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3 phase meter readings - Could my meter be faulty?


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

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Userlevel 7
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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 ? 

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Updated on 25/04/22 by Jess_OVO

 

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.

 

OVO member and worried about a faulty meter which is clocking too fast? - Check out our this great guide. The advice given is applicable to single phase or three phase setups.

 

 

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

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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 ?  

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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. 

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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. :)

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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 7

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.

Did you get this resolved ? We have moved into A new property 1yr 6 months  ago. We have a 3 phase meter and the house is all electric under floor heating . The. Bills have been through the roof .. in winter over £500 .

I’ve been checking the meter daily at the same time and sometimes in 24 hours it uses 100 units then 60 then 30….. it’s not consistent… I’ve been calling SSE for months and we keep going around in circles … I just want them to check the meter !!I’ve done everything they have asked and still no one has come out to check the meter !! It’s not been checked since 2010 !!!…. 

 

do you read the 3 phase meter in the same way you would a normal meter ? Apologies if this sounds stupid but I don’t know much about 3 phase other than you could run a factory off it and we just have a 4 bed property !!  Any advice would be welcome as prices  are rocketing we don’t know what to do!! We have fitted a log burner to reduce electric costs but it’s still sky high !!

 

thanks 🙏 

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. 

 

This is my 3 phase meter … 

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Hi @Rebecca78 !

I have to admit that you’ve kinda stumped me as I literally have basically no experience with Three-Phase Meters myself. I’m going to have to go off and do some research, if that’s OK with you?

I’ll try to be back by the end of the day, but if you don’t hear from me, feel free to give me a nudge by including @Blastoise186 in your comment.

Userlevel 7

Hi @Rebecca78 

 

Thanks for popping by the OVO online community with this tricky 3 phase meter reading question. I’ve double checked with the team here and they’ve advised that a 3 phase meter is read is a similar way to a regular single phase meter, so they’ll be one reading to submit if you’re on a single rate plan or two readings if you’re on a dual rate plan. Have you checked with SSE whether you are listed as a single or dual rate meter?

 

As you mention the readings seem to indicate higher than expected usage it’s worth taking a look at the advice given in the guide below.

 

 

It can be worth carry out some trouble-shooting to see whether this usage can be identified before requesting further meter investigations such as a meter accuracy test.

 

Let us know if this helps getting things sorted. 👍

Hey, I am having a similar issue at the moment with the same meter.

 

it’s a 6 digit meter with no decimals however my energy company keeps adding a decimal rather than fill it as a 6 digit meter. Should they be ignoring the last number or is a decimal point correct ?

 

Il any help would be appreciated,!

 

amy

Thanks Jess

we have tried turning everything off and doing a black out . We’re still experiencing extremely high bill even with the heating turned off . Could this be that we should be on a different tarrif for 3 phase ? Is our meter being read correctly as it’s a 6 diagital one ? I have lost count of the times I have rang SSE and still no checks have been made !! Something cannot be right !!

Hey, I am having a similar issue at the moment with the same meter.

 

it’s a 6 digit meter with no decimals however my energy company keeps adding a decimal rather than fill it as a 6 digit meter. Should they be ignoring the last number or is a decimal point correct ?

 

Il any help would be appreciated,!

 

amy


Hi Amy

 

interested to know how this meter should be read please let me know if you get any answers . Can I ask how long have you been at the property or experiencing high bills ?

Userlevel 7

Hi @Rebecca78 and @Amyrodger,

 

Sorry for the delayed response and to hear you’re both struggling to understand your 3 phase meter readings. I’ve taken this one away to one of our metering experts here to help get some idea on the way things should work.

 

All 3 Phase meters have 6 digit readings. A few have a decimal point but they should be reading 6 digits long before the decimal. If a Supplier is dropping the 6th digit it's likely because their systems assume all domestic meter readings should have a maximum of 5 digits (which is the case for single phase meters)

 

Have you sent your supplier a photo of your meter reading, @Amyrodger? This might help clear the confusion over the number of digits they’re recording when you submit a reading.

 

As for the high charges you mention, @Rebecca78, this is a slightly trickier one to diagnose. Most suppliers no longer offer a 3 phase specific tariff so you’ll be offered the same plans regardless of meter type.

Whilst generally speaking 3 phase supplies are installed in properties with a higher than usual demand, we’re not able to know what appliance or device might be clocking up your usage. Have you checked the advice given in the topic below which might help you carry out some checks to work out the cause of the issue. An electrician may also be able to advise if these checks aren’t conclusive.

 

 

Hey, I am having a similar issue at the moment with the same meter.

 

it’s a 6 digit meter with no decimals however my energy company keeps adding a decimal rather than fill it as a 6 digit meter. Should they be ignoring the last number or is a decimal point correct ?

 

Il any help would be appreciated,!

 

amy


Hi Amy

 

interested to know how this meter should be read please let me know if you get any answers . Can I ask how long have you been at the property or experiencing high bills ?

Hi Rebecca, 

 

I have been 3 years now, I was getting high rates last year I challenged my supplier and finally got some credit back but I am at the same point again.  I am high usage anyway but £4000 in 3 months is way too high!  I do believe it does have something to do with suppliers adding a decimal where it is not required,  when I had someone out to read my meter (sent by the supplier) they advised it should be 6 digits with no decimal.  My supplier has now said ‘oh no where there is no decimal we just have to add one’  very frustrating!

Hi @Rebecca78 and @Amyrodger,

 

Sorry for the delayed response and to hear you’re both struggling to understand your 3 phase meter readings. I’ve taken this one away to one of our metering experts here to help get some idea on the way things should work.

 

All 3 Phase meters have 6 digit readings. A few have a decimal point but they should be reading 6 digits long before the decimal. If a Supplier is dropping the 6th digit it's likely because their systems assume all domestic meter readings should have a maximum of 5 digits (which is the case for single phase meters)

 

Have you sent your supplier a photo of your meter reading, @Amyrodger? This might help clear the confusion over the number of digits they’re recording when you submit a reading.

 

As for the high charges you mention, @Rebecca78, this is a slightly trickier one to diagnose. Most suppliers no longer offer a 3 phase specific tariff so you’ll be offered the same plans regardless of meter type.

Whilst generally speaking 3 phase supplies are installed in properties with a higher than usual demand, we’re not able to know what appliance or device might be clocking up your usage. Have you checked the advice given in the topic below which might help you carry out some checks to work out the cause of the issue. An electrician may also be able to advise if these checks aren’t conclusive.

 

 

 

 

Thank you for replying.  My Supplier doesn't seem to understand that its a 6 digit meter and advised   ‘oh no where there is no decimal we just have to add one’ its not very convincing … I have sent pictures in but they still add in a decimal.  If I try to enter a meter reading online there is only ever 5 boxes, it is all very frustrating.  The supplier I use have quite a bad reputation so I am not sure if I will get very far with them.

 

I am a high Usage anyway but I have been here for 3 years and suddenly my bills have doubled and this is before the price increase.  Thank you for taking the time out to help and give advise 

Can I ask who your supplier is ? I spend so much time ringing only to be told they can fit a smart meter that will help ! We can’t have a smart meter as we’re on a 3 phase ! I’m with SSE and not getting anywhere ! I’ve emailed and continuously rang complaints ! I would just like  for someone to come and check the meter ! I think the next stage now will have to be the ombudsman’s!! 
 

Hi Rebecca,

 

I am with Opus Energy at the moment.  The person before me was SSE and she advised not to go with them as they didn't deal with her bills all that well.  I am correct in saying you are not a business so have not go alot of high usage? 

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