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Is someone stealing my eleccy?!

posted by Greigm | A week ago

This is an update I guess to a post a couple of weeks ago I made after I moved house.  In my previous place, I had dual fuel, and energy bills around £70-90/month depending on time of year. 

In the new property, it's electricity only ('wet' electric with a flow boiler) and I was pretty shocked at the first bill which was £141 for 22 days usage.  So obviously, I started tracking my usage closely over a week or two. 

The meter has two rates (1 is daytime, 2 is E7) and a 'total' which I'm told is the 'heating rate'. 

Anyway, i started tracking these figures around 8am each morning and monitoring them daily so I could try work out the cause and be more efficient with the heating. 

My average units per day (roughly) were Rate 1: 7 , Rate 2: 5, 'Total': 1

A day or two ago, I spotted a spike and it's continued, to the point today, it's shot up even more. 

From 8am this morning (it's 6pm now, so 9hrs later).  

Rate.    Initial Reading.   6pm Reading.  Difference
1.            43885                       43915                  30
2.            18201                       18201                  0
Total.    20291                       20321                  30

So that's basically 60 units in the day.  I've had my laptop on working, the toaster has been on twice and the kettle four times.  That's it.

It got to the stage where I went to the consumer unit and started going through RCD by RCD, watching the red blips on the meter to see if it was affected.  I turned everything off.  And then I turned off the main RCD, so the whole flat was off.  And the meter kept going, at the same rate as before.  I left it for over 30 minutes, just going back and watching the blips - and they kept going.

So does this mean that somehow, someone else is plugged into my supply?  

I called SP, and the guy told me that was the likely cause, but because it's a private  rental via a letting agent, they say it's their responsibility to get an electrician in to investigate.  The agent has agreed, but is adamant SP are ultimately responsible to fix it. 

Anyone experienced this before?


posted by DavC1 | A week ago
Re: Is someone stealing my eleccy?!

@Greigm   It could be you have a three meter system, 1 and 2 are for general use, and 3 ( labelled total) is the automatic central heating and hot water.  These 3 reading systems are a speciality of Scottish Power, and a lot has been written here under the topics Comfort Plus and White Meter.  It could be that turning off the general supply still leaves the automatic heating system connected.   Maybe this is not the case, but it's worth digging deeper, the likelihood of a neighbours flat taking your power is quite low. It should be possible to turn off the heating system in some way and then you can check if the meter still records units.   It's worth getting an electrician to tell you how your flat's power is wired. Good Luck

posted by Greigm | A week ago
Re: Is someone stealing my eleccy?!
Hey, and thanks for the reply!

I believe it is definitely a Comfort Plus meter. However, the heating hasn't been on for a full week (at all). There's been no change to the programming of the system, and it's been set to stay off.

My letting agent is arranging an electrician this week, just waiting to find out when they will arrive. Today, things have gone back to normal, at least for now. Yesterday's' usage topped out at 93 units in total. The meter yesterday continued to go up, even when I confirmed the boiler and immersion heater had no power. There was no heat in any radiators, and hasn't been since the system was switched off. I've not got any more hot water than normal (so the immersion heater hadn't come on by mistake) - last night when I went to bed, the water was lukewarm, not roasting as it is in the morning.

IF the meter is recording usage within the property, I cannot track down what it is being used by - it's certainly not generating any kind of heat as if it is, it's not being let out into the property! - hopefully the electrician will be able to track it down.

posted by DavC1 | A week ago
Re: Is someone stealing my eleccy?!

@Greigm    I think Comfort Plus is turned on and off remotely according to outside temperatures, it is an expensive and complicated system, no other energy supplier will take on the account until Comfort Plus is removed, but SP are obliged to remove it on request.   Comparison to gas heating in your old property will certainly show that electric heating is much more expensive.  
By the Way government says gas heating is to be phased out, so I wonder how we will all manage in 20 years time? 

posted by Greigm | A week ago
Re: Is someone stealing my eleccy?!
The thing that is confusing me is that if the system is being turned on remotely,. where is that electricity going? There are no storage heaters in the property - it's wet electric fed by a flow boiler (which alone is expensive to run). The immersion heater for hot water comes on overnight on Rate 2.

But that extra energy used yesterday, doesn't go anywhere from what I can tell? There's no underfloor heating, no storage heaters and no obvious place for it to go or be stored.

It literally seems to be going into thin air and I can't control it, or stop it from running up my bill?

posted by DavC1 | A week ago
Re: Is someone stealing my eleccy?!

@Greigm     I'm not an expert but I thought electric central heating employs an insulated reservoir which can be warmed overnight using cheaper electricity.  That could explain where your fuel is going.   The boost on  meter 3  is the one which is remotely activated in cold weather.    Surprisingly SP customer services seem to be not briefed on this system, some have not even heard about it.  Read some of the earlier posts.  I think your landlord needs to give permission if you want to change to a standard E7 metering system.   Most comfort plus systems are with storage heaters so your setup is unusual. 

posted by Greigm | A week ago
Re: Is someone stealing my eleccy?!

Yeah this is really confusing me too. 

After being here a month or so, I can definitely confirm that the hot water tank/immersion heater works on a timer through the night, and I've got that running normally, that's on Rate 2.

The wet radiators aren't fed by this main tank.  There is a separate flow boiler rated at 7.5kw which the heating thermostat is linked to, and when that is on, my Rate 1 rates go up (as obviously that is coming on when I'm up and about, not overnight. 

Yesterdays usage was going up simulataneously on Rate 1 and the heating rate - by the same amount( 30+ units each).  The flow boiler was off all day.  So that wasn't using anything.  The hot water tank wasn't any hotter ( I know when it's been on in the hall cupboard simply by the temperature. )

Since the 26th Feb, the 'heating rate' has only gone up by 1 unit per day, even while the flow boiler has been running the central heating. 

In terms of getting the meter swapped, there's no issue from the agent/landlord perspective if it helps the issue. 

posted by Greigm | A week ago
Re: Is someone stealing my eleccy?!

Further confusion, it's a domestic and economy meter, not Comfort Plus.

The girl I just spoke to says that 'we dont use the third reading to generate your bill, it's just a total', yet it shows on my bill they have charged me for the units that it's gone up by.  

posted by Rosaline | A week ago
Re: Is someone stealing my eleccy?!
https://www.resolver.co.uk/ See if these can help.

posted by Greigm | A week ago
Re: Is someone stealing my eleccy?!
Thanks, that could be useful in the future!