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  • FIRST POST
    • suethedriver
    • By suethedriver 3rd Sep 16, 1:12 PM
    • 118Posts
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    suethedriver
    Electric bill excessive . where do i go for help
    • #1
    • 3rd Sep 16, 1:12 PM
    Electric bill excessive . where do i go for help 3rd Sep 16 at 1:12 PM
    I deal with my sons account for electric/gas .He lived " alone" in his rental for 1 year ( moved out in June) N power supplied the gas and elec to the detatched 2 bed smallish farmbuilding conversion . He was never asked for reading etc or any payments for the year he was there and now they have sent a bill for £3600 !!!!! just for electric . I have queried this and they have done an inquiry on it and still come back and said the bill is correct according to the meter readings. I have gone back to them again and said .how can a single man on his own ( working away for a few days per month) use £300 of electricity . looking up averages online it seems that a family in a big house dont use anything like that amount and my friend with a b & b doesnt either.
    I have paid them some money last month and they suggested setting up a payment plan to start paying it off to stop any further action/ court etc. I am not sure this is a good idea as wonder if i am then accepting the bill ? I am of course willing to pay a bit as the electric does need paying in the end but not that amount surely. I have been very calm on the phone to them & asked them if they have a complaints procedure and they just said go to citizens advice ! I am asking here if anyone can suggest what i do next please as i really dont believe the amount and dont want him to get bad credit history. Thanks
Page 2
    • suethedriver
    • By suethedriver 3rd Sep 16, 6:24 PM
    • 118 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    suethedriver
    thankyou that would be helpful
    • Robin9
    • By Robin9 3rd Sep 16, 7:16 PM
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    Robin9
    There is a good argument to be made here for entering your readings online as when I enter my readings online I am only given 5 digits to enter and this corresponds to the amount of digits on the meter.

    Does anyone have one of these Polyphase meters and can they enter more than 5 digits?

    What I cannot understand here is how the nPower system allows 7 digits to be accepted when that is clearly wrong.
    • Carrot007
    • By Carrot007 3rd Sep 16, 7:29 PM
    • 293 Posts
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    Carrot007
    Polyphase is should not be used for a domestic metering situation and generally is used in high useage business where they have polyphase motors that will benefit from the system to be more efficiant (or where are domestic meter would be insufficiant).

    They have 3 incoming lives and a neutral not just live and neutral live a typical domestic setup.

    However I have seen polyphase where each phase supplies somewhere seperate so really should be changed for 3 doemstic meters. if the property was a former business converted it could be like this and maybe the other 2 phases are supliing somewhere else and should not be part of his bill. However it will be hard to prove if you no longer have access. This often occurs where a property was converted from business to flats on the cheap and the landlord will not pay the thousands to get the electric split into seperate metering.

    Polyphase metering is generally 6 digits but can be 7. Domestic is 5, or sometimes 6 but I have seen 6 digit domestic where a blanking label was put over digit 6 because some legacy systems could not support it!
    Last edited by Carrot007; 03-09-2016 at 7:30 PM. Reason: digit info added
    • daveyjp
    • By daveyjp 3rd Sep 16, 7:33 PM
    • 6,523 Posts
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    daveyjp
    kVArh reading suggests this is a meter for a commercial set up where useage is high and half hourly metering may be used.

    The L1 L2 and L3 also suggest high capacity as these are three phase readings.

    Over to npower rep!

    I've had similar on a domestic property where the owner had a workshop in the garage with a three phase supply, but that property had three older type dial meters.

    That too was npower and it was a saga which I don't believe is over yet.
    Last edited by daveyjp; 03-09-2016 at 7:36 PM.
    • daveyjp
    • By daveyjp 3rd Sep 16, 7:37 PM
    • 6,523 Posts
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    daveyjp
    There is a good argument to be made here for entering your readings online as when I enter my readings online I am only given 5 digits to enter and this corresponds to the amount of digits on the meter.

    Does anyone have one of these Polyphase meters and can they enter more than 5 digits?

    What I cannot understand here is how the nPower system allows 7 digits to be accepted when that is clearly wrong.
    Originally posted by Robin9
    But with no decimal point do you give the first five or last 5?!!!
    • Robin9
    • By Robin9 3rd Sep 16, 7:47 PM
    • 1,083 Posts
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    Robin9
    No problem when you follow the online advice given by your supplier.

    The more usual error is to forget the leading zero when you have 4 digits to enter.
    • Carrot007
    • By Carrot007 3rd Sep 16, 7:51 PM
    • 293 Posts
    • 187 Thanks
    Carrot007
    I've had similar on a domestic property where the owner had a workshop in the garage with a three phase supply, but that property had three older type dial meters.

    That too was npower and it was a saga which I don't believe is over yet.
    Originally posted by daveyjp
    Hardly the suppliers fault here, they just fit what is asked. If it becomes inappropriate over time it is not their fault.

    Blame the owner who did not want to change the supply. Which is very often done because converting from polyphase to single phase costs a lot.
    • Carrot007
    • By Carrot007 3rd Sep 16, 7:52 PM
    • 293 Posts
    • 187 Thanks
    Carrot007
    But with no decimal point do you give the first five or last 5?!!!
    Originally posted by daveyjp
    This is a polyphase metyer and appears to be requiring all the digits. There is no decimal place.
    • daveyjp
    • By daveyjp 3rd Sep 16, 8:25 PM
    • 6,523 Posts
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    daveyjp
    This is a polyphase metyer and appears to be requiring all the digits. There is no decimal place.
    Originally posted by Carrot007
    If that is the case the bill readings appear to be correct.
    • victor2
    • By victor2 3rd Sep 16, 8:49 PM
    • 4,505 Posts
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    victor2
    From the Polyphase manual found here:

    The meter is a whole current credit meter, capable of measuring kWh and kVArh type approved
    to IEC1036: 1996 class 1.0 for kWh and IEC1268: 1996 class 2.0 for kVArh. The Meter has 3
    measuring elements capable of being configured as 3 phase 4 wire, 3 phase 3 wire, 2 wires of 3
    phases, 1 wire of 2 phases or single phase of 3 wires.
    Total kWh Register
    The total kWhs measured are stored internally to 3 decimal places. The total
    kWhs are displayed on the meter to a maximum of 2 decimal places unless
    programmed via the Flag Port (see User Interfaces) to 3 decimal places for
    testing purposes.
    Maybe it is not a commonly used meter, and that is how the presumed erroneous readings came about.
    • Carrot007
    • By Carrot007 3rd Sep 16, 10:30 PM
    • 293 Posts
    • 187 Thanks
    Carrot007
    From the Polyphase manual found here:



    Maybe it is not a commonly used meter, and that is how the presumed erroneous readings came about.
    Originally posted by victor2
    It's true a polyphase meter can be used as a single phase but it is unlikely as they are more expensive and would be a waste of money.

    The usage here does indicate a 3 pahse usage pattern. If only we had picture of the number of wires going into the meter! (and perhaps more importantly the wires coming out and where they were going)
    • footyguy
    • By footyguy 3rd Sep 16, 10:36 PM
    • 2,448 Posts
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    footyguy
    As I understand it, this is a multi rate meter designed for business use; it records 8 different rates plus a total.

    Because it's a meter designed for high using business, that is why it has 6 digits (as opposed to 4 or 5 that a domestic meter would have)
    This does not include digits that record parts of a unit.

    From the manual.
    The Total kWh register range is 000000.000 - 999999.999 kWh
    ... although it also says it is only capable of displaying a maximum of 2 decimal points.
    I don't think the dispay is showing any fractions of a unit i.e there is no decimal point in the readout.

    There can be so many possible problems here. The OP has no access to the property any more, and without any regular reads, it's impossible to say:
    (a) if the meter is accurate (it probably is)
    (b) if there is anyone else drawing electricity that is going through that meter (its a bodged conversion, bodged not least as it retained the old meter so who knows what else was bodged?)
    (c) The OP's son did not take a meter reading at the start, so there is no guarantee it was correct. It could be, rather than plain fraud, that whoever took the reading did not take the TOT reading (as shown in the photo as the final reading) but rather a reading from one of the registries ... or possibly from the reactive power display as opposed to the active power as this business meter is capable of displaying both.

    As there was a supplier reading take approx 1 month after the start of the rental, my hunch (and that is all it can be in these circumstances) is that someone else is drawing electricity that is going through that meter. Or that there was a heavy drawing appliance left on that the OP's son was unaware of (e.g. an electric fire on in the loft), as the bill shows a usage of almost 1000 kWh in 1 summer month.

    Lessons to be learnt here:
    1. Always take a meter reading when you move into a property, and give that reading to the supplier (and discuss a suitable tariff to avoid the expensive varible rate defult tariff they will otherwise put you on)
    2. Take regular meter readings. This should alert you early to abnormal usage and allow you to investigate where necessary.
    • Lorian
    • By Lorian 3rd Sep 16, 10:40 PM
    • 3,746 Posts
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    Lorian
    I'd certainly want to try to rule out two of those phases actually supplying other properties in the conversion, or continuing to supply part of the farm.
    • footyguy
    • By footyguy 3rd Sep 16, 10:42 PM
    • 2,448 Posts
    • 952 Thanks
    footyguy
    ... If only we had picture of the number of wires going into the meter! (and perhaps more importantly the wires coming out and where they were going)
    Originally posted by Carrot007
    Or even if the picture of the meter we do have was in focus, it might help us

    The full description of the meter overview that victor2 posted in part says

    The meter is a whole current credit meter, capable of measuring kWh and kVArh type approved to IEC1036: 1996 class 1.0 for kWh and IEC1268: 1996 class 2.0 for kVArh. The Meter has 3 measuring elements capable of being configured as 3 phase 4 wire, 3 phase 3 wire, 2 wires of 3 phases, 1 wire of 2 phases or single phase of 3 wires. There are 8 kWh registers and 8 kVArh registers controlled by up to 16 time switches using internal RTC. A LCD display’s all the meter’s data and phase condition.
    (my highlighting)
    • LewisHamilton
    • By LewisHamilton 4th Sep 16, 12:45 AM
    • 42 Posts
    • 21 Thanks
    LewisHamilton
    The bill is likely to be accurate. The readings fall perfectly in line - the June 2015 and July 2015 readings follow on and the photo of the meter confirms the July 2016 is correct.

    The issue here is that the meter is probably supplying appliances other than the appliances within the two bedroom dwelling. The scenario makes perfect sense - a farmbuilding conversion and the meter is a non-domestic meter.

    I cannot see how its possible for a non-commerical customer to use 22203 kWh over 357 days in a dwelling that has two bedrooms and a gas supply (so presumably no electrical heating). If the dwelling only has the normal electrical appliances and no electric heating its almost impossible to use an average of 62 kWh per day.

    Only explanations for this bill could be:
    -electric heating;
    -meter is attached to appliances not within your sons property;
    -the meter is faulty although this is generally rare;
    -there is actually another electricity meter for your sons dwelling and this is the wrong meter; or
    -the dwelling had a jacuzzi or a floodlit astroturf pitch in the backyard

    This could be something worth discussing and investigating directly with the landlord.
    • sacsquacco
    • By sacsquacco 4th Sep 16, 5:27 PM
    • 3,659 Posts
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    sacsquacco
    But with no decimal point do you give the first five or last 5?!!!
    Originally posted by daveyjp
    If there was a decimal point it would be the first 5 digits. The meter is a business meter so I would read it as Npower have with all six digits.
    As a check though its worth switching all electricity off and run something like a 2.2 kwh iron or a 1 kwh electric fire only and check what the last digit does.. 15 minutes of the iron would use 5.5 tenths, or 15 minutes of the electric fire the last digit would move by 2.5 . That test would prove if the last digit is recording 10 ths of a unit.
    To check if anything else is connected to this business meter switch everything off and see if the index moves.
    If the last digit is tenths then it fits in with the OPs usage of less than the average user around 2200 kwh a year. 22300 kwh a year is a business or very big cannabis farm ! or a faulty meter of course .
    Domestic meters are nearly always 5 digits, never 4 but occasionally 6 if the wrong meter has been fitted or if its an ex small business.Solar panel meters I see have 6 digits but they have a hard to see decimal point after the 5th digit which causes lots of mis reads
    Its important to find out what the 6 th digit is recording, is it recording 10 ths of a unit, or 1 unit ? rule that out first because the yearly consumption is correct if it is 10 ths of a unit only. If it is not then switching all your appliances off, and if it continues to advance, that will prove that other appliances are switched in to that meter.
    Last edited by sacsquacco; 04-09-2016 at 9:24 PM.
    • suethedriver
    • By suethedriver 17th Oct 16, 6:56 PM
    • 118 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    suethedriver
    Finally had a call back from npower regarding the excessive bill and they say they have looked into it again and been to check the meters etc but the bill is correct !
    average usage 57 units per day !
    They have offered a payment plan for this but i feel i still cannot accept that this can possibly be right ... Any ideas where to go next for independant advice ?
    • molerat
    • By molerat 17th Oct 16, 8:00 PM
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    molerat
    The problem is not the bill as that would seem accurate and the person deemed responsible has been correctly billed. But what does appear to have happened is that your son has been stitched up by the landlord to pay the bill for the whole farm site. What other premises are on the site ? How did your son set up the account ? The property and landlord / letting agent is where you need to start your investigation.
    Last edited by molerat; 17-10-2016 at 8:21 PM.
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    • suethedriver
    • By suethedriver 17th Oct 16, 8:31 PM
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    suethedriver
    There are other properties near and i think one backs on to it ,
    My son never set up the account , as far as i know the letting agent must have given the name to npower and consequently my son never set up any payment direct debits or anything which is why the bill is for such a long period ( i only took over the bills near the end of his tenancy )
    I realise that this is a big error on his part but i was not aware at the time.
    I may try and contact the energy ombudsman and see if they can help as i dont think the landlord will be much help as he has always left things to the agent.
    Thankyou for your suggestions
    • JC_Derby
    • By JC_Derby 17th Oct 16, 9:57 PM
    • 578 Posts
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    JC_Derby
    The problem is not the bill as that would seem accurate and the person deemed responsible has been correctly billed. But what does appear to have happened is that your son has been stitched up by the landlord to pay the bill for the whole farm site. What other premises are on the site ? How did your son set up the account ? The property and landlord / letting agent is where you need to start your investigation.
    Originally posted by molerat
    I wouldn't say stitched up but this is definitely a 3 phase meter (from the photo) and I suspect feeds the farm and possibly other things too.


    Might be an idea if the OP could post a picture of the whole area of the meter, cut out and possibly distribution boards/consumer units.
    To be fair I don't think (although I genuinely don't know) that the ombudsman would find in your favour as the bill is correct.
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