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Author Topic: Meter crazy  (Read 16861 times)

Offline debook

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Meter crazy
« on: November 15, 2003, 06:00:00 am »
I have been reading this board for a couple of weeks now and am really impressed with the activities reported.

I have a small problem, which may be a little off topic but I suspect that your knowledge could help me out.

A few monthys ago our electric meter suddenly gained 27,000 KwH over an eight day period, since then it appears to be reading at about 2x our normal consumpion over the preceding 3 years. The eletric company is going to test the meter but tells us that they NEVER prove faulty.

My questions are:
1. What could cause such a jump (I cannot see our circuit handling nearly 3,000 KwH per day for 8 days!)
2. What type of expert should I look for to help resolve this problem.

Any advice appreciated.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2004, 01:14:37 am by tim »
Frank Andrews

Offline bshipinski

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Meter crazy
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2003, 11:40:00 pm »
Have you done any wiring or rewiring in the past couple of weeks, or plugged anything in that's new?  Reason I ask such a thing is for the possibilty of a short to ground that's high resistance thus not enough to start a fire (in theory) or pop the breaker, but still enough to bleed off current.  Any licenced electrician should be able to track down the problem and find the cause.  Such problems can also be from overloading a circuit so that it's insulation melts away just enough so you get that bleed off of current but does not conduct well enough to be noted otherwise.  Could also be from thihngs that were burnt up and are now high resistance because of it in conduction.  Could be dangerous and is something to look into if the meter is not bad.  But with the above and definate speculation on my part, it's more dependant upon what has changed since the reading went up.  Any chance a neighbor plugged his X-Mas lighting into your socket?  Just some thoughts since the experts - and I do value them as such, did not reply yet.

Offline bshipinski

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Meter crazy
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2003, 07:09:00 pm »
I mentioned it to some others and here is their thoughts if useful.  I'm liking the turn off the power and see if it's still feeding, or turning off all but a single 100w lamp ideas.

Sorry!  I don't know anything about dealing with the Netherlands' bureaucracy.
That said, here are my silly thoughts in no particular order:
You could use a combination of clamp-on ammeters and normal AC voltmeters to collect your own data and compare your figures with the "official" meter.
Logically, the power supplier will be installing a replacement meter while the present unit is removed for testing.  It should be interesting to see the readings on the replacement meter.
It will be difficult to argue with the supplier.
They'll likely claim the user went back to his previous consumption levels once they replaced the meter.
Out of idle curiosity, is there even enough load within the house to achieve the consumption they're claiming?
If the user were to turn on absolutely EVERYTHING in his home, what would the present meter claim?  And the new replacement meter?
To take a different approach, what happens with the present meter if you open the main switch and consume no power whatsoever?  Does the meter stop when zero power is being consumed?
Let's get even sillier here.
What if you turn off everything except a single, 100 watt lamp?
If you run only a single 100 watt lamp for an hour, does the meter read correctly?
I don't know if the supplied service is a single hot & neutral or a pair of hots and a single neutral.
If the service is 'two sided', try a 100 watt lamp on one side for an hour, the second side for an hour, and a pair with one on each side for an hour and collect your own data.
Optimistically, the provider will remover the meter, test it, discover a problem, be honest, look at the customer's rates during the same period the previous year, do the math and refund the difference.
Do keep me in this silly little loop.
Annoying bureaucracy is one of my favourite things to do.
Ron Hebbard

Once again I seem to come into the middle of a thread..damn work and sleep needs.... Thanks for keeping me in this tho--fun stuff. Anyway--the Netherlands question sat in my mind and the only thing I could see happening is one of two things--1st the meter IS faulty and it does happen. Here in the states at my residence for a few months the meter was a "trickle" showing no real power consumption--well after about 5 months of me paying all of $10 for power the electric company came out and found the meter had a problem and fault and fixed it so my bill went back to being what it was. Graciously since I HAD asked them repeatedly about it and they did the same thing--said those things never fail, and they did nothing when I complained, they did not even try to collect back-power charges...but meters DO and can go bad. Anything mechanical can go screwy...a panel breaker is the simplest of electromagnetic things--and yet they can and do occasionally go bad.  But my main thought is somewhere someone has a tap into your power and is feeding off of your meter. Have you checked your lines and feeder into your residence AFTER the meter? It is been a common thing here in the states where folks "steal" power by tapping in after the meter. Take a bit of work but it can be done..and most stories I have seen about that have been the cause of drug growers and so forth. In apartments and flats since walls are right next to each other, all your neighbor has to do is cut a hole in their side of the wall, pull back the insulation and find one of your wall outlets--and simply jump a tap off that and feed their own stuff off your outlets.  Pretty simple really...which is why most walls in apartments the cable feed is in the center of the house so it cannot be tapped from the outside by a neighbor...  

 That much power sounds to me like someone has some grow- lights for the legal substances in that area of the world and they are tapped off your power.. Way to check it out would be to shut off & unplug everything in your place and check your meter with no drain on it, and if its still going at a clip then there is someone tapped into you somewhere else....  

Well now I have to go read the other posts and catch up...but initially that would be my suggestion...FWIW. I showing my "darker" side with all these out-there types of knowledge of the world's darker sides??  

Cheers mates!


Offline debook

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Meter crazy
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2003, 04:21:00 am »
Thanks for the input. No nothing has changed and our neighbours would have a struggle changing a plug.

Netherlands bureaucracy is about as bad as you can get. Hard to get through to people in the first place and very few take responsibility. In this case they are suggesting that never took a reading in 4 years so it is likely I have been misleading them and will have to pay. They will test the meter and are offering to do it on-site for 200 Euros or off-site for 500 Euros!

Now previous bills suggest that they have taken readings and I know in the past that when I checked estimated bills in that the past that they were over estimating by a small amount - unfortunately it never occurred to me to record this. Even working from the last 'company' reading we could not have used the amount claimed but over 4 years it is borderline possible - had we been running every light and appliance 24 hours.

The suggestion of an earth leakage is a useful one and I think my best bet will be to hire an electrician to check things out and discuss with the utility.

My main concern is that they are positioning themselves in the 'not our problem - pay up' camp and I need to take care that this does not affect any investigation.

Is there a good reason for testing off premises that makes it preferable to on premise testing?

I will post the outcome, but do not hold your breath as these things take months to resolve here.

Frank Andrews

Offline bdhtexas

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Meter crazy
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2004, 07:30:00 pm »
I am having a similar problem with my electric meter and I called today to schedule an appointment to have my meter tested.  By turning everything off in the house and turning on one thing at a time, I have narrowed it down to my central heater.  The bad thing about it is that we are renting this house and when I called the landlord, he refused to help.  My next step, if the meter is working fine, is to call an electrician and have him check the wiring of the heater.  I am sure that something is wrong, because the heater is using way too much electricity.  The dial spins too fast at the meter.  I compared it to my friends house and when his central heat is on, his dial does not spin fast.  Our electric bill doubled last month.  Once I have all the data, I will confront my landlord.  I am frustrated, but determined to get to the bottom of this problem.

Offline debook

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Meter crazy
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2004, 05:19:00 am »
My fight still continues and with weeks between replies it promises to drag on for some time.

However there are some very strange circumstances. The crazy reading was brought to our attention late on a Friday night by someone who called and told us that our reading was much higher than recorded. This occured about a week after I had read the meter for the electric co. The reading I had taken was consistent with previous usage.

Now the electric company are not admitting that this guy was from them, nor are they saying he was. He had not shown ID and had about ten minutes between entering the building and ringing our apartment bell.

Is there any way that someone knowledgable could maliciously make the meter spin forward 27,000 KwH in 10 minutes?
Frank Andrews

Offline debook

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Re: Meter crazy
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2005, 10:26:58 am »
One and a half years on and nearly legal battles they finally tested the meter.

It passed the test. Which is nasty as I currently have to pay 6x the amount that I was paying before - which was the average for our household. None of our appliances seem to be the cause... ah well have to hire someone else to find out what is going wrong. When will this saga end?
Frank Andrews