What is current transformer measurement

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

Once a year the electricity supplier requests to indicate the amount of electricity consumed. For this purpose, the so-called electricity meter is located on the main distributor in the house. The information on this device can be very confusing. In the case of multi-family houses in particular, your own electricity meter must first be found. In this guide we show you what to look out for when reading your electricity consumption and how you can save a lot of electricity and money with just a few measures.

Rarely positive post

When the electricity bill is opened, the question always arises whether and how much has to be paid. Getting money back from the energy supplier is very rare. It is therefore very important not to make a mistake when reading the electricity meter. Because cheating is useless here - sooner or later the electricity actually consumed will be determined. Then very expensive back payments can threaten.


How is electricity counted?

The counter is an electronic device that is activated as soon as a consumer in the household is operated with mains electricity.

With the classic and still widespread Three-phase meters a small electric motor is activated by the flow of current. The more electricity is consumed, the faster this little electric motor turns. Its own consumption, however, is minimal. The electric motor sets a large gear wheel in motion, the red marking of which clearly shows the flow of electricity in the household. A counter is activated via a deflection gear, which shows the amount of electricity consumed.

However, the latest generation of energy meters works digitally. The resulting impulse is recorded electronically and shown on an LCD display. The digital energy meter are also equipped with remote maintenance. The energy companies no longer need to come into the house to read the consumption of electricity. A vehicle parked nearby receives the signal sent by the LCD energy meter and evaluates it.

Read self-consumption yourself

Even if the recording of the electricity consumed can now be carried out fully automatically and without the assistance of the customer, being able to read it yourself is very important. How else can you check your household for unwanted consumers? A surge in power consumption should always make you suspicious. It is therefore very important to check your own consumption at least once a year in order to rule out unpleasant surprises as well as possible.

The information on the meter: A meter consists of a housing, meter number and consumption displays.


Especially in apartment buildings or when moving into an apartment for the first time, it is important to first take a look at the housing. There is a lock on the side of the housing, which should be sealed with a lead seal. This seal may only be removed by an employee of the electricity company! The seal prevents the electricity meter from being opened and possibly manipulated by unauthorized persons. A damaged seal must be reported immediately. Failure to do this can result in a fine of up to 1000 euros from the energy supplier! In addition, there is a risk of up to one year in prison for an offense of breaking the seal.

The right counter

There is a meter number on the invoice or the request to read the meter reading. This number is also clearly printed on the energy meter. Exactly one meter is assigned to each household. This means that there can be no mix-ups in apartment buildings. Many property managers write the names on the meters by hand. You shouldn't rely on that. The subsequent correction of incorrectly read meter readings is very time-consuming and time-consuming. That is why you should always be completely sure that you are reading the correct electricity meter.

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

Read the electricity meter

The indication of the electricity consumption is displayed in the field with the indication "kWh". This abbreviation stands for "kilowatt hours" and is the common unit for electricity consumption. The specified value is entered in the form field except for the two decimal places. It makes sense to also make a note of the meter reading. A number rotated quickly, so you should check the counter reading twice before you finally get the form ready to send. Many providers now also offer an online form. The procedure for specifying the power consumption is the same here. But the same applies here: read three times, state once!

Take into account the double tariff

It has become rare, but it still exists in places: the night power. In order to be able to use the advantages of cheap night-time electricity, a corresponding contract must also be concluded with the energy supplier. A double tariff meter is ideal so that the electricity consumption is recorded precisely. This has two roller counters. The counter for the daytime current is marked with "HT". This abbreviation means “main tariff”. The second meter has the indication "NT" for the night power. That means "ancillary tariff". The form for the reading should be designed for both information.

Determine energy consumption

In order to determine how much electricity was used in a year, you have to know the old meter reading. This is on the last electricity bill. When reading the electricity meter, this value is deducted from the new meter reading, and you already have one year's consumption. The consumption is now multiplied by the contractually stipulated electricity price per kilowatt hour, so you get approximately the electricity costs incurred. It is important to have a clear picture of how the consumption of energy has changed over the years. The electricity bill is not a safe criterion, as the prices per kilowatt hour can change. These can fluctuate greatly, also due to legal interventions. The green electricity surcharge, which is used to promote renewable energies, is an often unexpected item. Only the comparison of the amount of the consumed kilowatt hours gives precise information about the consumed electricity.

Save electricity costs

There are two ways to effectively reduce the electricity bill:

  • Change provider or tariff
  • Analyze power consumption

As a consumer, you have the right to change energy suppliers once a year, unless otherwise contractually agreed. A simple call to the current provider is often enough to ask for a cheaper tariff. A few hundred euros are then usually possible. Nevertheless, a comparison of different providers can achieve higher savings. It is important that you know your own electricity consumption well. The old bills help here, which should therefore never be thrown away, but should always be well sorted. The consumption value should be reasonably constant, provided no parameters (e.g. moving in with a partner, children, new hobbies with a lot of electricity consumption) have changed. The more precisely you can predict the expected consumption of electricity, the easier it is to search for a suitable tariff.

Beware of super bargains

The kilowatt prices of the electricity providers differ, but are usually within a certain range. You should therefore always be careful with offers that are too cheap, especially if they come from as yet unknown providers. The "TelDaFax" case was only a few years ago. The company has gone bankrupt due to unrealistically low prices. In the end, thousands of electricity customers had to pay hundreds of euros back in order to serve the company's creditors.

Hunt for the power guzzlers

The comparison of the electricity consumption of the last few years is an excellent way to identify creeping electricity guzzlers in the house. If the power consumption increases inexplicably, it is usually caused by outdated equipment. A classic among the “creeping power guzzlers” are all cooling devices: Fridge, 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. The only thing that helps here is to replace the devices. In the case of particularly old devices, replacing them is usually so effective that the purchase price for a new device often pays for itself after a year.

In addition to defective devices, there is still a lot that can be done to reduce power consumption without sacrificing convenience. Two major items can be found in electricity consumption in every household:

  • Outdated bulbs
  • Unused devices

There is only one thing to say about light sources: incandescent lamps are out! Operating these is like burning ten euro bills. Incandescent lamps should be banned from the house and exchanged for energy-saving lamps. Everything else is no longer up to date. The energy-saving lamps based on fluorescent tubes, which have now fallen into disrepute, have now been replaced by highly efficient and extremely economical LED lights. These are still quite high in the purchase price, but will reliably last for several years. In terms of light sources alone, the only way to quickly save 30% and more energy costs is to switch to LEDs.

Another power hog are all unused devices that are only in use for a short time during the day. This primarily includes all types of heating devices. Water heaters in showers or under-counter devices for sinks consume enormous amounts of electricity, which can be massively reduced through targeted management. Simply switching on the device only when it is really needed is the fastest and easiest way to save electricity. The trade offers plug-in switches for around 6 euros. This means that any device can be switched on and off using a switch. The difference between whether a heater runs permanently or is only switched on for a few minutes when required can quickly amount to well over 1,000 euros in electricity costs per year.

After all, small electrical appliances and entertainment electronics also consume a lot of electricity when not in use. Cell phone and television chargers are slowly but continuously increasing power consumption. With a little awareness and consistent switching off, you can save a few hundred euros a year here too.

It is also worthwhile to find out about innovations from the specialist store from time to time. For example, the “heat pump dryers” appeared relatively noiseless in stores. However, these highly innovative devices offer an energy efficiency that would never have been expected of the previously known power guzzlers of the tumble dryers. Savings of up to 80% are possible with these devices. Similar breakthroughs have been made in dishwashers and washing machines.

Keep an eye on consumption

It is always important to know what costs a consumer incurs over the year. For this purpose, there is an indication of the name of an electrical device in every operating manual "Power consumption". There are numerous power consumption calculators on the Internet where this value is simply entered. With a click of the mouse, you can then find out the theoretical annual consumption if the device were in permanent operation. In an additional field, the current electricity price per kilowatt hour is given, so you already know exactly what costs a device causes when it is operated at maximum. This helps a lot in maintaining a healthy awareness of your own electricity consumption.

In addition, retailers offer special devices with which consumption can be tracked in real time. In any case, the smart home applications with digital electricity meters offer the possibility of conveniently monitoring the current electricity consumption. But also for operators of old, manual electricity meters, the trade offers a device called "Wattcher" at. This allows the power consumption to be measured directly at the socket. The "Wattcher" costs around 200 euros. Good electrical installation companies also offer this consumption calculation as a service.

Tips for fast readers

  • compare the electricity prices annually
  • consistently switch to LED
  • digital electricity meters are convenient
  • pay attention to the intact sealing
  • Compare and control electricity consumption over the years
  • new household appliances are much more energy efficient
  • Always disconnect electrical devices that are not in use from the power supply.
  • Have inexplicable power consumption examined by a qualified electrician