Types of meters

Communicating meter

Communicating meters are part of Hydro‑Québec’s basic service and are free for all customers. The main advantage of this technology is that the meter remotely forwards the electricity-use data to our systems.

In recent years, Hydro‑Québec has modernized its meter fleet. Over 3.8 million communicating meters have been connected to date, which is 97% of the total to be installed.

Benefits of communicating meters

  • Your bills are based on your actual consumption rather than on estimates, as could happen with the old technology.
  • If your meter is indoors or hard to get to, you won’t have to be home to let a meter reader in.
  • You can monitor your electricity use and manage it wisely.
  • There are no installation or monthly meter‑reading fees.

Non-communicating meters

You can choose to have a non‑communicating meter installed, provided all the prerequisite conditions have been met. This option entails having a Hydro‑Québec employee travel to your premises to obtain your consumption data. A one-time $85 installation fee applies, followed by a monthly $5 fee.

More about the prerequisite conditions for installing a non-communicating meter [PDF 569 Kb]

If you choose this option, your electricity bill will be based on your estimated electricity use during the periods between scheduled meter-readings.

Note that only the account holder can make this request.

At any time, you can ask to have the non‑communicating meter replaced free of charge with a communicating meter. To do so, simply contact our Customer Services at 1 800 463‑9900.

How to tell whether Hydro-Québec has installed a communicating or non-communicating meter

You can tell what kind of a meter Hydro-Québec has installed simply by looking at the meter identification number.

If the number starts with:

  • G4, G7, G8 or G9, the meter is communicating
  • X, the meter is non‑communicating
  • Any other alphanumeric characters, it’s an old‑generation meter and Hydro‑Québec will contact you when it’s time to install a communicating meter.

Understanding the information displayed on a meter

Manual readings of electricity consumption data

To manually read the meter and therefore base your bill on your actual consumption, Hydro-Québec must be able to access your meter at all times.

Manual reading frequency

  • At least once a year, for distant and/or hard‑to‑reach installations
  • Approximately every 60 days and at least every 120 days for contracts under which only energy consumption is billed
  • Approximately every 30 days for contracts under which power demand and energy consumption are both billed
  • About once every 120 days for contracts held by clients who chose the option stipulated in Section 10.4 of the Conditions of Electricity Service [PDF 569 Kb] regarding the installation of non‑communicating meters

A proper meter-reading guarantees that you receive a bill based on your actual consumption as opposed to an estimate. Ensure that Hydro-Québec’s personnel can access your meter.

Calculating energy consumption

If your meter is mechanical or electromechanical, your actual consumption is indicated by the meter’s four dials (thousands, hundreds, tens and ones). These dials measure kilowatthours (kWh) and work much in the same way as the dials on your home electricity meter.

The pointer position is read on the four dials from left to right. If the pointer is between two digits, take the smaller of the two unless it is between 9 and 0, in which case the reading is 9. On electronic meters, consumption is indicated directly in the display window.

All meters measure cumulative kilowatthours. To calculate your consumption:

  • Take the latest reading and subtract the four-digit number on your previous bill
  • Then, multiply the difference by the multiplier indicated on your bill

Below is an example.

Calculating power demand

To obtain your power demand (kW and kVA), apply the multiplier shown on your bill to the meter-reading (W and VA), then divide by 1,000. You don’t need to calculate the difference between the current and previous reading, since the power demand is reset to zero after each reading.

Electromechanical meters have a digital display that indicates the maximum power demand.