Reading Your Meter

How to Read Your Meter and Why It's Important

Your meter calculates costs based on a per Kilowatt hour (kWh) basis. A kWh is based on 1000 watts of power being used for one hour.

By reading your meter daily and using a little bit of simple math, you can help plan your electric bill each month. In times of extreme heat or cold, reading your meter each day can help you conserve energy and minimize weather-related usage.

Start by determining how much your ideal electric bill would be and use this formula so you can figure out how many kilowatt hours you can use each month.

  • Budgeted Amount divided by 0.11 (all electric) = Budgeted kWh
  • Budgeted kWh divided by 30 days = Daily kWh usage goal

For Example, if you want your bill to be no more than $150/month,

  • $150 divided by 0.11 = 1,364 kWh
  • 1,364kWh divided by 30 days = 45 kWh per day

To monitor your daily usage, read your meter at the same time each day and subtract one number from the other. This will give you your daily kWh usage.

With this in mind, start by getting some idea of how much each appliance typically uses.

24-Hour Equipment

Home or office, a refrigerator is always on. At 9 cents per kWh a 180-Watt Refrigerator costs $11.66 per month.

Frequently Used Electric Equipment
Lights, air-conditioning in summer, heat in winter, TV sets and computers are among the devices we power-up everyday often for hours at a time. 
Routine Short Use Daily Electric Equipment

Toasters, microwaves, hairdryers, and battery chargers are examples of the types of electric equipment we use daily but for short periods

Household Electric Usage

To calculate the exact usage of an electrical item, use this simple formula.

  • Wattage divided by 1,000 = kW
  • kW times hours run per month = kWh
  • kWh times 11 cents = monthly cost

For example, a 100-watt light bulb runs 300 hours per month (10 hours per day).

  • 100 watts divided by 1,000 = 0.1kW
  • 0.1kW x 300 hours = 30kWh per month.
  • 30kWh x $0.11 = $3.30 per month

These charts provide an idea of how many kWh per hour typical household electric things consume.



Appliance Average kWh Usage
Coffee Maker
.2 kWh per hour
4.3 kWh per use
180 kWh per month
Microwave Oven
1 kWh per hour
100 kWh per month
180 kWh per month
3.3 kWh per month
Toaster Oven
.5 kWh per hour
Garbage Disposal
2.5 kWh per month
Water Heating

Water Heating

Number of People in Household Average kWh Usage Per Month
117 kWh
202 kWh
287 kWh
374 kWh
456 kWh
541 kWh


Device Average kWh Usage
1.4 kWh per month
Heating Pad
.06 kWh per hour
Light Bulb
.1 kWh per hour
Well Pump
1 kWh per hour
Pool Pump
1 kWh per hour
Home Entertainment

Home Entertainment

Device Average kWh Usage Per Month
Radio (3 hours per day)
7 kWh per month
Television (3 hours per day)
33 kWh per month


Activity Average kWh Usage
4 kWh per load
Iron (1 1/2 hour per week)
.5 kWh per month
Washer (hot wash, warm rinse)
4.5 kWh per use
Washer (hot wash, cold rinse)
2.8 kWh per use
Washer (warm wash, warm rinse)
3.5 kWh per use
Washer (warm wash, cold rinse)
.3 kWh per use
Air Conditioning

Air Conditioning (Assumption: 12 SEER)

Capacity Average kWh Usage
1 Ton
1 kWh per hour
2 Tons
2 kWh per hour
3 Tons
3 kWh per hour
4 Tons
4 kWh per hour
5 Tons
5 kWh per hour