Home generalRead the electricity meter - all numbers explained (for digital and three-phase meters)

Read the electricity meter - all numbers explained (for digital and three-phase meters)

  • How is electricity counted?> Read self-consumption yourself
    • seal
    • The right counter
    • Read the electricity meter
    • Take into account double tariff
    • Determine energy consumption
  • Save electricity costs
  • Tips for quick readers

Once a year, the request comes from the electricity supplier to indicate the amount of electricity consumed. For this purpose, the so-called electricity meter is located at the main distributor in the house. The information on this device can be very confusing. Especially in multi-family houses, the own electricity meter must first be found. We show in this guide what to look for when reading the power consumption and how to save a few measures a lot of electricity and money.

Rarely good post

When the electricity bill is opened, there is always the question of whether and how much has to be repaid. That you get back money from the utility is very rare. When reading from the meter to make no mistake is therefore very important. Because cheating brings nothing here - sooner or later, the actual electricity used is determined. Then very expensive back payments can threaten.

How is electricity counted?

The meter is an electronic device that is activated as soon as a household appliance is operated with mains power.

In the classic and still widespread three-phase meters, a small electric motor is activated by the current flow. The more power is consumed, the faster this small electric motor rotates. Its own consumption is minimal. The electric motor sets a large gear in motion, at its red mark the flow of electricity in the household is clearly visible. Via a reversing gear, a counter is activated, which indicates the current consumed.

However, the latest generation of energy meters works digitally. In this case, the resulting pulse is detected electronically and displayed on an LCD display. The digital energy meters are also equipped with remote maintenance. The energy companies do not need to come to the house to read the consumption of electricity. A nearby parked vehicle receives and evaluates the signal emitted by the LCD energy meter.

Read self-consumption yourself

Even if the collection of the consumed electricity can be carried out fully automatically and without the assistance of the customer, self-reading can be very important. How else to check your household for unwanted consumers ">


Especially in multi-family houses or when first occupying an apartment, it is important to first glance at the housing. On the side of the case is a lock, which should be sealed by a seal. This seal may only be removed by an employee of the power company! The seal excludes that the electricity meter is opened by unauthorized persons and possibly manipulated. A damaged seal must be reported immediately. If this is missed, threatened up to 1000 € penalty from the utility! In addition, imprisonment of up to one year is imminent for a breach of the seal breach.

The right counter

On the invoice or the request to read the meter reading is a meter number. This number is also clearly printed on the energy meter. Each household is assigned exactly one meter. This means that no confusion can arise in multi-family houses. Many property managers manually write the names on the counters. You should not rely on that. The subsequent correction of incorrectly read meter readings is very time-consuming and tedious. That's why it should always be completely certain that you also read the correct electricity meter.

It may happen that two meter numbers are printed on the energy meter. It is usually a longer and a shorter number. But if you look closely, then the shorter number is integrated in the longer number. It is therefore, despite the double indication, the same counter number. One of the two numbers must be on the form.

Read the electricity meter

The indication of the power consumption is displayed in the field with the indication "kWh". This abbreviation stands for "kilowatt hours" and is the common unit for power consumption. The specified value is entered in the form field except the two decimal places. It makes sense to record the meter reading additionally. A number panner has passed quickly, so you should check the meter two more times before the final form is ready to send. Many providers also offer an online form today. The procedure for specifying the power consumption is the same here. But also here: read three times, state once!

Take into account double tariff

He has become rare, but it still exists in places: The night stream. In order to be able to take advantage of the favorable night-time electricity, a corresponding contract with the energy supplier must also be concluded. A double tariff meter is ideal for accurately recording electricity consumption. This has two roller counters. The counter for the day current is marked with "HT". This abbreviation means "main rate". For the night stream, the second counter has the indication "NT". That means "sub-tariff". The form for the reading should be designed for both.

Determine energy consumption

To determine how much electricity was consumed in the year, you have to know the old meter reading. This is on the last electricity bill. This value is subtracted from the calculated new meter readings in the electricity meter, and you already have the consumption of one year. Consumption is now multiplied by the contractually stipulated electricity price per kilowatt-hour, thus approximating the electricity costs incurred. It is important to get an accurate overview of how the consumption of energy has changed over the years. The electricity bill is not a sure criterion as the prices per kilowatt hour can change. These can vary greatly, even through legal intervention. For example, the green electricity levy, which is used to promote renewable energies, is a frequently unexpected item. Only the comparison of the amount of kilowatt hours consumed gives precise information about the electricity consumed.

Save electricity costs

In order to reduce the electricity bill effectively, there are two ways:

  • Change provider or tariff
  • Analyze power consumption

As a consumer, you have the right to change the energy supplier once a year, unless otherwise agreed by contract. It is often enough already a simple call to the current provider to ask for a cheaper rate. Some hundred euros are then usually possible. Nevertheless, a comparison of different providers can achieve a higher saving. It is important that you know your own power consumption well. Here help the old bills, which should never be thrown away, but always sort well. The consumption value should, if no parameters have changed (eg contracting with a partner, children, new hobbies with high power consumption), be reasonably constant. The more accurately one can predict the anticipated consumption of electricity, the better one can search for a suitable tariff.

Beware of super bargains

The kilowatt prices of the electricity providers are different, but they are usually within a certain range. Therefore, you should always be wary of overly favorable offers, especially if they come from unknown suppliers. The case "TelDaFax" was only a few years ago. The company went bankrupt due to unrealistically low prices. In the end, thousands of electricity customers had to pay hundreds of euros to serve the company's creditors.

Hunting for the power guzzlers

The comparison of electricity consumption in recent years is an excellent way to be able to identify creeping power guzzlers in the house. When power consumption increases inexplicably, it usually causes obsolete equipment. A classic in the "creeping power guzzlers" are all refrigerators: refrigerator, freezer and air conditioning: These devices lose their coolant over time, which is why the integrated compressor has to run longer and more often. This drives up electricity consumption. Here only helps a replacement of the devices. For very old devices, however, an exchange is usually so effective that the purchase price for a new device often pays off after one year.

In addition to the defective devices, you can do a lot more to reduce power consumption without losing comfort. Two major items can be found in each household's power consumption:

  • Outdated bulbs
  • Unused devices

There is only one thing to say about bulbs: Incandescent bulbs are out! To operate this is like burning ten-euro bills. Incandescent lamps belong all together exiled from the house and exchanged for energy-saving lamps. Everything else is out of date. The energy-saving lamps based on fluorescent tubes, which have since fallen into disrepute, have now been replaced by highly efficient and extremely economical LED luminaires. Although these are still quite high in the purchase price, they do so reliably for several years. Alone in the point of bulbs can be saved so only by switching to LED quickly 30% and more energy costs.

Another power guzzler are all unused devices that are only briefly in use during the day. These include primarily all types of heaters. Water heaters in showers or under counter appliances when flushing consume enormous amounts of electricity that can be massively reduced through targeted management. Simply turning on the device when it's really needed is the quickest, easiest way to save power. The trade offers for about 6 Euro plug switch. This allows any device via switch on and off. The difference between whether a heater runs permanently or is turned on only for a few minutes when needed, can quickly make up well over 1000 euros in electricity costs a year.

Finally, even the small electrical appliances and consumer electronics consume a lot of power when not in use. Mobile phone and TV chargers are slowly but steadily increasing power consumption. With a little awareness and consistent switching off, you can save a few hundred euros a year.

It is also worthwhile occasionally to inform yourself in the specialist market about innovations. For example, the "heat pump dryers" have appeared relatively quiet in the trade. However, these highly innovative appliances offer energy efficiency that would never have been expected of the once-known power guzzlers of tumble dryers. Savings of up to 80% are possible with these devices. In dishwashers and washing machines similar breakthroughs have been achieved.

Keep an eye on consumption

It is always important to know what causes a consumer the cost of the year. In each operating manual of an electrical device is an indication called "power consumption" . On the Internet there are numerous power consumption calculators where this value is simply entered. At the click of a mouse, one then learns the theoretical annual consumption if the device were permanently in operation. In an additional field then the current electricity price per kilowatt hour is given, you already know exactly what a device at maximum operating costs caused. This helps a lot to maintain a healthy awareness of your own power consumption.

In addition, the trade offers special equipment with which the consumption in real time can be understood. The smart home applications with digital electricity meter offer in any case the possibility to control the current power consumption very comfortably. But even for operators of old, manual electricity meters the retailer offers a device called "Wattcher" . This allows you to measure the power consumption directly at the socket. The "Wattcher" costs about 200 euros. Good electrical installation companies also offer this consumption determination as a service.

Tips for quick readers

  • annually compare the electricity prices
  • consistently switch to LED
  • Digital electricity meters are comfortable
  • pay attention to the intact sealing
  • Compare and control electricity consumption over the years
  • new household appliances are much more energy efficient
  • Always disconnect unused electrical appliances from the mains.
  • Inexplicable power consumption can be checked by an electrician
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