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Analog Electric Meter Issues

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  • Analog Electric Meter Issues

    Hi. I live in a Trailer park in a fully insulated Keystone Montana fifth wheel. At one point, my kid and four others lived in it...bill never got over $65 running 60" tv, fireplace, appliances ect. Fridge, heater and water heater run on propane. I moved into a new trailer park last December after having to take over the Montana payments. Mind you...I had gutted it and had the fireplace only. No appliances. Nothing else. My first bill? $240. I went to the landlord and told her something was wrong. She became immediately hostile, "Well OBVIOUSLY you're using SOMETHING that takes that much electric...". I backed down because I had no proof and couldn't afford to move. I stopped paying my electric three months ago because something is WRONG. When I called the last electrician he said, "sounds like corruption...and I'm really busy, I couldn't take it on anyway....but you'll have a hard time finding help with all that...I have a business and I just can't get involved".

    The old couple next to me lost everything a year ago. She was put on oxygen around October of last year. By November they were told about the CARE program. They signed up. They saw some change by March of this year. She said to me, "you know, I just got to wondering what our bill was last year at this time when we didn't have CARE you KNOW the bill is JUST THE SAME THIS YEAR AS IT WAS LAST YEAR? how is that possible?" They've had to change out their 50 amp cord THREE TIMES because it melted. NOT normal.

    When I questioned the landlord again about my electric she said... "I'm letting you know what you're up against...I'm going to contact my offsite...which I already have...about your issues with your electric and I will let them know everything that has gone on here and.. if you want to continue causing a problem there are others ways we'll conduct this". She then added she would call her electrician out to look at it....On Dec 10 I got a knock on the door. The guy said he was here to look at my meter, said his name was bill, I said, "Hi bill, do you have a business card?". He threw up his hand in disgust saying, "That's it, I'm OUT!"...and before I realized it, he was at his truck. The shock wore off long enough to take a picture of him backing what looked like a plain white van....neighbor blew up the license plate then said, "I read that license numbers that start with '3' are State...." Of course, the license plate started with a 3.

    There are wires that come out of the ground behind my trailer...they test dead/no current. The seal was removed and there was no lock on my meter (the glass of the old analog thing spun in circles), Now it's been "tested" allegedly (in a 2 hour span of time) and suddenly had a lock, seal and they said it tested fine. Of course, I was at work after I expressly asked to be present. I used my no contact reader, shut off the meter at the meter yesterday and placed the tip to the side of the glass and it read there was live current???

    I have no access to the master meter but I DO know we have no way of knowing WHO is paying for common use areas....and ever since our nice little conversation last week....the motel and RV sign out front has been on...DAY AND NIGHT...and then it hit was on after I moved in hadn't been on the entire year and when I questioned the landlord about five months ago (why it wasn't on anymore because I used it as a guide to know where to pull in at night) she said, "well, we have no vacancies so I just keep it off when we're full"....except we're full now too.....

    She expressly told me I had no authority to hire a third party electrician to check the meter....then in the same conversation said when I called one, I was to notify her of the time he would come out....

    I'm at my witts end here. I need a way to figure out HOW she's doing it, not IF she's doing it. I can already smell the crap a mile away.
    Last edited by doneplaying; 12-21-2019, 04:26 PM. Reason: I added that the things that took propane. Also...I shut off the main power supply switch directly above the 50 amp plug ON the meter before I used the no contact probe.

  • #2
    I'm NOT an electrician, but your story clearly says that something is wrong there. Is it your trailer or the lot owner's? If it's your's, then I don't see any legal reason why the lot owner needs to be informed unless you're asking the electrician to look at anything external to your home. You could also check with your electrical company and, at least here in NY State, they don't need to do anything but offer any courtesy to the lot owner when they check the electrical lines. Here, the electric meter and the power lines are strictly the domain of NYSEG and it is we, the property owners, who must work with their regulations.

    While I've never lived in a trailer park, I have had friends who did, but I never recall having any of them with such problems. However, when I moved out to a "factory" town a few decades ago, we moved into a company-owned duplex. Our electric bill wasn't much different, but I had a couple of neighbors (all new employee's) who were complaining about their "much higher" electrical bills. One fellow had a pretty good electrical background and he climbed up into the attic one day and discovered that the adjacent apartment had several of it's circuits tapped into his side... apparently done by some past employee. He checked the duplex of the other employee who had complained and found a similar situation and reported both to the company. In that case, the fellow in the adjacent apartment of the other employee's duplex, had lived there for some time, worked as an electrician in the company maintenance dept. He was "interviewed" and ended up 'resigning'! (The company rarely brought charges against employees, they just resigned!)

    The only other avenue to explore that I can imagine would be through your municipality, but you should probably have an attorney. Surely you don't want to find that any of the town officials are related to your landlord, or that she isn't "in" with them financially. You most definitely need to protect yourself from being labeled a "trouble-maker" and finding yourself suddenly expelled from the lot. Here in NY, we have a lot of protections against landlords, but that may not be the case where you live.

    Last edited by CWSmith; 12-22-2019, 12:30 PM.


    • #3
      Unplug you 50 amp cord and take a meter reading. Wait 4-5 hours, take new reading. It should not have changed.


      • #4
        IF the trailer is yours, as in you own it not rent it. Then I don't see why you can't do whatever you want with the assistance of an electrician in your trailer or any part thereof. Meaning the cord that connects your trailer to the grid is part of your trailer and therefor yours.

        I don't know what the actual setup is but I would hazard a guess that the meter is mounted on a pole right at your lot and immediately after that is a receptacle where you plug your trailer in. If there is more than that one cable to your trailer connection then I would assume that power goes elsewhere too. If the meter is remote to your lot then it gets a little tougher to determine if there are additional circuits fed off your meter. It also makes it easier for someone to do this without your knowledge.

        Did you try taking a reading on your meter, note the time, and unplug your trailer so there is no way a sneak circuit could be drawing any power. Then after 15 minutes take another meter reading, they should be exactly the same. If not then power if being fed to somewhere else. If that's the case talk to a lawyer and find out how to proceed. If it's a small town contact someone from 15 or 20 miles away, and before you tell them why you're calling find out indirectly if they know the owner of the trailer park or have ever represented them. Might sound overly cautious but in small town rural America you don't know who knows or is related to who. So as CWS said know who you are dealing with. Other option is contact the State Attorney Generals Office, Consumer Protection or Consumer Affairs. They go by different but similar names in each state. Or contact the utility and tell them what's up. If there is a cable that exits the meter that doesn't go to the receptacle that you plug the trailer into tell them. If you could post a photo of the meter and trailer connection we might be able to help further.
        Last edited by Bob D.; 12-22-2019, 01:14 PM.
        "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006



        • #5
          Something I just thought of, but you could also have a defective meter! When we bought our first house the electric bill was almost nothing and being that this was my first house and first ever electric billings, what the heck did I know. But when winter came, while the gas bill rose considerably, the electric bill remained virtually the same. I told my Dad about that and he said to call NYSEG immediately, because I certainly didn't want them to "discover" it on their own. Sure enough, a guy came over and the meter was malfunctioning. They replaced it immediately and thanked me for my phone call. I imagine if it had gone too long and they discovered it on their own, they would have wanted to charge me for those previous months! In this case all I got was a thanks.... the next month's bill was more than double, but considering my old "octopus" furnace with the gas conversion burner and montruous fan, it was reasonable.

          So, go through the process as the other members have described and hopefully you'll get this problem resolved in a reasonable time; hopefully, without discovering your landlord is a crook!

          Last edited by CWSmith; 12-22-2019, 07:39 PM.


          • #6
            Just as an addition to what CWS said above depending on your electrical provider, you may have to pay a fee for a meter check. Our utility will refund the charge for a meter dispute check if they find the meter is defective and credit you (by law) the excess on last 3 months billings.


            • #7
              Buy a portable power meter on Amazon or elsewhere. These meters use a CT (Current Transformer) to tap into the main power feed. Some of them come with an app for a smartphone or access to the an internet site with all the usage. This will tell you you how many KW's you are using. Just make sure it is installed between the meter and your trailer. Compare it to the meter reading and if its way off then call the power company and report it.


              • #8
                Originally posted by rjniles View Post
                Unplug you 50 amp cord and take a meter reading. Wait 4-5 hours, take new reading. It should not have changed.
                That is right.


                • #9
                  I was looking at the new posts and here is a post about METERS!! meters are my daily job and a hobby. I work for a utility and im the person who tests, repairs and replaces meters for our utility. I take Alot of pride in the work i do, been in the department for over 15 years. when i go home at night i have a house FULL of meters, water, electric and panel. thankfully my wife is tolerant of them all over the house.

                  so the guys have been giving good advice, i echo alot of it.

                  I did not see anyone mention this, but take a reading at the same time each day. then subtract todays reading from yesterdays to determine your daily kWh usage.
                  this will also help you to compare the reading that the park says they got on whatever day they read it, you might want to take a photo of the face of the meter each day for addl record keeping CYA.

                  the other thing i would do, and have already done at my home is install a utility grade verification meter in your 50amp cable. yes the parts will cost some money but i think it is worth it.

                  home depot/lowes sells a 100amp meter can for 40$

                  an Iron C1S digital utility grade watthour meter from for 25$ they also sell to trailer parks.

                  one thing about their meters is they guarantee the meters are accurate for atleast a year which can give you piece of mind.

                  you will need other fittings for the meter can, depending on your cable type, an electrician or possibly a home depot electrical dept worker can help you
                  find the fittings you will need to match your cable. you can put the meter can in line with your power cable

                  for 120/240v the top 2 lugs of the meter are incoming power from your trailer park, and the bottom 2 lugs go to your mobile home. the ground/neutral wire runs thru the lugs in the center of the meter can and will not connect to the meter.

                  hialeah sells a meter can cheaper than home depot, and it will require less hardware to work

                  also, can you post a picture of the face of the meter here, i want to look over the plate numbers to see if i notice anything that stands out.

                  HEY! What does this button do?