How to Read a Natural Gas Meter

March 26th, 2014

Natural gas is measured in cubic feet, and your natural gas company measures your usage by the thousands of cubic feet (MCF) or hundreds of cubic feet (CCF). To measure the usage of natural gas each month and throughout the heating season, a meter is installed between the gas pipelines and the pipes into your home or building.

How Does a Meter Read Natural Gas Usage?

A meter gauges how much natural gas is being directed to a property by the force of the gas moving through the pipes. The faster the flow of gas, the faster the meter dials turns. Most natural gas meters have four dials that look similar to a clock:

Natural Gas Meter PA

Example natural gas meter

Just like learning to read large numbers in elementary math class, you read the meter left to right.

  • The first dial (on the left) shows a million cubic feet per revolution (each increment on the “clock” is 100,000 cubic feet)
  • The second dial shows 100,000 cubic feet per revolution (each increment on the dial is 10,000 cubic feet)
  • The third dial shows 10,000 cubic feet per revolution (each increment on the dial is a 1,000 cubic feet)
  • The fourth dial (on the right) shows 1,000 cubic feet per revolution (each increment n the dial is 100 cubic feet)

When you read each dial left to right, you will come up with a four digit number—in CCF (remember, that was a hundred cubic feet)—that is the unit in which natural gas is sold.

There are a few things to note when reading a meter:

  • When the needle on a dial is directly between two numbers, use the lower number
  • If the dial is between 9 and 0, use the number 9
  • The first and third dials rotate counterclockwise, while the second and fourth dials rotate clockwise.

Now let’s practice! Can you read the meter below?

Reading a Natural Gas Meter

Try reading this natural gas meter!

These are the numbers you should get from the four dials when reading left to right:

  • First dial: 0
  • Second dial: 5
  • Third dial: 6
  • Fourth dial: 3

The number on this meter is 0563, meaning 563 CCF or 563,000 cubic feet of natural gas. If you didn’t get that right, here’s another description from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Why Do I Need to Read My Meter?

One meter reading won’t be able to tell you anything, but checking in with your meter will be able to let you know the volume that you are using natural gas to heat your home or for different appliances. While your meter will be officially read by your utility company to determine you heating bills, being able to read your meter can help you gauge the natural gas use for your home or business. If the winter has been especially cold and you have been cranking up your thermostat, you can tell if you are going through gas faster than usual.

Natural Gas Rates at UGI EnergyLink

If your home or business is located in Pennsylvania, there’s a good chance that you have natural gas supplied through UGI EnergyLink (and if not, you should!). At UGI EnergyLink, we measure our customers’ gas usage to determine the billing each cycle for their home or business.

Our professional meter readers ensure that you are paying for the exact amount of natural gas used each billing cycle—not an estimate. Being able to read your own meter can help estimate your usage and heating costs. You’ll want to compare the same time frame when see the change in your meter.

With UGI EnergyLink, you have multiple price ratings options, including:

  • Fixed price—ideal for managing your budget more easily
  • Monthly price—gives you some flexibility while keeping competitive rates
  • And more!

If you have a question about your meter, you can ask a UGI employee when they read your meter each month. Legitimate UGI meter readers, inspection, collectors, and service representatives wear blue uniforms with a UGI logo and drive marked numbered vehicles. Most of the work is done on a pre-scheduled basis too—meter reading is performed on a scheduled date between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. as noted on your monthly bill.

Switch to UGI EnergyLink’s Residential & Commercial Natural Gas

Switch to residential or commercial natural gas services with UGI EnergyLink—we provide high quality service and affordable and competitive rates. We have over 127 years of experience providing outstanding customer service and affordable natural gas rates to our customers throughout Pennsylvania.

To get the opportunity to lock in a lower rate and save money on your monthly utility bills, contact us today!