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Old 02-04-2018, 08:40 AM   #1
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Default Phantom Centron Meter

A customer complained about a high electricity bill. (more than twice his neighbors in an apt building). He expressed concern that his Meter might be affected by his neighbors electrical use.

Upon examination I determined that his meter does indeed keep on registering electrical use after I shut off his main breaker. And that it only stops when I shut off his Neighbors main as well.

These are Centron Digital Breakers. I can't see how they are connected since it's locked but I would presume they are connected in parallel. (there's only 3 wires going up to the locked electric co. box (2 phases and a neutral) and 3 coming out to feed each main.

Any thoughts/ experience about why this would happen? could the meters have been wired in series somehow instead of in parallel? Or is it possible it's just the electro magnetic field from the nearby neighbor meter affecting my customer's meter?

Is this something you can get the utility co. to take care of? is it their responsibility?

Thanks to all
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Old 02-04-2018, 08:41 AM   #2
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Old 02-04-2018, 09:01 AM   #3
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My guess is theft, running a grow house.
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Old 02-04-2018, 09:17 AM   #4
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Assuming the neighbor doesn't get a zero kWh bill, the weird part is that turning off the neighbor's main stops your customer's meter.

If there was a tap on your customer's service conductors going straight to a grow room or house lights or something, the neighbor's main wouldn't affect it.

The only think I could think of would be a tap between the meter and your customer's main, in parallel with the neighbor's service conductors. That way half the current the neighbor uses would be coming through their meter, half would be coming through your customer's meter. If their actual utilization was the same, your customer would see a 150% bill, the neighbor would see a 50% bill, so it would be triple.
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Old 02-04-2018, 11:23 AM   #5
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Default Theft seems unlikely

I can see the wires going into the closed con-ed box. 3 wires. And I see them coming out 6- 2 hot wires to each main breaker and 2 neutrals going straight up to the panels (in the apartments).

And Like Splatz says Shutting both breakers makes the meter stop running

Splatz suggestion sounds sensible. I'm not sure I totally get it though. You basically think one or both phases are hooked up in series rather than parallel?
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Old 02-04-2018, 11:38 AM   #6
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Have you contacted the POCO?
Let them know what you told us here.

Its easy for someone who knows just enough to get free power. The last time I saw this was when someone thought they tapped the apts general lighting and other loads.
Turns out they tapped another apt dweller and were caught as the only apt with the electricity turned off still had lights and a neighbor had double his normal bill.

As I remember, the offending apt dweller made restitution to the apt dweller that had the big increase and promised to undo the illegal connections made in the mechanical room.

Oh...The POCO was not informed of the arrangement.
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Old 02-04-2018, 12:54 PM   #7
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2 things come to mind here;

1) I think this is what Splatz is getting at.......phase A of meter #1 (your customers) is supplying meter #1s load. There is a tap on the line side of breaker #1 phase B that feeds the line side of breaker #2 phase B. Phase B of meter #1 is still fed normally. Phase A of meter #1 is still fed normally.

2) There is a tap on the line side of breaker #1 that feeds loads in apt #2. These loads are controlled by a circuit fed from meter #2. This way, when breaker #2 is turned off but breaker #1 is still on, the control circuit loses power so the loads disappear.

When you look at the wiring between both meters and both breakers, the problem will be obvious.
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Old 02-04-2018, 06:04 PM   #8
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When stealing power always run it it through a contractor that is powered through a legitimate circuit so it shuts off when the breakers shut off - this is in stealing power 101 people
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