Reading a dial meter

Dial meters are tricky to read. It’s also tricky describing how to do it! So, below are three help sheets from three different energy suppliers – if you don’t understand one set, please try another.

If you are still unsure, please take a clear photograph of the meter showing all the dials and e-mail it to Karen Atkinson, Energy Data Officer, who will let you know what the correct reading is.



Dial meter instructions.

  1. Always write down the number the pointer has passed (this is not necessarily the nearest number to the pointer). So if the pointer is anywhere between, say, 4 and 5, write down 4.
  2. If the pointer is directly over the figure, say 5, write down that figure and underline it. The sample meter reading shown will be 4 5 9 2 8.
  3. This reading now requires adjusting to eliminate small variations to the pointer positions. Look at the figures underlined. If one of these is followed by a 9, reduce the underlined figure by 1. The correct reading in this example is 44928.
  4. As with the digital meter, when you’ve worked out this reading, subtract the previous reading shown on your bill to find the number of electricity units used.

EDF Energy:

Reading a dial meter

If the pointer falls between two numbers, always read the lower number – in Fig A you would write down the number 4.

If the pointer is directly over a number always record it – in Fig B you would write down the number 5.

If the pointer on a dial falls between 9 and 0, reduce the reading already taken for the dial on the left by one – for example, if your original recorded 5, reduce this to 4.

Following these instructions, the correct meter reading for the dial in the diagram will be 44928.

British Gas:

Dial meter

  • Each dial turns in the opposite direction to the one before it, so check which way each turns.
  • Read the dials from left to right along the bottom row only – ignore any others.
  • Write down the number closest to each pointer. If the pointer is between two numbers, give the lower number. If the pointer is between 9 and 0, write down 9.

The reading for the above meter is: 3 4 5 6