National Grid is ripping me off

I have always had a feeling that there is something drastically wrong with my meter because my KWH usage seems to be way above what other families with similar homes and lifestyles have. A couple of times I have asked National Grid to come out and take a look at the meter to be sure that it is working properly because my usage just seems really high compare to others.
Well this month really clinched it for me that something is definetly wrong. Last year's bill for the period Sept 11 - Oct 10 I had 840 KWH usage but this year I had 960 KWH - About a 15% increase. There is no way I used this much more than last year.
This both my kids are in school and my wife is back to work. That means that no one is using the TV, leaving lights on, cooking, or playing with the computer, or any toys during the day from 7:30 to 4:00 any more. 40% of our awake time in the house has been eliminated. Additionally because of the high cost of energy I have run around like a crazy man replacing all my standard bulbs with the CF bulbs all rated at about 1/4 the watts of the standard bulb. I know lighting is not that much of the bill, but it shoud save something by replacing $150 in bulbs. Also, I don't have electric heat, no AC was running during this time, no new appliances or any issues with current ones.
I called National Grid and I just got the run around. They tried to pretend like they make the only gadget in the world that does not break or act irratic. I told them that I demanded that they come out and look at the meter because my lifestyle change and the fact and all the energy savings that I have done should have reduced my bill significantly, not increase it, but they still will not.
What can I do to get these scumbags who are ripping me off out here to take a look at it and what I can I do to make sure they are doing it right?
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Keep in mind that often the billed KWH is based on an estimated amount. Often they skip a reading and base the bills on some sort of estimate, then make up the difference the next month. Weather differences etc. all make a difference.
If you are really concerned, I suggest you contact your local regulatory body or if the "National Grid" is a government supplier then contact your local political representative that controls them.
Frankly those meters are very good, but there can be problems.

--
Joseph Meehan

Dia \'s Muire duit
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Jordan,
Sifting the wheat from the chaff in your rant, I gather that you doubt the accuracy of the watt meter used by your electric company. Many electric companies will install a replacement, so ask them or maybe a local electrician about this. A bad meter is really unlikely though. The "kill a watt" meter is a consumer device for metering electricity in a single device. You plug each device in for a few days and eventually you'll see which devices are using a lot of electricity.
Dave M.
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,>
Northeast Utilities was just busted for giving customers the run around for checking meters. There should be a system in place where meters are checked within a reasonable time from a customer complaint. Do some searching around National Grid to find the right person to talk to. Escalate to a supervisor. If you get no response, does your newspaper or TV station have a consumer advocate?
As for using 15% more, I don't know your lifestyle or your appliances. Dryer vent clogged? Refrigerator gasket going? Freezer door left ajar? Outside light staying on during the day?
My use does not translate to anything you do, but the two of us used 735 kW during the past month and we have an electric dryer, freezer, two fridge.
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You need to do your own energy audit to calculate usage of apliances and everything. You could have a short somewhere also. A Kill-a-Watt meter and clamp on amp probe are needed. You want a meter that goes to .01a, a 35$ Greenlee works most stores only carry ones that go to . 1a . Start by using Cfls, unplug tvs etc when not in use.
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Jordan wrote:

Turn off your main breaker and check to see if the meter has really stopped. Turn it back on, then turn individual breakers off to see which circuit is spinning the meter fastest. Ammeter readings or Kill- a-Watt readings on each appliance will pinpoint the culprit(s). Tired older appliances and utility rate increases are causing a lot of consumer concerns these days. HTH
Joe
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Things to check: 1 Got a septic pump? Maybe its running too much, ground water running back into tank, or stuck in on postion, etc 2 Are you in a 1 family house? not a duplex or apt? 3 Leakage to ground from bad wire or some such thing? 4 Water pump? if so check its working properly 5 Check fridge and freezer door seals 6 Attic fan? is it running continuously? 7 Electric Water Heater? check elements and thermostat, make sure hot water isnt running down the drain somewhere Thats all I can think of at the moment. Others here have some good suggestions too Eric
Jordan wrote:

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A few years ago my electric bill one month was more than double what it should have been. My septic pump was stuck on (bad internal switch). I had a float switch installed and built a sensing system to tell me whenever the pump was running.
---MIKE---

>> (44 15' N - Elevation 1580')
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---MIKE--- wrote:

tell me more about your sensing system... Eric
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Eric wrote:

I live in N. Calfornia and my electric bill jumps up and down because I believe the company guesses the meter reading every second month. I may have a $15 bill one month and a $30 bill the next. It averages out ok.
RF
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I'd pay a hundred dollars to get a $15 electric bill. Honest, I'd still come out ahead.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Are you related to Al Gore?
--
Angry American flags attack Hillary Clinton!

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Jordan wrote:

...
While it is possible that there is something wrong with your meter, it is more likely that the meter is correct and somehow you are using more, maybe, for example, due to something wrong with one of your appliances. The difference that you mentioned between last year and this year could be caused by just two 75 light bulbs being left on (maybe in an attic or basement?). Something going wrong with your fridge (as another poster mentioned) could easily account for it.
Many utilities have programs to help customers figure out where the power is going. If you adopted a less hostile attitude, you could probably get their help in figuring out what is going on.
Look for things that have motors in them (fridge, A/C, pumps, fans, etc.) Look for things that are on 24/7: computers and related equipment, outdoor lights, etc. Look for things that run automatically on timers, photocells, thermostats, etc. And finally watch out for "power parasites": things that use power when "off" or "idle" such as chargers, TV satellite receivers, etc. The latter can use 1KwH per day when "off"!
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The more energy costs get out of hand, the more I keep an eye out for any abnormalities. Although I never timed how often the fridge kicks on or what light stays on the most, I know my habits have been extrodinarily different and I have not seen any behaviour in any electrical item that gives me any concern.
The biggest problem I have is that no one is home any longer during the day when last year the kids and wife were home all day wasting all sorts of electricity - TV, computer, toys, lights when not needed, etc. This year there is none of that. My bill is always an actual because in 2002 we got some of those new meters where they don't have to go up to them to read them. I believe they just drive down the street and get a radio signal or something.
What makes me very suspicious about the accuracy of the meter is that NG said that I should not be concerned because everyone's usage went up about that percent in my area. I said that is fine for them, but we are awake in the house 50% less than last year and we did all these improvements that they recommend on their site so it makes no sense that there would an increase. I think that is is very suspicious that despite all these improvements in equipment and habit my usage seemed to increase inline with others in my area.

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That would scare me too. How do they come up with that logic?
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Well one explication is that the old meters were under reporting your usage. That would not surprise me at all.
Frankly I would be far more surprised if the new ones were over reporting, but it is possible.
...

--
Joseph Meehan

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It seems to me that a general increase in costs would likely be weather related if not due to rate or other billing increases. Hotter in the summer, colder in the winter, more clouds requiring more lighting, etc.. It could even be due to change in work patterns, such as holidays. Actually, it is very difficult to assess savings or cost increases because the weather and usage patterns are so variable. That is one reason why so many people will give testimonials for products which really do nothing. Reading your own meter on a daily basis could give you some clues as to what your usage patterns are. Energy costs are getting really high but I do not think anyone would be billed for more than they actually used. Meters do go bad but it is pretty rare for them to read high and they are generally very accurate.
Don Young
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Why not try checking your own meter?
Put your house in a state where all of the loads are constant. Unplug or turn off refrigerator, freezer, furnace, air conditioner, and anything else that starts and stops. Turn on a bunch of constant loads (e.g. electric lighting). Then go around the house figuring out the total load in the house in watts.
With a clamp-on meter, measure the actual current drawn from the utility pole at some convenient and safe place (for example, the service entrance cap where the utility feed is splice to your wiring). You don't need to disconnect anything or remove any insulation to use a clamp-type ammeter. Measure the two black wires separately and add up the two numbers. Ignore the white/neutral wire. Now multiply the total by 120 V to convert from amps to watts.
This should match the number you got from adding up individual load wattages, within a few percent. If it doesn't, and the measured power is larger, you've got a load somewhere that you didn't count, or something is drawing more than its nameplate rated power. Make another round of the house looking for something you missed, or measure current of each of the active loads individually. That current is going somewhere.
Once you know what your actual load is, read your meter before and after a known amount of time. See if the amount of change in the meter agrees with the known load times the time. For example, if your total load is 2000 W, and you take measurments 2 hours apart, the total energy usage should read 4 kW-hr. This will tell you if the meter is reading correctly, at least at that particular load.
    Dave
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