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#75988 03/23/07 05:23 PM
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 259
Joey D Offline OP
I have a customer that keeps getting very high bills. They are about 1100 sq ft and the bill runs about 260 per month.
I need to set up a recording meter I think as when I go there to look at it I get readings of 19/12 on each leg and between 5 and 6 on the neutral.
I think they leave everything in the house on except when I am there.
Can anyone recommend a low cost recording meter so I can calculate the bill out myself or have any better idea to solve this?

#75989 03/23/07 06:44 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,323
Likes: 7
A KWHr recorder is not cheap. I have one, and I think it was $7-900, when I bought it.

That said, from experience, utility meters (POCO's) are accurate! Here in NJ, the Board of Public Utilities (go figure), a Govt agency regulates the POCO's, and has stringent tolerances for metering & billing. You also could request the POCO to check the meter.

That said, it could boil down that the person complaining about the bill just that....complaining. BTW, have you had any rate increases (KWHr or others)


#75990 03/23/07 06:45 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,064
Your power company may be able to give provide you hourly data, for a fee of course. Some can provide you this going back a year or two. Some do, some may not.
Some may provide it for free, I am not familar with all of them out there, it may be worth a phone call.

About as cheap as it gets, if they give it to you for free, but don't count on it.

#75991 03/23/07 06:51 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 787
Check forstuck on heater strips in the air coditioner or heat pump. Is the defrost constantly running in the freezer? Did someone leave a unit heater plugged in and running in the basement?

Assuming $.20/KW-Hr and constant load 24-7 yields

(19+12(A))x120(V) x 24(Hr) x 30(Day) x .20($)
______________________________________________ = $535.68

Larry C

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,361
Likes: 1
Cat Servant
Check the water heater for an element that is leaking current to ground, through the water. That's good for $50 / month.

Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 259
Joey D Offline OP
The power company came out to check the meter but said it was fine. It's an old meter and I was surprised they didn't go with the new digital ones. They have gas water heater and forced hot air.
Normaly I would not bother with this type of call but it's a unit I wired last year and they have been complaining about the bills so I want to see for myself why it's high and have some data to back it up.
Thanks for the tips and help.

Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,213
"Keep getting high bills"- when did this start? On the January statement? Did they, by any chance, have a TON of christmas lights up this year? Something like that won't catch up until the following statement, and might lag behind a bit if they didn't take them down until the middle of January.

Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,213
I don't like this ultra-short edit period! I want to EDIT my post, not make a reply 5 minutes later...

Electricity here is seasonal, but averages about 6 cents a kwh. Each amp of continuous 120V works out to a little over $5/month. 15A space heater in a poorly insulated area? $80/month. It's funny- a typical CFL will literally pay for itself in a month.

Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 375
"I get readings of 19/12 on each leg"

30amps at 120volts, 24hours/day, and 30days/month works out to a $250 bill.

I think the bill is high for a house that size, but the amps you measure are high also.

I would suggest that you measure the actual amps on each circuit, determine which circuit is causing the problem, and fix that circuit.

Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,213
In normal use, I get 3 and 4 amps at my house, and I can run the entire place (all lights, computers, clocks, refrigerators, TVs- everything we use normally) on a 3kW generator that's so underloaded we have to turn on every light in the house to get my computer UPS to quit whining about a 125V overvoltage. I'd imagine this is typical of most homes. I can even run my heat pump off it if I'm careful to turn everything else off.

But I have electric heat, hot water, cooking and everything else so it spikes, and most of my energy cost is related to this.

Did you meter invidual branches and see where the current draw was coming from? I agree, that's the next obvious course of action.

Last edited by SteveFehr; 03/25/07 11:05 AM.
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