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Estimated Billing

Occasionally, circumstances like severe weather, locked gates or unfriendly pets prevent meter readers from reading your meter.

When this happens, your usage may be estimated for billing purposes because an actual meter reading could not be obtained. This estimate is based upon your historical usage patterns. Estimated meter readings can be higher or lower than actual usage; however, bills self-correct in the billing cycle when the meter is actually read, ensuring you never pay for more energy than you actually used.


Type of ReadingActualEstimateActual
Meter Reading Present121001320014000
Meter Reading Previous1210013200
Difference (Total kWh Billed)1100800

In this example: March is an “Estimated” reading ComEd made based on this customer’s historical usage pattern. The estimated use for any month may be higher or lower than a customer’s actual use during that month. It is not until the next actual reading, in this case in April, that the customer’s account can be reconciled for the effect of the estimate. The reconciliation is commonly called a “true up.” The true up occurs on the April bill and is the result of taking the actual reading reported in April (Meter Reading Present) and subtracting from it the estimated March use (Meter Reading Previous). In this case, the difference on the April bill is 800 and the customer will be billed for that amount of usage.

Impact on Your Bill

In most instances an estimated reading for one month will have little to no impact on the amount of your monthly bill. But consecutive estimates can skew your bill amount because they occur over a number of months. If estimates occur over several consecutive months and your usage patterns change, when an actual reading is obtained, the “true up” process may be more pronounced.

Avoiding Estimates

You can help avoid estimated bills by ensuring that the ComEd meter reader has access to your meter. Helpful tips include:

  • Keep pets, particularly dogs, restrained and away from the path to the meter area
  • Keep access to the meter free from obstructions
  • Check that gates are unlocked and in good working order
  • Keep steps and walkways in good condition; clear ice, snow or any hazards
  • Refrain from building decks or additions in front or on top of meters

If you are having trouble providing access to the meter, you may avoid estimates by reading your own meter and submitting your reading. Learn how to read and submit your reading.

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