Electricity meter's mistery

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by ELECTROFLUX, Oct 24, 2015.

  1. ELECTROFLUX

    Thread Starter Member

    Aug 7, 2015
    38
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    I don't know if the two things are related, but every times that the voltage supplied to my house's meter drops consistently, usually from 230V AC to just 160-170V AC, for extended periods of time (can be up to 10 hours during the whole day), my electricity bill seems to jumps up in cost.
    As the load it's always the same, how can such a huge discrepancy in costs be justified otherways???
    The meter it's not digital but analog, with inside one of those round shaped disc constantly turning.
    Thanks
     
  2. pwdixon

    Member

    Oct 11, 2012
    488
    56
    Where are you located? Anyone getting that kind of voltage drop is either in a third world country or has a serious electrical problem.
     
  3. ELECTROFLUX

    Thread Starter Member

    Aug 7, 2015
    38
    2
    Hi Pwdixon, T world, but everybody around will get extremely irritated if someone mention it, while at the same time claiming that it's the rest of the world who got it all wrong, anyway, that doesn't really matter.
    I have kept looking online for an answer, but i think it will remain a mystery....previously i was under the impression that maybe because the energy provided was smaller than usual, but the request from my house was still the same, maybe it would make the meter spin faster, but all i found was against this.
    Another theory is that maybe, because high consuming goods as the refrigerators would struggle to get what they need, they will keep asking for higher energy without succeeding.
    Around 10 years ago, there was an article on a local newspaper, naming and shaming a whole electricity's company branch for cheating on their customers, but i can't remember how they did it, i should have kept it for future reference, ah ah.
     
  4. ELECTROFLUX

    Thread Starter Member

    Aug 7, 2015
    38
    2
    What i found bizarre, it's that these spikes in electricity costs keep happenings when these "brown-outs" occurs, if it was just a problem on my system, it should happen even when the voltage doesn't drop, and it's happening on the whole neighborhood, not just my home, but maybe i am missing on something...
     
  5. blocco a spirale

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 18, 2008
    1,440
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    A load drawing a large current on your side of the meter could cause both of the effects you describe. Attach a clamp ammeter to the incoming supply cable and observe what happens to the current during these brown-outs.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2015
  6. ISB123

    Well-Known Member

    May 21, 2014
    1,239
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    Switch to other el. providers?
     
  7. ELECTROFLUX

    Thread Starter Member

    Aug 7, 2015
    38
    2
    Thanks for your suggestions, i might invest on some other gadget in the future to have a better understanding of it.
    The country has only 1 electricity supplier, the alternative it will be to buy a solar/wind/etc.. personal system, but it's a bit over my current budget, i will definitely re evaluate my options when better times finally arrives....
     
  8. dl324

    Distinguished Member

    Mar 30, 2015
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    It's unlikely that this would be the case. Lights and appliances would be turning off and on randomly.

    Could be some things running less efficiently under brownout conditions.
     
  9. dl324

    Distinguished Member

    Mar 30, 2015
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    Even in so called developed countries, a single company has a monopoly in most regions.
     
  10. Roderick Young

    Member

    Feb 22, 2015
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    168
    If it happens at about the same time every day, it could just be a brownout from the electric company. What you should do is compare your usage with your neighbor's. The next time the voltage drops, run over to the neighbor's to see if their voltage dropped, too.

    Do you have a service panel on the house with circuit breakers? What you can try, if your meter starts spinning like crazy, is to start turning breakers off until you find what circuit is drawing all the power. That might give a clue as to what is is. Then you can decide whether it is normal or not.
     
    Sinus23 likes this.
  11. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    I'm thinking about an invalid meter which assumes you have proper line voltage and only measures the current. Motors struggling to run under-powered would use more current and the meter would falsify the true power use.

    Don't laugh to quickly. I used to have a meter that kept spinning when ALL my breakers were off, and I'm in U.S.A. :eek:
    The local power company idiots said, "That's normal".
    I had to break the seals on the meter to get them to accuse me of stealing power, and they replaced the meter in order to gather evidence against me to be used in a criminal court.
    Of course, they couldn't find anything wrong with the meter, but I got a new one that didn't run when nothing was connected to the load side.;)
     
  12. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
    12,127
    3,049
    There's a DJ in Chicago that has a routine bit called "Floridiots" in which he reads news clips about the shenanigans of your fellow state inhabitants.

    I fear one day I will hear about some Floridiot named #12, and his run-in with local authorities. :p
     
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  13. ian field

    Distinguished Member

    Oct 27, 2012
    4,415
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    If you have a lot of appliances with SMPSU, they'll increase the duty cycle to maintain the secondary voltage.

    That means they'll draw more average current - although the effective power shouldn't be much different.

    In the old style meter with rotating aluminium disc, lower voltage across the voltage coil should cause slower rotation for a given current.
     
    Roderick Young likes this.
  14. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    and it should stop completely when there is no load, but I already proved you can't believe everything that, "should" happen.
    See post #11

    Most of the time, my primary survival mechanism to remain unnoticed.;)
    In this case, it was a cash flow leak and I knew for sure I was right.:mad:
     
  15. ELECTROFLUX

    Thread Starter Member

    Aug 7, 2015
    38
    2
    Luckily the phenomenon i am experiencing, well, actually it's "we" as it affect the whole neighborhood as i wrote, it's not so frequent anymore, years ago was much much worse, now it only happens every 2 or 3 months, but it's still annoying to see your bills to rise around 10%, not because you used more, but because you got much less, with large appliances clearly struggling and neon's lights refusing to switch on, with their starters keep flashing on and off.
    This very thing probably "killed" my washing machine, but i can't prove it with facts, as both my technical's skills and available tools are not enough for the task.
     
  16. profbuxton

    Member

    Feb 21, 2014
    233
    68
    One possible way around your problem, if it can cause damage to your appliances is to use an undervoltage relay in your switchboard. This will disconnect your supply from your appliances if voltage drops below set limit. Depends on wether you can stand the interruption and how long. Reset may be automatic after a time period or manual when volts returns to normal.
     
  17. Roderick Young

    Member

    Feb 22, 2015
    408
    168
    In areas where there are likely to be brownouts, I believe people can buy "voltage stabilizers" that will draw increasing amounts of current in order to maintain a certain voltage in the house. Good for the house, but this selfish technique brings the line voltage down even further, making things worse for other houses on the grid. Maybe there are a lot of these people in your neighborhood?
     
  18. ian field

    Distinguished Member

    Oct 27, 2012
    4,415
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    Could depend on how the meter is wired; if the voltage coil is wired after the series current coil, it draws a tiny amount of magnetising current - that may be enough to keep the disc turning very slowly.
     
  19. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
    16,301
    6,812
    It could also depend on whether that one meter was defective, as proven by my measurements and the fact that the replacement meter worked properly.
     
  20. The Electrician

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 9, 2007
    2,281
    326
    There's a meter adjustment to stop this. One wonders about the training of the repairmen.

    See page 19 here: http://www.korrekt.com/energy/watt_hour_power_meter/Physics222Project.pdf

    There's a brief mention of "creep" here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricity_meter

    More here: http://kwhrmeter.blogspot.com/2013/05/electricity-meter-kw-hr-anti-creep-holes.html
     
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