Independent electricity smart meter accuracy test?

yeezy_2
yeezy_2 Posts: 12
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Just wondering if anyone has any experience challenging their meter readings with British Gas and having their smart meter for electricity checked by an independent examiner?

Our readings have been alarmingly high ever since we moved into this property. We have had the smart meter tested already and our readings were found to be 'on the threshold, but within the limits of accuracy'.

Our readings don't seem to spike at any particular time or when any particular appliance is in use.  

I'm considering asking for the smart meter to be taken away and replaced but I'm aware if they don't find any problems I will be charged for the cost.
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  • EssexHebridean
    EssexHebridean Posts: 20,915
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    A first port of call for  me on this one would be to write a list of all the things that are different in the current property from where you were before - we moved last year, so my list might read something like
    "heating now via GCH not electric "
    "No electric shower"
    "Cooking now all via electric"
    "External WFH space needing additional electric heating"
    "Far larger fridge/freezer"
    That might enable you to isolate what could be causing the apparent higher usage.

    It might also be worth trying to work out roughly what the baseload is - the background stuff that just runs rather than things like fridge compressors which kick in now and then. There could be something switched on in the background somewhere that you're not aware of - and finding that baseload figure could give you a clue as to whether it's worth launching a full scale search! 

    what sort of level of "high" are we talking about? 
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  • Robin9
    Robin9 Posts: 11,984
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    Really do a room by room assessment of all the appliances etc that you have - inc the loft, the cupboard under the stairs, the garage, the duck pond.   This forum has seen blocked pond pumps, lots of fish tanks, old  freezers, the fan heater in the bedroom.

    We've also seen properties where they are just high users.


    As Essex has said "how high"
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  • p00hsticks
    p00hsticks Posts: 12,589
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    Robin9 said:

    This forum has seen blocked pond pumps, lots of fish tanks, old  freezers, the fan heater in the bedroom.

    Also an immersion heater in the hot water tank that no one is aware of......
  • Scot_39
    Scot_39 Posts: 1,691
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    edited 31 January at 1:40PM
    You could buy a CT clamp style meter - to be fitted around a single meter tail e.g. in cabinet or as it reaches your consumer unit - they start sub £20 on line - but with better monitoring - ramp up quite quickly.

    But as you already have a smart meter - have you tried using an app to monitor daily enegy consumption down to the 1/2 hour level.  And see when any peaks are happening.

    Even one test saying meter just in spec - seems a reasonable test to me - and thats all any meter has to be in specification - and as you say - you could end paying for the test and replacement - and get another meter similarly just in specification.  

    According to this page - the tester should maybe have taken the meter away and replaced it anyway - not tested in situ - but this guidance is now 6 years old


    Your reason for triggering the test - was no doubt your higher consumption at the new property.

    Your real issue I suspect therefore is with the electrical consumption in the house - but other than high - you give no indication of how high.

    One often very revealing / interesting thing to check - is what is your smart meter IHD (in home display) telling you your typical standby load in kW or W with little on in terms of any true high demand items (electrical heating, shower, ovens etc where relevant ) active.

    My base load is 20-30W just before bed - thats routers, alarms, lights off etc - nothing left on standby thats accessible (even my old electric oven and it's electro-mechanical timer - that uses c2W goes off when not in use - mainly becaue the noise annoys me - not the power) - the fridge freezer takes that upto nearer 100W when compressor kicks in.

    Many here report levels 2-3 times that - so 200-300W.  One of my friends has 2 indoor aquariums and external pond - his is 400-500W typically even in summer - and has a winter pond heater - thats c3kW iirc.  So he now has a small solar install.

    Anything that is via an accessible 13A socket can be monitored using likes of a Tapo smart plug - e.g. if worried sayan old fridge freezer going out of spec (some can be 2-3kWh per day anyway - and that can go up dramatically - if goes faulty or even simply over icy / never properly defrosted)

    There can be unexpected high loads in use - things like back up immersion heaters in hot water tanks - people didn't realise in use to supplement gas boiler het indirect tanks (not every gas powered home has a heat as you use direct combi boiler set-up). Some only realised when cut back their gas boilers to save - their's were even there in standby - and found being triggered more.

    Some lower powered things can use a lot of power as well - when many in use at once.  Old lighting being a classic.  Many kitchens for instance still may have halogen downlighters not led.
    My parents had light fittings with say a decade ago - 11 60W tradional filament bulbs in living room / dining room - my old homes kitchen diner ceiling lights had about 10-12 50W (new LED were c7W) and around 5 or 6 20W (new LED c3-4W) under cabinet halogens (but had to get electrician in to change some power units on one or the other - ceiling transformers iirc) thats 0.66-0.6 kWh every hour they are on - about 8-12 hours in winter in parents case so maybe 5kWh on average of old - 0.8kWh new - or c£1.40 vs 25p per day.

  • Veteransaver
    Veteransaver Posts: 344
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    Robin9 said:

    This forum has seen blocked pond pumps, lots of fish tanks, old  freezers, the fan heater in the bedroom.

    Also an immersion heater in the hot water tank that no one is aware of......
    True story, friend of mine had his immersion heater permanently switched on for the 10 or so years since he'd bought the property! 
    Also an immersion on a timer overnight wouldn't be very easy to spot from the IHD.
    OP can you get half hourly readings from your meter? Would be useful to see where any spikes are occuring
  • TheElectricCow
    TheElectricCow Posts: 452
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    If the meter has already been tested your time is probably going to be better spent doing a full energy audit of your household and accounting for all usage rather than pursuing further tests in the hope of getting a more favourable result.
    Moo…
  • QrizB
    QrizB Posts: 13,685
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    yeezy_2 said:
    Our readings have been alarmingly high ever since we moved into this property.
    How high, exactly?
    And what sort of property, heated in what fashion? A 1-bed flat with gas CH will have a much smaller electricity demand than a five-bed detached with storage heaters

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  • Bendo
    Bendo Posts: 266
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    Robin9 said:

    This forum has seen blocked pond pumps, lots of fish tanks, old  freezers, the fan heater in the bedroom.

    Also an immersion heater in the hot water tank that no one is aware of......
    True story, friend of mine had his immersion heater permanently switched on for the 10 or so years since he'd bought the property! 
    Also an immersion on a timer overnight wouldn't be very easy to spot from the IHD.
    OP can you get half hourly readings from your meter? Would be useful to see where any spikes are occuring

    Doesn't pretty much every IHD have a half hourly breakdown? Even the landfill basic as anything ones that come with old SMETS 1 Secure meters do
  • Chrysalis
    Chrysalis Posts: 4,106
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    edited 31 January at 4:28PM
    If you do manage to get them to test, you will probably be charged if they find it is within acceptable tolerance levels.

    An easy way round it, I think isnt an option for you as you already got smart, what I did to force the issue with my dodgy meter (it was a dumb meter) was simply order a smart meter, no frills swap, problems solved with much lower readings.

    Of course your meter might not be faulty.  Because its smart this should be easier to diagnose than if was a dumb meter, assuming you got access to 30 minute readings.  IHD would be even better as shows almost live consumption.
  • Raxiel
    Raxiel Posts: 1,398
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    Bendo said:
    Robin9 said:

    This forum has seen blocked pond pumps, lots of fish tanks, old  freezers, the fan heater in the bedroom.

    Also an immersion heater in the hot water tank that no one is aware of......
    True story, friend of mine had his immersion heater permanently switched on for the 10 or so years since he'd bought the property! 
    Also an immersion on a timer overnight wouldn't be very easy to spot from the IHD.
    OP can you get half hourly readings from your meter? Would be useful to see where any spikes are occuring

    Doesn't pretty much every IHD have a half hourly breakdown? Even the landfill basic as anything ones that come with old SMETS 1 Secure meters do

    The IHD I got with my Secure meter seven years ago doesn't go into that level of detail. It has usage now, total today, this week etc.

    Of course the meter itself does, so I can still be billed on that basis.
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