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Thread: Abnormal high bill

  1. #11
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    Is your customer on one of those “alternate electric suppliers” on there regular POCO bill that has ended its contract price?

  2. #12
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    I'm going out tomorrow to investigate the house has gas heat and hot water and window units as far as the kw usage I'm not sure I would have to see the Bill

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  3. #13
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    Also check to see if they just had an anniversary for their Budget Billing. I've seen annual bills spike because some people believe once they're on the Plan, their bill cannot go up. Yeah, it can.... if you use far more KwH than predicted.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by readydave8 View Post
    well pump short cycling

    AC condenser frozen

    broken ductwork

    any kind of water leak if on a well

    I had one that was easy to find, locked down motor (don't remember but I think was AC) repeatedly trying to start, kick out thermal overload, after overload cooled off tried to start again
    Frozen condenser is really bad, frozen evaporator is more common though

    You would think they notice AC not working correctly with the unit that won't start long before they notice increase in electric bill. Unless maybe it takes several tries and eventually does start, but it would have to be an awful lot of unsuccessful tries I would thing to notice on the billing.

    Quote Originally Posted by nickelec View Post
    I'm going out tomorrow to investigate the house has gas heat and hot water and window units as far as the kw usage I'm not sure I would have to see the Bill

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
    Unless you find something obvious, you really need to see bills, both the "usual" and the "high" bills. Anything on that bill that raises the $$ but isn't a direct result of usage and you will be searching for something that doesn't exist.

    Quote Originally Posted by 480sparky View Post
    Also check to see if they just had an anniversary for their Budget Billing. I've seen annual bills spike because some people believe once they're on the Plan, their bill cannot go up. Yeah, it can.... if you use far more KwH than predicted.
    To add to that, budget billing with any utility usually is reviewed annually and re adjusted. If one thinks their bill can't go up and is careless with usage, it will go up. You not only have to make up the difference at the end of previous year but the base for next years estimated usage is likely going up as well. Some may screen the budget figures at six months to see if you are on right track and make adjustments then if you are not so you don't end up with a huge difference at the end of the year.
    I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

  5. #15
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    A few things we have found over the years that will drive usage high:

    1) As previously mentioned, bad insulation on direct-buried service cable - even if the drop is overhead, they may still have underground service to a garage, shed or swimming pool
    2) Loose connections in main service panel - although this will usually result in intermittent outages or severe flicker events - we usually just check for abnormally hot breakers
    3) Bad jaws in a meter socket - although, as in the above, there will usually be intermittent outages or severe flicker events
    4) Heating strips that the homeowner is unaware of (small ponds, garages, outbuildings, etc) - if thermostat goes bad and they remain on, it can put a real whammy on the usage
    5) Dual element water heater with bad primary element - if the tank is large enough, the secondary element never shuts off

    Probably many more, but that's just off the top of my head

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by bishopj View Post
    A few things we have found over the years that will drive usage high:

    1) As previously mentioned, bad insulation on direct-buried service cable - even if the drop is overhead, they may still have underground service to a garage, shed or swimming pool
    2) Loose connections in main service panel - although this will usually result in intermittent outages or severe flicker events - we usually just check for abnormally hot breakers
    3) Bad jaws in a meter socket - although, as in the above, there will usually be intermittent outages or severe flicker events
    4) Heating strips that the homeowner is unaware of (small ponds, garages, outbuildings, etc) - if thermostat goes bad and they remain on, it can put a real whammy on the usage
    5) Dual element water heater with bad primary element - if the tank is large enough, the secondary element never shuts off

    Probably many more, but that's just off the top of my head
    Sorry but I can't see the water heater element failure driving electric usage up. Still is dependent on how much hot water is used. With the typical two element units, failure of bottom element just means you are not heating the lower portion of the tank, top portion of tank will still shut off upper element when it reaches it's setpoint. If anything your energy consumption maybe lessens a little because you are not heating the lower portion of the tank. It takes X amount of watt-hours to raise Y gallons of water Z degrees whether it is done by one element, two elements or even different sized elements.

    Bad underground - not saying impossible to raise usage, but also think not real likely most of the time. Aluminum conductor just oxidizes and increases resistance to soil through that aluminum oxide. But also continues to deteriorate conductor until you have open circuit and an obvious problem. Copper maybe won't be as much of an oxidation issue, but current in the soil will dry out the contact area and increase resistance usually to a point the leakage current is only in the milliamp range.
    I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

  7. #17
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    unfortunately, I not only can see it but in early nineties with Dominion Resources had it happen. Water heater lost an element and second element just kept chugging... water was real hot, but we just thought that was ok, as it had been that way since we bought house, what did we know... actually thought someone was stealing our power because bill one was 600 bucks.. this was 1990, mind you.. we made double sure what was left on, unplugged stuff, etc... second month, 650 bill... started unplugging everything... third month, 600 bill... we are really struggling to cover things as also new baby in house as well...lol... diapers, maternity bill... boom... panel breaker blows to water heater... flip it on, blows again.. call my buddy.. he shows up, checks stuff, asks how the water heater had been doing..we told him we had set the thermostat to low but it was still too hot... he was laughing...
    he replaced the thermostats and the heating elements... cleaned everything up.. took my money and some rum..and my next bill came in.. 375... next month, with christmas lights and extra heater, bill was 145... bill dropped to an average of 118 dollars a month after that...lol...
    Student of electrical codes. Please Take others advice first.

  8. #18
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    These are instances encountered by both myself and my crew in the 27 years I've worked at this job. I can't help if they make sense or not - it's things we have encountered and helped customers correct. Just tossing some ideas out to try to help another.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adamjamma View Post
    unfortunately, I not only can see it but in early nineties with Dominion Resources had it happen. Water heater lost an element and second element just kept chugging... water was real hot, but we just thought that was ok, as it had been that way since we bought house, what did we know... actually thought someone was stealing our power because bill one was 600 bucks.. this was 1990, mind you.. we made double sure what was left on, unplugged stuff, etc... second month, 650 bill... started unplugging everything... third month, 600 bill... we are really struggling to cover things as also new baby in house as well...lol... diapers, maternity bill... boom... panel breaker blows to water heater... flip it on, blows again.. call my buddy.. he shows up, checks stuff, asks how the water heater had been doing..we told him we had set the thermostat to low but it was still too hot... he was laughing...
    he replaced the thermostats and the heating elements... cleaned everything up.. took my money and some rum..and my next bill came in.. 375... next month, with christmas lights and extra heater, bill was 145... bill dropped to an average of 118 dollars a month after that...lol...
    There had to be more going on there then just losing the bottom element, and presuming nobody modified how they are connected from the factory. Once water in top of tank reaches the upper thermostat setting it transfers to the lower element. If it isn't working, upper element will come back on again after top of tank is cool enough to switch upper thermostat again. If lower element is working properly, top may never come on again if hot water draw is never more than what lower element can keep up with maintaining at the top of the tank.

    If one had an element faulted to the water in the tank - IDK what the resistance would be but think it would be high enough that it isn't going to draw that much current - and remember it will be 120 volts from faulted element to ground.

    If it were as low as say 25 ohms, that is 4.8 amps - 576 watts, that is enough that it would eventually make water in tank very hot, hot enough if one doesn't use some of it T&P valve is likely going to be called upon or high limit will trip - which needs manually reset. But I don't know that it is likely to get that low of resistance through the water in the tank to get that kind of current.

    I have never measured any current on a bad element, or at least high enough to take notice - 4.8 amps would make me notice. Typical design - 120 volts will always be present on the lower element, unless high limit is tripped.
    I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

  10. #20
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    he said something at time about some button on the water heater that had been jimmied so it would not trip... so the house sale would go through probably.. we were young.. new family.. struggling... and I never did get into electric water heater theory... know a lot more about solar water heaters and gas water heaters than electric..lol
    Student of electrical codes. Please Take others advice first.

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