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Electric Meter Box Guide 101

Awareness of how meter boxes work is beneficial when you're having power supply problems. This is an excellent help to circumstances when you have a confusing electrical bill that has the same amount as the previous month. 

Furthermore, it’s quite rare for a homeowner to work on the electric meter that is officially owned by an electricity company supplier. But since it tracks the power usage of your home and it’s your responsibility as a consumer to have your electric meter box have a replacement or repair, understanding the electric meter box and its functions will be an excellent help for you as a consumer.

How Electric Meter Box Works

Typically, the electrical meter is a transparent, glass-enclosed metering device that resembles an oversized mason jar. On older model meters, the glass dome contains the measuring devices, which include dials and wheels. Not only does the meter calculate electricity, but it can also give access to the power supplier to disconnect the electricity from your house.

When power comes to your house, it passes first to the electric meter box hanging on the wall or fence outside your home. This device helps the power companies monitor how much energy or Kilowatts (kWh) your household consumes during the billing period. Most of the time, the amount that you will be paying at the end of the month depends on the electric meter. 

Billing your energy consumption is through measuring the number of units used in a cycle or the total kWh in a household. This is to say that in every 1000 watts consumption in a household, it quantifies to 1 kWh that will be multiplied by the hours used, divided by 1000. That is why, if you are wondering why you have a high electric cost every month, checking and calculating the figures in your meter box might help you to manage the energy consumption of your home. 

What’s Inside an Electric Meter Box?

The wire connections inside the meter box are quite simple to understand. Inside a regular household electric meter box, you can see a central neutral bus bar with wire connection lugs and two hot bus bars with wire connection lugs as well at each end. Bonded to the central neutral bus bar is a connection lug for the grounding wire. With all these wire connection lugs, none are apparent unless the metering device is removed from its box.

Moreover, there are also three large-gauge stranded wires (two hot wires and one neutral) entered inside the weatherhead on a metal mast for underground service. These wires are mounted to the respective line terminals on the hot and neutral bus bars in the meter box.

The load wires running into the circuit breaker panel inside your home are attached to the remaining load terminals of the bus bar, and the grounding wire running down to the grounding rod is attached to the grounding lug inside the meter box.

Location of Electric Meter Box

Knowing where your electricity meter is will significantly help you in times of need where you need to turn it off. If you’ve got an electrical emergency, your best bet is to shut the electricity off to your house to prevent further damage.

The usual spot of your electric meter box is in the exterior wall of your house or fence. Meters are always at the point where the electricity reaches your property. You can look up and trace the power line to locate where your electric meter is located. Here are the usual requirements for the location of an electric meter box.

  • Two-metre space around the meter box is needed to clear
  • No permanent obstructions around the meter box such as trees, bushes, or walls in front
  • Fences and gates should be constructed behind the meter boxes

Meters can be grouped if you are living in some apartment buildings and multi-dwelling buildings. When you want to check your apartment’s meter, make sure you’re looking at the right meter. If you are having a hard time finding it, you can call an electrician to locate your electric meter and access it. The electrician can also help read your power meter to assure that you will be paying the expected amount for the month.

Meter Reading

There are energy companies that require customers to read their meter once a month. So if you are one of them, you should know how to do meter reading depending on whether it’s an older analog meter or a modern digital meter. Mostly, electricity providers have specific instructions about how to read a specific meter; in some situations, you will need to simply imitate the visual appearance of the dials.

On an analog meter, noting the readings on five dials is from left to right, and copy these readings to the power company’s report. The dial pointers should usually be between numbers, and you’ll record the lower of the two numbers. 

If the pointer in the dial is exactly on a number, immediately check the dial to the right. When it has not reached 0 yet, you’ll be reading using a lower number to read the previous dial. While in a digital meter, reading the meter is a simple matter of writing down the numerical value shown on the digital readout. 


The electric meter box is a very useful device in measuring your monthly electricity usage. Electric utilities use electric meters at your premises to measure electric energy delivered to you for billing purposes. This will also be a good help for disconnecting your power supply if ever you will experience a problem in your electrical system. Through being knowledgeable about how the electricity system works, you can avoid any potential electrical hazards that may harm your family. 

Sydney Eastern Suburb Electrician is here to guide you maintain your electric meter box. From installation, repair to reading an accurate energy consumption in your meter, our level 2 electricians are here to help. Call us at (02) 8378 2827 to get a free quote today.

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