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How to read your meter

How much electricity did you use today? During the past week or month? Your electric meter has the answers, and you can too, if you know how to read it.

Duquesne Light is replacing customers’ dial electric meters with new digital meters. Following are instructions on how to read your meter, whether it’s dial or digital.

When you buy gasoline, you are charged by the gallon. When you buy electricity, the three main components of your bill – distribution, transmission and supply — are charged in cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). One kWh is how much electricity it takes to light one 100-watt bulb for 10 hours.

Reading Your Digital Meter

Advanced digital meters will put more information in the hands of our customers, allowing you to make more informed decisions about your energy consumption.

Duquesne Light is replacing customers’ current electric meters with new, digital meters. This exchange is part of an overall upgrade of the company’s metering infrastructure required by Pennsylvania Act 129. Just like traditional analog meters, digital meters measure how much electricity you use. The main difference is that the new digital meters collect that information more times throughout the day.

Usage Info, and Much More, Available Online 24-7

You can view your electric use at your convenience, 24-7, by going to our free online portal at In addition to checking your electric use, you’ll be able to take advantage of a wide range of customized tools that give you more insight into how and when you use electricity, with the ultimate goal of helping you make more informed decisions about your energy consumption.

The portal features helpful information, such as:

  • How does your most recent bill compare to last month’s?
  • Why do your bills differ month to month and year to year?
  • Free tips to reduce your usage.

Reading Your New Meter Is Easy

For those of you who would like to physically read your new digital meter, it’s easy!

You already may have noticed that your meter scrolls through several different displays. These screens, which are pictured on the back page, show a variety of system and diagnostic information in addition to your kilowatt-hour usage.


The screen you should be looking for to measure your usage, as pictured at the top of this page, has a five-digit number – in this case, 01227. To find out how much energy you have used in a given time, subtract this reading from a second reading taken at a later date. For example, if you go back to the meter a week later and it reads 01382, then you have used 155 kilowatt-hours during that time period (01382-01227=155).

Other Scrolling Displays

In addition to your kilowatt-hour usage reading, there is a variety of other information that scrolls through the display sequence. Below are examples of those system and diagnostic screens that provide valuable information to Duquesne Light.


Reading your dial meter

Each dial on the meter is numbered from 0 to 9, and has a pointer – like the hand on a clock – that turns either clockwise or counterclockwise. The pointers move only when electricity is being used.

To read your meter, look at each of the four dials and write down the number each pointer is on.


  • Start with the dial located on the far right. Record the numbers in the same order as the dials.
  • If the pointer is between two numbers, record the lower number, except if the pointer is between 0 and 9. In that case, record the 9.
When the hand on the dial appears to point directly at a number, use that number only if the pointer on the dial to the right has passed 0. Otherwise, use the lesser number.

To find out how much energy you have used in a given time, take two readings, each on a different day. Subtract the first reading from the second one.

Multiply that answer by the multiplier number written on the front, top left corner of your meter. The answer is how many kilowatt-hours of electricity you used in that amount of time.


We Don’t Just Power Your Lights,
We Power The Moments You Call Life.

One More Reason We’re Larger Than Light.