The electric company in your area employs meter readers to come to your home or business and read the meter that keeps track of your electricity usage. These employees usually come once per month.
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For monthly billing purposes, meter readers come to your meter on or about the same day every month to record its current reading using a hand-held computer. They calculate your monthly usage by subtracting your previous month's reading from the current one. This determines how much you will pay them for the month's electricity usage.
Meter readers require free access to meters to read them, so keep them free of shrubbery and debris. Confine pets so they do not prevent the reader from entering your property. When readers cannot access your meter or in some rural areas, they read the meters less often than once per month.
When the power company reads your meter less than once per month, they estimate your usage based on the previous month or months of use they have read. Utility companies can read electric meters with built-in, wireless communication systems called smart meters at any time, without having to send an employee in person to read them.