Read a Smart Meter

Since there has been quite a lot of confusion amongst Net Metering clients about what our AMI ‘smart meters’ are displaying, here is an explanation as to what the various messages and readings mean.

Like most of us, my new, ‘Smart Meter’ continually flashes up Err# messages, I called FortisBC™ a year ago and asked them why my meter did this. I was told it was normal, just the way they worked. As someone who has been involved with computer programming for 40 odd years I personally find that, Err, to be nonsense! It is still flashing Err# a year later! I also at the time asked for a translation of the various meter displays and was told none was available.

So here it is, a meter readers crib sheet, courtesy of Paul & Julie who must have been more persuasive than me. Thanks folks!

Update, May 26th 2016.

Received from FortisBC™ Customer service today, May 26th 2016, after I once again queried the Err# messages my meter is still displaying.
My apologies, I am sending you different information. From what I now understand from our Metering, the meter has been exchanged to a radio-off time-of-use meter however the schedule it is on is not current. Once we complete our back office work on this particular metering schedule, the meters will be activated to the communicating phase.
The errors displayed are expected as we haven’t created and pushed new configurations to the meters.
Once the new NET programs are validated, these errors will no longer display.


FortisBC™ used to have a help page on their site, which has now vanished and is a 404 page not found. Luckily I grabbed a copy when I first saw it, so here it is!

From the Fortis FAQ page

Downloadable as a pdf from How-to-read-an-AMI-meter.pdf

Different information will cycle through the advanced meter display every six seconds. You’ll see the electricity you have used in kilowatt hours (kWh), your service voltage and system and diagnostic information.

When displaying the total amount of electricity you’ve used since the meter was installed, the smaller numbers on the left side of the display will read ‘401’ with the larger numbers on the right showing your total kWh use.


If you’re supplying electricity back to FortisBC through our net metering program, the amount of electricity you’ve supplied into the system will be displayed in kWh beside ‘402.’AMI-meter-readings_03

The service voltage will display beside ‘477.’ The number will depend on the type of service you have, for example 120 volts or 240 volts.


For larger services, the display will also show the peak amount of electricity used during the billing period. That figure will be used to calculate the demand charge when applicable.


If you’ve chosen a radio-off meter, the display will flash “RF optout” between every cycle.

They also have a help line to aid in reading the meter, at: 1-866-436-7847.