Missing Hydro

January 3rd, 2007 by Potato

Well, I called London Hydro today about where all my electricity was going, and to see if they would check that my meter was working right. They said that that usage was typical for this property (i.e., similar to what a family with two kids was using before we moved in), and said that when meters break they tend to underrecord (or slow down) so they wouldn’t check on it. Naturally, they have a disincentive to check it if it’s overrecording, but saying that wasn’t going to help me any.

She basically said that yes, we’re using more than 3 times the electricity as the old place, and our stuff is mostly the same, but that the stuff in the house may account for that: older stove or fridge (though they look to be about the same vintage), the fan in the furnace (I told her the furnace & water heater were gas). The thing is, we still used all that electricity when we were gone, which pretty much narrows it down to the furnace (though the thermostat was turned down and the fan only runs when the furnace does), the fridge (though it doesn’t sound sickly and it would have to use ten times the power it’s rated for on the energuide sticker), the security light, or the mysterious “sump pump” (there’s a switch on the circuit breaker for one, but I’ve never heard one running).

So, since they won’t check my meter (or see if there’s a grow-op leeching power nearby), pretty much the only thing I’ve got left to do is to just start throwing switches on the circuit breaker to see if I can isolate one circuit that’s drawing too much juice.

5 Responses to “Missing Hydro”

  1. Netbug Says:

    It’s the company/meter causing the problem, not your usage. The same thing happened at my cottage. They base it upon previous consumption and it messes everything up. My dad would know more specifics. I’ll see if I can get him to post a response here.

  2. Potato Says:

    Well, if anything, it’s the meter, because I’ve been going out almost every 12 hours to take readings off the side of the house, and it’s showing all kinds of usage. London Hydro did screw up our bill once before in the apartment with a poor reading, but so far they’ve been billing according to what’s on the meter, it’s just that I can’t believe the meter is showing that much drain. I’d be interested to hear about what happened at your cottage though, even if it is unrelated.

  3. Potato Says:

    I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before, but a great suggestion to test the meter is to simply throw the master switch on the circuit breaker in the basement, and see if the meter still spins. If it does, it’s broken (or there’s a circuit not routed through the main breaker). It won’t tell me if it’s spinning too much for the power used, but it will at least tell me if it’s completely screwy. I’ll try that in the morning (I don’t really want to do it at night).

    The power company’s statement that the usage is typical for that house is actually fairly disingenuous: all it means is that the family before us had the same, potentially broken meter.

    Anyhow, just to give more updates, I used 13 kWh for the first 14 hours of the day, most of which I was asleep (keeping in mind my average in the apartment was 13 kWh per day, behaving normally). I then did a load of laundry, and used 6 kWh in the next 4.5 hours. The average of the first bit is .92 kWh per hour (or 920 W on average). For the second block of time, with laundry, my average was 1333 W. The laundry looks to have added about 2 kWh to the usage expected for that time, based on the morning reading, which is well in line with what I read typical washer/dryers should use…

  4. David Says:

    I’m interested in finding out what ever happened with your meter problem. I had a past Hydro bill that was incredibly low, especially in the winter. The next bill jumped 5 fold and I just check my meter a few hours ago and apparently I’ve used 9 000 kilowatts of power over the past three weeks. I know no one is stealing our power as I’ve shut off the circuit breaker and the meter stopped. When I spoke with Toronto Hydro last month the person I spoke with told me she’d never heard of a meter breaking.

    Just wondering if you’ve resolved your problem?

  5. Potato Says:

    I found it was mostly due to a problem with an outdoor security light drawing way too much power a few days after this post. See Snow Crash + Further Hydro Measurements.