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  • Home electric meter

    I am not an electrician but would appreciate some information or point me to where I can learn about the new digital electric meters that measure KW useage in the home. I am in Texas and just last month TXU installed a digital meter and my useage went up by 1500kw. My bill increased by 150.00 over the month before. THe house is the same and the thermostat was kept the same. I talked to my two neighbors and theirs did the same.
    My question is: Is there a meter of some kind that is accurate that I can get connected to the line that is not too expensive that will also measure the kw useage. I had the old style meter on before. I have never had this high a reading even in the summer with air cond. on. I have a 16 seer heat pump and I keep the house at 62 at night and 68 or 69 in the day time. I live in my home with a daughter who works all day. The stove and microwave are used once or twice a day and the washing is done only on sat. I do not understand the jump except that the digital meters are setup to read at certain hours and then project useage.
    Thanks for any help.
    James

  • #2
    Re: Home electric meter

    The new digital meters not only monitor kilowatt hours but also measure demand. That's where they get you. When demand peaks the cost per kilowatt hour goes up and you pay more based on demand. You can install a submeter such as this:

    http://www.powermeterstore.com/p4154/cent-a-meter.php

    It will monitor your energy usage and there is software available so you can interface with your home computer and possibly change your energy use patterns. You can find out from your utility company when peak demand times are and try to use high demand appliances such as dishwashers, washers and dryers when the utility company demands are lower. The submeter should be installed by a qualified electrician because installation neccessitates removal of your load center cover exposing the installer to high voltage (240V). The submeter sells for around $150 and should take a qualified electrician about an hour to install. Hope this helps.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Home electric meter

      He said that not only did his BILL go up, but his KWH went up also. That certainly raises the question of did his usage REALLY go up, or was the old meter reading low, or is the new meter reading high! Good luck trying to challenge the electric company on that, but I would ask the question and see what they say.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Home electric meter

        I question why the current analog meters are never calibrated. How do you know you are using that 750KW every month or some amount more or less? I have never ahd a meter replaced with a newer, calibrated one. The meter on the house where I am now has been there since the house was built over 20 years ago. I'd bet none of you have had your meter replaced unless you asked for it or got upgraded to a newer didital meter.

        All about meters:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electri...hanical_meters
        ---------------
        Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
        ---------------
        “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
        ---------
        "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
        ---------
        sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Home electric meter

          It is a possibility that the meter before was estimated, and the one now is read remotely, until they came by they may have been working off an estimating of past use.
          some times even the payed reader estimates instead of reading it, if there behind, (or I have read stories to that effect), this is jsut a possibility,
          if you have consistently higher readings over a few months then count your blessings as you apparently had saved much over the years with a previously faulty meter. (the other possibility is if some one had tampered with the old meter in the past),

          but there are small meters that one can buy and see what appliances are using and there are also "clamp on units" that one could have (if you can find a electrician that has one, or may be the power company would test it), to put on and test for a day or week or so, to compare the meter reading to the second unit,

          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

          our power company would pull and put in a diffrnet meter every few years and test them for accuracy, on both the meter types
          Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
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          "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
          attributed to Samuel Johnson
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          • #6
            Re: Home electric meter

            Originally posted by Bob D. View Post
            I'd bet none of you have had your meter replaced unless you asked for it or got upgraded to a newer didital meter.
            Wouldn't want to bet on that, would you?
            Utilities replace meters all the time. My utilitiy is replacing my digital meter, for one that can be read remotely.

            My MIL had her analog meter replaced last year by a digital.
            Neither of us asked to have our meters replaced.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Home electric meter

              Thank all of you for your input. My meter that they took was the one installed on the house when I moved in in 1974. I talked(or tried) to talk to TXU but they all said there is nothing wrong with the meter They have been tested and they are good.
              I talked to maint and asked for someone to come out and they said they will try to get someone out within the next three weeks. My feeling is that these meters are programmed to work on the high side and they use any use in the peak period to inflate your useage. We in Texas pay more for elec. than anywhere else from articles I have seen. I will look into the meter and finding about the peak times. As TXU has told others who complained (Just pay the bill or we will cut off service)

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Home electric meter

                Originally posted by harrison2119 View Post
                Thank all of you for your input. My meter that they took was the one installed on the house when I moved in in 1974. I talked(or tried) to talk to TXU but they all said there is nothing wrong with the meter They have been tested and they are good.
                I talked to maint and asked for someone to come out and they said they will try to get someone out within the next three weeks. My feeling is that these meters are programmed to work on the high side and they use any use in the peak period to inflate your useage. We in Texas pay more for elec. than anywhere else from articles I have seen. I will look into the meter and finding about the peak times. As TXU has told others who complained (Just pay the bill or we will cut off service)
                Our rates have been going down a lot around here. Over the summer we were at $.26/kWh and are like $.15/kWh now.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Home electric meter

                  Originally posted by BHD View Post
                  It is a possibility that the meter before was estimated, and the one now is read remotely, until they came by they may have been working off an estimating of past use.

                  I would agree with this possibility. Happened a lot here before digital meters were installed. Many people I know got the same bill all the time. You could run every single A/C run the hot water all day and leave every liight on or you could shut down the entire house for a month, bill would be the same.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Home electric meter

                    I was rechecking the useage charts on the bills and due to not to good eyesight I had not read the bills correctly.
                    Up until the December reading the highest I had was about 1750 kw and this month it actually was recorded as 2426. Even in the dog days of summer with heat going over 100 I never had a bill this high.The previous months bill was 970kw.
                    I am going to order the meter just above the one suggested because it interfaces to the usb port and the software collects the data and creats charts.
                    Thanks again for all the help.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Home electric meter

                      While more for commercial users in my area anyone with 200 Amp or heavier residential service ends up with a Peak Demand meter. If on just one day you have a really heavy draw then they base several months on that. Put simple if you place a heavy load on the line for even just a few minutes they run your rates sky high. The electric company claims that they have to be ready for the same load again.

                      Try to think like this: You normally put out 100 pounds of trash per day and it's collected twice a week. Then suddenly you put out 750 pounds for just one collection. Now they bill you for 750 per collection where in the past it was at 350 per collection.

                      Remember that the peak reading meters may be set for 5 minute cycles or even shorter times. It's the maximum load for that period when may be just one or two seconds when a large motor started up and you also had other loads on.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Home electric meter

                        If your stated usage stays up for a few months then I would try to find an electrician that can take load readings and also that can (in your house) install a calibrated Kilo Watt Hour meter.

                        Check for any new loads you have added. Lets say you have a 1,500 Watt heater in your garage and somehow it was set to max temp so it ran non stop for 30 days. (Rare for sure but such has happened before) It would use up 1,080 KW Hr in 30 days. You may have an appliance that needs repair.

                        Example: A self defrosting refrigerator-freezer with a stuck timer so the heaters stay on. The compressor and fan would have to keep running too. Could there be attic lights that got left on and some other loads?
                        Last edited by Woussko; 01-22-2009, 10:55 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Home electric meter

                          Originally posted by jbfan View Post
                          Wouldn't want to bet on that, would you?
                          Utilities replace meters all the time. My utilitiy is replacing my digital meter, for one that can be read remotely.

                          My MIL had her analog meter replaced last year by a digital.
                          Neither of us asked to have our meters replaced.

                          as I said:

                          "or got upgraded to a newer digital meter."
                          ---------------
                          Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
                          ---------------
                          “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
                          ---------
                          "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
                          ---------
                          sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Home electric meter

                            I live near you James and experienced the same thing. Meter was replaced with a digital one last month. Electric bill jumped over $200 from the previous month and over $100 from the hottest summer months. Got the runaround from my electric company (Stream Energy). The rep on the phone did say they were getting alot of calls recently about high bills because Dec was much colder than Nov (more likely because the new meter reads diffently). I'll be watching the bills/usage closely but ultimately it seems our hands are tied - short of installing a windmill there's only one electric line running to my house.

                            Michael

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Home electric meter

                              For those of you that do have new digital meters, do they display load? Accumulated KW Hr. used? Some I have seen require the meter reader to enter in codes so he/she can read what's stored in the meter. Others flash up the basics as you stand there and look. This is at all times.

                              You might get ready and then open up your main breaker or safety switch disconnect. With it open the meter should show 0.0 use and no changes to the used KW Hr. If you can leave it open for an hour or two while checking the meter a few times.

                              Next would be to have all breakers off but for one. Plug in a portable heater where you know the load based on name plate. Most good ones have a draw of about 1500 Watts or 1.5 KW. Check it to be sure. Let it run for 2 hours times and have nothing else powered. The meter should then show you have used 3.0 KW Hr. during the test. If it's off by much, then you do have reason to get a bit forceful with your electric company. If you can, have a licensed electrician help with and witness all tests.

                              For crude tests I would allow about a plus/minus 20% unless you have access to calibrated meters to measure load. What would be great but also costly would be to connect up a generator load bank to your electric system so you could apply a very close (+ / - 1%) 10,000 Watt load between L1 and L2. Such needs an electrician to do this for you, but now you would have solid proof your new meter is messed up or maybe it's fine. A 4 or 5 hour test would be great for this.

                              Please only think about the above testing if you are very sure things are not right. This won't come cheap. If you contact your state weights and measures and give them the serial number of your electric meter, they should be able to find any calibration certificates for it. Most likely they are on file with your electric company as well.

                              For now I would try the simple heater test and if you know an electrician, have him/her assist you. Most will have a good clamp-on Ammeter and some may have a good Watt meter too.
                              Last edited by Woussko; 01-23-2009, 11:51 AM.

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