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Old 01-17-2011, 07:44 PM   #1
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Possible Defective or Incorrect Electrical Meter?


I have a small condo unit down by the shore in a mid-rise type building. This unit only gets used about every other weekend in the spring/summer months and rarely gets used in the fall/winter months. I do occasionally got there in the winter to check on things but never use any large amount power. My spring/summer KWH usage is never only about 200KWH a month. Consequently, my fall/winter electric bills are very small, I only use no more than 90KWH per month. In December, the electric company read the meter and says I used 585KWH! I went down there today to make sure everything was off and the heat was turned down, the only things powered up were the refrigerator (brand new unit), a clock radio, and things like the range clock, microwave clock, etc.

I checked my meter today and I have already used 200KWH's within the last meter reading of Dec 30th. Heating comes from the building boiler that runs a fan across coils, so no electric resistance heating. And I turn off the electric water heater at the breaker when the unit is vacant (double checked that, the water is cold).

Couple of questions:

1.) What could be causing this obsessive current draw? Something I am blindly missing?

2.) The power company recently replaced all the meters in the building with "smart" meters back about 6 months ago. Could I have a defective meter and am I within my rights to have them replace it?

3.) The meter bank in the basement of the building, of aprox 40 meters, NONE are marked with the unit numbers except two. Mine is not marked but I found what I believe is my meter by looking for the number listed on my bill. I want to verify this this meter is actually my meter (Unit 502) and not actually the meter for another unit (such as Unit 504). I figure the easiest way to do this is pull the meter, if I loose power, it's mine. So who should I call? Power company or electrician? With them replacing all the meters at the same time, wondering if they got them mixed up!

On a side note, several other owners have suddenly received electric bills that don't seem correct. Prices will change, and unless you totally switch out all your appliances and electronics, you KWH usage isn't going to suddenly change year after year.

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Old 01-17-2011, 07:51 PM   #2
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Possible Defective or Incorrect Electrical Meter?


Shut off all power to appliances. Also if the Water heater is Electric, and it is not turned down to the lowest setting, or should be shut off at the breaker when not using the unit, it could be sucking juice. Turn off all the breakers to appliances, and such, and only leave the breaker on for the light to the Kitchen & Entry and check again. There is "The Energy Detective" units that can send info remotely via Internet connection that you can use to see what is happening energy wise while away.

My only guess is that the appliances, Water Heater, and Furnace are what is making the meter spin. See below and shut off the main.


Last edited by gregzoll; 01-17-2011 at 08:06 PM.
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Old 01-17-2011, 07:57 PM   #3
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Possible Defective or Incorrect Electrical Meter?


Is there not a main circuit breaker associated with each meter? If so, turn off the breaker you think(hopefully correctly) is for your condo and see if it cuts the power to your unit.
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Old 01-17-2011, 08:12 PM   #4
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Does the meter have a flashing light or vibrating reed or turning wheel or other device inside that suggests the number of amperes being drawn without waiting for the digits to advance?

You could use the "once is an accident twice is a coincidence three times is proof" method to identify your meter. Start by shutting everything off. Observe that the meter is not showing any usage. Return to your apartment and turn on a non-trivial load such as an electric stove burner. Check the meter for a noticeable current draw. Return to your apartment and turn off the load. Repeat a few times. If each time the meter is not registering when the load is turned off and is registering when the load is turned on, you can assume that the meter is yours.

If most of the residents are year-round then only a few meters should be registering nearly nothing so you won't have to try too many meters and repeat the above to find yours if the first one is not.

Hopefully someone else is not doing the same test for the same purpose at the same time. But after you identify your meter you can help someone else identify his.

2. Is the heat individual or common? Does the heating system use a heat pump? All heat pumps in areas except the mildest of winters have auxiliary resistance heating and a malfunction can cause the resistance heating to dominate.

If they bill the wrong meter to you they must cancel that charge even if they don't have the correct meter charge handy to bill you with.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 01-17-2011 at 09:36 PM.
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Old 01-17-2011, 09:36 PM   #5
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Possible Defective or Incorrect Electrical Meter?


Either that, or your old meter was "defective" ... the new ones corrected that deficiency! I've seen it both ways ....


Best advice I could give here is to shut off your main breaker, or if no main is present, shut off all your breakers. Then look at "your" meter, and see if it is moving or not.
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Old 01-17-2011, 10:19 PM   #6
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Possible Defective or Incorrect Electrical Meter?


Other than the above suggestions I only have this to add, those sure are smart meters! Smart for the utility company, that is.

Hope you find out whats going on there.
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Old 01-18-2011, 04:44 AM   #7
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Possible Defective or Incorrect Electrical Meter?


There were couple case I ran into is someone did the wiring in Condo they may hook up to wrong circuit or panel or cross connected one of few so by follow the suggest as other members in here suggest is turn off all breakers including the main breaker and see if the meter disc is actually stop if the meter still creeping then you have the right to call the POCO to have them recalberated the meter or replace it.

Some of the new meters are really acture but some are not so just watch the figures.

Make sure you hold on your old bills for your records to prove the POCO in case they want to " debate " with you.

Merci.
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Old 01-18-2011, 05:08 AM   #8
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Possible Defective or Incorrect Electrical Meter?


That's my problem, I don't even know if that's my correct meter. And if it isn't, which one is mine? There are about 50 meters in the meter room and none are marked except two. The new meter doesn't have the disc that spins (it's a LCD display) so turning off the power and looking for the one that's not spinning is not a option. There are main breakers located directly above the meters on the panel board for each unit and none of them are marked either.

The building is about 40 years old and my other thought is maybe the service cable between the main breaker in the meter room and my circuit breaker panel inside my unit may have been damaged and is leaking current to a ground? It's at least 50 feet in length running through the building. So turning everything off in the unit wouldn't necessarily stop the meter. I want to have the meter pulled to see if it's actually mine, just not sure who to call or af anyone is willing to do that.
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Old 01-18-2011, 07:30 AM   #9
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Possible Defective or Incorrect Electrical Meter?


While you are at it, make a note now of the meter reading of the meter you are currently billed with. Does it look like it started at zero when installed?

Look at the LCD displays of several meters. Is there any animation that suggests current usage. Using a flashlight can you see any moving mechanical parts inside? Againk check several meters in case no current is being used at some.

Do not let this go on for weeks. Arrange a meeting with a power company representative to have the meter pulled while you check your unit, if you cannot figure it out by yourself.

If it was six months ago when the new meters were installed, what do your past five electric bills look like?
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Old 01-18-2011, 09:11 AM   #10
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Possible Defective or Incorrect Electrical Meter?


Quote:
Originally Posted by MorganB View Post

The building is about 40 years old and my other thought is maybe the service cable between the main breaker in the meter room and my circuit breaker panel inside my unit may have been damaged and is leaking current to a ground? It's at least 50 feet in length running through the building. So turning everything off in the unit wouldn't necessarily stop the meter.
Electric isnt like water, it doesnt leak. Something has to consume it. If it was faulting to ground, the breaker would trip.

On the new smart meters around here, there is a portion of the LCD that shows flashing dots that match the rate of electric being consumed. If you turn on ALL your lights and appliances and go look at the 50 meters, one of them should be moving rapidly. Mine alternates between a couple displays, one of which is the current consumption rate in KWs. Make a note of these, then go back up and turn EVERYTHING off, then look at the ones you made note of and find the one that is showing zero to no usage.

SInce you are in a condo, it is purely possible that a shared wall between you and a neighbor has an outlet or series of outlets that are wired to your panel and your neighbor now has something large plugged into it, causing your bill to go up.

it is also possible that with the installation of the smart meters, POCO mixed up the SN on your meter with another unit in the building, in that you are now paying for someone elses electric and they are paying for yours.

(This could happen if the meter installer accidentally put the wrong meters in the wrong base.)
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Old 01-18-2011, 09:51 AM   #11
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Possible Defective or Incorrect Electrical Meter?


I think someone is there during the week

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