Electricity consumption monitors.

Jun 20, 2005
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Our electric bills seem to be twice the norm for our house.
We don’t want a smart meter but need something to measure our minute by minute consumption.
Anyone used an energy monitor?
Any recommendations?
 
May 7, 2012
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I have not heard of this. Nothing can be added before the meter but possibly an electrician could add one after that. You would need to an electrician to see what they can do, but meters might be available to do this, although if you use it to argue with your supplier I doubt they will accept your figures.
 

Mel

Mar 17, 2007
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We had a Smart meter in our old house. It was quite good at showing energy consumption. It’s ability to make me use less of it was more limited. Possibly I cut back on tumble dryer use. It did mean that we didn’t need the meters read by an actual human being.
Mel
 
Sep 29, 2016
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We have smart meter Alan but it does not give a breakdown of individual appliances etc.

I bought one of these for a purpose not directly related to your requirements, I find it pretty accurate for measuring specific devices, would this perhaps be of use to you.

Lots available and under different brand names too.
 
Sep 29, 2016
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That is similar to the device attached to our smart meter Alan, it is kept in the kitchen, and does what Mel has described.

It's a Landis\Gyr module, gives cost incurred so far today, electricity unit costs and KW hours used etc., also has Gas unit costs, KG's of gas used - blah- blah.

It has a Green\Amber\Red indicator for quick visual reference, on electrical setting the red indicator is very noticable when the microwave, tumble drier and 3kw kettle are used simultaneously :p.

I'm not sure how far back one can go to check historical usage but it does have this facility, tbh I seldom bother with it.

It was supplied and installed free by British Gas, iirc it related to some government initiative to reduce electricity \ gas usage, might be worth checking if similar initiatives\free devices are available in your area.
 
Oct 8, 2006
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Be aware that devices such as that above need a sensor clamped around the red (or brown) wire preferably on the meter input or on the incoming cable where it enters or leaves the main fuse. Either way it must be clamped around the single cable that carries all your incoming electricity. It can be difficult to achieve in some installations.
 
Jan 31, 2018
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As above we had one at school so the kids could see what was using what. Worked really well.
 
Jun 16, 2020
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As above we had one at school so the kids could see what was using what. Worked really well.
They do work very well. We had one supplied free by a pervious energy supplier. To be honest, it was of little use to us although it worked as it should have done. But we are pretty well aware of what items consume more power and try to be sensible anyway.

I later bought another off Ebay for £5 It was originally provided by Southern energy but must have been excess old stock. I fitted it to the caravan and it was very useful in France to help keep us below the posts amperage. But the rechargeable batteries failed.

John
 
Nov 16, 2015
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I didn't want a Smart meter, as we had economy 7, now the SM work on economy 7, so no problem. Keeping an eye on the monitor can make you paranoid.
Mrs H said, why do we use £1. 10 during the night. ( midnight until 7 am)
External lights, dishwasher, hotub, fridge x2, frezzer x 2, etc. Central heating pump. .
It all adds up. Works out at£ 5.50 . A day for gas and electric.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I didn't want a Smart meter, as we had economy 7, ...
Smart meters are not really smart, They're actually still quite dumb. It simply refers to the method by which the meter is read. All they do is report the consumptions since the last reading, but it's done without needing a human to physically read it.

I understand from one source in the industry, that with a smart meter the supply company can read the meter at half hour intervals or more. This allows them to break up the day into far more chargeable bands and allows you to use a tariff with several different rates throughout the day. I'm not sure if there are any domestic schemes that do this but certainly there are some commercial schemes where at some times of the day the customer is actually paid to use power.

The only smart bit about them is they can be remotely programmed by the supplier to read the power consumption in a number of different ways. Present legislation means they have to respond in the same way as the old spinning disk meters, and that means they don't take into account power factors. But if the supply regulations change, then the supply companies could change the meters responses over the air to record power factors and charge for peak current rather than average power per cycle.

With the increase in many forms of domestic equipment that use switch mode power supplies, or capacitive droppers, and many forms of LED lighting load power factors are deteriorating and for some homes such a switch could see an increase in electricity charges.

When it comes to Economy 7, having a smart meter should not change the way your power is charged, but you would have to verify that with your supplier.

When I took out my power contract with the Midlands Electricity Board, some 34 years ago I opted for quarterly billing to be settled at the end of each period. The MEB was taken over by N Power several years ago, and the same contract worked, except that the meter wasn't read very often so I was increasingly receiving estimated bills. Just a few months ago NPower was taken over by EON, and they without warning have switched me to monthly billing, and every bill I have had so far has been a estimate, which was overestimated. I am presently trying to get them to fit a smart meter so I will at least be paying for what I use.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Smart meters are not really smart, They're actually still quite dumb. It simply refers to the method by which the meter is read. All they do is report the consumptions since the last reading, but it's done without needing a human to physically read it.

I understand from one source in the industry, that with a smart meter the supply company can read the meter at half hour intervals or more. This allows them to break up the day into far more chargeable bands and allows you to use a tariff with several different rates throughout the day. I'm not sure if there are any domestic schemes that do this but certainly there are some commercial schemes where at some times of the day the customer is actually paid to use power.

The only smart bit about them is they can be remotely programmed by the supplier to read the power consumption in a number of different ways. Present legislation means they have to respond in the same way as the old spinning disk meters, and that means they don't take into account power factors. But if the supply regulations change, then the supply companies could change the meters responses over the air to record power factors and charge for peak current rather than average power per cycle.

With the increase in many forms of domestic equipment that use switch mode power supplies, or capacitive droppers, and many forms of LED lighting load power factors are deteriorating and for some homes such a switch could see an increase in electricity charges.

When it comes to Economy 7, having a smart meter should not change the way your power is charged, but you would have to verify that with your supplier.

When I took out my power contract with the Midlands Electricity Board, some 34 years ago I opted for quarterly billing to be settled at the end of each period. The MEB was taken over by N Power several years ago, and the same contract worked, except that the meter wasn't read very often so I was increasingly receiving estimated bills. Just a few months ago NPower was taken over by EON, and they without warning have switched me to monthly billing, and every bill I have had so far has been a estimate, which was overestimated. I am presently trying to get them to fit a smart meter so I will at least be paying for what I use.
I have applied for a smart meter twice and had the installation appointments cancelled. So I submit my meter readings monthly and like you when I compare actual usage with BGs estimated I am consistently lower. What irritates me though is that I can no longer go online to look at the usage- cost graphs which allow a look back over 12 months. To do that I have to have a smart meter. So all I can now check online is the monthly amount used in money terms not kw hrs. And it’s a right faff to convert back from money to energy usage. So each couple of months I ring them and ask for a accurate bill. And quaint little system it cannot be sent on line so it comes by post. But I’m on the tariff until April 2023 so have been insulated from the current hiatus.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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With a Smart meter they can also remotely change the configuration from E7 to E10 or standard. As said meter can be read remotely however the meter still needs to be read at least once physically every 2 years. Many Smart meters fitted several or more years ago need to be replaced to make it easier for consumers to switch suppliers and for the new supplier to be able to read the meter remotely. A big problem at present.
 
Jul 15, 2008
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I changed to Shell Energy a couple of years ago as they had competitive dual fuel tariffs and gave me a £50 welcome.
I considered it very unlikely they would fail and the fixed deal I went for came with a free smart meter.
Real time costs and usage are shown on a small WiFi monitor which is in my living room but can be anywhere you like in the home.
Loads of usage history info is also available on their website.
Every household eventually has to have a smart meter fitted. ....my experience is positive.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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I changed to Shell Energy a couple of years ago as they had competitive dual fuel tariffs and gave me a £50 welcome.
I considered it very unlikely they would fail and the fixed deal I went for came with a free smart meter.
Real time costs and usage are shown on a small WiFi monitor which is in my living room but can be anywhere you like in the home.
Loads of usage history info is also available on their website.
Every household eventually has to have a smart meter fitted. ....my experience is positive.
Our Smart meter was fitted in 2012 and makes switching supplier a hassle. The problem is that you only find out after you have switched that they cannot read the meter remotely and you need to send in readings every month.
Secondly our Smart meter gives two readings and the difference is one or two hundred kw. I take a reading as per the instruction in the booklet supplied with the meter and the supplier takes a reading from whatever they read which is different to my reading.
More annoying is that my current supplier ignores my reading and uses their reading and tells me I am reading the meter incorrectly! The difficulty is that very seldom do the dates for reading the meter coincide so it takes awhile before you realise something is wrong. This means taking a reading every day for a fortnight and hoping that their reading and yours will coincide.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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I changed to Shell Energy a couple of years ago as they had competitive dual fuel tariffs and gave me a £50 welcome.
I considered it very unlikely they would fail and the fixed deal I went for came with a free smart meter.
Real time costs and usage are shown on a small WiFi monitor which is in my living room but can be anywhere you like in the home.
Loads of usage history info is also available on their website.
Every household eventually has to have a smart meter fitted. ....my experience is positive.
Aren’t all smart meters free then. Well we all pay one way or another via tariffs and levies but BG never asked for any by payment, neither did my daughter or BILs suppliers.
 
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Jul 18, 2017
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Aren’t all smart meters free then. Well we all pay one way or another via tariffs and levies but BG never asked for any by payment, neither did my daughter or BILs suppliers.
If the supplier approaches you to change then it is normally free. Strangely enough if you ask to upgrade to a Smart Meter many suppliers will try and charge you. You generally pay for the hire of your meter through your daily standing charge.
 
Sep 7, 2020
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Our electric bills seem to be twice the norm for our house.
We don’t want a smart meter but need something to measure our minute by minute consumption.
Anyone used an energy monitor?
Any recommendations?
Just curious as to how you've worked out what the 'norm' is and how you know yours is twice as much.

Energy monitors will tell you the 'what' but they wont tell you the 'why'. You have to work the 'why'out for yourself which means looking at the history and trying to remember what it was you were doing.

The instantaneous read out can be helpful once you've worked out what your 'norm' is because it can help notify you that something above the 'norm' is happening. Then you can go looking for what's causing it.

I just read my meter once a week and enter it into a spreadsheet. I've been doing this for years so can compare the current week with previous weeks and years. Also it shows me the average and maximum per week as well as the total for the year. I can compare my readings with what the energy company is billing me and use my readings going forward for when I renew the contract.

One of the insidious things is the many appliances and devices some people have that are left on standby. Small amounts in themselves but they can all add up to a large amount of unecessary power wastage. TVs, PCs, Laptops, Tablets, Smartphones. Radios, Smart Speakers, Security Lights - even Energy Monitors :)

It may help to do an audit of your electrical appliances and note what you have and when and how you use them, especially the how.

For example

- Boiling a full kettle every time is more wasteful than filling it with just what you need.
- Do you use an immersions heater and is it always on ?
- Do you leave lights on when not needed and are they LED lights?
- Do you have Electric Fires?
- Are your white goods - fridge, freezer, washing machine etc - low energy appliances.
- Do you have friends and family to stay as this will push usage up.

And so on...
 
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Jul 18, 2017
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For example

- Boiling a full kettle every time is more wasteful than filling it with just what you need.
- Do you use an immersions heater and is it always on ?
- Do you leave lights on when not needed and are they LED lights?
- Do you have Electric Fires?
- Are your white goods - fridge, freezer, washing machine etc - low energy appliances.
- Do you have friends and family to stay as this will push usage up.

And so on...
Switching off lights and then switching them on again may use more energy that leaving them on for that hour. Recently actually this past week and changed the small under cupboard fluorescent light for LEDs and the LEDS actually give off a brighter light.
In the lounge area we use two floor standing lamps mainly for reading. TV is on most of the day as OH has tinnitus and TV sound drowns out the noise. The 55" TV is fairly modern and low wattage.
Fridge has very low consumption I think on average of 210kwh annually. We hardly used the cooker as use microwave or airfryer.
Biggest culprit for energy consumption is tumble drier and cannot get around using it in the winter. Washing machine is A rated.
 
Sep 7, 2020
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Switching off lights and then switching them on again may use more energy that leaving them on for that hour.
This isn't really true. While there is a larger in rush current when switching on compared to normal running, its so short that the energy usage in this period is low enough as to not be significant.

TV power consumption can be affected by how you set it up. For example a 50" TV in standard mode may have a power rating of 80W. When the picture quality is set to Vivid this can go up to 128W. Over 50% more. (Figures taken from my Sony manual)

Tumble dryers are expensive to run. There is sufficient evidence to support the idea that using a dehumidifier is good for drying clothes but does take longer, so maybe not as convenient. However, cheaper to run.

We don't have a tumble dryer so in the rainy season we put the clothes on an airer overnight in the laundry room and the ventilation system, which also acts as a dehumidifier, will dry them out overnight for no extra cost.
 
Jun 20, 2005
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Just curious as to how you've worked out what the 'norm' is and how you know yours is twice as much.
Sam ,
I refer to the EPC, Energy Performance Certificate, now a legal requirement for all properties sold or rented. I have no idea how it is calculated .But in our case we are way above what it says. And I believe it does take into account all the points you raise. There again who believes anything we are told today😂😂
 
Sep 7, 2020
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EPCs are a bit like the milage tests done on cars. Hardly ever acheivable. They don't take into account lifestyles and what you fill your house with.

They are useful in making comparisons between houses ( or cars).

I'm afraid I'm sceptical of new house builds by developers. I'm convinced they get type approval for the design but real builds are not so good due to poor quality supervision.
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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Switching off lights and then switching them on again may use more energy that leaving them on for that hour. Recently actually this past week and changed the small under cupboard fluorescent light for LEDs and the LEDS actually give off a brighter light.
In the lounge area we use two floor standing lamps mainly for reading. TV is on most of the day as OH has tinnitus and TV sound drowns out the noise. The 55" TV is fairly modern and low wattage.
Fridge has very low consumption I think on average of 210kwh annually. We hardly used the cooker as use microwave or airfryer.
Biggest culprit for energy consumption is tumble drier and cannot get around using it in the winter. Washing machine is A rated.
I did my apprenticeship with AEI and spent time in the lamp making division. There was a view even in those days that switching on a tubular fluorescent switching it off then back on again used far more electricity. That’s why offices tended to run them when the workers had left. In reality regular switching off and on was not recommended as in those days the ballast units could be problematic and expensive to replace. But as to using an hours worth of electricity each time that was never an issue. But like the old chestnut of stopping the car engine in traffic. Incandescent lights definitely don’t draw an hours worth of power each time you start one up.

We have a tumble drier but tend to use a dehumidifier in the bathroom to dry clothes. Works out much cheaper and we also obtain some useful warmth too.

And no it doesn’t stay in the bathroom when that room is being used for showers etc. In fact the bathroom has only been used less than half a dozen times in 2.5 years……..visitors.

Every lamp inside and external is LED. They have come on in leaps and bounds.
 
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Jun 16, 2020
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The dehumidifier or the shower has only been used half a dozen times in the the last 2.5 years?

🧀 😛

John
 
Nov 11, 2009
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The dehumidifier or the shower has only been used half a dozen times in the the last 2.5 years?

🧀 😛

John

I made the point about the dehumidifier not being in the bathroom when that room is in use. As sure as eggs are eggs some clever Richard would have picked me up on safety grounds.
 
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