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Old 01-08-2020, 04:11 PM   #1
BlackHogDown
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Exclamation Energy Bill HELP!

Stream Energy - SmartMeter

I live in a 750sqft apt. Just me and my dog. This past summer, I noticed my energy bill climbing. I chalked it up to a warmer summer than that of last year. Come October, I expected my bill to start decreasing as AC use did...

Oct 2018: $98
Oct 2019: $190

Called and asked ***. They said that I used 1100KW (don't remember exact number. Dont do the math). "I know that's what it says but it cant be right. No way i used more than double the energy than the same month in 2018!" I asked if there was any way the meter was wrong and they said no.

November: I took further measures to lower my energy bill. Unplugged remaining "vampire" appliances. Water cooler, dehumidifier, etc. Again expected the bill to go down. Quite the opposite. $225 Over double that from Nov2018. Called again and went through the same conversation. "Go to this website to learn how to reduce your energy consumption..." I KNOW! I used my AC 5 days that month and was unplugging appliances every day! Finally explained to someone that there is no way i am using 1600 kwhr of energy in a one bedroom apt with one person. Especially given the measures i'm taking to reduce energy consumption.

We filed for an in-house "re-read" (rather than centerpoint re-read) despite the fact that I'd be on the hook for the cost of "anywhere from $20-$200 on (my) next bill if it is, in fact, correct." Never heard anything from them so i assumed good news.

December: $245! I literally used the AC/heater 3 times all month and was gone the entire week of christmas!

What options do i have? My nextdoor neighbor has a wife and two kids in a 3br and his bill is a fraction of mine with the same provider. In 2018, when bills were low, I paid NO mind to energy consumption. So how am i using double now that I'm not using AC and taking these preventative measures?

Someone help a brotha out! When i call, they give me the stupid comments "Well your billing cycle is 28-28th. Not 1st-1st Maybe that is your confusion.... Have you tried unplugging unnecessary appliances?..."

Yes, I know I can lower my rate a bit by resigning my recently expired contract but why would I, given this experience? (moving in 2 months) My issue isn't cost. It's the amount of energy for which they are charging me. What are my options, if any? Something is obviously wrong!
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Old 01-08-2020, 04:18 PM   #2
100%TtId
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Wrong meter is tied to your account. Is it a digital meter?
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Old 01-08-2020, 04:32 PM   #3
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Shut your main breaker off and see if the meter stops.
Take a meter read everyday to see if it spikes on certain days.
Maybe your neighbor is plugging into one of your outside plugs...this happened to me. It was a rental house neighbor.
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Old 01-08-2020, 04:37 PM   #4
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Youíre only telling us your $ bill, you need to be looking at how many KW you used during the billing cycle. Maybe your rate has just doubled in the time period. Which would be a separate issue


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Old 01-08-2020, 04:38 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Horns1 View Post
Youíre only telling us your $ bill, you need to be looking at how many KW you used during the billing cycle. Maybe your rate has just doubled in the time period. Which would be a separate issue


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Yup, could be a promotional rate that expired
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Old 01-08-2020, 05:19 PM   #6
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Was a new meter installed by chance? I've read about newer meters giving false readings.
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Old 01-08-2020, 05:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Horns1 View Post
Youíre only telling us your $ bill, you need to be looking at how many KW you used during the billing cycle. Maybe your rate has just doubled in the time period. Which would be a separate issue


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Yíall completely missed the point.

My energy consumption in kwhr has more than doubled. I specifically said that my concern isnít dollar amt. itís the energy they are saying I am using. 1600kwhr compared to 750 the same month the previous year while using all the same appliances.

Yes promotional rate expired. My $225 November bill wouldíve been $170 at previous rate. Again. Not what Iím disputing. Regardless of what it costs, no way I used 1600 kwhr.


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Old 01-08-2020, 05:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TxAg View Post
Was a new meter installed by chance? I've read about newer meters giving false readings.


Not that I am aware of.


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Old 01-08-2020, 05:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 100%TtId View Post
Wrong meter is tied to your account. Is it a digital meter?


ďSmart meterĒ. Yes sir.


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Old 01-08-2020, 05:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jspradley View Post
Yup, could be a promotional rate that expired


Last paragraph of OP


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Old 01-08-2020, 05:31 PM   #11
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do you have access to see the numbers on your meter to confirm they are correct?
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Old 01-08-2020, 05:33 PM   #12
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Someone may be tapped into your meter somewhere. Like someone said, I would turn off breakers and go see if meter is still running. Not the main breaker though, leave it on and see if someone is plugged into an outlet etc...that is being billed to your account.
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Old 01-08-2020, 05:35 PM   #13
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Someone has tied into yours. I knew a guy that talked about doing that a decade ago. Apartments are easier to do that in than a single family residential home.
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Old 01-08-2020, 05:44 PM   #14
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Start turning breakers off. I have seen a few apts that were not wired correctly. Sounds like someone else is tied into your meter. Start with the 2 pole breakers. If you can turn one off and everything still works in your apt, then leave it off. Also do what was mentioned above, turn your main breaker off and see if your meter is registering power use.
1600kw for a 1 bedroom apt is insane. My 1100 sq. ft poorly insulated house doesn't use that much in the middle of the summer.
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Old 01-08-2020, 05:44 PM   #15
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Probably a neighbor mining bitcoins with your electricity
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Old 01-08-2020, 05:52 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 100%TtId View Post
Wrong meter is tied to your account. Is it a digital meter?
My money is going on this situation.

OP, I like the idea of what someone else has said. Shut the main power off completely, record the meter, and restart. Check it same time everyday.
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Old 01-08-2020, 05:52 PM   #17
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If you neighbor with kids has a smaller bill, and you alone have a higher bill, and the meters were just changed out, I would have them check to ensure the two new meters were not assigned to the wrong apartments and you are getting his bill and he is getting your bill. You might check the bill to see if it has the meter serial number on it so you can check it.
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Old 01-08-2020, 06:18 PM   #18
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Brother that is flat insane


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Old 01-08-2020, 06:51 PM   #19
100%TtId
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TxAg View Post
Probably a neighbor mining bitcoins with your electricity
or running a grow room operation.
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Old 01-08-2020, 07:03 PM   #20
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Sometimes less is more, if that makes sense. You might be getting lower rates if you run more power. Example 500kw and under is 10cents, 1000-1500 is 8 cents and over 2000 is 6.
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Old 01-08-2020, 07:06 PM   #21
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your plan sucks. In Dec I had 3031kwh and it was $278. 7000 sq ft house with a TON of landscape lights, pool and a wife than needs every light on in the house....the highest I get is $600-700 range in summer with 4 units.

change plans quickly.
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Old 01-08-2020, 07:08 PM   #22
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If you shut off your main breaker, and somebody had tapped into your apartment, youíll be turning off Ďhisí electricity at the same time. Unplugging everything in your apartment and turning off heat and turn down temp on water heater should zero your electricity usage.

Can you get a amperage meter clamp around the output conduit of the power meter? If yes pick up a Klein clamp on meter at Home Depot. Return it after you do an experiment.

Turn on several appliances, measure the current (amperes) and voltage. The digital meter should cycle through readings on the display, and show you amps or watts. Watts/ Volts (from Klein meter) equals amps.

See if the Klein measurement agrees with the meter.


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Old 01-08-2020, 07:11 PM   #23
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Have your power provider cone out and check it in your presence. Or, do like some have said. Turn all breakers off and check your meter.

Also, if you have a decent maintenance person have them take a look with you.
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Old 01-08-2020, 07:15 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 100%TtId View Post
or running a grow room operation.


Thats what im thinking. Is your neighbors apartment glowing at night??


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Old 01-08-2020, 07:24 PM   #25
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Please update when you figure it out.
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Old 01-08-2020, 07:36 PM   #26
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Had this happen to a business my nephew owned in Goldthwaite. His bills were high and finally found out the coop had the wrong names on the meters.
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Old 01-08-2020, 08:03 PM   #27
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My guess is they have the wrong meter assigned.
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Old 01-08-2020, 08:10 PM   #28
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Somebody tapped u out
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Old 01-08-2020, 08:10 PM   #29
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Can you get the meter number off your bill? Check the meter in your socket to be sure they match
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Old 01-08-2020, 10:01 PM   #30
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regardless of all the theories here.....if you are paying more than $160 for 1600kwh you are paying too much. Start there. Your plan is awful and the highest on the planet.
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Old 01-08-2020, 10:02 PM   #31
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I am with the wrong meter group. But Bill is correct, an amp clamp on meter would tell you. I would do it on each wire at the breakers with everything turn off in the apartment. IF you are comfortable around electricity.
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Old 01-09-2020, 06:09 AM   #32
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We lived in an apartment where the meters were mixed up and registered to the wrong apartment number. We were paying almost $300 bill during the summer on a 1 bedroom.
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Old 01-09-2020, 06:55 AM   #33
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Ok thanks for the ideas. I'll do some investigating and get maintenance involved. Will update once we figure out what's going on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom View Post
regardless of all the theories here.....if you are paying more than $160 for 1600kwh you are paying too much. Start there. Your plan is awful and the highest on the planet.
Yes, sir. I'm aware of my rate being high. Assuming there is something wrong, which it surely seems there is, I'd imagine they are on the hook for the excess energy costs. At least that was the case with my water bill a few years ago. I don't want to leave if they owe me $500 in energy. Maybe thats not the case but we'll see. Believe me... As soon as this is over, I'm switching. Also, I'm moving in two months so I'm not sure if new provider would charge to move service.
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Old 01-09-2020, 07:01 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paycheck View Post
I am with the wrong meter group. But Bill is correct, an amp clamp on meter would tell you. I would do it on each wire at the breakers with everything turn off in the apartment. IF you are comfortable around electricity.
I'm not. My electrical experience is limited to a circuits course sophomore year of college ... But I know a master. I'll give him a call for some help. Honestly, I didn't realize there were this many possibilities to look into. Thought it was either a bad/incorrect meter or not.

Thanks, fellas.
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Old 01-09-2020, 07:06 AM   #35
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something is fishy I agree
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Old 01-09-2020, 07:07 AM   #36
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Thanks to those who have reached out via PM, I'll give you a shout during business hours. Thank you!
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Old 01-09-2020, 07:22 AM   #37
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Things that causes this.

Electric heat and a heat sequencer is stuck. So you have 3 to 5 kw coming on and off.
Water well short cycling
Electric water heater thermostat stuck
Dryer element on

That is the main loads that you won’t realize.
What sucks is with a digital meter you no longer can turn things off and find it easily. Next would be get a amp Meyer. Go to the electrical panel and take amp draw on these items. See if they are drawing anything. All of them are easy to test,other then water heater. Water heater you never know when it’s on doing its job. That one you would need to watch over time.

No one has taped into your meter. You would notice something different. I’ve never heard of them reading the wrong meter they are ID. not saying it can’t happen but I doubt it.
Old meters could go bad and they would speed up. Digital meter I doubt.

One thing you need to do for several days. Read your meter. In the morning. If posible at lunch. Then when you get home from work. Make sure everything is of. You should not see a big change in the reading. Ghost draws will make very little changes. Water heater if electric will be the only big draw.
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Old 01-09-2020, 07:34 AM   #38
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Same thing was happening to me so I called and my promotion ended. Called another company and they disconnected from my previous provider for me and now Im saving $500-$600.
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Old 01-09-2020, 07:39 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enewman View Post
Things that causes this.

Electric heat and a heat sequencer is stuck. So you have 3 to 5 kw coming on and off.
Water well short cycling
Electric water heater thermostat stuck
Dryer element on

That is the main loads that you wonít realize.
What sucks is with a digital meter you no longer can turn things off and find it easily. Next would be get a amp Meyer. Go to the electrical panel and take amp draw on these items. See if they are drawing anything. All of them are easy to test,other then water heater. Water heater you never know when itís on doing its job. That one you would need to watch over time.

No one has taped into your meter. You would notice something different. Iíve never heard of them reading the wrong meter they are ID. not saying it canít happen but I doubt it.
Old meters could go bad and they would speed up. Digital meter I doubt.

One thing you need to do for several days. Read your meter. In the morning. If posible at lunch. Then when you get home from work. Make sure everything is of. You should not see a big change in the reading. Ghost draws will make very little changes. Water heater if electric will be the only big draw.

This^^^^^^^ saved me lots of typing.

Good luck with your findings and hope you get it lined out.

Rwc
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Old 01-09-2020, 08:01 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enewman View Post
Things that causes this.

Electric heat and a heat sequencer is stuck. So you have 3 to 5 kw coming on and off.
Water well short cycling
Electric water heater thermostat stuck
Dryer element on

That is the main loads that you wonít realize.
What sucks is with a digital meter you no longer can turn things off and find it easily. Next would be get a amp Meyer. Go to the electrical panel and take amp draw on these items. See if they are drawing anything. All of them are easy to test,other then water heater. Water heater you never know when itís on doing its job. That one you would need to watch over time.

No one has taped into your meter. You would notice something different. Iíve never heard of them reading the wrong meter they are ID. not saying it canít happen but I doubt it.
Old meters could go bad and they would speed up. Digital meter I doubt.

One thing you need to do for several days. Read your meter. In the morning. If posible at lunch. Then when you get home from work. Make sure everything is of. You should not see a big change in the reading. Ghost draws will make very little changes. Water heater if electric will be the only big draw.
Thanks for the suggestions. Will look into those for sure.

There was a site that was suggested by the Stream rep. It showed my usage throughout the day in 15 min increments (or something like that). For the few days i monitored it, it looked as if there was steady draw throughout the day and spiking, as expected, in the evenings. When compared to that of the previous year around the same time, it showed the same pattern as far as usage throughout the day... Just much higher.

Update to include that I finally received my actual invoice. They are charging me for 1800kWh... For a month in which i was gone for an entire week and only used my AC/heat but 3-5 times.

Last edited by BlackHogDown; 01-09-2020 at 08:06 AM.
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Old 01-09-2020, 08:28 AM   #41
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Default Energy Consumption graph 1/7

This is the graph from Tuesday. Every day has the same trend. Spike in the morning when I'm leaving for work, spike in the evenings when i get home, and repeated peaks/troughs throughout the middle of the day.

Interestingly, there are some upticks in usage throughout the night. Up to 0.5 kWh.

On this day in particular, I had no AC on all day/night. Windows open.
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Old 01-09-2020, 08:55 AM   #42
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What enewman said. What does this graph look like when your main is off?
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Old 01-09-2020, 08:56 AM   #43
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What enewman said. What does this graph look like when your main is off?
That has me worried. If it is something faulty in the apt, I don't have much confidence that they'll try to make it right. Although, I did mention to the manager in November the high electric bill. She was shocked as well.

I'll shut it down tonight for 15 min and check it out.
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Old 01-09-2020, 10:05 AM   #44
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Shut off main breaker to your apartment and then go check the meter. If thereís no energy usage being displayed, the meters are not Ďcrossedí.

Turn on breaker and turn off everything electric in your apartment, including heat and hot water temp to lowest setting. Unplug refrigerator, tv. Check meter. If zero or close nobody is tapping-in.

Get a six pack of good beer, drink one and call your electrician friend, say you have a problem and 5 beers left.


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Old 01-09-2020, 10:08 AM   #45
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The graph looks like something is cycling on every 30 minutes from 9:45 to the rest of the day


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Old 01-09-2020, 10:53 AM   #46
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The graph looks like something is cycling on every 30 minutes from 9:45 to the rest of the day


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That's what it seems... Despite AC being off and nobody home.

The plan was to turn off the main for a few minutes and see if its reflected in the graph. Though, that would take 48 hours as reports aren't compiled in real-time. One that reached out suggested turning lights on and then cutting power. If lights are still on, lines are crossed somewhere. If lights go off...

Then i will monitor the meter as i go breaker by breaker until the virtual revolving disk (idk what it's called) slows down indicating less draw. That way we can isolate the faulty appliance drawing the power (most likely drier or AC despite being off). I reached out to maintenance to do this with me so that I can keep them in the loop.
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Old 01-09-2020, 11:17 AM   #47
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That graph is a heater or water heater signature. May or may not be your's.
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Old 01-09-2020, 11:23 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by 100%TtId View Post
That graph is a heater or water heater signature. May or may not be your's.
Did a quick google on water heater efficiency. I'd be willing to bet it is FULL of sediment. This apt has the WORST water quality I've ever experienced. I have a pot that I use solely for Sous Vide and after one use, I have to scrub the calcification from the side. I bought an aftermarket shower filter that I have to change monthly. Otherwise, you smell as if you've been swimming in the pool all day.

IDK if it's the root cause but it cant help.
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Old 01-09-2020, 05:58 PM   #49
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Got home and took a look at the water heater. The runoff line is warm to the touch. Iím no plumber but it seems Iím continuously warming water Iím not using... Maintenance is coming by tomorrow to inspect it.



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Old 01-09-2020, 06:16 PM   #50
BlackHogDown
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Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Pearland
Hunt In: Duval County, Livingston
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Found my meter and flipped the breaker. Ran around the corner and verified that the porch lights turned off. I am, in fact, paying for my own meter... Hoping the water heater is the culprit.




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