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  1. #1
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    Default Water & electricity meters overreading?

    How likely is it that one's water and electricity meters could be overreading?

    I have recently asked my Ward Councillor to lodge a complaint about my electricity meter, because my consumption has suddenly jumped by about 20% and there are no new appliances in the household.

    My water usage seems to be consistent, but converting my approx 32kl per day to gallons (because I remember the size of the 1 000 gallon tanks we had on our farm), and I just can't imagine that amount of water being used in a day, every single day. I don't water the garden or lawn ever. Perhaps on the day washing is done per machine usage could go to that level, but not the rest of the time. Only 4 people on the property.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Water & electricity meters overreading?

    Two issues. Common problem.
    Electricity increase - short circuit
    Water increase - a leak

    32,000L per day?
    Jakes Louw
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Water & electricity meters overreading?

    Water meter do a test
    Shut off everything in house
    If water meter still moving then a leak
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    Default Re: Water & electricity meters overreading?

    What I have seen before are that you must make pretty sure in what domination your meter measure gal, liters, kl.
    And yes 32000 l, your hose pipe is permanently open. If you are saving 6kl a month, the government calculated it and gave the incentive.
    You must have an astronomical water account and fines for wasting water. You will be surprised what is really happening. I can show you a photo how a neighbor stealing power from my ant.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Water & electricity meters overreading?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian.McM View Post
    How likely is it that one's water and electricity meters could be overreading?

    I have recently asked my Ward Councillor to lodge a complaint about my electricity meter, because my consumption has suddenly jumped by about 20% and there are no new appliances in the household.

    My water usage seems to be consistent, but converting my approx 32kl per day to gallons (because I remember the size of the 1 000 gallon tanks we had on our farm), and I just can't imagine that amount of water being used in a day, every single day. I don't water the garden or lawn ever. Perhaps on the day washing is done per machine usage could go to that level, but not the rest of the time. Only 4 people on the property.
    I was away and recently got an account for R15000 for water for one month.
    Found a leak under my paving, fixed it and the account came down to R1000/m for water.
    Check for a leak.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Water & electricity meters overreading?

    Quote Originally Posted by jelo View Post
    Two issues. Common problem.
    Electricity increase - short circuit
    Water increase - a leak

    32,000L per day?
    Thanks Jakes.

    A short circuit in the electricity meter, or elsewhere? Shouldn't the earth leakage then trip?

    The electricity meter is on the wall of the house (old style, so I doubt anyone is managing to steal.

    Yup, 32 kl per day according to my account, but that has been constant for quite a while.

    I'll check tomorrow if the water meter is moving with no taps open.
    Last edited by Ian.McM; 2021/10/21 at 08:26 PM.

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Water & electricity meters overreading?

    Start with the DB and shut everything off. Switch on one breaker at a time and watch the meter. Not all shorts trip the CB.
    With the water: that amount is astronomical. We use 2000L on a bad day. Switch off the tap at the meter then go close everything you can find. Open the main tap, any meter movement is then an underground leak.
    Jakes Louw
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Water & electricity meters overreading?

    I looked at the account again, and it's only about 32 kl in total. That's far more realistic, but still over R1 000 per month.

    But the electricity needs looking at.

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Water & electricity meters overreading?

    I have been thinking of getting some panels and a inverter just to cover our daytime usage and bring the elect bill down. This will solve the sympton for OP but not the cause.

    Perhaps something to ponder about.

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  11. #10
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    Default Re: Water & electricity meters overreading?

    Compare readings on bill with actual readings!
    They estimate readings due to inability/laziness to read meters!

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  13. #11
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    Default Re: Water & electricity meters overreading?

    Get a sparky to fit an inline meter next to the municipal meter and compare the readings.

    In our complex we generally get a complaint every quarter from someone who doesn't believe the electricity account is correct. Electrician fits the meter next to their main meter and we compare the consumption over a month. Thus far we haven't had a meter out by more than a kw or 2 over that period.

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  15. #12
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    Default Re: Water & electricity meters overreading?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian.McM View Post
    How likely is it that one's water and electricity meters could be over-reading?
    The electricity meter - highly unlikely. Having been involved in electricity instrumentation and metering for many years I never came across an electricity meter that over-read, irrespective of the age or technology used.
    The water meter - I don't know so can't comment.
    If you make a noise or need music in the bush or on the beach, you’re missing the point.

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  17. #13
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    Default Re: Water & electricity meters overreading?

    Currently have a situation with a rental property where the electricity bill went from, on average, R1100 a month to R4400. The unit downstairs went from similar amounts to R14000.

    Electrician says that meters should be replaced every 10 years.

  18. #14
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    Default Re: Water & electricity meters overreading?

    Apart from the still burning sensation in my ringer that forces me to sit on a soft feathery pillow thanks to our sweet municipality more than doubling my rates 2 months back thanks to property value increase, I was met with (as of this morning again) 2 months of +80kl per month of water usage..

    Naturally what is being billed reflects to usage measured exactly 1 month back, so in essence 2 months back after having had a mild annurism I went into self hybernation water usage wise..

    My summer (August) habit of running the garden water for approx 40 minutes every morning 5 days a week, was dropped to zero, shut the system down completely..

    Three quarter pint was threatened that if he continues taking half hour showers daily he will have to go find new parents, at 16... He is welcome to take his playstation with him...

    Half pint showers maybe twice a week when we shout loud enough so he is hardly an issue

    Wife and I don't take long at all in the shower..

    The new September usage bill received yesterday water closing meter reading less my personal meter reading yesterday netts a total monthly usage of around 28kl Sept 21st to October 21st, so that is what I am expecting to see around this time next month on the upcoming October rates bill..

    So my garden watering habit is costing me around 35-40kl per month, and then there is the sewerage cost that is linked to water use...

    Plants are going to have to get used to a fair amount less water over the coming months..

    Will probably be listing my irrigation system on the give it away for free thread shortly...

    Watch your usage, it climbs quickly..
    Last edited by Marcochezzi; 2021/10/22 at 10:45 AM.
    Regards - Marco Chezzi

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  19. #15
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    Default Re: Water & electricity meters overreading?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marcochezzi View Post
    My summer (August) habit of running the garden water for approx 40 minutes every morning 5 days a week
    I'm sorry, but this is such a waste of water when South Africa is struggling with droughts.

    I'm by no means a greenie or bunny hugger, but one should be water wise.

  20. #16
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    Default Re: Water & electricity meters overreading?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marcochezzi View Post

    Half pint showers maybe twice a week when we shout loud enough so he is hardly an issue
    How do you know about my showering habits

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  22. #17
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    Default Re: Water & electricity meters overreading?

    Ian (OP), the quantities that you mention (water) cannot be right.
    We have on our property 3 rental units plus our own residence, a swimming pool (larger than average).
    I do occasionally water the garden but not excessively.
    So in water terms this means:
    4 x
    Washing machines
    Hot water geysers, showers, etc.
    Topping up the pool from time to time.
    And 4x water use for washing dishes ... whatever.
    The worst reading we have ever had was 44 Kl for the MONTH. (Probably toped up pool more than once or something)
    We usually average around 15 - 19 Kl per month for the entire property.

    Something wrong there fo sho.
    You can usually detct water running through your piping during the quiet times of night - say 3 am or something stupid.
    So if you go to toilet at night just listen for a hissing type sound. Even put your ear onto an exposed pipe.
    If there is any sound - you have a leak somewhere.
    Plumbers have an instrument that can detect same.

    Then to FIND it - THAT is the actual problem.
    I would say that is more likely the issue, although when water is cut off for whatever reason, you could get air into the system and then the water meter is not reliable.

    Get a plumber to check it out for you.
    My neighbour about 3 or 4 years back got a bill for over R 20 K and the muni insisted that he had to apy for it since he had "used" that quantity.
    When he refused, they cut his water off for more than a week until he managed to make some "arrangement" with the relevant department / official / whatever ....
    Then it got somewhat reduced but he still had to pay.
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  23. #18
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    Default Re: Water & electricity meters overreading?

    Quote Originally Posted by PRA View Post
    The electricity meter - highly unlikely. Having been involved in electricity instrumentation and metering for many years I never came across an electricity meter that over-read, irrespective of the age or technology used.
    The water meter - I don't know so can't comment.
    That is really interesting as a few years ago I was involved in a project where the electricity generated for a city and by the city; just a few MW, had to be verified and out came an engineer from TUV SUD who informed the city electrical engineers that there was a SANS standard for the timing / interval of electricity meter calibration and the meters used were long out of the their calibration certificate period (which was 3 or 5 years maybe, I can't remember). It seemed that the city were unaware of the standard and L&G, the meter suppliers, stated that meters cannot be calibrated in SA. Accuracy can be checked but the meter cannot be adjusted. Common consensus was that the meters used either worked or obviously didn't work; they didn't drift slightly. Meters sent readings wirelessly at whatever interval was needed and a factor was needed to determine the actual electricity output or input. From recollection the output had two meters as a fail safe.

    The upshot of this was that all the meters had to be replaced with ones having current calibration certificates (luckily the city had quite a stock), then it was accepted that, going forward, accuracy would be verified within the calibration period by the supplier (it wasn't easy to find an independent and certified verifier).

    The vaguely amusing part was that some of the meters in stock were well into their calibration periods and it was not impossible to find a meter that was brand new but technically unusable as its calibration had expired. I always thought that if one had a metering dispute with a city; ask for the meter calibration certificates. If they could be found there would be a good chance they would have expired.

  24. #19
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    Default Re: Water & electricity meters overreading?

    Water meter

    Have you had interruptions due to burst mains/ builders damaging mains in your area?

    Air and grit in the supply messes with meters

  25. #20
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    Default Re: Water & electricity meters overreading?

    Quote Originally Posted by IcePick88 View Post
    I'm sorry, but this is such a waste of water when South Africa is struggling with droughts.

    I'm by no means a greenie or bunny hugger, but one should be water wise.
    WAS such a waste of water...
    Regards - Marco Chezzi

    There are two kinds of people in this world, those that can extrapolate from incomplete data..

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