I have one of the digital meters outside that the electric company
reads while driving by.
Is there any way I can read it from inside my house?
I've been tempted to go old school and just mount a couple mirrors so
I can read it inside- but a digital reader would be handy- and
something that plugs into a computer & records usage would be
I'm going to call the electric company [National Grid] later today-
but thought I'd ask here so I know a little bit about it when
The electric company won't have a clue about it, and the brain dead CSR
you're likely to get will think you're trying to steal power.
There is at least one commercial product that does what you want:
It appears the monitor the mark on the spinning disk, so your meter
needs to have that disk visible from some location on the case. I've
seen a few meters where that was not very visible.
As for the actual data link with the meter, your only source would be
the meter manufacturer, and they most likely aren't going to release
I'm quite sure there are a number of individuals in "the electric
company" that will and do have quite a significant "clue about it"...
As someone else noted, they're not going to provide individuals w/ the
software/hardware to read them but there's at least a reasonable chance
the usage data might be made available via web portal.
Let's try not misquoting people eh? The actual quote was "The electric
company won't have a clue about it, and the brain dead CSR you're likely
to get will think you're trying to steal power.". Yes, someone in the
meter department probably has access to the remote read link
documentation, however my $5 is that there will not be a single CSR who
will know who to contact.
Which is why I suggested researching the meter manufacturer, not the
They tend to be pretty secretive for obvious reasons about such things
and likely no customer service person will know. However you may want to
ask if there are any ways to access the information on line. The
electric utility here recently finished swapping out the old meters.
They installed meters that are read over the power line. They also
announced that they will have a web portal so that customers can log in
and see the updated meter readings. They already have a portal where if
you have a need to know you can see lots of realtime info on their system.
FYI, they don't even have to drive by. They get the signal through the
line back to the office. No, don't ask me how it works, i have no clue.
All's I know is that when i had a question about my bill, they were able to
tell me the reading over the phone that very minute.
It totally depends on what AMR method the utility chose. Some do a drive
by where equipment in the vehicle sends an interrogation to the
transponders which then respond with their S/N and the meter reading.
Before our local utility went to PLC AMR they actually had walk by
meters. The meter reader had a hand held reader and there was an
inductive coupler in the meter. That way the reader just had to place
the reader close to the meter which greatly minimized misreads.
AIUI there are various methods.
a) Replacing the mechanical spinning disk meter by a digital one;
still read manually.
b) A digital meter that can be read wirelessly from a hand-held or
vehicle mounted interrogation device.
c) A digital meter that can send or be interrogated by wireless/
digitally; either via the power line itself, by an attachment to a
phone line or via cell/phone mobile service etc. etc.
In some other countries gas supply and water supply meters can/are
also read in a similar manner.
To what extent these systems would be/are forward or backward
compatible would depend on design.
For example our digital meter has a display. (It alternately flashes
all '8's and then the cumulative kw.hr reading on an LCD display. But
it does not appear to have any capability to be read remotely! Nor
have I seen any power utility activity or billing info that suggests
they yet do any 'remote' reading!
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