Get a clue, 100-amp is *NOT* the smallest installable utility
It is for houses and buildings but it is not the smallest size of
Traffic signal boxes generally have a 30-amp service and there are
mounted equipment cabinets for cable companies that also have small
services in the way of 30-amp/40-amp single phase...
**You need to put 3 clamp on meters on the wires and monitor them
continuously over the desired period of time, which still won't be accurate
because they won't give you the peak demand. If you have some reason to
believe that the utility company equipment is faulty, you can request that
the utility company hang a testing meter to verify the accuracy
They make clamp on amp meters that graph usage over time. I have no
idea how much they cost to buy or rent.
We took amp measurements on a parallel run of 3-500. I was amazed
that supposedly equal lengths of copper varied as much as 25 amps on
the same phase.
There is no special math, but I'd wonder just how accurate your number is
going to be. Don't for get about seasonal changes too, more lighting in
winter, AC in summer, etc. At work, I take readings on some of our
utilities daily, others, monthly, and can spot a trend when correlated with
material used on a given day, etc. This will often tip you off as to
problem areas and waste when you see aberrations from the norm.
Have you talked to the utility company? Some will do the work for you and
put a recording meter on the line for a week or two to get you want you
want. Your approach, of course, is in the interest of energy conservation.
They are big on selling you less these days.
Reading the meter on a daily basis would be a help to determine trends also.
Perhaps they will allow a window to the meter so you can take readings.
Yes, I have contacted the "front-line" customer service people and
expect to hear more from someone more technical or in more authority (or
at least someone more "male") next week.
Our last bill was for 5,160 kwh, with a billing period from april 5 to
The previous month (March 5 - April 4) was 1915 kwh.
Infact, looking at the last 12 bills I see some very suspicious things:
1582.17 Feb (meter changed end of Feb)
1998.53 Jan 2011
3247.61 Jan 2010
2331.62 Dec 2009
Our meter is always read on the first business day of each month. The
meter was changed at the end of February. The old meter was electronic
(it had a digital LCD readout). The new meter *I believe* is different
in that it can do time-of-use measuring and it can do RF (wireless) data
transmission. Time-of-use billing is not yet being performed in our
area, and at least for our new meter a person is still coming around to
I note that I see 1915.26 show up suspiciously 4 times during the past
year (what are the odds that we'd use the exact same amount of
electricity for any 2 months, let alone 4?).
It was the large jump from 1915 to 5162 that tweaked me on this and I
had an assistant enter all previous numbers from other bills in a
spreadsheet. The large spike back in Feb 2010 to almost exactly the
same number of 5162 is also suspicious.
I would have expected our electricity use to decline from March to April
given a reduced furnace on-time in April vs March.
I have no idea what remedy or proceedure my utility company follows in
disputes of this nature. I have the vague idea that they circle the
wagons and defend their meters to the last drop of their blood, and that
the laws or service contracts may favor them and not the customer. We
You are correct in being suspicious. My findings from tracking electric,
July and August are the highest, January is second highest. There will be a
curve on the months between. Winter is high because of running heat and more
lighting, then it comes down as you approach spring, then goes up again as
the AC use kicks in. Then in September, it comes down then back up for
I can understand with the old meter that you'd possibly get 4 identical
readings if the meter was not read and the bill was estimated. Actual
readings, I'd say "no way" you'd have that situation at that use. We do have
one tenant that uses very little electric and the meter was originally
installed for some machines. It has a multiplier Most bills are the same,
in increments of $18. A few a year are $36. Another has bills in the $400
to $800 range and follows the curves a I outlined.
A couple of possibilities I can think of. The meter is incorrect. (yes, it
really does happen) A tenant is carelessly leaving on a space heater. a
tenant is running both heat and AC out of stupidity, not a maintenance
problem. You have some other pump or device that is running all the time.
Good luck and please keep us posted on what happens.
The main disconnect switch before the meter is name-plate rated at 400
amps. It doesn't mean we're going to ever draw that much.
I know exactly what equipment is in the building - I work there.
I talk to them every day.
Another example of a usenet post that starts with a question, and
devolves into "why are you asking?".
I have to waste more time explaining why I want to do something or why I
want certain information about measurement techniques, and instead I get
a bunch of arm-chair blow-hardts that think they know better.
Poor you and that incredible amount of time you wasted reading three
posts after you clearly described you already know and presented
everything anyone needs to know and everyone didn't catch on that no
questions are allowed and no opinions are wanted..
No. Poor usenet.
Poor every future poster to any newsgroup that asks a simple technical
question and gets told by the peanut gallery that it's important to know
all the ancilliary circumstances surrounding the question when in
reality in the end those circumstances have no bearing on the question
or it's answer.
It is a poor craftsman that blames the tools...
Ask a question based in this reality (rather than your fantasy which
is filled with gaps in your practical knowledge that someone could
drive a box truck through) and you can get an answer...
Ask a fishy question that doesn't sound right to people who *do*
know, and they will want to know more about the situation before
they chime in with their opinion...
You very poorly defined your "issue" to begin with and then you
focused on techno-babble and ill-advised methods to attempt
to monitor your power usage... When there are devices that
are purpose made and could be bought and installed in any
panel whose power consumption you wish to monitor...
Not at all. If you walked into a room and presented your "novel" ideas
to folks who have a clue and understand what could be done and why your
ideas make very little practical sense they would respond in the same
fashion asking "why" in order to discover if there was something you
didn't convey or to offer a better idea.
I'd agree with you if you were right, but in all likelihood, you are not.
I've been hanging around USENET for about 15+ years now. I've seen too many
question asked, answered, and later find that the real answer is something
far different because important facts were left out.
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