Electric Supply Meters - Failure

  johndrew 14:06 06 Apr 2007

A near neighbour, also a pensioner, recently had his quarterly electric meter reading and it was some ten times greater than usual.

His usual quarterly consumption is around 1000 units - he has bills for the past few years which support this. For some reason his meter shows an increase of 11000 units since the last reading. Effectively it has jumped from a cumulative figure of some 29000 to 39000 units. Both figures were taken by meter readers and the latter has been confirmed as accurate.

The meter is of the conventional type with a number of dials each indicating a level of unit consumption.

Has anyone any information on meters `jumping` or failing in any way that would cause such an anomaly as this?

  Totally-braindead 14:23 06 Apr 2007

I don't suppose hes converted his entire house to growing marijuana has he as someone in my town was caught doing last month?

If not then can I ask what the electric company is saying? Clearly if the amount he uses has gone up tenfold so suddenly something is wrong. Either the meter has become faulty or someone has been stealing his electricity.
I trust they have admitted something is wrong and are investigating?

  Phphred 14:26 06 Apr 2007

One that I heard about: someone put a 1Kw fire in the attic to stop the tank freezing and forgot about it. Anything like that happened do you think. They do usually change the meters about every twenty years so that they can be re-calibrated. I should tell him to get in touch with "Age Concern"

  Forum Editor 14:33 06 Apr 2007

will have records showing average consumption, and they'll know that something's not right. People don't suddenly change their consumption rate in three months,especially by such a huge percentage so something else is to blame.

Does this man live in a flat?

  jack 14:34 06 Apr 2007

Misread by the reader?- can he get the actual reading verified by an independent person.
In the first instance the supplier will always assert they never make mistakes.
It may be a data processing error at the bill preparation company- yes they too can be separate firm like meter readers- all will deny error their end.
As for failure - probably - they are after all of this type mechanical.
Theft- not impossible - depends on his home layout and if his beyond meter supply is accessible
Certainly he may need some form of professional back up Age Concern or CAB

  johndrew 14:40 06 Apr 2007

Thanks for coming back people.

My neighbour is not into any type of horticulture and the loft is a place he seldom visits. When you get to his age the thought of climbing stairs is enough without considering moving a ladder!! Anyway, to consume two and a half years worth of electricity in a single quarter would require the house to be visible from space!!!

To my knowledge the supplier is, as would be expected, not particularly helpful and certainly have not admitted and liability. The meter is about seven years old and generally have a life of some 20 years - not that this precludes normal statistical failure risks.

I have suggested Citizens Advice Bureau but he is simply carrying out weekly readings in an attempt to prove his point. When I pointed out that the company may take no notice of these he seemed a little upset but not totally deterred. I shall try again but was hoping that someone would have come across meter failure in this type of mode.

  johndrew 14:43 06 Apr 2007

Sorry forgot these:

`Does this man live in a flat?` - No, a smallish bungalow.

`Misread by the reader?` - the reading has been confirmed as true (not by me).

  Woolwell 14:48 06 Apr 2007

The meters are the responsibility of the power distribution company and not the company who you pay the bill to. It could well be worthwhile contacting the power distribution company.

  Blackhat 15:51 06 Apr 2007

I had a similar experience a few years ago.

Please contact your meter provider and arange a load test.

This will show up any unusual loading within the property and verify the reading accuracy of the meter.

  spuds 17:22 06 Apr 2007

Mistakes can be made by meter readers, and I have proof of this, due to events over the past 2 weeks. Our recent bill was 38% higher than expected taken from meter readings. Took this up with the electricity company, and it would appear as though the meter reading company had not done its job right. Received an amended bill and an apology from the electricity company, who also informed us that an apology from the meter reader company was heading our way.

I would definitely suggest that the gentleman in question contacts the CAB and/or Age Concern for help and advice. Trying to prove non use of electricity to a electricity company, if you do not have concrete evidence can be very upsetting and costly, more so if you are getting older and think in terms of 'paying my way in life'.

  oresome 18:46 06 Apr 2007

How often is the meter read?

They're seldom read every quarter and around once every two years is about normal for me. The rest of the time, the consumption is estimated.

If they've under estimated for a couple of years you could be in for a nasty shock

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