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?
Joey: 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)
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.