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I am brand new to this forum and, not being electrically-minded,, I hope that you will bear with me.

We have a big and worrying problem regarding an electricity meter and I am hoping that someone here can give us some good advice. Apologies in advance for the long and rambling story but I need to fully describe the problem.

My wife and I are retired and living on our own here in the Shetland Islands. We moved here in April 2008 and, apart from the crap weather seemingly all year round, we are happy. Our electricity is suuplied by Scottish Hydro Electric and is monitored via two meters. We pay for our electricity via a monthly direct debit and this is increased/decreased annually with maybe a refund given if large. We are on a plan called THTC (Total Heating Total Control). There is one meter, an old-fashioned one with a wheel going round, that records the "Standard Energy" electricity used via the sockets and the lights. A second meter, a digital one, records the "Heating Control Energy" electricity used to power our storage heaters and the hot water; and an electric shower is also linked to it. It is this latter, digital meter that is causing the problem.

The digital meter model is a Horstmann Radio Telemeter Series 2A. It switches on, via radio-controlled signals at several times of the day but mainly in the early hours of the morning. We have absolutely no control over the hours that the cheaper tariff electricity is supplied to us. As I mentioned previously, it is just the two of us and we have lived in a similar lifestyle in each of the 4 years that we have been here. We have had visitors for about 2 weeks in each year and have holidayed at approximately the same time each year. We have had the same storage radiators on similar settings at about the same times in each year so the electricity that we will have used, via this cheaper electricity meter, would be approximately the same for each year. However, that is where our problem has arisen..

For each of the first 3 years, the usage of electricity via this radio controlled meter has been similar but, in this last year, it has increased by well over 200%. The meter reader tends to come to us only once per year but, if the quarterly estimated numbers are way out, we read the meters and phone them through to them. This has worked fine up till now. To illustrate the problem, I will refer to the 6-months periods, November to May, for the past 3 years. In each of the years, the November reading was an estimate and the May reading was an actual. The November readings, though estimates, would have been fairly close to the actual at the time, becuase we would have otherwise phoned them through as stated above.

17 Nov 2009 to 18 May 2010 units used 7062

17 Nov 2010 to 23 May 2011 units used 7881

5 Nov 2011 to 8 May 2012 units used 23586

It is this last reading that is the bummer. It would seem that, at some point(s) in the 6 month period to May 2012, the meter jumped by some 16,000 units. This could be in one or a number of blips totalling approximately that figure. The bottom line, financially, is that we have been overcharged by some £1,200 (including VAT) and we are being asked to increase our monthly payment from (an already expensive £145) to over £300 for the next 12 months. Gulp ! We complained to the customer services folks and, after a very long phone call and a few weeks of waiting, we now have a check meter installed which has been there for just a week. We are checking the readings daily but there is no sign of a blip in that week. We are worried that the check meter will, after however long it is installed, state that our meter has no variation to it and is thus deemed to be working correctly.

Does anyone here know of such a problem occurring with these radio-controlled meters? I have left a message for someone at the local power station (in Lerwick) to ring me back as I was wondering if there might have been a "spike" in the supply following one of our occasional power cuts that we have here. I haven't heard of anyone else having such a problem here and our immediate neighbours use either oil or old-fashioned peat burning for their heating. The peat-burning is not an option to us, by the way!

Basically, this is a plea for help as we don't know which way to turn to indicate that the meter jumped considerably at some point(s) in the 6 months to last May. Any advice will be very gratefully received.

Thanks !
Aico 3000
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Hi Veggieman,
I found your post whilst looking for answers to my own hassles with SHE, and although I can't answer your question, I can sympathise. I am in pretty much the same situation, regarding a holiday rental property I own. Between two meter readings, October and April, the usage shown on the Total Control meter took a huge jump. The house was empty for all but about 4 weeks of that time, and no heating was left on. SHE have installed a check meter, which shows that usage is normal now and the meter is recording properly now. However, I think there must have been some incident which reset the meter to zero sometime during the disputed period, to have gone "around the clock" and back to zero would have used about £3000 plus VAT of electicity, which is what I am being billed. I have done my own calculations and have shown that even with the heaters full on for the whole six months (which they weren't!) it would have used about £750 plus VAT. Common sense shows there is no way the usage can have been so high. But SHE say there meters don't lie. We also had a big power cut during that disputed period.
This all has close echoes of your situation. I was wondering how you got on resolving it?
Also still hoping to get some advice from any of you friendly sparkies out there!


HI Veggieman,
I received your two emails, thankyou. I did reply to both, if you haven't received the replies, I must have done something wrong?
Apologies for any miscommunication, I will keep trying !
Thankyou again for your support.

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