Patricia Pearl - Small Claims Procedure - A Practical Guide


An excellent guide for the layperson in how to use the County Court - a must if you are intending to start a claim.

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  1. #1
    Basic Account Holder AfonScimitar Novitiate

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    Default Electricity meter clock and register errors

    I have had two Horstmann S123 multi tariff electricity meters replaced this year due to faulty operation.

    The most obvious problems were clock errors. The first meter was over two hours out and the second meter was over 1 hour out when compared to the GMT radio time signal. The meters should be aligned to GMT during the winter period. This means that a lot of off peak usage would be recorded as peak usage as one tends to program high energy usage for off peak times. The energy supplier has offered an adjustment, but I am not entirely happy about how this is calculated.

    I also believe that the first meter was either subject to storm damage due to very local lightning strikes shortly after it was installed or had an inherently faulty register/memory. The register/memory, that records the number of units of electricity used, began reading much higher than usual after this storm event. A check meter was installed in February last year to monitor the erroneous meter. I made regular comparison readings during the time the check meter was installed and these showed the erroneous meter suffered from variable errors in the number of electricity units recorded over this period that were outside the allowed meter accuracy limits defined by OFCOM. Strangely the electricity supplier is denying this although they are admitting the clock errors exist.

    The house has thermal insulation that exceeds current building regulations and although the heating uses an electric central heating boiler, it should be very economical to heat due to this high level of insulation. This is not reflected in the size of the bills being presented for the period the first meter was in use.

    Has anyone had problems with their electricity meter accuracy, either clock errors, or wildly varying recorded consumption of electricity that bears no relation to actual use of electricity.

    I have discussed the clock error issue with the electricity supplier and they have admitted that they have been having clock errors with meters but so far will not give any details about these errors and their frequency in writing. I wonder why? It may be that there are many meters showing problems with clock errors, which could be very embarrassing considering that the meters are supposedly certified as accurate. I believe that a large proportion of meters may be running incorrectly and it could be a good idea to check the time on your meter clock to ensure it is operating correctly. If you find that you have a clock error you will have been overcharged for some of your off peak usage.

    Please report your findings on this thread.

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  2. #2
    Site Team rebel11 Authoritative rebel11 Authoritative rebel11 Authoritative rebel11 Authoritative rebel11 Authoritative rebel11 Authoritative rebel11 Authoritative rebel11 Authoritative rebel11 Authoritative rebel11 Authoritative rebel11 Authoritative

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    Default Re: Electricity meter clock and register errors

    I think you mean OFGEM not OFCOM, you can get at least 6 yearsicon worth of data from the supplier, so you can compare usage from various periods. You can also get the meter inspected independantly with the suppliers permission.


  3. #3
    Basic Account Holder AfonScimitar Novitiate

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    Default Re: Electricity meter clock and register errors

    Hello rebel11,

    You are correct I did mean OFGEM.

    I have already requested all data held on the account since it was opened in 1997 by means of a SARicon via Special Delivery on 11/01/11, which was delivered on 14/01/11. The energy supplier has until 23rd February to supply the data.

    Historical usage comparison is tricky as the supply was first instigated on 09/07/07 to enable the house to be renovated. At this time the house had no electrical wiring as it had been gutted previously to enable ground-up renovation. Unfortunately the mortgageicon funds were delayed due to technicalities and the renovation subcontractors did not start work on the house until September 2007 after the funds were released. Residence did not begin until 5th December, as the house was not habitable until then. The old mechanical mechanism meter was for economy 7 and economy 10 was required for the under floor heating system so the new solid-state (integrated circuit) Horstmann S123 meter was fitted on 29/04/08. The early bills were estimated and they were so close to actual that they were paid without adjustment. Following a bad local thunderstorm the meter began to read much higher than previously and several telephone communications were made with the supplier’s customer service department concerning a much higher bill than usual. None of the customer services operatives were technically competent and all tried to override anything I said with their customer complaint script sheet. I did finally get through to someone who had the authority to adjust bills and this resulted in cancellation of a fairly high bill. When further higher bills arrived they were disputed until I eventually requested that the meter be checked for accuracy. The check meter was installed on 08/02/10 and removed on 29/06/10 along with the faulty meter. During the check period I took readings of both meters and found discrepancies between them. The supplier is denying this as they have a different set of figures for start and finish for this period. With access to these meters being no longer available, it is my word against theirs and, as the law stands firmly behind utility providers, I am doubtful that I can contest this, as would be the case on a level legal playing field. This is why I have asked for others who have had similar experiences to let me know on this thread, as it will help my case and theirs too should battle commence.

    The first meter was removed on 29/06/10 when the second meter was fitted. I requested in writing that the old meter was retained for evidence and independent testing on 13/07/10. This communication was completely ignored. I have repeated this request several times by telephone and in writing with no further action on their part to verify retention of the meter until very recently. I consider this meter to be a crucial piece of evidence should the dispute escalate further. I have disputed the amount on the bills that were presented through the period that the faulty meter was in operation. I have also requested that the check meter and the second (replacement) meter that has been found to have a faulty clock be retained as evidence. It would appear that meters are not retained until disputes are settled, but are sent for exchange from the manufacturer at their earliest convenience thus removing any evidence of malfunction from scrutiny.


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  4. #4
    Basic Account Holder mattlamb Novitiate

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    Default Re: Electricity meter clock and register errors

    As a meter-reader, I see timeswitches showing the wrong time (often many hours wrong) extremely often. It is certainly not unusual


  5. #5
    Basic Account Holder AfonScimitar Novitiate

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    Default Re: Electricity meter clock and register errors

    Hello mattlamb,

    This is somewhat worrying as the meter clock accuracy is important to ensure correct tariff billing. This means that there will be many people with dual tariff meters billed incorrectly.

    I have been looking briefly for information about clock accuracy regulations but I have not found anything so far. Do you know the limits of accuracy allowed for the clock?

    AfonScimitar


  6. #6
    Basic Account Holder mattlamb Novitiate

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    Default Re: Electricity meter clock and register errors

    I believe the clock must be within two hours of the correct time. This is hearsay rather than definite concrete information however


  7. #7
    Basic Account Holder AfonScimitar Novitiate

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    Default Re: Electricity meter clock and register errors

    Thanks Mattlamb,

    I think I need to get clarification regarding Clock accuracy. Anybody in the industry care to elaborate on this?

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