Electric meter reading

My electric meter reading yesterday afternoon was 000000!

This is because Eon contacted me at the start of the new year and said it was time to replace my electric meter, which had reached the end of its life.

So yesterday, we went from this meter, with its old dials and wheels, and the wheel at the front to show how fast we were using power:

Old meter

To this soulless white monstrosity:

New meter

On the way, we also lost our radio teleswitch. No more thunks at 8am as the house is remotely switched off the Economy 7 tarif.

Radio teleswitch

I was a little annoyed that the meter is so basic. Routine meter replacement is an ideal opportunity to put in better meter technology. I was hoping for a smart meter which could be read remotely and give feedback on energy useage. Or at least relocation out of my hall, so that I no longer have to be home to have my meter read. I suspect the lack of a smart meter means it will have to be replaced again before long. The city council has been using remote smart metering extensively in the huge number of buildings the council is responsible for. This has helped them reduce costs and waste by monitoring energy and water use on an hourly basis. You know that a school using lots of water in the holidays has a leak, or has forgotten to turn off 15 minute flushing urinals that aren’t being used.

Back home, the measurements nerd in me is chuffed with a meter that briefly read 0. We have now used about 10kWh in our first day. I have no idea whether this is good or bad, but I do know that visitors to our house have sometimes been surprised at the lights we have on. Being green is as much about reducing routine energy useage as installing novel technology such as the solar panel.

In assessing our own energy useage, there’s good and bad to report. We routinely turn our telly off as we’re advised to. But I leave more computers running all the time than I should. Additionally, we do have a lot of lights on. This is partly because we forget to turn them off, but also because of a tension between green advice and safety advice. The green advice is turn off everything you’re not using. The community safety advice is try to avoid being burgled by using time switched and lights to make it look like someone is home. And further safety advice says things like leave the landing light on when you have visitors to prevent people unfamiliar with your home from falling down the stairs.

One last thing on energy monitoring: last year we switched away from Good Energy, the green supplier that gave kickbacks to the Lib Dems. This was mainly because we could no longer afford to pay the extra cost that came from having our gas and electricity supplied by two different companies. I’m now on an internet-only tarif with Scottish Power, which is useful firstly because they now email me when they want meter readings, and secondly because their online account details include previous data. This helps you manage your useage across years – how many kWh were you using this time last year? By logging in, I can see we averaged 12kWh a day for the two quarters we have data for.

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7 comments on “Electric meter reading

  1. dr_nick says:

    GEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!

  2. Ian says:

    May I suggest you consider changing to Scottish and Southern Energy whereby through their Better Plan promotion you will receive a free Current Cost real time display that can be palced in your kitchen and dynamiclly inform you of your electricity consumption which will have the effect of reducing the amount of power wasted.

  3. niles says:

    Well, you can suggest it, but I’m not currently considering changing my supplier for anyone!

  4. James Shelby says:

    They cost about £50 but I have one of these and love it http://www.homeenergysaving.co.uk/electrisave-owl.html

  5. David says:

    EON replaced our meter this week not even with a “soulless” plastic one but with a reconditioned old one! Apparantly this is quite normal….

  6. Ben Barker says:

    >They cost about £50 but I have one of these and love it >http://www.homeenergysaving.co.uk/electrisave-owl.html

    These are clever, but misleading. They use a clamp to measure current, and assume the voltage to be fixed. However, this means they do not measure the relative phase shift between the voltage and current (power factor). They can only measure apparent power, whereas you are only billed for actual power. These two will only be the same for purely resistive loads, but in a house with various things plugged in the apparent power will be greater than the actual power.

  7. Ron Jones says:

    I too have just been informed that a meter exchange will be necessary within my home, however, I have a considerable number of presets within my equipment which I fear may be lost if, and when, my supply is cut to allow the exchange to take place. United Utilities are the company who are supposed to be doing the exchange on behalf of British Gas. I have contacted United Utilities about this matter, and was told that they have no responsibility, of any kind, to ensure that such presets are not effected or lost. Although the meter in question is 20 years old it seems to be perfectly adequate and since it will benefit me in no way by having a different one fitted, then why change it at all.
    Surely I can’t be the only homeowner who is a complete technophobe when it comes to dealing with things electrical. There is no way I could even begin to reset any presets that are disrupted by a meter exchange. These were all done for me by someone who, sadly, is no longer available to me Surely there is a way of ensuring that the elecricity supply to any premises can be maintained during the process of exchanging a meter so that presets are not lost or disrupted. Does anyone out there have any constructive suggestions as to how I can face this dilemma. As I am now a pensioner with very little spare cash, throwing money at the problem is no longer an option for me.

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