Take your own gas meter readings to gain control over your natural gas bill. Compare your readings with those posted on your bill to make sure you’re being charged only for the gas that you use. Recording your gas meter reading is easy and takes only a few moments of your time one day each month.
A gas meter displays numbers or dials that show how much gas you use over time. An employee of your energy supplier comes out each month to read your meter. The recorded numbers are used to calculate your charges.
You can find your meter reading date on your bill. Some companies post dates on their websites. This is the date that you should record your own reading to ensure accuracy. If you see a difference between the numbers found on the bill and the numbers you record yourself, call the gas company. They will take action to find out if there’s a problem with your meter.
Become Familiar With Your Meter
There are other instances when you may need to take your own meter readings. Although most companies come out to your home to read your meter each month, there are times when they might not be able to. For example, many homes have the meter inside of the basement. Others may have it behind a gate. The person who comes out to record your energy usage may not be able to gain access to the meter if it’s located in a part of the yard where you keep the family Rottweiler.
In these cases, the gas company will use a formula to estimate your usage. Different factors are taken into consideration to figure out the charge, like the outdoor temperature. If an estimate needs to be taken, the amount of gas you actually used will be adjusted on your next statement when an accurate reading can be taken. In some instances, a bill will be estimated for months at a time.
In order to make sure you get the most accurate readings, you should do everything you can to make it easier for gas company employees to get to the meters so that they don’t have to send an estimated bill. If your meter is behind a locked fence, give the company a copy of the lock’s key. If you usually keep your dog out in the yard, find other arrangements on meter-reading day. Also, be sure to cut back any shrubs, trees, or objects that are blocking your meter. Obstructions make it difficult to read the numbers, increasing the likelihood of making an error.
Some older homes that have a meter in the basement may also have a remote meter or an automated meter reading device on the outside of the home. If you have either one of these meters, it is connected to your other gas meter. They both allow the meter reader to get an accurate reading. The remote meter is read by an employee who is reading meters in the neighborhood. The automated meter reading device automatically sends your information to a central computer.
You may also make an appointment to have someone come out while you’re at home. Be sure to check the identification of anyone who comes to your home claiming to be from the gas company. Don’t let anyone into your house who can’t provide an ID.
Sometimes the gas company will have you submit your reading. They will send you a card or stub to fill out and return. You may even have the opportunity to maintain your account online and submit your readings through the gas company’s website.
No matter what your circumstances, taking your own meter readings helps you to become more involved in your energy usage. Becoming aware of how much gas you use will give you ideas on how to conserve energy.
Know How to Read Your Gas Meter
Some meters are located inside the home, either in the basement or utility closet. It looks like a gray metal box with pipes coming out of it. If the meter is digital, you’ll see numbers displayed on the front. If it’s not digital, dials that resemble clocks, each with the numbers one through nine, are used to display usage measurements.
Your meter uses one of two different methods of measurement: imperial or metric. If you have an imperial meter, it measures your gas usage in cubic hundreds (Ccf) or cubic thousands (Mcf) of cubic feet. It displays four digits before a decimal point. A metric meter measures in cubic meters and displays five numbers before a decimal point.
It’s easy to read a digital meter. Take a pen and paper to wherever your meter is located. Write down the main digits to keep track of your gas usage. These important numbers are displayed in black on a white background. Some meters may display white numbers on a black background.
Don’t record any red digits. Any numbers contained within a red border should also be ignored. Don’t include zeros or any numbers after the decimal point.
Some meters use dials to measure gas usage. There are a few points to keep in mind as you take a reading. Dials that are next to one another rotate in opposite directions. Those that run counter-clockwise display numbers opposite those that run clockwise.
Dials that have the label “100 per rev” and the largest dial aren’t included in a meter reading, so you can ignore them. Red dials should also be ignored. All of these dials that you’re not using are used by the gas company to measure the meter’s accuracy.
As for the dials that are used to take a reading, start with the dial on the left. Record the number that the needle has already passed. Do the same thing for the following dials, writing down the last numbers passed over by the needles on each dial. If the needle points between two numbers, record the lower number. If it points between the nine and the zero, record the nine.
You can determine how much gas you’ve used in the past month by subtracting last month’s number from this month’s number. After the first reading, you can keep track of your charges by comparing your own readings with those taken by the gas company. Of course, you should be aware that there are other charges and fees that are collected as well.
Stay in control of your energy costs by taking your own meter readings. Know the methods that your gas company uses to record your meter readings each month. Compare your numbers with the ones posted on your bill. If you see any significant differences, call your gas company.
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