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Discuss Customer thinks smart meter is wrong in the Electrical Forum area at ElectriciansForums.net


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Going to see a new customer tomorrow. He thinks his new smart meter is reading higher than he thinks.
I don’t know the house, but guessing at still old fuseboard rather than mcb or rcd looking at the street address.

Anything easy I should be looking for to explain high usage?
I’ll suggest LED lamps, etc

I’ll do a global IR, earth loop on all circuits and clamp the tails when in use to give me current flow. But not going to spend a lot of time with a full EICR looking for an earth fault that may or may not be there.

I think the customer has been brainwashed into thinking a smartmeter would save him money.
Smartmeters only save you money by making you more aware of the amount of electric/gas you're using so you start to reduce your consumption by turning off lights that are not needed etc. Reminds me of being a kid and my parents constantly telling me to switch off lights or the TV if I wasn't watching it... :rolleyes:

I switched out all my 50W spotlights for 3W LED ones and saw quite a drop in my electric consumption but then I do have a total of 18 spotlights spread over 3 rooms... :laughing:


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  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #3
I’m expecting 100w lightbulbs, storage heaters.... panel heaters, it’s possibly all electric, unless they have an oil tank and boiler.

An earth fault might explain some high readings, so just need to rule that out first


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i,ve done that also. 18 GU10s and about 40 filament candle bulbs replaced with LEDs. next thing is to fit 10 minute timers on showers. :p:p:p.
when i had a smart meter fitted at home the indoor display cost seemed very high ,on checking units used ok.
display was on wrong tariff ,when i contacted supplier they
said it could only do the one tariff. my comment of its not very smart then came back with a reply of we know

Lucien Nunes

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Esteemed Member
An earth fault might explain some high readings
Possible but unlikely. How much higher would the bill have to be for him to think the meter is wrong? £25 a month? At say 14p/ kWh that would be a continuous load of 240W dissipating the heat of ten soldering irons. If it were a single localised fault it would likely have melted / burned out very quickly or set something on fire. If spread out the heat might go unnoticed, but what would cause an IR of 220 ohms spread over a large area? Nothing comes to mind.

One thing that could dissipate 240W with no sign of trouble is an earth rod or bonded extraneous metal. But then, if Ra was 220 ohms and all the dissipation took place at the rod, the entire indoor equipotential zone would have to be up at 230V from true earth, which would probably have caused frequent shocks or tingles.

So my reasoning is that in a normal domestic install, it's very unlikely for a fault to persist long enough, dissipating enough power, to noticeably affect the bill without making itself known through overheating.
The first thing to do would be to check the Smart meter readings so far, against the old meter bills to see if consumption is suddenly higher.
"Thinking" they're using or paying more isn't an accurate way of comparing.

The old meter could have been under reading.
People have complained in the past before Smart Meters (wrong term they're not) of bills increasing with a meter change.
There have been many reports of high-reading smart meters in many countries. They take samples and calculate the power between the samples - they don't (usually) have true RMS converter chips (too expensive in their cut-price wars) - so a very spikey consumption (like caused by a washing machine or tumbler drier with a modern switched phase controler) can lead to inocrrect measurements. The old rotating disc meters had the mechanical interia of the rotation disc and average out any spikes very effectively.
I have no idea how much truth there is as regards the number of problem meters out in the field.
Snowhead's comment (compare old and new kWh usage for the same billing periods) is a first thing to do.

James the Spark1976

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Esteemed Member
Also worth noting that some smart displays show an estimated daily usage.
I have seen some that display a cost in £ per day based on the instantaneous load.
i.e when they look at it after turning on the kettle the meter is telling them that they are using 72Kwh per day...aprox £14
then later when nobody is looking the day usage estimate is back to normal.


Esteemed Member
scrolling through the screens on some domestic smart meters shows they are recording both kWh and kVArh. Not sure how much that would affect the bill for a normal domestic house though.


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  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #11
Oh well, nothing much to report.

Customer only been in house a short time, so doesn’t have previous non smart meter readings to compare.
Electric shower, cooker and immersion, so there’s your high power equipment.
Space heating from radiators fed from fireplace back boiler.

LED downlights in kitchen and bathroom, compact fluorescents in pendants. Suggested changing them to LED also but wouldn’t make a huge difference.

Supply voltage at 244v, nothing strange.
Current on clamp meter read 0.3A just being chargers, clocks, tv on standby etc...
Jumped to 11.9A while I was there which would be immersion kicking in.

Old MEM 4 gang fuseboard with another 2 gang piggy backed off the incoming terminals of the main switch.
Tails only 16mm, possibly only 10 which is a worry.
I’ve recommended a db change but also said a part rewire maybe needed as it appears all sockets in the house are off one fuse.


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our meter is smart. it' has an aluminium disc so i can't slow it down with a magnet. :p.

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