Understanding Your Gas and Electricity Meters – How to Read a Meter
Understanding and reading your gas and electricity meters is essential to monitoring your energy use and ensuring that the monthly utility bills are based on actual meter readings and not estimated ones. In Croatia, the largest energy suppliers send utility bills that are based on estimated usage for several months in advance and the amounts billed reflect the readings that are only done a couple of times a year. The difference between estimated and actual usage is adjusted when the new bills are sent. As an alternative, consumers can send their own readings once a month to ensure that the amount billed reflects actual usage on a monthly basis.
How to read a gas meter
Gas meters are usually located inside individual houses and apartments. They are read periodically to adjust the amount billed, which is always based on prior usage. Bills are usually sent for a few months at a time and the amount is adjusted after every reading.
Consumers looking to monitor their gas usage more closely can check their gas meters once a month to see how much gas they have used since the last reading and how much this will cost them. The price of gas is available on the supplier’s website.
Gas meters show five digits going from left to right and these are the numbers that are read. They indicate the number of gas units the household has used. To calculate how many units you have used, you can simply subtract the previous reading from the current one. There are also one to three digits on the right, separated with a comma and typically in a different colour, but these are not used in the readings.
How to read an electricity meter
Most households in Croatia use electromechanical or watt-hour meters, which measure energy usage in one or two tariffs (day and night). The numbers to the left indicate usage and are the ones that are read. Digital meters, which show the electricity used on a LED or LCD display, don’t display the two tariffs separately, but change the display every 10 seconds or so, with the tariff codes displayed next to the digits.
Electricity bills work in a similar way to gas bills. The meters are read twice a year and the bills that are sent for the next six months reflect estimated usage based on these readings. The difference is adjusted when the new bills are sent. If the consumer has used more electricity than estimated, an extra bill is sent with the amount owed. If the user has overpaid, the amount is subtracted from the next bill. Consumers looking to avoid surprises every six months can submit their own readings to the supplier once a month.
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