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# Would anyone kindly help with converting a very old imperial meter reading to kwh please?

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Hello, I have a very old imperial meter made by Parkinson Cowan (Ser/ No S512290) that works in ft2. Would someone kindly help with the conversion to kwh please. I also would like to know if it measures in ft2 or 100ft2. This is an image, many thanks.

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Best answer by BPLightlog 7 March 2023, 12:06

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Userlevel 7
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Updated on 31/10/23 by Abby_OVO

Ok so it’s measuring in cubic feet (ft3) the reading on the dial is 4974 (ignore the Red figure) and the calculations are like this (posted on your bill)

So the extra piece to understand is the x 2.83 along with the others to get kWh.
If the previous reading was 4874 for example the difference is 100 so the calculation would be:

100 x 2.83 x calorific value (typically 39) x 1.02264

The result is then divided by 3.6 to get kwh

Remember that the calorific value varies so that figure can change (and does)

Userlevel 7

Ok so it’s measuring in cubic feet (ft3) the reading on the dial is 4974 ...

@BPLightlog Just for clarification and fun: I don’t have a gas meter, but from what I read the meter will show consumption in 100s of ft³ (with 10s in red and units on the clockface). That’s why the conversion imperial > metric is x 2.83: 100 ft³ = 2.83 m³ (and 1m³ = 35.31 ft³).

This meter shows that it has measured more than 14,000 m³ in its 38 years of life, unless of course it was reset at some point. That’s enough gas to pump up 40,000 lilos or to give more than 150MWh of energy.

497,432 ft³ x 2.83 = 14,085.71 m³

Userlevel 7
+5

Ok so it’s measuring in cubic feet (ft3) the reading on the dial is 4974 ...

@BPLightlog Just for clarification and fun: I don’t have a gas meter, but from what I read the meter will show consumption in 100s of ft³ (with 10s in red and units on the clockface). That’s why the conversion imperial > metric is x 2.83: 100 ft³ = 2.83 m³ (and 1m³ = 35.31 ft³).

Yes 👍🏼 . I was trying to be clear with the 2.83 factor already a given and the usual advice to ignore the red dial

Userlevel 1

Thank you, however, is it not measuring in ft2 not 100’s ft2 ?. I have a small 3 bed semi, a new combi boiler, heating that runs just 5 hrs a day with the stat set at 20. A recent test shows no loss of gas anywhere in the house and boiler regularly properly serviced.

Taking all that into account my meter reported last year’s usage as 46000kwh. (4 x national average for a similar property. Cost of £5k.

My ajoining neighbour also lives alone, her heating runs 14 hrs/day and her usage if ¼ of mine.

So I am confused and concerned.

Userlevel 7
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I think it’s ft3 rather than 100ft3. But it’s not clear because of that red zero on the end which confuses things a lot.

However, there’s another possible factor - the age of the meter comes into play here. I think your gas meter might be near the end of service life, so you might want to consider getting it replaced soon. That might have something to do with it.

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It is a very old meter @Colin W and it could well be past it’s ‘sell by’ date.
You can clearly see from the faceplate that it’s measuring in ft3

The siting of the units shows what was mentioned - the red dial is tens of units the 0 static but indicating single units and the revolving dial showing a full rotation for a single unit (marked at half way 0.5)

As long as you have been using just the units to the left of the Red to give readings that would be correct. If you’re usage is so high, it could be that the calibration is too far out

Userlevel 7
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Yeah, we’re talking an ancient 1985 gas meter manufactured by a company that no longer exists and it’s successors are no longer involved in the energy industry as far as I can tell.

I get the feeling the accuracy of that meter has plummeted through the floor. A meter accuracy test is probably worth considering before you go to replacing it completely.

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Just to confirm, this is from the gov website

explaining what the readings show (bottom one is imperial) and what reading to give (without the red digits)

Userlevel 7
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I think the OVO Energy app might be able to decipher that meter as well. It gained camera based meter dial scanning functionality a couple of years ago (totally pinched from the SSE app!) which should be able to handle these meters. I’d be surprised if it couldn’t.

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I just wondered if the reading was being given including the red digits which would have the effect of a large amount of gas used

Userlevel 7
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That’s definitely another possibility which I’ve seen before a long time ago. However, as a four digit meter… I’m not sure that flaw would apply here as it’s likely that it’d get flagged.

THINK a Read Dispute can attempt to fix those scenarios if that really is the case though.

Userlevel 7
+5

Thank you, however, is it not measuring in ft2 not 100’s ft2 ?. I have a small 3 bed semi, a new combi boiler, heating that runs just 5 hrs a day with the stat set at 20. A recent test shows no loss of gas anywhere in the house and boiler regularly properly serviced.

Taking all that into account my meter reported last year’s usage as 46000kwh. (4 x national average for a similar property. Cost of £5k.

My ajoining neighbour also lives alone, her heating runs 14 hrs/day and her usage if ¼ of mine.

So I am confused and concerned.

I’ve just done a calculation for your full meter reading 4974 and even with a previous reading of zero, there is approx 156,000 kWh of gas used.
Presuming that the meter has not gone from zero to the current reading in under 4 years your usage of 46,000 kWh looks wrong.
Do you have any previous readings to check? What was the start reading of your last bill?

Userlevel 1

Thank you everyone, the reading are definitely not including the red numbers, just the four black numbers.
I’m confused by the conversion to metres number of 2.83, surely this would apply to meters that measure 100’s of feet2 rather than ft2. I see from many sites (including Ovo’s site) that for a meter measuring ft2 then the conversion multiple is 0.0283.

Userlevel 7
+5

Thank you everyone, the reading are definitely not including the red numbers, just the four black numbers.
I’m confused by the conversion to metres number of 2.83, surely this would apply to meters that measure 100’s of feet2 rather than ft2. I see from many sites (including Ovo’s site) that for a meter measuring ft2 then the conversion multiple is 0.0283.

Taking the 4 black numbers you are using a reading in 100’s cubic feet.
Your full reading in just cubic feet would be 497430 but I don’t know of a supplier who uses that format.
Do you have an earlier reading to check bills against?

Userlevel 1

I have just checked last years readings. From 23/2/21 to 24/12/22 the readings were 3241 - 4758. A total of 1517. So using the above formula,
1517 x 2.83 x 1.02264 x 40 / 3.6 = 48,781 kwh per year.

But further, the heating was running for a calculated 2200 hours over that time (approximately) which is 22 kw’s per hour.

Something is really off there !

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Was your picture of the meter from today @Colin W ?

Userlevel 1

No, taken 1/3/23.

Userlevel 7
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No, taken 1/3/23.

Ok so since the Dec reading that calculates to around 6775 kWh. Given it’s winter that’s perhaps a little high but if I look at my usage over the same time frame, I used 5900 kWh.
Presuming that you switch down or off during summer so you should use less during other seasons I can’t get to your 48,000 kWh for a year.

It might be worth checking readings over the next weeks and/or getting a load test done on the meter - or getting the meter swapped out

Userlevel 1

OK, thanks for your help. I have arranged for a full test with the meter being sent for testing. Boiler and whole gas system checks out ok but I’m still concerned.

Userlevel 7
+1

No worries.

If the meter is confirmed to be inaccurate, you will not only get the test fee refunded in full, but OVO would also attempt to calculate how much you were overcharged and refund that too. You could be in for quite a big refund!

No payment is due from you if the meter was underclocking so you don’t lose out there either.

Userlevel 7
+5

OK, thanks for your help. I have arranged for a full test with the meter being sent for testing. Boiler and whole gas system checks out ok but I’m still concerned.

Let us know how it goes if you can. It all helps to understand. Hope you get a resolution. Don’t forget to take readings yourself on the day

Userlevel 1

Thanks everyone, it's been most helpful, I will keep you posted. CW

Userlevel 7

Best of luck with the meter tests, @Colin W. Great to see the support that was offered in this thread.

I must say I’m learning a lot today reading this. I am a bit confused though, and @BPLightlog you are just so good at explaining things. Can I ask you something?

Just to confirm, this is from the gov website

explaining what the readings show (bottom one is imperial) and what reading to give (without the red digits)

In the metric meter picture, the red numbers are decimals. So rounding up, the reading in the example is 2418. So far so good. In the imperial meter, the red numbers aren’t decimals. But because the supplier doesn’t  want them included in the submitted reading, it’s the same affect: ignore the figures in red. But given that a feet isn’t that much difference in size to a meter, why is one measured in hundreds and the other one isn’t?

Yes I work on a forum for an energy company and Yes I should probably know this, but lets remember there’s no such thing as a stupid question! 🤣

Userlevel 7
+1

Yes I work on a forum for an energy company and Yes I should probably know this, but lets remember there’s no such thing as a stupid question! 🤣

Ask a question and be a fool for five minutes.

Don’t ask a question and be a fool for life.

:)

Userlevel 7
+5

Best of luck with the meter tests, @Colin W. Great to see the support that was offered in this thread.

I must say I’m learning a lot today reading this. I am a bit confused though, and @BPLightlog you are just so good at explaining things. Can I ask you something?

Of course

Just to confirm, this is from the gov website

explaining what the readings show (bottom one is imperial) and what reading to give (without the red digits)

In the metric meter picture, the red numbers are decimals. So rounding up, the reading in the example is 2418. So far so good. In the imperial meter, the red numbers aren’t decimals. But because the supplier doesn’t  want them included in the submitted reading, it’s the same affect: ignore the figures in red. But given that a feet isn’t that much difference in size to a meter, why is one measured in hundreds and the other one isn’t?

It’s cubic feet of course not just feet. There are several reasons but I think it mainly comes down to the calculations required to convert ft3 to m3 (which are deemed to be the base units once we moved from BTU’s. As Firedog mentions earlier in the thread: … but from what I read the meter will show consumption in 100s of ft³ (with 10s in red and units on the clockface). That’s why the conversion imperial > metric is x 2.83: 100 ft³ = 2.83 m³ (and 1m³ = 35.31 ft³).

The multiplier of 2.83 was seen to be better to deal with for consumers than 0.0283 .. well that’s my take on it - there may be other technical reasons. You can also see that some of the older meters did not have reading capabilities down to 1 ft3, many showed movement but not a reading. On the meter shown in this case, there is a dial showing revolutions but the single units is a painted on 0.

Yes I work on a forum for an energy company and Yes I should probably know this, but lets remember there’s no such thing as a stupid question! 🤣

lol