Find helpful tips for reading the meters

PG&E electric meters measure and record total net usage, which is the difference between the amount of energy you generate and the amount of energy you consume at your property.


You can check your net energy usage by learning to read the meter. Determine the type of meter that you have and then view the following tips.


PLEASE NOTE: If you have a SmartMeter™, you can also find out your net usage by logging in to your online PG&E account. Visit My Account.


Read the SmartMeter™ NEM

SmartMeter™ (NEM)


The following characteristics apply to a SmartMeter™ NEM:

  • The five-digit display shows your net kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy use. This cumulative number usually appears on the top line. Some models may first display "888888…," to indicate that the display can show all of the values correctly.
  • Below the five-digit display, or on another display, the number with the decimal point shows your current electrical usage in kilowatts* (kW).
  • If you’re using energy from PG&E right now, then the meter display will show boxes "moving" from left to right.
  • If you are sending energy to PG&E, then the boxes will be "moving" from right to left, and there will be a minus sign to the left or lower left of the kW display. (The speed of movement depends on how much energy is being delivered or received by PG&E.)
  • Some meter models also show "Delivered" or "Received." Others show a right arrow when you use energy from PG&E and a left arrow when you send energy to PG&E.

NOTE: The SmartMeter™ doesn’t display usage by time period (peak, partial-peak or off-peak). If you’re a Time-Of-Use (TOU) customer, you can go online to view your daily net usage hour-by-hour.



Read the NetMeter



The following characteristics apply to a NetMeter:

  • Depending on the meter model, meters can be programmed to start at a setting of 50000 to prevent an initial display of less than zero (00000). (Most of the NEM SmartMeters do not have or need a start setting of 50000.)
  • The five-digit display of a residential SmartMeter and a Non-TOU meter shows your net kWh of energy consumption.
  • Some TOU display meter models may first display "888888…." This is a meter display test. It is not an error.
  • The next non-SmartMeter TOU display shows the date in MMDDYY format, followed by the time in 24-hour (HH MM) format.
  • If you’re a time-of-use customer, the non-SmartMeter displays provide readouts for each time period as follows:
    • E-6 and EV customers: total peak, partial-peak and off-peak.
    • E-TOU customers: peak and off-peak.

    *kW is similar to how fast you are using energy at that moment in time, kWh is how much energy you have used over time.)