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How To Read Your Gas Meter

At Southwest Gas, we take a great deal of pride in reading your meter accurately. Although our meter readers read more than one million meters each month, they are still able to maintain an accuracy rate of 99.98 percent. We are proud of the dedication of our meter reading team, and appreciate you, our customer, for assisting them gain safe access to our equipment.

Along with being important to our company, accurate meter reads are important to our customers as well. Many of our customers keep a close watch on their monthly usage for a variety of reasons, and when a gas bill appears incorrect, they call and request a re-read. To facilitate the flow of information between our offices and our customers, this new interactive web page was recently implemented. The information listed below on "how to read a meter," will assist you in understanding how we determine your natural gas usage.

Your gas meter is read from a row of four to six dials, such as those shown below. (Meters also have two other dials used for testing). Each dial rotates in the opposite direction from the dial next to it:

How to read a meter:

  • Read each dial in the direction shown by the arrows.
  • If the dial hand is between the numbers, use the lower one (if between 9 and 0, read 9).
  • If the dial hand is exactly on a number, look at the dial to the immediate right. If its dial hand is not past zero, record the lower number for the dial in question.
  • While the number of dials on your meter may vary, the procedure for reading them is the same.

Setting the meter for a particular read:


  • Click once with your mouse on the digit below the first dial or use your "Tab" key. It will have a red box around it.
  • Type the desired dial read with your keyboard OR click near the number on the dial. The hands on the other dials will readjust to be consistent.
  • Repeat for the remaining dials and complete the 4-dial read.


  • Move the dial hands with your mouse.
  • Start with the furthest dial on the left (the slowest dial) and set it to the first number in a 4-dial read.
  • Move the dial hand for the next dial on the right clockwise or counterclockwise to the next number in the 4-dial read so that the digit below the previous dial does not change.
  • Repeat for the remaining two dials and complete the 4-dial read.

Running the meter:

  • Click inside the box above.
  • Hit "Enter" or "Return" to start the meter.
  • Hit any key or click inside the box to stop the meter.

Although every attempt is made to obtain correct meter reads, sometimes incorrect reads do occur. You can help ensure correct meter readings by:

...Making a key available so the meter reader has safe access to your meter!
Gas meter with trimmed shrubs. ...Being sure the meter dials can be seen through shrubs. Always keep the gas meter visible, and allow for emergency access.
...Seeing that the "welcoming committee" is kept indoors - or on a leash - when the meter is due to be read.
The next scheduled read date is on your most recent bill or can be viewed online.

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