Folksy Ltd

How much?l

(Denise Milward) #1

Two questions for anyone who’s responsible for utility bills…and has a strong constitution to read a rant!
How much electricity do you use daily?kWh preferably…
And second, if you’ve ever requested a meter check, how long did you have to wait for it to be done?
Here’s the why…
In the course of checking our online dual fuel, I could see over £200 credit, which is way beyond the next bill. Our power people said I could have it refunded, so I asked for that. Yesterday evening I decided I’d send in a meter reading. Online to them this morning, from their figures, we’ve used a daily average of over 270 kWh in the last 6 weeks…our highest ever average previously was 32, our average for this period for the last year was 21 so was suspicious. I re-read it less than 12 hours on from yesterday and we’d used over 850kWh overnight. Rang. Nice young man said yes to checking the meter…on 19th December, so we’ve got another fortnight of scary meter readings to worry over. Then, IF it’s faulty (please excuse capitals, I’m so annoyed) they won’t be able to tell when it went down so our bill will be from our “average” usage. He couldn’t tell me whose responsibility it is to come out to check, so I can’t even try to chase it up myself, and Google hasn’t given any insight except that “they” are obliged to check,no timescale.
Anyone who’s in a position of doing any programming will know how easy it is to put in a line of code to pick up “abnormal” numbers, and I find it hard to believe an organisation like Scottish Power doesn’t do this. An order of magnitude increase would surely be picked out? A two bed semi, double glazed and cavity wall insulated physically can’t use this amount of power,surely. Our heating is gas, we have no electrical heaters whatsoever,not even a hairdryer…if we switched every electrical device we own to maximum it wouldnt come within 10%.
My biggest gripe is having to wait so long. I’d half-allocated the expected refund to present-buying: as pensioners our income has no flexibility and having to possibly find £395 for a 6 week leccy bill scares me. How much more will we rack up in the next fortnight? I’m going to keep a list of daily readings until “they” come, as it seems to be “running on gingerbread wheels”. Two hours on from this morning’s reading we’d used 4 units,which seems reasonable. But 850+ overnight? What if they say it’s not faulty because they catch it at a " behaving" stage?
Maybe I just need some independent reassurance that the meter must be wrong - family all agree but I’m particularly freaked out by it now.
A pat on the head and a “There, there” would be welcomed.

(Eileens Craft Studio) #2

Either your meter is having issues or someone while you’re asleep is illegal tapping into your supply

Normally tapping is done by those who are growing an illegal drug but they do it continually that’s how many are caught.

Or by some unscrupulous landlord jacking in another property that’s usually landlords who own building with a series of small flats.

You should hear some of the stories I could tell you when I worked for Eastern Electricity for 12months before I went to university.

(Christine Shephard) #3

I checked my last bill and my daily average usage was just 3.6 kWh, so your readings sound ridiculously high to me. Are you sure your meter is recording in kWh and not some other unit?

It seems strange that this came to light when you wanted a refund…am I being cynical here?

I would call them again, and if the readings are still working out strange - they may have made a mistake last time - I would contact the head of customer services and get this check made a priority. It sounds as though either the meter is going crazy or someone is using your meter to light the whole town overnight!

Edited: I would also ask them to provide a daily usage report since the last bill, so you can see whether there are any patterns, peaks or obvious anomalies that might explain it.

(Sasha Garrett) #4

@mumcat2, there, there with a bit of head patting as requested. Now for a few deep breaths and a plan of action.
Checked last month’s bill and for a 3 bed semi filled with gadgets and me working from home full time our average daily usage is 6.8kwh so for us using 270kwh in a 6 week period would be normal but not in a day - double check all the figures for mistakes (it happens). So assuming your regularly read your meter and the previous averages are correct (and you haven’t recently purchased some power hungry appliance) then

  1. something is up with your meter,
  2. one of your appliances has developed a fault
  3. someone is tapping into your supply.
    Call them again, tell them that you are very worried that you are going to get a massive bill which as a pensioner you can’t afford and that the stress is affecting your health, that should get them to move the meter check forward.
    If they really can’t move it then you might want to do a simple test of when the meter is whizzing round (and at that sort of usage it should be most of the time) arm yourself with a torch and switch everything off at the wall and I do mean everything no matter how small and insignificant it seems. If it is still whizzing round with everything off then someone is tapping into your system - time to get an electrician involved (and then possibly the police). If it has stopped whizzing round then one of your appliances may have developed a fault and be guzzling its way through your leccy. Switch the appliances on one at a time and reset the clock on them if they have one (you say that your overnight usage is high so it might be that something is switching on and running overnight so the clock would need to be correct for it to switch itself on, hope that makes sense) and check the meter inbetween each one, if you see a sudden jump in usage you’ve found the culprit. Switch it off again and finish checking all the other appliances. A bit of a palaver but if the problem is with one of your appliances then you are responsible for the bill so worth doing (might be worth doing anyway even if they move the meter check forward).
    Hope thats helpful.

(Denise Milward) #5

Thank you for all your time and trouble Sasha. It’s unbelievably kind of you.
Progress has been made. I managed to get a better breakdown - if that’s the right word - and found it was our gas usage that was so crazy. The spreadsheet they gave me then rang some bells and to cut a long story short, our last “official” reading had gone through out by one decimal place. Instead of 05372 it was 53720. I rang through and told them, and apparently it takes up to ten days to put right but at least I can hopefully switch myself off from it. Phew!

(Sasha Garrett) #6

@mumcat2 glad to hear its all being sorted. Whilst I was helping you out someone was buying stuff from my shop so I may adopt you as a good luck charm!

(Lizzie Gillum, Bedfordshire, Uk ) #7

I don’t know if this would be any help, but you might like to read:

And of course, there’s always BBC Watchdog - or Dominic!

(Lizzie Gillum, Bedfordshire, Uk ) #8

Ah, I should read the whole thread first… .glad you’ve got this more-or-less sorted. So, essentially your previous reading was wrong for the Gas, so it looked as if you were using zillions of units - but you’re not?

(Denise Milward) #9

Seems that way. The bill amount for 41 days of gas was £395 and should have been £38. Why it should take ten days to sort though, I don’t know. I was really hoping for the refund to go towards Christmas but…

(Denise Milward) #10

I’m the world’s luckiest person! In the last two years, I’ve had a stroke and walked away from it, been on the verge of kidney failure because of stones on both sides and had a ruptured appendix…Still here.
Oh, and I was told in 1979 I’d got about 6 months to live post-radiotherapy. We’d not have children even if I survived…Our daughter will be 30 next month, her dad has been with me since 72 and we’re still dopy about each other.
Lucky or what?

(Lizzie Gillum, Bedfordshire, Uk ) #11

Bless you! I really hope, Denise, that the money is sorted out very quickly - and that you can all have a relaxed and enjoyable time this Christmas. XX