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Southern California Edison installed a digital "Smart Meter" on my house the week of March 20, 2012. Initially I had some problems reading the meter because it is quite different from the old analog meter. There are four data items that continuously cycle on the digital display; they are shown below with an explanation of how to interpret them. The first three characters at the left side of the display identify the following data content.

My March electric bill indicated an "estimated" meter reading that was very high compared to the near 0 kwh of Edison power used since the November 2011 installation of my PV solar power system. According to an Edison representative this estimated reading is normal when a digital meter is installed. She said that any error between the March estimated and actual readings will be corrected on my April bill. It appears that the estimated reading calculation may be based on the average monthly reading over the past 12 months.

The data starting with ID "888" is a display self-check. All display elements are turned on.

The data starting with ID "Pld" is the identification number of the program that has been loaded in the meter. For residences with electrical generation systems installed, the program id number should be 252.

The data starting with ID "001" is the cumulative number of kilowatt hours that have been supplied by Edison to the residence. The display to the right shows 143 kwh supplied by Edison.

The data starting with ID "071" is the cumulative number of kilowatt hours that have been generated at the residence and fed back into the electrical grid. The display to the right shows 00195 kwh .

You calculate the cumulative excess of solar-power generated by subtracting the kilowatt hours displayed for ID "001" from the kilowatt hours displayed for ID "071". If the difference is positive there has been a excess of solar-power generated.  In this case ID "071" = 195 kwh while ID "001" = 143 kwh , so the difference is 52 kwh of solar-power generated. However, if the difference is negative you have used more power from Edison than your PV system has generated.

Under the three data ID characters there are two black squares and an arrow pointing to the left or to the right. The arrow indicates the direction of power flowing through the meter at that instant. If the arrow points left, power is flowing from the residence to Edison. If the arrow points right, power is flowing from Edison to the residence. These pictures were taken at night, so the arrow points right indicating Edison power is being used.