Understanding your electricity meter
An electricity meter helps you and your power company keep track of how much power you’re using. Your meter measures your electricity usage in kilowatt-hours (kWh) which is a unit of energy equal to one kilowatt (or 1,000 watts) sustained for one hour.
In the past, most New Zealand homes used a simple analogue meter. However, fast forward to today and you’ll find that there are a few different types of electricity meters that can be installed at your property.
While the various meter models ultimately serve the same core purpose - measuring your electricity usage - there are some key differences in the way they function. In this blog post, we’re going to take a look at the different types of meters available in New Zealand and how choosing the right one for your needs could help save you money on your power bill.
An analogue meter is a traditional electricity meter that requires a meter reader to visit your property and manually record how much electricity you’ve used since its last reading. Analogue meters use one of the following meter types:
- Digital meters, which are read from left to right while ignoring the last number (often in red).
- Point dial meters, which are also read from left to right. To read a point dial meter, look at the number that the dial or arrow has just passed, even if that number is not the closest number to the dial. Do note that some of the dials run anticlockwise.
Analogue meters can’t track when you use your electricity, which means, as a consumer, you’re unable to use off-peak rates offered by your power company. Analogue meters are steadily being phased out in New Zealand and replaced with smarter models.
Smart meters are the latest type of metering technology. They record your electricity use at half hourly intervals and transmit the data to your electricity retailer via a wireless communication device. Smart meters have been rapidly adopted since being introduced in 2005 and now account for more than 83 percent of all New Zealand residential connections.
Smart meters offer a number of advantages over analogue meters:
- Accurate readings: Smart meters accurately record your electricity usage throughout the day, eliminating the need for estimations.
- Convenience: Readings, connections and disconnections can all be carried out remotely.
- Savings: Because smart meters read not only how much electricity you use but also when you use it, you may be able to take advantage of time-of-use tariffs.
Smart meters are fitted with electronic meters that are read from left to right. If you are interested in having a smart meter installed at your property, register your interest with our customer service team and we’ll fast track the installation with the meter company.
Take a look at your power bill and you’ll probably find an “uncontrolled” tariff. This is the rate you pay for uncontrolled electricity, which is your regular, unrestricted supply of power that cannot be controlled by your network company or power company. The amount of uncontrolled electricity you use is measured by an uncontrolled meter. You get charged the same rate for uncontrolled power, regardless of when you use it.
Controlled meters allow your electricity retailer and your local network company to switch off the “controlled” portion of your supply for a period of time during peak demand to reduce demand on the local grid. This is known as “ripple control”. Controlled meters are usually used to supply energy to hot water cylinders and underfloor heating systems.
Some networks offer a discounted rate on controlled power. Depending on your circumstances, a controlled meter can help you save money on your power bill without disrupting your day-to-day life.
Controlled meters are very rarely used on their own and are typically paired with uncontrolled meters.
An inclusive meter essentially combines a controlled meter and an uncontrolled meter. One part of the inclusive meter supplies unrestricted electricity, which is typically used to power your appliances, devices, power points and lights. Meanwhile, the other part of the inclusive meter is usually to power your hot water cylinder and can be controlled by your retailer and network company when required.
Day/night meters measure electricity used during the day separately from electricity used at night. Because many lines companies charge lower rates for electricity used at night, day/night meters can be a good option for households who don’t use a lot of power in the daytime, or households that use an above-average amount of power at night. Day/night metering may not be available in all regions.
Save more money on power
Pulse Energy is committed to delivering low cost electricity - no matter what type of meter you have at your property. To learn more about our rates, give us a call today on 0800 785 733 or fill out our online enquiry form and a member of the team will be in touch with you shortly.