An electric meter is a device used to measure the electrical energy usage of a home, building, or other electrically powered device. They are used in order to provide accurate billing to customers.
Electric meters make use of various coils and gears, however its operation can be simplified to that of an electric motor. The electric current moving through the coils produces changing magnetic fields in which a metal disc responds to. With the help of a permanent magnet, the disc spins proportional to how much electricity is used. Its motion rotates gears which finally show the reading on a clock-like dial.
An electric meter seems complicated with all of those spinning dials each rotating in opposite directions, however it isn't too difficult once the secret is revealed. The following video provides an excellent guideline on how to read an electric meter, which is summarized below.
The number given by the meter is measuring the electrical energy used (in kilowatt-hours, unless otherwise stated on the meter).
Example: if the numbers from the meter in the following order from right to left - 1, 3, 4, 2 - then 2431 kWh have been used. Take a look at the meter in Figure 1 (click to expand) and try to read it (it reads 2211 kWh).
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