Lost Electricity

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Most likely. I KNOW that my co-op's receptionist and general purpose customer answer-girl tells customers that they don't estimate. I KNOW equally well (because I'm friends with the meter department supervisor) that they do.
One other thing that you might want to do is find out the number of degree-days for that month and the previous month(s). Absent any major change in configuration (new major appliance, for example), electricity usage for a given customer tracks remarkably well with degree-days. This holds even for houses where the primary heat source isn't electricity. Not sure why but that is what the statistics show.
If the degree-days are much lower for the month in question then you can be pretty sure that you used more energy.
I'm still betting on estimated readings and the one in question being a "catch up".
John -- John De Armond See my website for my current email address http://www.neon-john.com http://www.johndearmond.com <-- best little blog on the net! Tellico Plains, Occupied TN Some people are only alive because it is illegal to kill.
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Neon John wrote:

I think you mean higher rather than lower. Degree days are measured as delta from a base temperature.

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CJT said (on or about) 01/19/2008 19:40:

You mean Heating Degree Days -- Cooling Degree Days are calculated in the reverse. Of course if Steve is cooling things in Iowa during December and January then there really is a warming problem. Of course all the hot-air from the political types in Nov-Dec could have created a need for cooling. But I digress....

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wrote:

Yep. The breaker won't trip unless the current exceeds the breaker's rated capacity. A continuous 1A leak won't even come close to tripping a 15A breaker, but costs you 1A * 120V * 24 hrs = almost 3 kwh per day.
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Many years ago my electric bill was about three times usual. Come to find out that my septic pump was running continuously because of a stuck switch. The pump is in an underground tank so it's running was not audible.
---MIKE---

>> (44 15' N - Elevation 1580')
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A 1 amp leak is unusual - and serious. That is 120 watts. If there is an actual 1 amp leak, most of that 120 watts of heat will probably be being generated in a small localized area - maybe carbonizing or burning up insulation somewhere.
A 1 amp leak through water will almost certainly cause some serious electrolytic corrosion.
If you find such an animal as a 1 amp leak, find where it is occurring, and repair it before you have a fire. I expect there to be damage and maybe smoke.
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Steve IA wrote:

Yes you can have wasted power, more so if the water is dirty*, but it seems to me if it was a significant short then there would have been a significant amount of heat generated at that connection. A 15A circuit can put out up to 1800 Watts before the circuit breaker trips. Even a 7 Watt bulb would have melted the snow and dried the connection.
*I recently had a sewer pump that had a dead short to ground. I measured about 0.25A or 30 Watts loss going into ground when the pump was on. (The PO disconnected the ground wire so the pump would continue to operate without blowing the breaker!)
If your cord was on GFCI then that should have tripped.
Kevin
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nope, a direct short would open the breaker. now they CAN sizzle and create heat without opening the breaker. I've seen that on our cord across the yard where the dogs opened the insulation.
s

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I suppose that it could be possible but in practice, a wet cord either doesn't conduct enough current to matter or it trips the breaker. Conducting significant current would result in heating that would melt the ice and dry the water, stopping the conduction.
John -- John De Armond See my website for my current email address http://www.neon-john.com http://www.johndearmond.com <-- best little blog on the net! Tellico Plains, Occupied TN The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources -Albert Einstein
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Steve IA wrote:

A direct short is what we electricians call a bolted fault. If a complete short were to exist the breaker should open. What brand of breaker are we talking about?
An extension cord connection exposed to wetting can use a lot of electricity without tripping the circuit breaker. Anything less then ten percent over current can continue for a very long time. -- Tom Horne
"This alternating current stuff is just a fad. It is much too dangerous for general use." Thomas Alva Edison
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HE SAID he talked to the company and HE SAID it wasn't an estimate.
s

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Per ransley:

There's also a practice known as "curb stoning". Reader wants to finish his route earlier.... sits down on a curbstone and makes up some numbers.
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Very common practice. So common that there is a regulation that requires a different meter reader than the regular one work the route at least once a year. (No, I don't know the regulation number. It's just what I've been told is the basis of that policy at all my client utilities.)
John -- John De Armond See my website for my current email address http://www.neon-john.com http://www.johndearmond.com <-- best little blog on the net! Tellico Plains, Occupied TN Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood. -Marie Curie
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This does NOT work unless all the loads are purely resistive and with a power factor of 1. Most non-resistive loads, and especially sneak loads aren't. That little sprinkler timer is a perfect example. Those typically have a very low power factor and draw twice as many VA as watts. Since you only pay for watts, you fool yourself by measuring volts and amps separately.
There ARE inexpensive clamp-on wattmeters that work nicely. I think that Sears sells one. I use this one and have found it to be quite accurate in comparison with my lab standard wattmeter. http://www.powermeterstore.com/p4457/mtp_3079k_clamp-on_power_meter.php
This instrument CAN be used for what you describe and in fact, is what I use mine for, mainly.
An example of how using a clamp-on meter can fool you, here are the measurements I just made from a similar timer:
Volts:     115 Amps:     0.012 VA:    1.4 Watts:    0.8 PF:    .57
Measuring amps and volts separately and multiplying produces volt-amps instead of watts. Using volt-amps instead of watts to compute usage would result in almost a 50% error.
The Kill-A-Watt is probably the least expensive tool with adequate accuracy there is for measuring actual consumption. It can be used to measure branch circuits and is what I used before I bought my clamp-on wattmeter.
The procedure involves a Jesus cord (male convenience plug on one end of the cord and alligator clips on the other.
Plug the KAW into an outlet or extension cord. Remove the breaker panel cover. Flip the breaker of the branch of interest off. Connect the black alligator clip of the Jesus cord to the breaker output screw. (optional) clip the white alligator clip to the neutral bus. Plug the Jesus cord into the KAW. The branch is now powered through the KAW and the KAW displays the vital info.
This does not work for 240 volt branches, of course. You'd need a 240 volt KAW or better, the clamp-on wattmeter.
John -- John De Armond See my website for my current email address http://www.neon-john.com http://www.johndearmond.com <-- best little blog on the net! Tellico Plains, Occupied TN The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources -Albert Einstein
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[ snip ]

Is such a beast ( a 240 V KAW) available yet? I've been eagerly waiting for one of them or a competitor....
Thanks
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wrote:

I've seen 'em on European web sites but I don't know if they'd work on 60hz or not. I generally just use my clamp-on wattmeter for 240 volt applications.
John -- John De Armond See my website for my current email address http://www.neon-john.com http://www.johndearmond.com <-- best little blog on the net! Tellico Plains, Occupied TN I didn't claw my way to the top of the food chain to eat vegetables!
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Neon John wrote: .

Thanks for the detailed instructions on this.
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Steve
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franz fripplfrappl wrote:

Also check that there were the same number of days in the billing cycle.
And consider the fact that furnace fans can be a big user of power (during the period when the power WAS on).
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CJT wrote:

1/3 hp (246 watts) furnace fan which only runs briefly due to the wood burner supplying most of our heat.
thanks for the input
Steve
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ransley posted for all of us...

Ok ransley the circuit overloads have overloaded your brain you putz.
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