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#48893 02/22/05 07:30 PM
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 4
Junior Member
I'm sure glad I found this discussion board.

Is it possible for a hydro meter to run too fast?

Our home seems to use an excessive amount every month even though we try and conserve as much as possible. (3250 kWh in Jan)

Someone told me once that an unbalanced panel could cause this. What the heck is that anyway?

We have a transformer on the pole out front that hums a bit and there is a ground rod laying on the ground beside the pole. Could this have something to do with it?

Thanks in advance.

#48894 02/22/05 09:05 PM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,443
Likes: 3
This sounds a little strange.
I'd get the PoCo in on the act as soon as possible, as the meter could be faulty.
However, is there a chance that you could have a heater with a jammed thermostat.
Your profile doesn't state wether you are an Electrician or not, but if you aren't, I'd be getting a Licenced Electrician in to check your system out. [Linked Image]

#48895 02/22/05 10:51 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,445
Likes: 3
Cat Servant
Have your water heater...assuming it's electric, of course....checked. A faulty element can continuously "leak" current to the tune of $50/month. Seeems it's usually the lower element that does this.

#48896 02/22/05 10:56 PM
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 697
Maybe heat tape in the crawl space to keep pipes from freezing?


#48897 02/23/05 09:38 PM
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 4
Junior Member

No, I'm not an electrician nor would I attempt any repairs myself. I have too much respect for electricity to attempt that.


Thanks for that suggestion too. I'm starting to think that could be the problem. The tank is a rental. I'll check on their repair and charge policy for suspected faults with the equiupment.

#48898 12/23/05 05:05 AM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 869
Likes: 4
Hello, I have worked in on site meter testing for 10 years after queries were raised re high powerbills.

Most common problems were:

1. Misreading of the meter, especially the clockdial meters get misread quite often especially when near the 9 and 0.

2. Faulty hotwater cylinder thermostat or valve leaking and water straight out of the overflow pipe.

3. No access to meter, guessed readings by meter reader and perhaps a correct reading was obtained and a catch up in true usage because of underestimated readings.

4. Meter accuracy is in general very good and most meters are well within class 2 and often within 1% accuracy and not the cause the problem. The 5 or so fast meters I struck like 200% fast were:
One electromechanical meter where the brake magnet failed after a lightning strike nearby. Also there was a lot of damage on appliances.
The others were electronic meters where circuitboard electrolytic capacitors failed.
From my experience the mechanical meters are a lot more reliable and accurate long term than the electronic rubbish they try to install. [Linked Image]

The product of rotation, excitation and flux produces electricty.
#48899 12/23/05 12:41 PM
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 202
WFO Offline
Set your AC thermostat where it won't run and turn everything else off. Then go look at your meter. Is the disk still turning? Bear in mind that it will probably turn a lttle from the small stuff like clocks that you probaly didn't unplug.
But if it is still turning fairly fast, look around to see what's running. Some things aren't obvious (like a water well or the H2O heater). You might just start turning off breakers until the disk stops...then see what it is you killed and see if it had a reason to be running.
Like Rodalco said, it is rarely a faulty meter. Usually it is a device you are counting on to work automatically (like the heater or AC) that isn't.
I've seen more than one case where the strip heat and air conditioning were running at the same time. Talk about a bill!!

#48900 12/23/05 12:49 PM
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 202
WFO Offline
Forgot your other question.
Yes, an unbalanced panel can cause negligible billing errors in a single phase 3 wire meter.

But it would be so infinitesimal that you wouldn't notice it, particularly on a bill this large. If it was unbalanced that bad, you would be seeing voltage problems.

#48901 12/23/05 01:16 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 316
One more thing to think about - Give the power company a call - that ground rod should be driven into the ground Not laying on the ground next to the pole !

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