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The electricity meter family

Who do you have living in your house?

Just like landlines and mobiles are different types of phones, there are different types of electricity meters that measure your electricity use in different ways. Which member of the electricity meter family do you have living in your house?

Granddad: the big picture

Accumulation meters

These are also known as single rate or flat rate meters. These keep track of your total electricity usage. Because of how these meters measure your electricity use, you will be charged the same rate, no matter what time of day or night you use it.

A meter reader will come to your house to read your accumulation meter. The data they collect is processed and sent to your retailer so they can determine your bill.

What they look like

An accumulation meter will have a cyclometer, dial or digital display.

The cyclometer display looks like a series of clock faces and a reading is done by noting down the lowest numbers from each clock from left to right.

If the hand is hovering between 2 numbers, write down the lower number, unless the hand is hovering between 0 and 9 when you would write down the 9.

If you have a digital display, press the 'Display' button to see your reading options on the screen.

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Interval meters

These are also known as time-of-use meters. They record the amount of electricity you use every 30 minutes. This means that depending on the electricity tariff you have with your retailer, you can be charged different electricity rates for your usage at different times of the day. Interval meters capture more detailed data on your energy use than accumulation meters. They give you the opportunity to have a wider choice of pricing plans, such as different rates for using electricity in off-peak periods.

Interval meters are read by technicians who attach an optical probe to the communication port. The meter then uploads its data onto the optical probe. This data is processed up to 10 different times to ensure its accuracy before being sent to your retailer so they can determine your bill.

What they look like

All interval meters are electronic and are programmed to show the date, time and the total kWh.

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Smart meters

Similar to interval meters, smart meters record the amount of electricity you use every 30 minutes and enable you to get plans that charge you different rates at different times of the day. In some parts of Australia your smart meter may be referred to as an interval meter but smart meters differ from interval meters as smart meters can be read remotely – a meter reader won't need to come to your home to read it. This means you should get fewer estimated bills and more detailed and timely data which will help you better understand your energy usage.

What they look like

All smart meters have digital displays, and you are able to access the time, date, kWh used, kWh delivered to the grid and more.

Want more information on smart meters?

From 1 December 2017, new rules mean all new and replacement meters are to be smart meters. For more information on how this affects you, read our Smart meters and you fact sheet and answers to frequently asked questions on the Australian Energy Regulator's website.

You may also find the Australian Government Your Home website useful in understanding more about your meter family.

Last updated on Thursday, May 30, 2024 at 9:43 AM