High electricity usage?

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  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,036 Forumite
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    Wig wrote:
    ................25 pounds

    Sorry they have increased in price:

    From an old thread:

    L61AQ Power Monitor Socket £12.75

    Lidl were selling them for £5 some while ago.
  • dvds2000
    dvds2000 Posts: 98 Forumite
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    OK,
    yesterday 4.30pm meter read 75669.93
    today 5.10pm meter read 75692.57
    so 22.64 in slightly over 24 hours

    However I did turn all power off in the house today for 6 hours.
    Apart from that, TV for about 10 hours, video on standby, fridge freezer, small chest freezer, a few lights with energy saving light bulbs. That's it, everything else in the house was switched off at the sockets.

    Going off previous readings, it averages out around 26-33 a day, depending on which block of readings I check

    For example 10th - 18th Jan I used 276 units = 34.5 a day

    21st - 31st August last year 269 = 27 per day. However you have to bear in mind I was out almost all day every day then (as detailed in my first post).

    My tariff is set at 11.91p/kw

    I'm actually getting more and more confused.

    Tonight (dead scientific this part lol) I rang my mate and got him to count how many seconds it took for his red flashing light to go on and off (as the meters don't have wheels its hard to gauge how fast its moving part from watching the red light). His light would change/flash every 16 seconds. At that time he had a tv on, fridge freezer, radio alarm, hi-fi, 2 lights, NTL box, cordless telephone.

    I used the trip switches to turn everything off in my house except one tv, ntl box, and the cordless telephone (not on charge as I was using it). My light flashed every 15 seconds when set like that (using less electricity than him).

    Now I know thats probably not the best way to test electricity usage, but the next part I can't get my head round.

    Meter was flashing every 15 seconds. I put the kitchen sockets back on (only the 2 freezers plugged in) and it instantly increased to flashing every 5 seconds, so 3 times the electric was being used. I couldn't understand it though as I have tested the fridge/freezer which uses 2.5 - 3kw every 24 hours, and the freezer only uses about 1kw/day.

    So I switched the sockets back off, and in went back to 15 seconds between flashes. Tried again, same result. Great I thought, problem definately in the kitchen.

    I then switched the power back on for the upstairs lights (kitchen still off). Only light on was landing, with an energy saving bulb in. The consumption went back to flashing every 5 seconds! Turned off again, back to 15 seconds, tried again with downstairs lights. Only passage light on, energy saving bulb. Back to fashing every 5 seconds.

    So everytime I put the power back on to any part of the house, regardless of which part, which circuit, and what was running in that part of the house, the consumption increased by 3 fold! So I tried putting all the power back on, back to flashing every 5 seconds!

    So, working on the principle the speed the red light flashes, is related to the amount of power going through the meter, I can't understand why it goes at 1 flash every 5 seconds, with a light bulb extra on, but flashes at the same rate when all the power is on in all the house!
  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,036 Forumite
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    dvds2000 wrote:
    So, working on the principle the speed the red light flashes, is related to the amount of power going through the meter,

    Is the frequency of flashing light a correct assumption? Why 5 or 15 seconds and not variable?

    Surely it would be better to check, using the same procedure, by monitoring your meter readings - you can read one hundredth of a kWh.

    The problem is that if they come to check your meter they will carry out essentially the same check as you did with the fan heater.

    Interesting situation - less so if you are picking up bill!
  • dvds2000
    dvds2000 Posts: 98 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Cardew wrote:
    Is the frequency of flashing light a correct assumption? Why 5 or 15 seconds and not variable?

    well thats one thing I couldn't understand, but a girl at British gas did tell me that the light flashes in relation to how much electricity I was using.
    Surely it would be better to check, using the same procedure, by monitoring your meter readings - you can read one hundredth of a kWh.

    I know, I haven't had time to do that yet, but I will be this week at some point
    The problem is that if they come to check your meter they will carry out essentially the same check as you did with the fan heater.

    Interesting situation - less so if you are picking up bill!


    Todays reading.

    Bear in mind I went to bed just after my post last night, I switched all lights off and the only things on in the house (to the extent that everything else was actually unplugged rather than on standby) were the fridge freezer, chest freezer, cordless phone, and alarm clock. I had read the meter at 10pm last night and it read 75697.10

    I was up at 5.30 this morning, left the house at 6.15am after having a cup of coffe and watching tv for 10 mins. When I left all that was on was the alarm, and the freezer/fridge freezer. I came back in at 4.40 and the reading was 75713.00. So with barely anything on I have used about 16 units in 18 hours. The fridge freezer used 2.2kw during this time, which leaves the freezer to have used almost 14 units. However testing the freezer it doesn't use anywhere near that!

    Since coming in the reading has changed to 75714.57, so 1.57 increase on 90 minutes.

    I am really stuck now, as nothing really makes any sense. I think I'm going to try to get an electrician out this week sometime to trace the fault!
  • Firefly
    Firefly Posts: 3,024 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    I know this isn't a laughing matter but this thread has really made me chuckle! :rotfl:

    I've got visions of you running around the house between your Maplins meter and your leccy meter with a pencil behind your ear at all times, manically switching appliances on and off!

    Sorry it's rude of me to laugh. I'm on economy 7 and I currently pay Powergen the totally extortionate amount of £130 per month to cover arrears after they put my DD down to £65 from £80 when I changed from Npower. The cost soared but my DD didn't. :rolleyes:

    This thread has prompted me to go to Maplins, get a meter and check on what I use. Thanks.

    http://offog.org/code/electricity.html
    Do not allow the risk of failure to stop you trying!
  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,036 Forumite
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    Firefly wrote:

    The above link states:

    "Many houses in the UK have an electricity meter with a light on it that flashes at a rate proportional to how fast electricity is being used (typically 800 times per kilowatt hour)."

    So if that is accurate, flashing every 15 seconds means you are consuming 1 kWh of electricity every 3 hours 20 mins.(7.2 units per day) Flashing every 5 seconds means 1 kWh every 1 hour 7 mins.(21.6 units per day)

    The $64,000 question is why your consumption triples in the way it does.

    It really is starting to look like a meter fault.

    You MUST keep us informed.
  • irnbru_2
    irnbru_2 Posts: 1,603 Forumite
    Cardew wrote:
    It really is starting to look like a meter fault.

    The only other thing it could be is a wiring issue which the electrician would identify.

    Once you get this resolved - dump pre-payment.

    Good luck.
  • Wig
    Wig Posts: 14,139 Forumite
    From looking at what you have said, it appears to be the meter which above a certain power output just trips out and becomes innaccurate, mind you even at 15 second flash it was innaccurate too because you only had a tv ntl box cordless phone. However, if it flases at 5 secs when you only have the two freezers on then that is what I would check with the maplin meter first.

    Careful which electrician you choose, you need someone with a brain and the right equipment. I'd be looking for an "electrical engineer" reather than an electrician. But I think *after* doing the test below you should just ask the BG testers to test it for you.


    Find the most simplistic set up (no of items switched on (the two freezers I would think)) which causes a 5 sec flash. Then feed those items through one extension lead via the maplin. Record at least one hour (if I were you) nothing else in the house should be on.

    You can also do the same again have it flashing @ 15 secs, time how long it takes to tick 0.1 kwh, turn on your energy bulb, as you did before it goes @ 5 sec flashes, time again how long it takes to do 0.1 kwh.........post your results.
    And we'll work out what the difference is, and basically prove that the excess power consumed is way in excess of the extra 20 watt load.
  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,036 Forumite
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    Wig wrote:

    Find the most simplistic set up (no of items switched on (the two freezers I would think)) which causes a 5 sec flash. Then feed those items through one extension lead via the maplin. Record at least one hour (if I were you) nothing else in the house should be on.

    The problem with using freezers is that the compressor might not run for an hour or two and hence they consume virtually no power.

    The strange thing is that when he did the test with the fan heater the meter read the same as the Maplin tester.
  • Wig
    Wig Posts: 14,139 Forumite
    That is the problem with fridges, but the crux of the test is this five second flash business, if it's five seconds fine, if not you may have to run the test and wait for a compressor to kick in, or add a fan heater to the circuit. Of course the more load the greater the chance of blowing the fuse in the extension lead. But that's just something you'll have to expect and deal with at the time.
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