is between two digits, record the smaller digit.

3. If you are not certain whether or not the hand has reached the next digit, check the dial to the right. If the hand is not on, or slightly past the zero, record the lower digit.

4. Subtracting the last reading from your present reading, times the multiplier, if your meter has one, will determine the amount of energy used.

5. Many Avista Utilities meters have multipliers, which simplify meter design. If your meter has a multiplier, take your readings and multiply by the multiplier to determine actual usage.

6. Refer to the last reading on your bill and recheck your read for accuracy.

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