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Can an Electric Meter simply malfunction?
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# 1
Kaz NewbieMoneysaver
Old 07-05-2007, 9:02 PM
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Default Can an Electric Meter simply malfunction?

Hello there,
Just wondering whether anybody out there has had any experiences of an Electric meter simply not working correctly i.e. running 'too fast' perhaps? Just had a conversation with some friends & neighbours of ours who receive their electric from BGas. The most recent quarterly bill is around the £280 mark whereas the highest winter bills in the past have only been around £150. We've checked the readings are not estimated and we've checked the readings on the bill to the actual meters and the readings themselves seem correct as do the charges per unit. It just seems weird that the meter has clocked up 2,501 units in 90 days whereas the previous bill (which included the Christmas period) only clocked 698 units over 97 days. Last year's bill for the same quarter only shows 1,600 units over 95 days.
One 'phone call has already been made to BG pointing out that the bill seems rather high but the call centre person was pretty unhelpful and just seemed adament the bill must be correct.
Also, the lady has been having refurbishment works carried out lately and has been without a fully functioning kitchen for several weeks - hence you would expect the useage to go down not up.
Anybody had any similiar experiences please ?
Thanks
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# 2
Cardew
Old 07-05-2007, 11:15 PM
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It is apparently extremely rare for a meter to be faulty, let alone run fast(over reading)

You can get the meter checked but it will cost you(£60ish) if it turns out to be OK.

Are you sure you haven't done something like leaving the immersion heater switched on all the time?

It is not that difficult to do a rough check of your meter yourself. During the day ensure everything is off(including fridge) Accurately note meter reading including fractions, and put on something with a known consumption - like a 3 bar (3kW) electric fire(without a thermostat) for say 30 minutes and you will see if it is over reading.
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# 3
flossy_splodge
Old 07-05-2007, 11:36 PM
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Hey cardew, can I add on the same question about Gas usage? Not mine but the person concerned has had an enormous bill. Have had the boiler serviced and checked and nothing wrong there. Worried.

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# 4
Cardew
Old 07-05-2007, 11:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flossy_splodge View Post
Hey cardew, can I add on the same question about Gas usage? Not mine but the person concerned has had an enormous bill. Have had the boiler serviced and checked and nothing wrong there. Worried.

I understand that gas meters also rarely go wrong; and if they do it is more likely that they would run slow. Again they can be checked - at your cost if no fault.

There is no easy way to check accuracy of a meter.

The main reason for a very high bill is normally estimated meter readings(previous or current reading)

If meter has been recently changed it could be that they are being billed for an Imperial meter when a Metric meter has been fitted.
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# 5
Ken68
Old 08-05-2007, 11:00 AM
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Kaz...did you have workmen in to refurbish the kitchen.?
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# 6
BritBrat
Old 08-05-2007, 11:18 AM
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Quote:
There is no easy way to check accuracy of a meter.
I would have thought it was very easy, get an appliance with a known rating say like a 1KW heater, turn everything off in the house.

Take a meter reading, turn on the fire for an hour and take another reading.

The rate used should be near the rating of the appliance connected.

Also turn everything off and make sure meter is static.
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# 7
Cardew
Old 08-05-2007, 12:07 PM
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Quote:
There is no easy way to check accuracy of a meter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BritBrat View Post
I would have thought it was very easy, get an appliance with a known rating say like a 1KW heater, turn everything off in the house.

Take a meter reading, turn on the fire for an hour and take another reading.

The rate used should be near the rating of the appliance connected.

Also turn everything off and make sure meter is static.
If you read post #2 you will see that is exactly what I suggested for Electricity meters.

The "No easy way to check a meter" in my post#4 that you have quoted was about a gas meter - see post #3
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# 8
rosscobley
Old 08-05-2007, 5:59 PM
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As said above it is very very very unlikley that a meter will read wrong.

There are two ways of testing them

1) Meter owner will come out switch your power off and run a test load though it.

2) They will install a check meter side by side with you meter and leave it there for about a month. The two meters should then have clocked up the same amount of usage.

In the 5/6 six years i have worked for an elec company i have only ever heard of a handfull of meter being wrong and most of them times the meter has been running slow not fast...


With a gas meter its very very hard to test.

The only way it can be tested is to be removed and sent away to be taken apart and tested. that meter can never be used again then and if it is found to be correct you will be charged for the cost of the meter and the job
Filiss
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# 9
Kaz NewbieMoneysaver
Old 08-05-2007, 7:38 PM
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Hi all,
Thank you to everyone who posted replies.
In answer to the question about workmen into fit the new kitchen - yes there were but our neighbour says they mostly - but not always - used cordless i.e. precharged-up tools. Also we thought the cost of not using kettles, ovens, etc for several weeks would have out-weighed the cost of one or two power tools used a few times.
Apart from running the risk of a £60 charge for checking the meter it sounds a bit hopeless doesn't.
Thanks again though to all who responded.
Kaz
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# 10
Luggworm
Old 08-05-2007, 10:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaz NewbieMoneysaver View Post
Hi all,
Thank you to everyone who posted replies.
In answer to the question about workmen into fit the new kitchen - yes there were but our neighbour says they mostly - but not always - used cordless i.e. precharged-up tools. Also we thought the cost of not using kettles, ovens, etc for several weeks would have out-weighed the cost of one or two power tools used a few times.
Apart from running the risk of a £60 charge for checking the meter it sounds a bit hopeless doesn't.
Thanks again though to all who responded.
Kaz
I had a friend who had a meter run fast, he proved this in front of a rep from the supply company by turning everything off and the meter still recorded a large amount of usage over a couple of hours. They replaced the meter and his usage fell to normal levels, however they refused to refund the excess charges from previous period. This was a lot of years ago and I think he got away with it in the end as he went bankrupt because of other problems.

Another point to watch out for, especially if this is a terrace is if someone has wired into your neighbours supply through the loft space. Its a call the police job if they have.

Luggy.
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# 11
Hazzanet
Old 09-05-2007, 1:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaz NewbieMoneysaver View Post
Hello there,
Just wondering whether anybody out there has had any experiences of an Electric meter simply not working correctly
Mine stopped clocking up units. It took them two months to come out and change it, and they didn't bother charging me for the two months where the meter hadn't advanced.

I now have a shiny new digital thing... very compact.
4358
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# 12
buster99
Old 26-01-2010, 12:15 PM
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Hi My electronic meter did the same thing in December, my normal usage is around 40 units a month, (I work away from home) but it shot up 7200 in two weeks in december BG asked if I had left somthing on at home!
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# 13
JasX
Old 26-01-2010, 12:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rosscobley View Post
With a gas meter its very very hard to test.

The only way it can be tested is to be removed and sent away to be taken apart and tested. that meter can never be used again then and if it is found to be correct you will be charged for the cost of the meter and the job
wouldn't they just test it at site by putting another meter in series with it?

also gas meters can be readily tested if the testing company has access to a 'meter prover' rig.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gas_meter_prover
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# 14
Leslie Upchurch
Old 28-10-2010, 8:39 AM
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Default Electric Meter Running Wild

I am probably moving out of my apartment in the middle of a lease to escape my electric meter problem. My meter is running about 20 times faster than the ones near it in my apartment building. I even took a video of it with my phone. Rather than running up thousands of dollars in charges, I am renting a motel room and will come back during the day to get things here and there. Fortunately the building is heated centrally so if this is a prolonged problem I will be able to be in the apartment during the day.

The electric company first stated they would send someone to see the meter within 2 to 3 business days and now when I called yesterday on the 3rd day it is 7 to 14 days. I called the manager of the building and told her that I was moving out. I just got a great new roommate but I will find him a place as well. It will be cheaper than what the electric bill is going to be. It ran up 3 to 6 months of the power I generally use in only 3 days!

I don't trust the power company at all. I have already had 3 months of big bills, and I am outta here in a day or two. The management of my building is stepping in to assist me after I told them I was moving out. They did not call an electrician the day I asked but said they were waiting for the electric company to come. I blasted them because I have lived in the building over 5 years and have paid them well over $100,000 in rent. No more! If this does not pan out well I will stay as long as my security deposit covers.

I intend to ask if I can stay in one of their empty apartments before leaving. But I want to see the meter first!!! This is an outrageous experience. I have not done anything different and this happens. If it weren't for the money it might be funny - but it is not funny.
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# 15
dogshome
Old 28-10-2010, 9:41 AM
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Hi KazNewbieMoneysaver - Faults can and do occur in wiring circuits and can consume a lot of power over a period - I know,I had one - and it could be a that fault was created with the re-furbishment work

Turn off absolutely every thing and then watch the meter closely for a while, if there is any movement and you have an 'Old Style' fuse box, pull all the fuses and then replace them one at a time and if one then starts to register power on the meter, on the circuit supplied by this fuse check that you have really switched every thing off.

If you have and it's a power circiut, remove every plug from the wall socket for each appliance on that is on that circuit, one by one. - If the meter stops when a particular plug is removed it's likely you have a faulty appliance, or a faulty socket.

If the fuse is supplying a Lighting circuit, it's not really possible to do further checks yourself, but in either case you need to call in an Electrician

Hi flossie_splodge As Cardew has pointed out, excessive Gas bills can be caused by a Metric meter, marked M3 on the front, being charged as an Imperial meter which is marked Ft3 on the front

To check, see how the meter is marked and then on a bill look at the line which states how many meter meter units were consumed and the number of Kwh it was converted to for chargeing.
Divide the Kwh figure into the Units consumed figure - If the answer is appx.11 you are being charged for a Metric meter, if the answer is appx.31 you are being charged for an Imerial meter - If the chargeing method doesn't match the meters face plate, GET ONTO THE SUPPLIER IMMEDIATELY

Last edited by dogshome; 28-10-2010 at 9:53 AM.
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# 16
Cardew
Old 28-10-2010, 10:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dogshome View Post
Hi KazNewbieMoneysaver -

Hi flossie_splodge

GET ONTO THE SUPPLIER IMMEDIATELY
I hope they did! as they posted three and a half years ago!!
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# 17
Terrylw1
Old 28-10-2010, 2:22 PM
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Something I would add. I've always heard that meters rarely "speed" but I've found more recently that it happens more often than I was told over the years.

Not sure if all Suppliers are charging for a Standard Load Test that proves nothing thesedays so if you can do a self test, it's worth it first.

The SLT will measure the speed to see if it falls within an agreed industry tolerance. A lot do, but it's more common than rare that they fail this test from what I've been seeing. Perhaps a dip in standards over the years???
It's better to live 1 year as a tiger than a lifetime as a worm...but then, whoever heard of a wormskin rug!!!
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# 18
dunloadin
Old 28-10-2010, 8:38 PM
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Quote:
wouldn't they just test it at site by putting another meter in series with it?
Thats what fitting a check meter entails. I have yet to fit a check meter and go back to it and find any significant discrepancy between the two....thats not to say that at some point in the future a faulty meter will be found.

Best one I seen was a check meter that had been fitted by the customers previous supplier and left there for 4-5 years! Did the sums and found that the difference between the two was 100 units...sounds like a lot, but when you take into account that over 10,000 units had been consumed then the discrepancy was minimal.

Normally they stay in for 2-3 weeks, have yet to see one where the difference is more than 1 unit in that time.
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# 19
greektortoise
Old 12-07-2012, 9:14 AM
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Default Electricity meters can and do go wrong - mine has!

In reply to this, I know its some time later but when you google you get this posting.

My meter is running fast, I ordered the meter check engineer £70, he confirmed this to be the case.

I bought an owl meter, a simple device which is accurate enough to diagnose whether your meter is accurate or not.

If you are suspicious get one, could be the best £40 you ever spend.

Its true to say my company disbelived me, made this difficult and made me prove the meter was wrong. And now we are waiting for a new meter so we can agree my refund but that is proving very difficult.
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# 20
Terrylw1
Old 13-07-2012, 12:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greektortoise View Post
In reply to this, I know its some time later but when you google you get this posting.

My meter is running fast, I ordered the meter check engineer £70, he confirmed this to be the case.

I bought an owl meter, a simple device which is accurate enough to diagnose whether your meter is accurate or not.

If you are suspicious get one, could be the best £40 you ever spend.

Its true to say my company disbelived me, made this difficult and made me prove the meter was wrong. And now we are waiting for a new meter so we can agree my refund but that is proving very difficult.
Yes, it is. They will want to take the out of tolerance value and multiply it by the consumption average. However, what day did it start? It can be difficult to spot so do it yourself to check what they do. Ask them to fully document their calculation. What about season differences? If they do one average, it may not cover your heavier/lighter periods properly as it requires a calculation for each season based on a difference average. Even doing master averages won't work with this as accurately as seperate seasonal calculations will.

Question though. Why didn't the engineer doing the test, change the meter? He is supposed to.
It's better to live 1 year as a tiger than a lifetime as a worm...but then, whoever heard of a wormskin rug!!!
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