Understanding Your Meter | My Home | Mississippi Power | A Southern Company

Understanding Your Meter


How the meter works

The electric meter is a highly accurate instrument. Through the glass enclosure you can see the edge or a portion of a metal disc, which rotates at a speed in proportion to the amount of electricity you're using at any specific time. When you use more electricity, the disc moves more quickly. When you use less electricity, the disc moves more slowly.

Each revolution of the disc measures a precise amount of electric energy, and this measurement is transferred from the disc through a series of gears to the pointers on the dials of the meter. This works similarly to the way your car odometer records mileage. Mississippi Power then reads the dials, and you too can learn how to do the same.

How to read the meter

Most meters have five dials. And, as shown below, generally three of the dials turn clockwise (to the right) and two turn counterclockwise (to the left).

  • The dials are read from right to left.
  • If the pointer appears to be between numbers, record the smaller number.
  • If the pointer appears to be exactly on a number, look at the dial to the right. If the pointer has not yet passed 0, record the smaller number.
  • The reading showing on our sample meter is 6 4 2 6 7.

When We read your meter

Mississippi Power reads your meter about the same date each month, but an extra weekend or holiday may cause the date to vary. Your account is billed on the date of the reading. The date of the reading is determined by the location of your home in our service area.

The meter is not reset after each reading. Rather, the meter reader records the reading on the meter, and then the previous month's reading is subtracted from the current month's reading. This difference is the amount of electricity used, and it is reported in kilowatt-hours or kwh. A kwh is equal to one 100-watt light bulb in use for 10 hours. You are charged for each kwh used.

On occasion, because of inclement weather or some unavoidable emergency, it may be necessary to estimate a meter reading. In this case, the words "Estimated Bill" will appear on your bill. Any error, over or under, will be corrected by the next reading of the meter.