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Cultcab 09-01-2012 08:34 PM

high Electric Bill
I'm visiting my sister's condo and she mentioned that she had very high electric bills the last two months - normal summer bill is $150 and it's been $700 each of the last two months.

She called the utility company (SMUD) and they investigated it and said it's definitely not a problemon their end.

I did a quick check around her house and there's nothing suspicious - the panel is clean and there's no access to the crawl space or attic, so I'm assuming that no one is stealing her juice.

I think that just leaves appliances - but I'm having a hard time belieiving that one of her appliances could be malfunctioning and causing her usage to quadruple. Her condo is small with all electric appliances - nothing out of the ordinary.

I didn't bring an ammeter, so I can't check usage.

Any obvious things that I should be checking.

AllanJ 09-01-2012 08:41 PM

Turn off the main breaker and then check to see that the meter dial has stopped spinning or a digital indicator in the meter has stopped flashing or counting.

(added later) Main breaker for your unit, not the entire building.

Then turn off all the individual breakers om your panel, turn on the main breaker, then turn on individual breakers one at a time to see which one causes the dial to start spinning really fast.

A leak in a hot water pipe will cause the water heater to guzzle energy. You might also see if the water meter dial is spinning when supposedly no water is being used.

biggles 09-01-2012 08:58 PM

need to get into the meter area in the condo and check the numbers on the bill and the most current.if the numbers on the meter are lower by 100s then they estimated your bill.did she ask the neighbors about theirs.if all jives...then maybe the condo had contractors doing work with power tools around they cheated power off her meter...verify those numbers bill to meter..take the amp porbe and read each of the hot 115V lines into the top of breakers...might be tight....

frenchelectrican 09-01-2012 09:06 PM

Some case you may run into crossed connection as well so the only way you can find is turn the main breaker off.

As Allen mention just leave the main breaker off for like 10 - 15 minuites to see if you hear anyone else griping about the power outage then you will know. I have ran into this couple time allready.

Did the POCO change the meter not too long ago ? ( this part I am not surpised that there were alot of issue going on with smart meter but readers please hold back all the details until the OP confirm this first )

Most likely either Electrique water heater with bad element or A/C running almost constant that only way you can get that high a number of KWH.


bernie963 09-02-2012 08:13 AM

did anyone move into a unit in this building recently? maybe mixed meters or mixed wiring. mixed meters in apartments and condo units are not uncommon. a mixed meter is when a meter labled unit # A is really wired to unit #b. and visa versa. that is a paperwork fix at the electric utility. mixed wiring is not as common, where a some circuits are wired to the wrong service. (more common in old apartment buildings) also if there is a meter change involved check meter numbers to the bill meter number. all meters have a serial number which should match the meter number on the bill. lastly, old meters do slow down with age, they nerver speed up. two months of high bill are not misreads, but could be estimated readings. from tens years of cust service work at an electric utility.


bobelectric 09-02-2012 09:21 AM

It would be cheaper to hire an electrician than to guess and keep paying $700 a month.

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