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Topic # 161762 19-Jan-2015 10:36
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From this story - the general idea being their bills dropped by 1/3 to 1/2 when a smart meter was installed.

It's made me wonder if this is one reason my power bills are so high - well they seem high compared with say my Mum or a friend who I was talking with. It's just my wife and I, we have an old house that I've insulated well (ceiling two layers of pink batts, wall with foam, under floor), with some double glazing. In winter we heat 1/3 the house to 21 or 22 degrees using a new efficient heat pump, between 6 and 10pm, then other than the coldest days it's off overnight and is on for 30 minutes in the morning. All year we have two showers a day each - occasionally three if we're very active. We cook aomost every day on electric stove, no gas, everything electric. Hot water cylinder is brand new and also has an insulation blanket just because I had one around. Downlights removed because they waste heat. Significant effort taken to reduce usage, such as a device that shuts off power to the TV and such when it's not in use. One fridge/freezer, nothing much on during the day. One computer runs 12 hours a day.

Example power bills:
 - April $221 850kwh (estimated)
 - May $185 682kwh
 - August $330 1386kwh
 - Sept $485 2292kwh
 - Oct $179 764kwh
 - Dec $196 849kwh


Is this high or pretty standard? We do heat the place to a comfortable temperature all winter, but only when we're here.




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  Reply # 1217390 19-Jan-2015 10:41
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If her bills have dropped by half then you would have to think they had a faulty meter before. You could always ring your provider and ask if they will install a smart meter. I got one installed at the request of Contact the other week, no cost to me. They had to drop the power for about 10 mins. Was all very painless. 



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  Reply # 1217392 19-Jan-2015 10:45
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I asked Mercury about smart meters recently, they said no as they need infrastructure in place that isn't in my area yet.

I wonder if calibrating my old meter is possible and/or a good idea?




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  Reply # 1217396 19-Jan-2015 10:51
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Lol, that is one of the worst written articles I have ever seen on stuff (and that is saying something). The only way a smart meter can reduce your bills (at this point in time) is if you have a faulty meter. The chances of that are incredibly small (infinitesimally). The fact that it is read once a day/hour or once every two months is completely irrelevant to the total amount you pay. Yes it is more accurate on a month to month basis but you still end up paying the same amount in the end.

They can help you to reduce your consumption by giving you more detailed consumption information (depending on the company, some do hourly info). This would in turn reduce your bill. But I highly doubt the person quoted in the article is intelligent enough to do that...

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  Reply # 1217402 19-Jan-2015 10:53
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I live in a not very well insulated 3 bed timber house in Auckland - blown ceiling insulation and nothing else.. Everything electric with portable oil radiators.

Current bill is ~100, going up to ~300 in the winter.



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  Reply # 1217403 19-Jan-2015 10:55
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Yep the article is pretty poorly written and researched. It did make me think though, maybe my meter isn't calibrated properly.

Thanks Jon, sounds like your bills are a fair bit lower than mine, even though I'm well insulated with heat pumps.




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  Reply # 1217404 19-Jan-2015 10:55
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Yours do seem high.
We have an inefficient old heatpump, and nowhere as much insulation as you (timber Initial home, insulation in ceiling, only shiny paper under floor, single glazed windows) and out power bills only get to about $250-280 in winter. 3 people in the house, at least one shower each a day on electric hot water. Gas cooktop though. PC running 24/7, TV pretty much running whenever we are at home (esp in WInter).

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  Reply # 1217405 19-Jan-2015 10:55
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P.S. In response to original poster. Those line up similarly to my bill and I use a fire for all my winter heating. I do live in Central Otago (gets pretty cold in winter). One of my workmates had a $1200 bill this winter. Three heat pumps on 24/7...



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  Reply # 1217419 19-Jan-2015 11:02
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Sounds like further investigation is warranted... any ideas how I'd work out if either my meter needs calibration, or how to get it checked?




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  Reply # 1217423 19-Jan-2015 11:05
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timmmay: I asked Mercury about smart meters recently, they said no as they need infrastructure in place that isn't in my area yet.

I wonder if calibrating my old meter is possible and/or a good idea?


I did a calibration check on my old rotating disk meter and found I was being overcharged by 27%.
The meter was quickly replaced by the power company.
A further calibration check on the new meter showed usage to be within 1%.

Cheers.





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  Reply # 1217424 19-Jan-2015 11:06
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I live in a small 2 bed Lockwood home - all electric..(excpet wood fire which was my only heating in winter). I bought those Philips Hue lights and barely used the main house lights (Halogen)  and I noticed a drop in my power bill of about $25 in the 1st month, which I didn't attribute to the lights at first, and then in the 2nd and 3rd month noticed again ~ $20 - $30 lower power bill.

So I would say those LED do help reduce your power bill even if thy are more expensive to buy,(~$250 for the set) but you get your money back over the year so well worth it for small places. Now you can just buy the white (at a lower price) for places that just need a white glow so my outside light is no longer Red...

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  Reply # 1217453 19-Jan-2015 11:12
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IIRC with the old spinning disk type meters, they are more likely to under-record your consumption (i.e. you would expect an increased power bill shifting to a smart meter). The idea behind it was that friction builds up over time, slowing down the disc and other rotating bits thus under-recording. Can't remember where i read this (might have been GZ). Perhaps someone here knows for sure?

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  Reply # 1217454 19-Jan-2015 11:13
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I am often surprised at how much electricity some people manage to use. I use less than 4000 kWh per year (typically 200kwh per month in mid summer and 400kwh in mid winter) so your usage seems high. Admittedly I don't spend a lot of time at home because I live alone and I am occasionally out of town or out socialising, but on the other hand my place is reasonably 'inefficient' in that I only have an electric heater and the insulation is mediocre.

I'd suggest that you firstly create a spreadsheet breaking down how much power you would theoretically expect each of your appliances to be consuming each month. If it's substantially different from your actual usage then you need to need to turn off all appliances, then turn on one at a time and observe how your meter reacts. If one particular appliance causes the meter to tick over faster than expected then the appliance is suspect - otherwise if all appliances cause the meter to tick over too fast then obviously the meter is suspect.

I would have thought meters would be failsafe, so I would imagine an over-reading meter would be rare but I'm not across the technical aspects of how they work.



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  Reply # 1217458 19-Jan-2015 11:15
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Gordy7: I did a calibration check on my old rotating disk meter and found I was being overcharged by 27%.
The meter was quickly replaced by the power company.
A further calibration check on the new meter showed usage to be within 1%.


How did you check the calibration?

alasta: I'd suggest that you firstly create a spreadsheet breaking down how much power you would theoretically expect each of your appliances to be consuming each month. If it's substantially different from your actual usage then you need to need to turn off all appliances, then turn on one at a time and observe how your meter reacts. If one particular appliance causes the meter to tick over faster than expected then the appliance is suspect - otherwise if all appliances cause the meter to tick over too fast then obviously the meter is suspect.

I would have thought meters would be failsafe, so I would imagine an over-reading meter would be rare but I'm not across the technical aspects of how they work.


Given the variable usage of devices like fridges and heat pumps I'm not sure that's practical. Probably a good idea in theory but not sure I could manage it with any accuracy.




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  Reply # 1217459 19-Jan-2015 11:15
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We live near the OP. I've actually visited the OP a couple of times over the last couple of years. Their house has better insulation than ours (we have one layer of Pink Batts, underfloor, no wall insulation. No heat pump in the house. We have lots of electronics (some stay on all day as our routers, switches, server, desktops, fridge) and some used a some point (TVs, electrical oven). We use gas for water heating only, on demand.

We use Powershop and have a smart meter. Our power bill is similar to the OPs, perhaps a bit more because of the inefficiencies in the house but not too different.

If OP decides to go Powershop and get a smart meter, I can "recommend a friend" and both get a kickback in the bill.





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  Reply # 1217461 19-Jan-2015 11:18
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Well our power bill goes from about $170-180 in summer to about $230-240 in winter, pretty much the only difference being one 6 year old heat pump and the odd electric blanky. That's for electric cooking and heating (the heat pump). Fibre board home, fair insulation. Two adults 3 midgets.




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