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How to Read a Net Meter / Smart Meter

Read a net meter / smart meter

Read a net meter /smart meter

Recently I installed solar panels at my house. With it being a grid-tied system, I had Ohio Edison install a net meter, also called a smart meter. The model of smart meter installed is a Itron Centron C12.19.

First let me explain what net metering is, and why you should have one if you are installing solar panels or wind power. What a net meter does is that it measures the flow of power in two directions. It measures how much power flows from your electric company as well as how much power your solar photo voltaic or wind generator system produces.

My solar panels first offset my electric usage. When more power is produced by my solar panels than I am using, the excess power is pushed back on to the grid. The net meter measures the power I use from Ohio Edison as well as the excess power that I push back to them.

When my monthly bill is calculated and I have used more electricity than I have generated,I only pay for the net Kilowatt-hours (KWH). If I generate more power than I use from Ohio Edison then I will receive a KWH credit which is applied to future bills.

Reading a net meter is easy once you know what the flashing numbers are. Typically there are 3 sets of numbers that are called Display Codes. They are displayed by automatically cycling through 3 sets of numbers.

Below is a photo of my net meter with some items pointed out:

Read net meter display codes

Read net meter display codes

On a net meter there is also an indicator that shows the direction of power flow at a given moment. The photo below gives and example of power flowing from the electric company to the house as well as excess power flowing from the solar panels back to the grid.

Read a net meter or smart meter

Read a net meter or smart meter