Electric meters are used by electricity companies to record and determine the amount of electrical energy used by a household in a given time frame. Power utility companies will generally record the data once a month in order to generate a monthly electricity bill. Watt units are measured by multiplying the number of volts by the amperage. Therefore, a kilowatt hour (kWh) is 1,000 watts measured over a one-hour time period. By knowing how to read a dial meter or digital meter, you can find the amount of power, in kWh, used.

Read the numbers of the digital or dial meters and record the numbers. If you are using a dial meter, examine the four or five dials located on each clock face. Starting from the right clock face and making your way to the left clock face, read the dials resting on or between the numbers. If the dial rests in between the two numbers, round down to the lower number.

Write down each digit from each of the clock face and subtract one number from each digit. For example, if the meter reads 5,436, the adjusted reading would be 4,325. The four or five numbers you have written down is the current reading.

Subtract the current reading from the reading on the previous bill. The answer will be the amount of electricity, in kilowatt hours, you have used since your previous monthly bill. For example, if your current reading is 4,325 and the reading on your last bill was 3,000, you would have used 1,325 kilowatt hours of electricity since the last bill.