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How to read your meter

There are two ways you can submit your meter reading:

  1. Record the position of the dials on your meter. Email it and your account number to:
  2. Submit your meter reading through our online system.

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact our customer service contact center.

Online meter read submissions

As a precision instrument, meter reading accuracy is best achieved  by those who do it professionally. A FortisBC employee reads your meter every two months. Some commercial meters are read every month. The safety of our meter readers is very important and the presence of a locked gate, an unshoveled path, an obstructed meter or an unleashed dog may mean that the reader cannot obtain a reading.

We understand that some customers wish to supply their own meter reads for billing purposes. We are pleased to now provide the convenience of online meter read submissions for our residential customers. Submit a meter reading online. It's quick and easy.

How do I read a meter?

If you think of your car odometer as an example, it will help you make an accurate meter read. Like the odometer on a car, the dial on the right side turns first. And each time this right dial passes 9, it becomes 0 and then causes the dial to its left to turn. An electricity meter records kilowatt use in a similar way to how your car odometer records kilometer use.

Your car might show 623 kilometers logged on the odometer. But when driving, your odometer dials would have logged these kilometers backwards, starting with the 3, then 2, then 6. When you write down your meter read, start by recording the right dial first, just as the odometer dial on the right logs the first number, and then moves to the left.

Please note this next important step. If a hand on a dial is between two numbers, you must record the lower number. For example, 5 is lower than 6. 7 is lower than 8. But when a hand is between 9 and 0, you should record 9, as 9 is considered lower than 0 on a dial. If you record the higher number rather than the lower number, you will record higher electricity use than you've actually consumed. See figure 1.1 as an example.

Figure 1.1

Dial 1 is between 1 and 2; record 1
Dial 2 is between 1 and 2; record 1
Dial 3 is between 0 and 9; record 9
Dial 4 is between 0 and 9; record 9
Dial 5 is on 2 but dial 4 hasn't made the full revolution to 0; record 1
The reading on this meter is 19911.

How does a meter read become a charge on a bill?

A meter records your cumulated electricity use, measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). Your meter reading at one period is compared to your meter reading at the next period to calculate your electricity use during that specific period of time. This information is then used to calculate your electricity charges. See figure 1.2 for an example.

Figure 1.2

​Dial meter ​Digital meter
​Present reading ​19911 ​53859
Previous reading​ ​-17801 ​-52316
Kilowatt-hours used* ​2110 ​1543
* Subtract the previous reading from the present reading to determine what the 
  Kilowatt-hours used are

Why did the meter read you submitted not appear on your bill?

If we find an error in the meter read you supply, or in the account information you have provided to us, we will not be able to process your meter read. If this occurs, we will use either a new actual meter read taken by a meter reader on our regular cycle, or it will be an estimated read.

Monitoring your energy use

By reading your own meter, you can monitor the electricity you use. To determine how much electricity you have used over a certain period of time, simply subtract the previous reading from your current reading. The difference is the kilowatt-hours you have used since your previous reading.

Your FortisBC electric bill will tell you your current and previous meter reading and the dates of those readings.

If you are looking for ideas on saving money and reducing your electrical consumption, please visit Power Sense online or call 1-866-436-7847.

Safe access to your meter

To ensure our meter readers have safe access to your meter, please consider the following:

  • Keep pets inside or on a leash, a safe distance from your meter.
  • Ensure that your meter is not obstructed by a locked gate or fence.
  • Maintain a pathway to your meter by clearing snow, ice and other hazards away.
  • Ensure steps and patios are safe and accessible.
  • Keep foliage and trees trimmed around meter.

If you believe that there may be access issues preventing our meter readers from reading your meter, then please call our Customer Contact Centre during the hours of 7am to 7pm from Monday to Friday at 1-866-436-7847.

Meter tampering and theft of electricity

Tampering with an electric meter is dangerous. Touching an energized meter socket could cause serious injury or death. Meter tampering also constitutes a criminal offense, which could result in fines or imprisonment. If you suspect a problem with your meter, please do not tamper with it! Please call one of our FortisBC Customer Service Representatives at 1-866-436-7847 for assistance.