Understanding your meter
There are many different types of meters used to measure how much gas, electricity, or water you use. Here’s some tips to help you find, read, and check your meter reading is correct.
What's your meter number?
Electricity and gas meter numbers
Each property connection has a unique number used by energy companies to distinguish which meter is yours. For electricity, this is referred to as a National Metering Identifier (NMI). For gas, it's a Meter Installation Registration Number (MIRN).
The NMI or MIRN is attached to your address and not your meter. It's used by your energy provider to distinguish which meter is yours. You can find your NMI on your electricity bill or your MIRN on your gas bill.
Water meter numbers
Each water meter has a unique serial number located on its front. Your water meter number will appear under the 'account details' section of your water bill.
Checking your meter number
Your meter number is used by your energy or water provider to correctly bill your account. Check that the meter number published on your bill matches the number of the meter on site. If it doesn’t, you should contact your energy or water provider immediately.
Quoting your meter number
You should quote your meter number when you contact your electricity, gas, or water provider. This is especially helpful if you’re moving, transferring providers, or if your address is difficult to locate.
Where is your meter?
Your electricity or gas meter should be located at the front or back of your property. At some older properties, it could even be inside the house. Your water meter will usually be located on the nature strip outside your property. It will be set in the ground in a box.
If you live in an apartment, unit or townhouse complex, it’s likely that all of the meters are located in one central location. In some older complexes, there might only be one water meter for the property. In this case, the body corporate or landlord will determine how the usage is charged to residents.
Access to your meter
You must provide safe and clear access to your meter for:
- meter readings
- connecting or disconnecting supply.
Your water and gas bill – as well as your electricity bill if you have a basic (manually read) electricity meter – will contain advice about the approximate date of the next scheduled meter reading so you can provide clear and safe access for the meter readers. If you live within a secure complex, your meter reader will have access arrangements with the complex manager.
Can't provide access to your meter?
If you can’t provide access to your energy meter due to a locked gate, unsecured dog or other obstruction, your retailer has the right to estimate your bill. If access to your energy meter continues to be denied, your retailer has the right to disconnect your supply. To avoid this, contact your retailer to find out what other arrangements can be made. Options include:
- organising a special meter reading
- moving the meter to the fence line – in the case of electricity meters, this option would prompt a 'meter churn', which would mean a digital meter is installed.
Avoid building gardens, fences or anything else close to your water meter. Ensure all grass, trees and shrubs are cut back, if they are overhanging or impeding your water meter.
Do you suspect your meter may be faulty?
Talk to your energy or water provider, or a suitably qualified person, about the types of isolation tests you can perform.
Although it’s rare for meters to be faulty, you’re entitled to request a meter test via your energy or water provider. A meter test is at your cost unless the meter is found to be faulty, so this should be your last resort.
How often is your meter read?
Generally, basic electricity, gas and water meters will be read every three months by a meter reader. They give the information to your energy or water retailer for billing.
Meter readers have the right to estimate your energy or water usage instead of taking an actual meter reading. However, they must read your meter at least once every 12 months.
If you have a digital electricity meter, also known as a smart meter, it will be read remotely. Because smart meters digitally measure your electricity usage and sends this information to your electricity provider remotely, they don’t need to be manually read by a meter reader.
How to read your meter
Follow the instructions below to take your own meter reading.
Dial electricity and gas meters
- Stand directly in front of the meter so you can see the exact position of the pointer on each of the five dials.
- Record the numbers from each dial, from left to right.
- If a pointer is sitting between two numbers on a dial, record the lowest number.
Odometer electricity and gas meters
- Record the numbers from left to right.
- Ignore the red numbers on gas meters.
Electronic electricity meters
- Press the 'display' button to display the reading options.
- Record the number displayed.
Smart (digital) electricity meters
- You can't read smart meters manually – your electricity usage is sent to your electricity provider remotely.
- All water meters have a combination of black and red numbers and/or dials.
- Record all the black numbers and only the first three red numbers or dials.
- Read numbers from left to right.
- Read dials in a clockwise direction.
Calculating your usage
You can measure your energy and water usage by calculating the difference between the ‘start read’ and the ‘end read’.
For example, if you move into a property and the meter shows 18525 (the start read) and at the end of the billing period it shows 24976 (the end read), your energy usage would be 6,451 kilowatt hours or your water usage would be 6,451 mega litres (24976 – 18525 = 6451).
All new and replacement electricity meters installed in homes after 1 December 2017 must be digital meters. As part of this transition to digital meters, electricity retailers – rather than distributors – are now responsible for electricity metering.
Estimated meter reads
If you’re a small customer who’s received inaccurate estimated bills, you now have the option to provide your own reading of an electricity or gas meter to your energy retailer. Contact your energy retailer for more information about their options for self-meter reads.
Read more about these changes to estimated meter reads.