How to Read a Utility Meter

The field office of Customer Service Operations is responsible for the monthly reading of electric, gas and water meters. Maintaining the readability and accessibility to these meters and the design of new routes and schedules to effectively read and inspect the meters is also Customer Service's responsibility. Customer Service Field Representatives turn on and off all utility services as well as perform inspections of meters and services due to unusual utility usage. The investigation, assessment and collection of fines for illegal diversion of City utilities comes under the jurisdiction of Customer Service.


The City of Mesa uses dial and digital meters to measure power usage. 

Dial meter
Each of the five dials on the meter represent one digit.   If the pointer is between two numbers, record the lowest number.  If the pointer is directly on a number, record the next lowest number unless the pointer on the dial to its right has passed zero. 

image of dial meter

In this example the reading would be 46462.

Digital meter
The digital meter displays numbers in four or five windows.  If you have this meter, you simply record the numbers.


The dials on a natural gas meter are like watch faces lined in a row (every other dial moves counterclockwise.)  Notice that when the pointer is between two numbers, you should record the lower of the two numbers.


When the pointer seems to be directly on a number, look at the dial to the right, if the pointer on the right side dial has passed "0", then write down the number the pointer seems to be on; if the pointer on the right side dial has not passed "0", then write down the previous lower number on the dial you are recording.

image of gas meter

Take the number the first pointer has just passed - 0
Take the number the second pointer has just passed - 5
Take the number the third pointer has just passed - 6
Take the number the fourth pointer has just passed  - 3
Add two zeros - 056300  - This is the meter reading (in cubic feet of gas)


Using a screwdriver or stick, slide the meter box lid off. Lift the meter face cover.  You will see a glass dial similar to an odometer of a car (an example is below).  The sweep hand measures each gallon of water up to 10 gallons and is used mainly for testing.  The first number on the right of the dial is a "lazy zero".  It represents the 'ones' place.  There is no need for it to move because the sweep hand does its work.  The movable dials to the left read in 10s, 100s, 1,000s of gallons, and so on.

image of water meter

Representatives are available by phone 7:00 am until 6:00 pm Monday-Thursday (closed Friday)


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