Smart Meters Water Overbilling

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In the US, the local press in Chicago has reported teething problems following the installation of smart water meters. Residents of one suburb of Chicago have reported “chronic overcharging” by smart water meters while another is experiencing meters claiming usage even when not connected.

Officials in the Aurora area of Chicago are stressing that fewer than 10 meters out of the 6,000 Sensus iPerl smart water meters installed since 2014had experienced problems, reports Chicago Tribune.

But the municipal water board has increased random testing of digital meters and asked Sensus to either replace a suspect batch of digital meters or provide equipment to more closely monitor their readings. In February 2015, utility workers in Aurora allegedly noticed strange fluctuations in readings by eight meters that had been pulled from homes for reasons unrelated to overbilling.

Ray Hull, the suburb’s water superintendent, said the unhooked meters showed strange readings: three spinning forward, three spinning backward and two whose patterns couldn’t be determined, stated the newspaper report.

According to records made public to the Chicago Tribune, Sensus said that water had got into the meters’ electronics in a way that the manufacturer hadn’t realized before. The North-Carolina based manufacturer responded by saying it was beefing up the waterproofing in newer batches of smart water meters.

While Mr Hull said the small number of suspect meters in Aurora doesn’t signal a major problem, the press coverage is damaging to consumer engagement with the city-wide rollout. Another area of the city – Tinley Park – is also experiencing problems with smart water meters. Using a different brand of digital meter, the Chicago Tribune reports there have been “hundreds of cases of overbilling, with thousands more meter failures unexplained”.

The suburb’s public works director resigned last week amid questions over his handling of the issue, and its elected leaders are seeking an outside review. (Natural News) Most people understand that utility bills are a necessary evil if they want to live in the modern world – even if utility bills eat up a large portion of monthly income.

That said, few are willing to pay more than they should be paying, and yet, according to a stunning new report, some people are paying more than they should.

As reported by web site Boing Boing, a research team from the University of Twente in Enschende, Netherlands, and Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences documented billing inaccuracies in a paper that reviewed the efficacy of so-called “smart” electric meters, ranging from -32 percent to +582 percent of the actual power consumed in a month’s period.

The paper also noted that, ironically, the overbilling is mostly due to older power-saving features because they introduce line noise that interferes with the wireless signal and thereby ‘confuses’ the meters.

(RELATED: Read SILENT KILLER: Smart Meters Are Destroying Your Health.). “Static, or electronic, energy meters are replacing the conventional electromechanical meters.

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Consumers are sometimes complaining about higher energy readings and billing after the change to a static meter, but there is not a clear common or root cause at present,” an abstract of the findings states. “Electromagnetic interference has been observed between active infeed converters as used in photo-voltaic systems and static meters.

Reducing the interference levels eliminated inaccurate reading in static meters.”. In all, five of nine smart meters that were tested provided readings that were substantially greater than the real amount of energy utilized, while two actually gave readings lower than the amount of power consumed.

Researchers found the biggest discrepancies when they joined dimmer switches with LED and energy-saving light bulbs.

Upon finishing their experiments, researchers then took apart the tested smart meters to see if they could find out what was causing the massive deviations. In the process, the three-man team of researchers found that the meters which provided the dramatically higher usage rates used a Rogowski Coil in the construction, while meters that gave artificially lower readings employed Hall effect-based sensors.

But both modes of construction inaccurately measured the actual amount used. It wasn’t clear from the abstract whether the tested meters were actually in use, either in the Netherlands or elsewhere.

If both of those types of meters are being used, then some are paying less for the electricity they use, while most are paying much, much more.

In addition to costing consumers far more money, some researchers contend that the meters themselves are also health hazards. And some lawmakers at the state level are taking action. Patrick Colbeck of Michigan testified before the state House Energy and Technology Committee in early March regarding a piece of legislation – HB 4220 – that would permit homeowners to opt out of getting smart meters installed on their dwellings without having to pay a fine.

He has based his opposition to smart meters on research indicating that they can cause a wide array of health problems, in addition to a cyber security threat posed by their installation and use, since they are wireless and transmit data to the utility company.

(RELATED: Smart meters use unsafe, cancer-causing technology.).

During his testimony, Colbeck said he thinks smart meters are “putting our homes, our nation and, frankly, some of the power suppliers at risk.”. Others have issues with the privacy aspect of smart meters. Electric use data hacked from a wireless smart meter can be used by clever criminals to determine when people are home and when they are gone – to work, in particular – which provides them a window to enter the home without expecting anyone to be there.

There are also physical dangers to smart meter use. As Natural News has reported, some smart meters that are mandated by government have spontaneously caught fire, putting residents at risk of loss of life and property.

Learn more at Heyes is a senior writer for and, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.

Back in 2015, Pacific Utility Audit wrote an article on electric smart meters – if anything the problem has gotten worse, not better! (We didn’t know about the fire hazard then) Here is a link to that article:

Since we have a database of thousand of west coast property profiles that we have audited since 1989, we can determine if your property’s electric consumption is reasonable.

If it is not, we can initiate an investigation or replacement of your smart meters and obtain retroactive refunds for you if you have been overcharged! ____________________________________ BACK TO FAQ INDEX. Q: Is it true that your bill goes up after getting a “smart” meter? Many people have experienced hikes in their utility bill after a “smart” meter was installed. A recent survey published on documented how many people have received higher bills—over one third of those surveyed. Here’s another account of the overbilling issues.Here’s another article. Q: My bills have shot up since the installation of the “smart” meter.

My utility tells me it’s because I am using more electricity. But we’ve lived in the same house for many years, and our usage is very stable.

I think they’re wrong. Document your usage from the past to show how unusual the bills are after installation of the “smart” meter.

Ask for an energy audit from your utility to help demonstrate how the new meter is not reflecting your actual usage. Consider enlisting the help of an electrician to help you trace the source of the higher bills to the meter.

They have devices to measure usages, so that you have another source of data to counter the utility’s assertion that there is nothing wrong with their meter.

Q: Why is my bill higher now with a “smart” meter? Overbilling that occurs after “smart” meter installation is an unsolved mystery.

Utilities will tell you that you are using more, or that it’s been an unusually hot (or cold) month—whatever it is, according to them, the problem is NOT with their brand new, untested, strange RF-emitting device (which itself uses electricity- that you pay for!).

The problem must be YOU, they say. We have only heard of a very few cases of a utility refunding money due to overbilling.

Two scientists in California worked hard for a long time, and got $1400 for their trouble—no damages were awarded to them by the CPUC.

The utilities have little reason to care about you getting overbilled with lax oversight like that and no threat of fines or punishment for them. So, we don’t know why it happens, but clearly higher bills are one of the things some customers suffer after installation. A recent poll revealed that about one third of people who had “smart” meters installed had experienced bill increases and one quarter of those had had bills doubled, tripled, or more.

Document your historical usage, and then call, email and write letters to your utility. It’s clear that some meters are defective, and they seem in no rush to ferret out which ones.

Make them demonstrate that your meter is not to blame. Call local media that deal with consumer issues, such as consumer hotlines of local TV stations. Q: What can I do to bring down my utility bill? If you’ve addressed the above possibility that it is your “smart” meter itself that is to blame, you can think about ways to cut your usage.

Saving energy is not a difficult thing to learn, and certainly doesn’t require a ‘smart’ meter, special software, or hourly data! It does need some awareness and willingness to change.

Learn to read your meter. The no-tech way to do it: read the tag or sticker on appliances to find out what the electrical usage draw is.

Look for how many watts a device uses. For example, your blowdryer (a big draw) might say “1600W” on the side, your crock-pot (a low draw) might say “150W” on the bottom.

Cut down your use of high-draw appliances. Electric clothes dryers and air conditioners are two big energy-hogs.

Smart water meters overbilling