We often get calls from customers asking how to read and make sense of their energy meters.

Next Business Energy want to simplify your energy experience, so we’ve broken it down for you. Whether you have a dial, cyclo, digital or smart reader, once you know how to read your meter, the process is straightforward.



Dial display energy meters are reminiscent of traditional watches. If you can tell the time, chances are you can read a dial meter.

Usually there are 4 to 6 dials to read. The hands can move either clockwise or anticlockwise.

Start with the first dial, furthest to the right. Record the lower number that is between the two, i.e. if the hand is anywhere between 2 and 3, write down 2. The only exception is 9 – 0, when you should record 9.

Repeat the process as you move to the left. As you cluster each individual number, you will receive your overall energy consumption. For example, if you have 5 dials and the numbers you record are 7, 0, 3, 5 and 0 then your consumption will be 70,350.

It is also important to note that any red dials should be ignored.


A quick glance of a cyclometer and you should have your consumption record noted in just a few seconds. Just as the odometer works in your car, each number dials up as energy is consumed.

If your cyclometer display shows you the numbers 1, 2, 6, 7, 4 and 7 then your energy consumption will be 126,748.


Digital Energy Meter

Digital displays are just like a digital watch, you look and write down. If the numbers on your digital display read 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 then your consumption will be 56,789.


Smart Meter

There are many types of smart meters across a whole range of makes and models. Some are one way – meaning it can only send data to your energy retailer – and some are two way – meaning in addition to sending data to your retailer, it can also transmit information back to you. Each operate slightly differently to each other but the bones of them should be similar.

Smart meters break down your energy consumption by category. Although the wording of each category may change, it’s most likely to be something like this:

  • Time
  • Date
  • kWh Imported Total Power
  • kWh Imported Total Peak Power
  • kWh Imported Total Off-Peak Power
  • kWh Exported Total Power
  • kWh Exported Total Peak Power
  • kWh Exported Total Off-Peak Power

Imported power refers to energy that you consume, i.e. electricity that you pay for. Exported power refers to power that you generate, i.e. solar.

Your smart meter has the ability to register your energy consumption or generation against specific tariffs via an internal clock. For example if your off-peak rate is valid between 20:00 – 6:00 and you program the dishwasher to do a load at 21:00, the energy consumption associated to that cycle will be registered against your off-peak tariff.

Sometimes, although your smart meter is recording your energy breakdown, only the basic information will be shown via the device. You should be able to scroll through your smart meter to read the time, date and kwh Imported Total Power directly via the device as a minimum. Most times, data is recorded every 30 minutes for 90 days, so if you would like a data file of this information just let us know. Be prepared for a lot of numbers!

If you need any help reading your energy meter, our friendly customer service team are always happy to help you.

Alternatively, if you want to discover some ways to reduce your business energy costs, click here.