I think my meter is clocking too fast - How can I test if my high usage is due to a faulty meter?

I think my meter is clocking too fast - How can I test if my high usage is due to a faulty meter?
Userlevel 7

​​​​​​Your guide to checking the accuracy of your meter: How to carry out a Creep Test, a circuit check and book a Meter Accuracy Test (MAT)

 

Have you noticed a sudden leap in the amount of energy your meter’s clocking? Are you worried that it might not reflect what you’re actually using? We’ve made this guide to help outline all of your options so you can be confident that everything’s working as it should, and you’re only being charged for what you’re actually using. 

 

My bill is higher than usual


First things first, I would say it’s always worth checking that the higher than usual billing is based on actual readings rather than estimated readings.

 

You can view the latest statement on the ‘Billing history’ page of your online account or OVO app (download for Android or iOS):

 

Exact appearance may vary

 

‘Download this bill’ or ‘View details’ to see if the reading is estimated (hint: it will say estimated next to the reading if this is the case). By checking the reading on the meter and submitting it on the ‘meter readings’ page you can correct any over-estimated readings.

 

It’s also worth checking that you’ve been charged the correct unit rates and standing charges. These might have changed recently if your fixed plan came to an end or your variable rates increased - we always send you an email to let you know but you can find out the prices on your current plan (and whether you could switch to a cheaper plan) on the ‘Plan’ page.

 

The details on the bill are correct but I’m sure I didn’t use this much

 

Higher than normal usage is normally due to changes in your usage patterns (which aren’t always easily spotted). Can you think of any reason why you might have used more than you expected recently? Common factors might be a colder than usual season, buying a new appliance or a change in circumstances (ie. working from home). It’s best to take these factors into consideration when trying to explain a sudden increase in usage. 

 

If you haven’t already got a smart meter then I’d say this is the perfect time to get one installed! Get your free smart meter installation booked here.  Not only are new meters more accurate, they also allow you to monitor your usage over a half-hourly, daily or monthly view with some handy usage graphs on the usage page of your online account or OVO app. Using these you can pinpoint when exactly your usage peaks - this can really help us get to the bottom of what might be causing the increase - notice a spike at exactly the time your immersion heater is set to come on? - this might explain things! 

 

I’ve got high gas usage, should I check my boiler?

 

The most likely cause of an unexplained increase in how much gas you’re using (and it’s always worth checking your usage against the same period last year, as it’s very seasonal!) could be down to a faulty gas boiler. A boiler which is older or potentially faulty can use more gas to achieve the same heat output. If you’ve got the OVO Homeplan, an annual boiler check is included to make sure your boiler health is checked regularly. If you don’t have this, it might be worth considering contacting a gas safe engineer to make sure your boiler’s in tiptop condition.

 

What’s the best way to locate an energy guzzling appliance?

 

Worried that your electricity usage seems high? By checking the usage of each circuit you might be able to find out the particular appliance which is the culprit. The meter will need to have decimals showing in the reading for this test to be useful:

  1. Leave the main breaker in.
  2. Turn off all individual circuits (on the fuse board, for example).
  3. The electricity meter should stop clocking usage. If not, there could be a short in the fuse/breaker panel box or an appliance connected without fuse/breaker protection. An electrician will be needed to investigate this.
  4. Turn on one individual circuit.
  5. Watch to see if the electric meter starts to clock usage.
  6. Turn off that individual circuit and turn on another one. Again, watch to see if the electric meter is clocking.
  7. Repeat step 6 until all individual circuits have been checked.

You’re looking for a circuit that causes the meter to clock a lot of usage, compared to the other circuits. There could be a problem with an appliance or a connection on that circuit. We’d recommend contacting an electrician to check the appliances on this circuit - particularly if there are any old or potentially faulty appliances plugged in.  Find out the average usage for each appliances on this great guide and some great energy saving advice on the Centre for Sustainable Energy.


How do I perform a Creep Test on my electricity meter?


If you’ve been unable to get to the bottom of an increase in our usage by locating a greedy appliance, the next step would be to carry out an initial check on the accuracy of the meter with a ‘Creep Test’. To carry this out: turn off the power to your fuse box and check if the meter continues to clock. If the meter clocks (more than 1 - 2 units which could be down to residual power in the wires)  then it's either faulty, or clocking someone else’s usage.

 

If your meter is in a communal meter cupboard, sometimes the meter details can get mixed up. Firstly it’s worth checking the meter serial number on the meter matches the serial number registered on your account. You can see this on the ‘Meter readings’ page of your online account:

 

Exact appearance may vary

 

Even if the meter serial number matches, there is a chance that your meter details have been mis-registered. If you suspect this might be the case, contact our Support Team who can arrange a ‘fuse finder’ to confirm which meter is clocking your usage.

 

How do I book a Meter Accuracy Test (MAT)?


Completed a ‘Creep Test’ and seen a possible fault? The next step would be to book in a ‘Meter Accuracy Test’ (MAT), by contacting our Support Team.

 

As the MAT involves an engineer visit, there’s an upfront charge to get this arranged, which will be reimbursed if a meter fault is confirmed. A meter is considered faulty if it’s clocking at least 2.5% faster or 3.5% slower than it should. It’s worth considering all other possible causes for a usage spike before booking in this appointment as we can’t guarantee the results, and the cost of this test won’t be refunded if the meter is clocking within the above tolerances. If the meter is found to be faulty, we’ll replace it and re-calculate all the statements issued since the meter fault began. These statements will be based on your average usage, or your usage with the new meter. 

 

Hope this helps get to the bottom of your meter accuracy concerns. Have you noticed a recent spike in your usage and need help working out why? Comment below as we love to help you investigate! :relaxed:

 


124 replies

Userlevel 2

hi all

from an average of 15kwh per day my E usage has jumped to 30kwh pd. i can find no logical explanation for this increase. i have gone through the house and checked plugs etc are turned off but am struggling to find a cause. i dont have an inhome monitor attached to my smart meter atm (awaited) so can’t see when the usage is at it’s highest.

 

anyone noticed a sudden jump and found out why?

 

TIA

 

Fb88

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Hi there @fatbloke88 !

This sounds rather weird, especially if you’re sure that you’re not using more than you expected. But I do have some suggestions that could help.

You might want to check out this thread to see if it helps in your case.

In particular, I definitely recommend doing a Creep Test to see if that identifies a possible meter fault. You can do this yourself and there’s no charge to try this. If you spot any issues as a result of the Creep Test, feel free to let the Support Team know and they’ll be able to discuss further steps with you. But please make sure to safely shut down everything before you start the test - especially sensitive electronic devices!

I’d also recommend switching your meters to Half-Hourly Mode and then keeping an eye on your usage data in MyOVO as this might help you figure out what’s happening, especially in conjunction with OVO Greenlight once you’ve got Half-Hourly usage data coming in.

Userlevel 2

how do i change to half hourly please?

Userlevel 2

how soon can i receive my replacement monitor?

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

No worries, these are both easy to do.

If you need a new In-Home Display, please let the Support Team know and they can pop one in the post for you. You can also ask the team to change your Smart Meters to Half-Hourly Mode at the same time.

On average, IHDs are usually delivered within 28 days of the request - but are generally much faster. Changes to the meter config generally takes roughly five working days, but in some cases you may see it go through within 24 hours. It may take a few days for usage data to start coming in once the meters are reconfigured.

If you complete the Creep Test and the results indicate that the electric meter is misbehaving, getting this resolved may take longer but OVO has a process in place to help with these issues. A Meter Accuracy Test is one of them - but I recommend the Creep Test first to help avoid wasting £150 on an on-site job unnecessarily.

Userlevel 2

these are my consumption values in july so far for E;

consumption values E 01/07 -18/07 inc

my question is why is this spike happening?

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Oh wow, those are some pretty random readings! And I very much doubt this to be caused by a bug in MyOVO.

At this stage, I can only guess it’s possibly one or more of these causes:

  • A faulty meter - which is a potential one that a Creep Test might reveal and potentially confirm via a Meter Accuracy Test. The Support Team can offer guidance on this
  • You’re using more electricity than you expected on some days, and less than expected on others. Are you absolutely certain no-one has left the washing machine on all day?
  • Weather? If you’ve had the Air-Conditioning on full blast recently, this may explain the spikes. We’ve been in a heatwave after all!
  • You have a faulty appliance or device somewhere in your home
  • Your devices aren’t as energy efficient as you thought they were
  • Someone has tampered with your supply and is leeching from your supply to steal/abstract electricity from the National Grid without your knowledge - I don’t think this is likely because the spikes aren’t that high. But if you’re definitely certain that you’re not using that much eco juice, then I can’t rule this out. If you suspect energy theft, then I strongly recommend contacting OVO immediately.

It seems your meter is currently in Daily Mode at least, which is providing some context. But regardless of the cause, this is definitely worth getting checked out just in case.

Userlevel 2

it appears from a chat with ovo directly this is linked to a smart meter upgrade programme they have advised that;

“Understood, let me tell you what has happened in the past 5 days and this is also the reason we cannot give you a in home reader just yet for these meters, your meters are currently not working because there is a government led update of all smart meters in the country so that they will work with all energy suppliers, some point in the next week or so your meters will return to working normally and you will get refunded anything you have been overcharged on the current estimates. Is this acceptable?”

taken directly from chat 19/07/21

I was provided the following link to an Ovo page about it;

https://www.ovoenergy.com/help/national-update-of-smets1-meters

 

hopefully this will help other users who may have been confused by (apparent) increased usage

 

FB

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Ah ha, bingo!

That’ll be the reason then. Nice work! It looks like the current readings are estimated right now. Please make sure to submit manual readings for the time being and OVO will aim to get your smart meters up and running once they’ve been migrated to DCC and reconnected. I recommend doing a manual reading at least once a week if possible, since this helps the system keep your account on track more easily. But you can even do daily readings if you wish.

We’ve also got this forum guide as well, which I like to think gets kept a little more updated than the other one. Not least because forum volunteers such as myself also contribute to it. :)

I also have some more good news as well for you @fatbloke88 . Once your meters are migrated to DCC, you’ll be able to get yourself a shiny new IHD. You’ll probably want a Chameleon IHD6-CAD-PPMID-S1 if they’re available by then, alternatively a Chameleon IHD3-CAD-PPMID as a fallback.

If you can show me some photos of your meters in your next reply, I can take a look and identify what you’ve got and hopefully give you a rough estimate of when they might get migrated to DCC. If you can also tell me which supplier installed the meters as well, that helps a lot. I can’t promise that my estimate will be perfect, but I can definitely give you a rough idea based on the data that I’ve currently got. :)

Userlevel 7

Hi @fatbloke88 and welcome to the OVO online community.

 

Sounds like you’ve already got to the bottom of the issue, thanks to the great advice of our community volunteer, @Blastoise186 as well as the Support Team.

 

Not sure where you’ve taken these usage figures from but if you’re looking at the usage pages of your online account or OVO app (download for Android or iOS) - it’s always worth checking that they are based on actual readings rather than estimates if you do notice a change. Sounds like your meters are currently going through their remote upgrade so hopefully the information you’re getting here is about to get a whole lot more accurate.

 

Let us know how it goes - we love to hear of our members journey from S1 to S1+ (as we call it), and of course are happy to help here if you’ve got any more questions! :relaxed:

Userlevel 2

shocked now!!!:open_mouth:  Just checked the meter

pressed “9” on the keypad - IMP KWH shows an increase of 2585 units since last read on 14/07/21

Please explain this to me, that means a cost of over £400 in 6 days OVO WTH is going on? My consumption over the last 6 weeks upto last official meter read has been circa 15 KWH per day

Please tell me I’ve pressed the wrong button or misread the meter or some other logical explanation. All usage data taken from my OVO usage page and the meter itself.

 

HELP please

 

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Thanks for the update @fatbloke88 . This is definitely beginning to sound very much like either a meter fault or someone else leeching off your supply. Please follow my instructions carefully and precisely - this is very important to follow accurately, as it will help me figure out what’s going on so I can advise you best.

Firstly, when you take meter readings, please ignore everything after the decimal point - this part is irrelevant and will be ignored by the system, so you should avoid including it. 9 is the correct button as well, as long as you’re not on Economy 7.

I need to ask you to do a Creep Test. This will help to identify whether there’s a meter fault that’s causing it to clock too quickly or slowly. Before you do this test, please shut down everything in your house properly - especially electronics like computers, TV’s, Sky Box, your Wi-Fi Router, Printers and basically anything else that could be affected.

Once that’s done, please follow these steps.

  • Take a reading from your electricity meter - including the decimal point (you don’t need to submit this to OVO, simply note it down)
  • Turn off the power to your entire house at your fuse box and immediately check the meter reading again and note this down
  • Wait for five minutes. Don’t power up again just yet
  • Check your electricity meter reading again - if it’s changed from what the second reading was - especially significantly - you may have a faulty meter
  • Keep an eye on the meter for a bit to see if it is still clocking usage despite the power being off - continued clocking is a sure sign something’s up
  • Power back up when you’re ready

Please let me know how you get on. I’ll be able to advise once I know the results. I highly doubt that you’ve actually been using 370kWh of eco juice a day, so I really want to see if I can solve this puzzle!

Userlevel 2

Hello @Blastoise186 

readings as follows

09:20:09 = 57898.8 power on

09:34:08 = 57898.9 power on

09:36:06 = 57899.0 power turned off

09:51:51 = 57899.0 power turned on

10:17:43 = 57899.2 power on

 

Some how I used 14Kwh overnight… only additional item in use a fan

Thoughts and sugestions welcome

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Thanks. Based on this, it looks like your meter has passed the Creep Test and that rules out any obvious meter faults. Creep Tests aren’t quite as accurate, powerful or in-depth as a full Meter Accuracy Test, but they are quicker to do and you don’t have to pay the £150 to do one. In this case, I think it’s safe to say that you probably won’t need a MAT.

However… Something does seem weird and the puzzle remains unsolved. If your meters weren’t currently being migrated to DCC, it may have been possible to flip them to Half-Hourly Mode and then used the data to try and locate the culprit more easily. But that’s not possible right now if your meters haven’t yet reconnected and this seems like an awful lot of eco juice being recorded as passing through the meter.

And if your meters aren’t currently talking to OVO, this technically eliminates any bugs in OVO’s platform as being the culprit.

If it’s not a meter fault that’s causing such high usage and you’re absolutely certain that you’re not using all this energy, the possibility of energy theft on the basis of someone else leeching/tapping into your supply to steal electricity from the grid and make you pay for it does become a little more likely. I’ll see if @Tim_OVO and @Jess_OVO can think of any other possible reasons to explain this one, but I think you’ll almost certainly want to chat with the Support Team again and ask for help with investigating the issue.

For your safety, please don’t touch any wires, cables or anything else related to your supply or meter in the meantime. It’s possible that an engineer might need to visit to see if they’re able to solve this puzzle, but I can’t think of any other obvious solutions right now.

I hope that’s OK with you.

Userlevel 7

Hi @fatbloke88,

 

Good news is those creep test results don’t suggest a faulty meter, although if you’ve explored all other possible factors and do want to get your meter checked it’s worth popping these  over to the Support Team who can advise on the next steps to get a charged Meter Accuracy Test appointment booked in.

 

There could be many factors behind an increase in your usage (are there any new appliances recently installed or potentially faulty appliances that could be using more energy than usual)? If you haven’t already I’d really advise checking out the advice given in this topic -

 

 

Sometimes a bit of detective work is required, maybe taking a reading then testing out the difference with certain appliances unplugged? As ever let us know how you get on - we’re happy to help here where we can. :slight_smile:

Userlevel 2

Latest meter read after a normal day with 2ppl both WFH

Time -16:05:56 = 57903.1 that means usage of 19.1 in 22 hours so just under 21units in a 24 hour period

Userlevel 2

Stranger and stranger,

Meter TypeSecure liberty 100

I noticed that the light to the right of the buttons was flashing very quickly and the WAN light in the centre of the group of 3 is flashing about 1x p/s

The read in the last few mins has risen to

16:21:33  = 57905.4 and yet nothing additional has been turned on, except this PC monitor. 2.3Kwh in 15mins can not be normal consumption can it?

 

FB

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

WOAH!!! Hold on a second…

2.3 kWh?!?!?! That’s like… a small factory… There’s practically no way that you could gobble up that much power in an average home. @fatbloke88 could you ask the Support Team to arrange a Meter Accuracy Test please? It might be worthwhile after all.

I will admit that it’s not cheap, but something doesn’t seem right and the Creep Test alone is only one possible indicator. £150 is nothing compared to an even bigger bill. And if OVO agrees that the meter is faulty, you’ll not only get the £150 back, but you’ll also get re-billed and OVO will try to figure out how much energy you actually used and refund the rest. On top of that, the meter will also be replaced for free because once a meter is confirmed as inaccurate, it cannot be left in service.

I don’t think you’ve got much to lose at this rate.

Userlevel 2

@Blastoise186 yes I will contact them, but it wil probably have to be tomorrow now. That will give me a chance to check readings when I come back and in the morning before I contact them..

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

No worries.

The only other possible factor that would make sense is whether you’ve got Storage Heaters or Air-Conditioning going overtime, but I’m pretty sure you’d notice because your house would almost certainly become the Sahara Desert or the North Pole if that was the case.

But I have one last theory that I am not particular confident about, but I guess I may as well play this Joker Card anyway.

What sort of spec are your computers and what sort of programs do you run on them? In particular, do you have really powerful hardware and do you use it for things like cryptocurrency mining? I won’t judge you if you do, this is just to see if I can figure out some clues here. And my other question… What Anti-Virus do you use on those computers? I know this sounds like a really weird question, but I’ll explain why later. And there really is a method to my madness… :)

Also, do you run anything that’s kinda distributed computing related? Such as:

  • BOINC
  • SETI @ Home
  • Folding @ Home
  • Archive Team Warrior
  • Anything related to these sorts of projects

Don’t worry if you can’t tell me the exact details, especially if the workloads are private for some reason. I just want to see if there’s anything about your computers that could potentially be gobbling up tons of super green eco juice. Even a rough idea will definitely help there.

Userlevel 2

Just an update;

Ive had the meter installed for 2379 days with an ave consumption of 24.34Kwh per day throughout that period and that includes the latest set of numbers above;

 

If I exclude that set and read from the last official value on my OVO readings page: it works out at 23.32Kwh p/d

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Oh wow! Based on the current data, the spikes are going to make your meter record roughly 220.8kWh p/d too… That’s just impossible!

Even Norton Crypto surely isn’t that CPU/GPU intensive to be gorging on 200+ kWh a day… Right? Norton is a terrible Anti-Virus product anyway and either Bitdefender or Kaspersky are way better (and they’re also completely against including cryptomining in their products) but unless you’ve got a bunch of PC’s with Norton products installed and mining away like crazy (for literally no benefit!), that still wouldn’t fully explain the spikes.

I’m also pretty sure almost all household devices and appliances would never really gobble up that much power, since they’d probably break down if they did.

Userlevel 2

I’m talking to the support team and whilst I am can anyone else share consumption values or shed light on this pattern;

It looks very random to me, the overnight consumption goes down 10Kwh from one night to the next, is there something I should be looking at?

 

TIA

 

FB

Userlevel 7

Just a thought here - could your fridge or freezer be using more energy due to the current heatwave?

 

A good way to investigate this is by carrying out some circuit checks - 

 

  1. Leave the main breaker in.
  2. Turn off all individual circuits (on the fuse board, for example).
  3. The electric meter should stop clocking usage. If not, there could be a short in the fuse/breaker panel box or an appliance connected without fuse/breaker protection. An electrician will be needed to investigate this.
  4. Turn on one individual circuit.
  5. Watch to see if the electric meter starts to clock usage.
  6. Turn off that individual circuit and turn on another one. Again, watch to see if the electric meter is clocking.
  7. Repeat step 6 until all individual circuits have been checked.

You are looking for a circuit that causes the meter to clock a lot of usage, compared to the other circuits.
There could be a problem with an appliance or a connection on that circuit. An electrician will be needed to investigate this further.

 

Not sure if this is the cause but it’s always worth ruling out all other possibilities before deciding to book in a Meter Accuracy Test, as it’s very rare for the results of a MAT test to find a meter faulty, particularly if it’s a smart meter

 

Hope this helps get to the bottom of things - keep us updated with what you find...:slight_smile:

Userlevel 2

Thanks @Jess_OVO I will consider that as a next step, just to update you and the latest reads suggest consumption between 08:15 - 16:29 today of only 3.5Kwh..:thinking:

The total consumption since the last official value on my account page on 14/7/21 suggests a total consumption of 33.9 Kwh over virtually 8 days.

Can anyone suggest any kind of reason behind this seemingly random consumption values and the wildl fluctuations I started this thread with?

@Jess_OVO do you think there’s any point in the meter test with these values? I have contacted the customer team, sent the email with a load of read data and photographs of the latest meter reads.

There’s a delay in responding from them atm so I’ll keep you guys appraised of any developments.

I really am very confused by this and I dont know what to trust or in all honesty who to talk to. Thanks for reading.

 

FB

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