Who is responsible for electricity meter accuracy and the checking of such?
Our house electricity bills for July to October show around 14 units per
day. which seems like a lot considering the shop isn't much more but
with what I would have thought was a far higher daily usage.
On Tue, 05 May 2009 11:23:13 +0100, www.GymRatZ.co.uk wrote:
Assuming you have a separate meter for the house, step one, turn everything
off at the consumer unit, make sure the meter isn't recording any more.
This is easier if you have an old electromechanical meter, coz you see the
disk stop moving, otherwise you need to check a digital meter isn't
flashing with everything turned off.
Step two, energise individual circuits from the consumer unit one by one,
check to see which one gets the meter moving. If it's a ring main, you
might also want to switch everything on the ring main off, to make sure the
Chances are you will have something somewhere left on. My experience of
dealing with account queries a few years back was almost entirely the
customer leaving something on they'd forgotten about.
Having said all of that, if you think you have got a problem with the
meter, take it up with your energy supplier. You may need to be a bit
persistent, coz the energy supplier may not be the meter owner!
Meters can generally suffer from 2 problems: Creep failures (that is
where the meter reading creeps upward with no load attached), and
calibration failures (where the meter reading does not accurately
relate to the load presented to it).
Creep is easy to test. Turn everything off (the main breaker at the
consumer unit is the best way) and check the meter no longer advances.
Wait at least 1/2 hour.
Accuracy is much harder to test without specialised test equipment.
Meters are usually 1 or 2% accurate depending on what the supplier
orders from the meter manufacturer. You will find it very difficult to
check to anywhere near this level of accuracy at home. Even if it was
out by a relatively huge margin I think you'd find it hard to come up
with a test method to check it.
Unfortunately meter accuracy does fail occasionally in the field. It
is probably even more rare for failures to be detected. :-(
On Tue, 05 May 2009 11:23:13 +0100, www.GymRatZ.co.uk wrote:
Over 20 units/day here domestic but there is always some one home and
several PCs on, they take rather more power that I like to think about.
Is that usage significantly higher than normal? Or have you just noticed
because of the size of the lump of cash the power company want after the
price hikes. With a bit of shopping around, on a paperless, fixed direct
debit, domestic tariff you shouldn't be paying more than 10p/unit. Watch
the "no standing charge" tariffs, they can be rather expensive if you
don't always use all the required tier 1 units.
Others have suggested basic checks for "something left on". If you have an
electric heater you might be able to get a rough idea if your meter
calibration is out. By looking at its rating plate, reading the meter
before and after having it on for a period of hours (preferably with
nothing else on) and checking the meter increases by the right amount.
This is only likely to pick up a gross error though.
Shouldn't that be the other way round? If you're on a standing charge tariff
and use very few units in the charging period then you'll be paying the
full standing charge despite very little energy used.
On Tue, 05 May 2009 14:16:33 +0100, Mike Clarke wrote:
Erm, sometimes... with the figures from real tariffs I have in my spread
sheet ATM 3 units/day is cheaper overall on the standing charge tariff.
Above or below that is more expensive but the "no SC" tariff has a lower
Tier 2 rate than the SC one.
And you are forgetting Equipower. No standing charge at all and price per
unit between that of a cheap standing charge tariff and the tier 1 rate of
a "no standing charge one". B-) I shall have to add Equipower to my
It's just come up as the shop is around 20 units a day and I have 4 PC's
and accessories on full time, shop lights running at least 11 hours a
day, in the Winter months we have 2 big Myson fans blowing CH heated air
again a minimum of 11 hours a day. Kettle boiling every hour or 2.
Phones and monitors etc etc. I even do all my laundry in the shop and
usually have the dehumidifier running a fair part.
It's not the money aspect, just that the shop I'd have though would be
at least twice or more the usage of the home as no-ones there in the day.
Continuous use items at home are a pond pump (Laguna 12000) which I's
guess at around 135 to 140 watts.
Dishwasher around 2.5 times a week times a week max.
Evening lightng is 99% by CFL bulbs in 2 or 3 lamps.
No electric heating for water or space.
I'll have to investigate further. Something just doesn't add up to me.
Shop electricity is constant only difference between summer and winter
is the addition of CH pump and fans. everything else stays the same.
Hmmmmm. very odd, and more investigation needed.
The house meter is original I believe and around early 70's vintage or
If the meter's that old, just get your MPAN from your bill.
Call up your electricity distributor and using your MPAN get the name of
your meter operator. Ring your meter operator and tell them you meter is
making intermittent buzzing noises and you're concerned about it. They
will come and change the meter FOC. Don't bother getting into an
argument about its calibration - just tell them it's making funny noises
and act dumb.
Do you mean a random bzz-iiss-z-u-z-u-z noise with loads on or all
I thought all electromechanical meters made such noises.
Rumour was the new digital meters were to go "cha-ching!" every 100
I mean that all you need to do is play dumb with the meter operator and
say "there's buzzing noises". The person taking the call for the meter
operator will most likely not be technical. Therefore, all you need to
do is convince them that there is a problem with the meter. Their
response will be to arrange to change the meter out
as-a-matter-of-course if their records show that it's been in-situ for
some years. There's no need and no point in getting into a technical
discussion if a simple "it's making funny noises which it wasn't making
before" gets the desired result.
If you have good records for the old meter and you keep good records for
the new meter, then you will have a good argument to say the old meter
was out of calibration.
I like this solution.
Funny how they are all to hot to want to change meters if you don't
appear to be using electricity.
Our renovation project in Brixham is on a PAYG meter.
They changed it 18 months ago and insist on changing it again. All we're
paying is the standing charge as we've not been using virtually any
power for the last 2 years or more.
I may well try the intermittent buzzing line.
Thanks for all your advice and ideas.
On Tue, 05 May 2009 14:32:24 +0100, www.GymRatZ.co.uk wrote:
The REC has a legal responsibility to routinely change the meter every ten
years. The replacement can be a refurbished and recalibrated one rather a
swish modern electronic thing, so the presence of a black bakelite
spinning disc type doesn't mean it's "original".
Two of our meters have a little round white "Certified" labels, one of
which I notice is "8 96"... That one hasn't been changed since we moved in
in Jan '99 so is due, unless the rules vary between electronic and
Consider installing a parallel Building power meter (~$100) which
gives real time energy uses and cost. It also supplies daily total,
weekly totals and monthly totals. There is a wireless display unit
that goes indoors. You can walk around switcdh devices on and off and
what your consumption change. If the values are really out the consult
with your electricity supplier. I have a review of a building power
meter and a power point meter on my website under Energy Efficiency.
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