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Holly Ashford

Hi
I'm not an electrician so would value any advice.
I live in road where they are blocks of 4 terrace houses, every 4th house has a main electric box by the front door, each house still has an individual meter, but all 4 ultimately go into this one box. Now my electric bill is high i'm paying £120 a month which is almost double most people I have asked, so I rang my supplier who said they didn't have a clue what this box was outside my neighbours they agree my bill is very high usage but said its upto me to find out what this box is????? Now heres the thing could this neighbour be running his electric through mine via this box, I have never seen inside it but was told by another neighbour that each contain 4 individual boxes for each house, I also no that a friend of his works for a well known electric company and that this person did gain access to the box for some unknown reason.
Any help would be appreciated
 

trev

Regular EF Member
Welcome aboard first off.
Do you have any idea what this "box" is? I doubt you would but it's worth asking. I'd advise against going poking around in there even if you could gain access as I'd hope if it's a junction box, it would be locked to prevent the uninitiated getting in there. £120 a month does seem excessive.
It would probably be a good idea to consult an electrician in your area, post up your rough location and one of us will be near you.
 
OP
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Holly Ashford

cheers, I'm in Birmingham, trouble is this neighbour has built a porch now so the box is housed in there :( so would need to gain access some how, do you have any idea what this box is, these houses were orginally council houses i dont no why they choose to put one box per 4 i suppose money saving :(
 

widdler

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If your electricity supply is diverted through a property under someone else's control, and particularly if there are protective devices at this location then it is very plausible that someone could have tampered with your supply.

The fact that your supplier shows no interest and places the responsibility upon yourself to investigate is pure negligence in my opinion.

Are you on good speaking terms with this neighbour where the box is housed? I would advise, as others, that you get an electrician over to investigate for you.
 
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H

Holly Ashford

Well I believed we were friends, he did tell me that his electric mate had done something to keep his bills low he's actually in prison at the minute not sure what for so its just his son there :( and yes i suppose we are on speaking terms
 

malcolmsanford

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As Tev said it is likely to be some kind of junction box/distribution Panel

Only hazzarding a guess here if you say that there is just one electric supply for 4 houses but then 4 individual meters, then the supply company will bring that supply into theirs box, and I guess there would be 4 individual fuses one for each house that goes to your meter.

This is guess work,

What you can do is .............take a meter reading at say 9am and turn your electric box off in your house at the main switch. Unplug everything, and turn your lights off, and go out for say 3 hours.

Come back and then take another meter reading, it should be the same as you when you turned everything off. If it is then fine, if it has gone up then call your supplier tell them what you did and tell them how much it went up, and ask them for a check meter

After you Switch your box back on, plug everything in and use everything as normal. In 5/6 hours again take a reading and see what you have used.

Then over the next week take a 24 hour reading at the same time each day and you will start to get an idea what is being used
 
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Holly Ashford

no the electrician isn't in the big house my neighbour is, do you think he has got his running from mine then..a meter bypass
 

widdler

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I would have a go at the experiment that malcolm has suggested - and see if someone here is available to assist you.
 

snowhead

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Holly is the meter in your house or in this BOX.
If it's in the house, no amount of tampering in the box will make your bills higher.

If the meter is in the box, then it is possible someone else is using electricity thro' your meter.

If the meter IS in the box it must be accessable to each housholder so cannot be in someone elses locked property.
If it's not accesable the meter reader can't read it and you'll be getting estimated bills.
Does your reading on your bill show as estimated?

.
 
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Holly Ashford

No my reading isn't estimated, I have a meter in my house, then next door and every 4th house has a box containing 4 individual electric supplies for the 4 houses this box is locked with one of those funny keys his friend has one of these keys as he works for a major supplier and he has accessed the box and done something as my neighbour told me he'd fixed it so his bills would be low
 

widdler

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No my reading isn't estimated, I have a meter in my house, then next door and every 4th house has a box containing 4 individual electric supplies for the 4 houses this box is locked with one of those funny keys his friend has one of these keys as he works for a major supplier and he has accessed the box and done something as my neighbour told me he'd fixed it so his bills would be low

All sounds very suspicious to me Holly, I would want to go sniffing in that box.
 
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Holly Ashford

Is it possible then that my meter could be dodgy? Before we moved in about 5 years ago my father in law had a card meter and was putting in about 10 quid a week, i no we burn alot more than he did but jesus it cant be that much more can it?
 
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Holly Ashford

Just googled the average household annual usage and it says 4800 kwh thats what i'm using for 6 months
:banghead:
 

imago

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It sounds very odd, if the meter is in your house then unless a feed is taken after the meter (also in your house) then no matter what's been done in the mysterious box it shouldn't affect your bill. Anyway, as already mentioned the best thing is for someone to have a look at it and see what's what. I'm in Birmingham so I can take a look if you want?
 

widdler

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It depends on how you utilise your electricity supply. Do you cook with it, do you shower with it, do you have 10 or 20 little rugrats needing a lot of cooking, bathing and clothes washing?

I have a card meter and an electric cooker at home and £60 or so would cover a month easily.
 
OP
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Holly Ashford

ok heres what we roughly use, electric shower, water heater (on constant) washing machine and tumble drier (used approx 4 times a week) tv and sky box desk top computer (used daily about 6 hours i'd guess) fish tank with pump and heater, fridge freezer, and a stand up freezer, alarm clock, all bulbs are energy savers bar kitchen which is strip light, kettle (used alot)
heating and cooking is gas, heater is hot air though so has fan so that uses electric aswell
so with all that said do you think 120 a month is about right then?
 

widdler

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ok heres what we roughly use, electric shower, water heater (on constant) washing machine and tumble drier (used approx 4 times a week) tv and sky box desk top computer (used daily about 6 hours i'd guess) fish tank with pump and heater, fridge freezer, and a stand up freezer, alarm clock, all bulbs are energy savers bar kitchen which is strip light, kettle (used alot)
heating and cooking is gas, heater is hot air though so has fan so that uses electric aswell
so with all that said do you think 120 a month is about right then?
That's not too different from mine - warm air heating, washing machine on more than yours (18 month old boy), no low energy lamps though, immersion on constant - my shower was electric pumped, not heated - but my cooker is electric. Kettle used fairly regularly.

Nothing here really indicates a warranted cost of £120 per month.
 
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H

Holly Ashford

and work full time so only here night time and weekends
 
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H

Holly Ashford

my husband just said that the boxs contain what looks like 4 large fuses one for each house and if you remove say fuse one the electric in fuse one's house is disconnected, so first does anyone know what this box is so I can relay it to my supply and second could he of connected his to mine?
 

malcolmsanford

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Distribution panel or it could be a Rye Field board..................please now Holly this is as far as you should be going with this .................

Imago as offered to swing by and have a look for you .................and please do not start pulling fuses out or delving into this.

1) It could be the suppliers board and your interfering with their property

2) It could be 3 phases 400 volts there

3) It could be old and prone to damage being prodded and poked about
 
OP
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Holly Ashford

don't worry i wouldn't touch i'd blow myself up lol, so if its a ryefield board is it possible that someone could steal electric from me via this board?
 

stef

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It can be fauty but very unlikely, I think somebody is using your supply as well,as you and in my opinion this is a problem of your provider to check AND sort out.
 
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A

alarm man

easy really,ring the leccy board up,tell them someones stealing your electricity and they will be round as quick as you can say thief..
 

stef

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Actually, Holly, try this: switch everything off, unplug whatever is plugged in, if your meter still spins then somebody else is connected after your meter. Those meter fitters are by all means -not all of them, of course - highly qualified domestic sparks ( no offence) and a genuinenmistake could have benn made.
 
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