Kyabram man Bill Richards has seen about a 70 per cent increase in the electricity usage readings for his underfloor heating since having new digital smart meters fitted to his home on July 30.
Few people look forward to receiving their utility bills, but Kyabram resident Bill Richards has better reason than most to be concerned about his next electricity bill.
Since having new digital smart meters fitted to his home on July 30, Mr Richards has seen about a 70 per cent increase in the electricity usage readings for his underfloor heating.
Mr Richards contacted Powercor to get the smart meters fitted when he became aware his property was one of the few in the area not yet fitted with the new digital devices, a call he since regrets.
He has two meters at his property, one which is linked to the supply around most of his home, and a second that is solely connected to his underfloor heating system.
Mr Richards is energy conscious and has previously installed a solar energy system to keep his regular bills down. He also keeps a daily record of his usage that prompted him to first contact his energy provider Origin and then meter owner and installer Powercor.
‘‘Our average daily usage for the underfloor heating before the smart meter was installed was about 20
‘‘I know there were some colder days around that time, but our usage has never been near that much when it’s been cold before.’’
The new meter connected to the main system in his home has shown similar readings to the previous one and is not causing concern.
Powercor sent a technician along last week and initial tests showed the meter was performing correctly.
Mr Richards then paid $400 for further tests to be carried out under load and these also showed no fault with the meter.
Powercor confirmed it had raised Mr Richards concerns with senior management after the Free Press contacted it and had since spoken to him.
Powercor spokeswoman Lyndall King said Mr Richards’ slab heating system runs at a high load of about 100 amps.
‘‘Every meter is calibrated for accuracy prior to installation and there is a framework for random testing to be carried out statewide,’’ Ms King said.
‘‘We have installed over a million smart meters and we are confident of their accuracy.
‘‘There have been a number of incidents where we have found the old metering has been historically undercharging, so customers are now receiving more accurate bills.’’
Mr Richards accepted his usage had been higher in previous years, but said he had cut where he could due to higher charge rates.
‘‘We’ve turned the heating down now and we’re sitting in a room with the temperature at about 15°C, whereas we had it at about 18°C before,’’ he said.
‘‘Anyone who doesn’t read the meter regularly like I do could be in for a shock when they get their first quarterly bills after having a new meter fitted.
‘‘We seem to have reached a status quo and I don’t think there’s much more we can do about it.’’
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