Discuss Meter reading corrupted in the Electrical Forum area at ElectriciansForums.net

Karen W

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Hi looking for a bit of advice about an issue I have with some work arranged by a social landlord. The landlord had to fit a new consumer unit but sent out a contractor to fit an isolator switch the week before. He also renewed all the wiring from the mains fuse and the meter tails. When the new consumer unit was being fitted I got an email from my power company asking for meter readings. At this point I noticed a discrepancy in my meter reading of around 40,000 kw/hr. It’s one of the old style meters in the black case with the numbers that turn round.
The contractor originally denied having moved or changed the meter in any way however now admits moving it as I provided photographs which proved he did. The contractor and my landlord are both saying nothing could have happened to my meter during the works carried out. My power company intend to bill me as I have evidence of how the meter reading became corrupted during the work.

Can anyone here shed any light on what might have happened?
 
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Karen W

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I'd be surprised if this could happen to the reading during works

40k kWh is so big shouldn't be a problem disputing it whatever happened

I just can’t seem to get the issue resolved despite it being such a large discrepancy.
The meter read 77001 on 14/10/21. The work commenced on 03/11/21 when the contractor fitted the isolator switch. The consumer unit was then changed on 10/11/21. It was on this day that the meter reading was 17296.
The meter was fine before the work and is working fine now.
I can’t explain the discrepancy apart from something has happened during the works but I know nothing about electrical work so don’t know what the issue might be.
I’m worried sick as it looks like I’m getting left with a bill for thousands of pounds as the power company informed me they have closed the investigation I requested.
 

littlespark

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a few things here...

1. the old mechanical meters can sometimes go faulty. If they're left screwed to the wall, they're fine... but if they get tipped, and laid on their backs... or shaken.. you can get the numbers to move...

2. a general electrician shouldn't be working on the meters. The power company could have come out and fitted the isolator.

3. according to your post #3, the later dated meter reading was LESS than the earlier one. Have you misread that, or a typo? (Remember the red digit to the far right measures tenths of a unit)

4. If you have a photograph to prove the contractor moved the meter.... does it show the old reading?
If you could post photographs on here showing the old system and new, we could maybe see wha'ts happened.
 
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Karen W

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a few things here...

1. the old mechanical meters can sometimes go faulty. If they're left screwed to the wall, they're fine... but if they get tipped, and laid on their backs... or shaken.. you can get the numbers to move...

2. a general electrician shouldn't be working on the meters. The power company could have come out and fitted the isolator.

3. according to your post #3, the later dated meter reading was LESS than the earlier one. Have you misread that, or a typo? (Remember the red digit to the far right measures tenths of a unit)

4. If you have a photograph to prove the contractor moved the meter.... does it show the old reading?
If you could post photographs on here showing the old system and new, we could maybe see wha'ts happened.
Unfortunately the photographs I have from my landlord cut off the meter, they only show the corner of the meter at the edge of them so I don’t have a photograph of the face of the meter.
First picture is before isolator was fitted, second one is after but before consumer unit and third is when all work is completed.

The readings I posted are correct and I raised that the meter reading has gone backwards with the power company but they are saying no it has gone forward by 40,000.
I do wonder if perhaps a number has moved when the meter was off the wall as the if the first digit was still 7 then a reading of 77296 would have made sense. I just couldn’t explain how it could have happened though so the power company closed the investigation having viewed these images but without inspecting the meter.
I’ll try contacting them agai.
 

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Strima

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The contractor who installed the isolator quite possibly will have pictures of before and after work, ideally you need these. The meter seals appear to be intact so this is evidence pointing towards you have tried to tamper with the meter.

Take a look at the OFGEM complaints process on how you need to proceed: OFGEM.
 
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Karen W

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The contractor who installed the isolator quite possibly will have pictures of before and after work, ideally you need these. The meter seals appear to be intact so this is evidence pointing towards you have tried to tamper with the meter.

Take a look at the OFGEM complaints process on how you need to proceed: OFGEM.
I asked the contractor for images but they have none.
I also sent the power company a copy of the EICR report from the end of April that ticks off a visual inspection of the meter to show there was no evidence of tampering.
 

7029 dave

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That is possible that the digits have moved when the meter is removed from the wall , but only energy providers should be doing this. Looking at your readings it has gone back.
Do you have any past billing with the (original readings) if so take a picture plus the reading showing now include the meter serial numbers in picture and on your bill.

Having said all this they should have actual past readings anyway
 

snowhead

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The position of the Red sticker (for smoke detector?) on the trunking under the consumer unit and meter in the first photo is under the corner of the meter and on the second photo under the new isolator with the meter moved to the left.
The meter has most definitely been moved by whoever fitted the new isolator so will have been lifted off the wall and most likely laid on the floor. There will also be evidence of old screw holes for the meter fixings in the back board showing it's previous location.
This may have been what's disturbed the reading and together with evidence of previous energy usage should be enough to cast doubt on the current reading.

Contact the your Energy supplier and tell them you're raising the issue with Ofgem and then raise the issue with Ofgem.
 

littlespark

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Tape a strong magnet to the front of the meter to slow the disc down enough to compensate for the 40,000 units..

I didn't just say that.

Its going to come down to the electrician taking it off the wall, which he shouldn't have in the eyes of the supplier. Hopefully, the supplier will realise this and not charge you.
Keep at them, get OFGEM involved, dont pay, its not your fault!

Please keep us advised of the progress of this. Its going to be an interesting one.
 

baldelectrician

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You are responsible for YOUR actions- it is NOT your actions that have caused a problem here.

Your landlord and their contractor have caused an issue and THEY have moved the meter (not your meter- the suppliers meter)

Who are the supplier?

Before you call again get a VOIP number that allows call recording (I use Net-Telco) and call again.

Let them know you want to raise a formal complaint and that you are recording the call, this usually sharpens their mind
 

brianmoooore

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Had something similar once, but with a water meter. Comparing the alleged current reading with several previous readings, then adding the normal expected usage to the last correct reading clearly showed that a digit had moved that shouldn't have.
Was sorted easily enough, but first I had to wade through multiple layers of script reading call centre staff, each slightly further up the command chain than the last, before finally reaching someone who was authorised to actually think.
 

snowhead

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The most important thing to do first is to stop the Energy supplier from billing the O.P
If the O.P is on a similar rate to me per kwh then the outstanding for the 40000 is around £6700.

OFGEM should be able to at least get the supplier to hold back the charge for now on the basis, as Littlespark's example, it would have been almost impossible for that usage during the period.

However just a warning,the energy supplier may argue that the O.P has been sending under readings in and the 40000 is an accumulation of the outstanding.

AS the Energy supplier have closed the case that's perfect for an OFGEM complaint as the supplier will no longer discuss it and don't appear to have made any reasonable attempt to sort it out.

Whoever fitted the Isolator also appears to have replaced the meter to consumer unit tails ((brown / blue cables) and the tails from the fuse cutout (lower right) to the meter.
As the meter and the tails to the cutout are the property of the Energy supplier then whoever did that work, which involved cutting the meter seals and moving it, MUST have had authorisation from the Energy supplier.
If they didn't get it then the Energy supplier also needs to chase up why the work was done without their knowledge, initially through the Landlord who will have paid for someone to do it.
 
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Karen W

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That is possible that the digits have moved when the meter is removed from the wall , but only energy providers should be doing this. Looking at your readings it has gone back.
Do you have any past billing with the (original readings) if so take a picture plus the reading showing now include the meter serial numbers in picture and on your bill.

Having said all this they should have actual past readings anyway
The power company have my meter reading history going back years as I’ve been with them a long time and I sent them a photo of the reading when I noticed the discrepancy.
They kept asking me for a photograph of before the work but neither the housing association or the contractor have one and I pointed out to the power company that I don’t regularly take photographs of my electricity meter. They insisted they needed a photograph and closed the investigation but citizens advice and consumer advice Scotland both say that my meter reading history should be sufficient evidence.
 
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Karen W

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The position of the Red sticker (for smoke detector?) on the trunking under the consumer unit and meter in the first photo is under the corner of the meter and on the second photo under the new isolator with the meter moved to the left.
The meter has most definitely been moved by whoever fitted the new isolator so will have been lifted off the wall and most likely laid on the floor. There will also be evidence of old screw holes for the meter fixings in the back board showing it's previous location.
This may have been what's disturbed the reading and together with evidence of previous energy usage should be enough to cast doubt on the current reading.

Contact the your Energy supplier and tell them you're raising the issue with Ofgem and then raise the issue with Ofgem.
I’ve already sent all this to the power company and used that exact explanation to show the meter had infact been moved. At this point the contractor finally admitted they had moved the meter.
However, power company are insisting they need a before photograph. I haven’t got one and said they have my meter reading history.
 
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Karen W

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Tape a strong magnet to the front of the meter to slow the disc down enough to compensate for the 40,000 units..

I didn't just say that.

Its going to come down to the electrician taking it off the wall, which he shouldn't have in the eyes of the supplier. Hopefully, the supplier will realise this and not charge you.
Keep at them, get OFGEM involved, dont pay, its not your fault!

Please keep us advised of the progress of this. Its going to be an interesting one.
Thanks, I’ve contacted power company again and raised the meter might have been laid down and the numbers could have moved. Waiting on their response. I’m hoping common sense will prevail but it looks like we’re heading to deadlock!
 
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Karen W

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You are responsible for YOUR actions- it is NOT your actions that have caused a problem here.

Your landlord and their contractor have caused an issue and THEY have moved the meter (not your meter- the suppliers meter)

Who are the supplier?

Before you call again get a VOIP number that allows call recording (I use Net-Telco) and call again.

Let them know you want to raise a formal complaint and that you are recording the call, this usually sharpens their mind
I’ve tried getting the landlord to take responsibility but they are leaving me to try and sort it out with the power company. I’ve raised a formal complaint with the landlord about it too.
Doing everything by email so I have a paper trail of everything.
 
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Karen W

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Had something similar once, but with a water meter. Comparing the alleged current reading with several previous readings, then adding the normal expected usage to the last correct reading clearly showed that a digit had moved that shouldn't have.
Was sorted easily enough, but first I had to wade through multiple layers of script reading call centre staff, each slightly further up the command chain than the last, before finally reaching someone who was authorised to actually think.
I’m glad to hear you got it sorted out. It feels like common sense is sadly lacking here and I’ve been losing hope of ever getting it resolved. Hopefully I’ll get there in the end though.
 
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Karen W

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40,000 units in what? 20 days? For ease of calculation that’s 2000 units a day…
A unit is a kW per hour. 24 hours in a day…
2000/24 that’s 83.33 kW EVERY HOUR!

83,333 Watts, divided by a generous 250 volts is…..

333 Amps. All the time.


Even over 60 days, that’s more than your main supplier fuse can handle.
Thank you for this. That might be useful for me to tell the power company although I expect they should already know that. The word impossible has been used a few times but the power company have just said it’s unusually high.
 

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