Electricity is a vital service, powering everything from a home's lights to large appliances such as stoves. Utility companies monitor and bill electricity consumption based on readings from a home electric meter, which is installed when the initial house wiring is complete. Regular testing and maintenance of these meters by licensed technicians can prevent inaccurate readings, billings and power usage.
Compare trends or patterns using information gathered from monthly bills, such as the dates of changes in electricity consumption. Comparing the rise in power consumption to changes in the home can help point out what may cause an increase in power usage and provide technicians with vital information used to troubleshoot meter problems. Avoid comparing increases in bill payments because the cost of electricity changes over time independent of power usage.
Schedule an appointment with the power company that provides electricity to your home. Check previous utility bills for the provider's name if you do not know or can't remember it. Representatives from the company may schedule a date over the phone for a licensed technician to test and repair, if necessary, the home electric meter. Many meters are tested regularly if they are easily accessible by the technician.
Ask for identification and verification that the visiting technician is an employee of the company when he arrives. Some door-to-door scam artists attempt to sell utility packages on behalf of independent companies that are unrelated to your provider. When the technician's identity is confirmed, he may request permission to enter your home if the meter is located indoors.
Perform additional tests when electric meters function properly yet energy usage is impossibly high. Ask the technician to test energy consumption while the breakers are all in the on position, then again in the off position. Poorly installed wiring or circuit breakers may leak electricity when all breakers are off, drawing power from the utility company and raising utility bills significantly over time. Contact a licensed electrician to perform testing or repairs of home circuits.
Tips & Warnings
- Home electric meters cannot be tested if they have had power disconnected. Ensure your billing is in good order to prevent problems while testing.
- Never tamper with or alter the electric meter installed in your home. Doing so may result in fines, utilities being shut off, serious risk of injuries to life or limb and possible criminal charges.
- BC Hydro: Electric Tariff
- U.S. Department of the Interior: Watt-Hour Maintenance and Testing
- Maryland Public Service Commission: Utility Bills Higher Than Expected
- Fermilab: Electrical Safety Workbook
- Thunder Bay Hydro: Customer Energy Services
- Fire Engineering: Construction Concerns: Electrical Service Hazards
- Photo Credit electric meter image by palms from Fotolia.com
How to Use a Volt-Ohm Meter to Test Electrical Fuses
The best way to find out if a fuse has blown is to use a volt-ohm meter. They are relatively inexpensive and...
How to Test the Accuracy of an Electric Meter
Electric meters record how much electricity you use in your home and are used to calculate how much you need to pay...
Ways to Check the Accuracy of My Electric Meter
It's essential you know your electricity meter is operating correctly, ... Independent Test. If you can't, or prefer not to, contact your...
How to Check Your Utility Meter
Your power bill should have an assigned utility meter number on it. Use ... energy use and understand your monthly utility bills....
How to Test the Wiring in a House
When electrical circuits do not work in the home it may be necessary to test the wiring to determine where the problem...
How to Install an Electric Meter Box
Without a breaker box, inside and outside, you will not ... The electric meter on the outside of a house or business...
How to Relocate an Electric Meter
Electric meters are seldom moved once installed ... How to Test an MTEC Electric Meter; How to Move a Main Meter Socket;...
How to Use Electrical Testers
Replacing or adding additional electrical outlets will increase access to electricity in the home. Having the right equipment to determine if the...
How to do Electrical Testing
There are many tools and procedures involved in electrical testing. ... but they will help you ensure the electrical safety of your...
How to Check an Electric Fence With a Voltage Meter
Electrical fences are ideal for keeping large animals in a confined space, without the hassle of constructing a large fence. While electric...
How to Test an Ohm Meter
An ohm meter measures the amount of resistance present in an electrical circuit; ohms are the unit of measurement. According to the...