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What do the readings mean on my 3 phase meter?


I have a 3 Phase supply to my house. Years ago it had a commercial site here hence the 3 phase. I get humongous electricity bills. Scottish power have finally said they a have been billing me incorrectly. Before all this lockdown they were ringing every week for a reading. Told me to cancel direct debit to them until they could sort it out. For the last two weeks I haven’t been able to speak to them ..no one in the call centre because of covid19. I have been taking the reading and keeping them. I took a reading last week the top figure was 563999 this week it is 564696. Does that mean I’ve used nearly 700 kw ? Surely not !! There are no decimal points on my display but I’m praying that the last digit is ignored on this type of meter and the usage is 70kw which would be about right because there is only Me and my husband living in the house. Oil for cooking (aga)and  oil central heating. 
Anyone out there help me on this one ? 

Kind regards 

Fiona

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Best answer by Transparent 31 March 2020, 20:03

Hi @Fififi - I’d wondered where all the electricity was going! :wink:

I’m puzzled that you say there are no decimal points on your display. I’ve had a quick look online and found three images of Elster A1700 meters where the display screen is “live”:

 

Although there are slight differences between the display formats, which is probably the result of different software versions, these three photos do suggest that you should see at least one decimal point.

Are you able to take a photo of your meter and post it here for us to see?

As for Scottish Power, I would strongly suggest you you email them rather than telephone. As their support staff are working from home, an email can be bounced to the correct person.

You also get to retain a time/date stamped copy of what you’ve written. That would provide very important evidence of the start of a “complaint”. The Energy Ombudsman is only able to look at cases which have already exhausted the official complaints procedure of your Energy Supplier. So the email sets a marker in place which could prove important if/when a resolution isn’t reached.

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Userlevel 7
Badge +2

Hello @Fififi 

Welcome to the forum! I believe the best person for this will be @Transparent 

He is an awesome guy and very knowledgeable about this stuff

@transparent can you help me on my question ? 

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Hi @Fififi - I’d wondered where all the electricity was going! :wink:

I’m puzzled that you say there are no decimal points on your display. I’ve had a quick look online and found three images of Elster A1700 meters where the display screen is “live”:

 

Although there are slight differences between the display formats, which is probably the result of different software versions, these three photos do suggest that you should see at least one decimal point.

Are you able to take a photo of your meter and post it here for us to see?

As for Scottish Power, I would strongly suggest you you email them rather than telephone. As their support staff are working from home, an email can be bounced to the correct person.

You also get to retain a time/date stamped copy of what you’ve written. That would provide very important evidence of the start of a “complaint”. The Energy Ombudsman is only able to look at cases which have already exhausted the official complaints procedure of your Energy Supplier. So the email sets a marker in place which could prove important if/when a resolution isn’t reached.

 

Thank you for responding. Here is the meter.
I will email them instead of trying to call them. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Thanks @Fififi - I agree. There’s no decimal point there.

**edited by moderator**

I can assure I am not. 😂I had an electrician to come round a few weeks ago to check out if I was lighting the whole street. . He said my usage was pretty normal when he tested it. Could the meter be faulty or could it be that the last figure on the meter shouldn’t be counted ?  

Userlevel 7

Did you email in the end, @Fififi ? Interested to hear what the verdict was….

Hi  @Fififi  Im experiencing a very similar situation to this right now and was hoping you could shed some light on how / if it was resolved. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Heya @JARET1 !

Unfortunately, that user might not respond as it’s been a while. However, we’ll try to help if we can.

Could you fill out your forum profile for us and show us some snaps of your meter in your next reply please? We’ll go from there for you. :)

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

I’m re-posting here some extracts from what @JARET1 and I discussed offline (omitting detail of their Energy Supplier etc)

Jaret1 has a 3-phase meter which is displaying some very high usage readings.

 

 
Rank
wrote:
 

I'll assume that yours is a 'traditional' meter rather than a Smart Meter, and that you provide manual readings every month.

If you're querying something that could be incorrect by a factor of 10, then this would surely be reflected in the amount you are having to pay?!

Around 100kWh would be a likely electricity consumption for a family of four in an average house built within the last 50 years. But of course it also depends on what your heating system is, and whether you use electricity for cooking.

So I don't know nearly enough about your circumstances to conclude whether the meter is faulty.

So let's look at a few points which you should consider:

1: For safety reasons you can insist on having a professional meter reader visit and inspect a 'traditional meter' once per year. Suppliers may not like to arrange that because it costs them money. But if a house is left empty for a year, then they take the opposite stance and insist on a visit!

2: My DNO, Western Power Distribution, now require all new supplies (to new houses) to be 3-phase-ready. The actual phase is selected by which one they connect to their 100A Service Fuse which feeds the meter.

So even if your weekly consumption were as low as 100kWh, I'd still recommend retaining 3-phase. As more households want EV-chargers and heat-pumps, domestic 3-phase supplies will slowly become the norm.


3: If yours is a 'traditional' meter then you could resolve the present problem by requesting a Smart Meter. Not many UK Energy Suppliers yet offer a 3-phase option, but Ofgem is starting to lean on them more heavily!

Good Energy announced in August 2020 that they'd installed their first one.

SSE
started installing 3-phase Smart Meters for Business customers last autumn. But the article doesn't state whether this is the Polyphase type which domestic customers would need.

And just this week (mid-May 2021) OVO Energy has announced that it is commencing installation of 3-phase Smart Meters in selected properties.

Four types of 3-phase SMETS2 Smart Meters are approved by DCC for fitting in the UK: three from Aclara, and one from EDMI. So the hold-up is now down to the Energy Suppliers. They must ensure that their billing-software is 3-phase compliant.

Userlevel 6

Some great advice there, @Transparent.

 

I hasten to add we are still in the trial-phase of 3 phase smart meter installations!

 

We’ll make sure to keep you updated as to when these are more widely offered as they will certainly help with these concerns over 3 phase reading accuracies.

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