Meter may show excess reading owing to tamper events: Tangedco

Can electronic energy meters show false excessive readings? Yes, as per a Tangedco Meter Relay Testing wing circular. Under certain conditions, including earth tamper - when the neutral cable from the power utility side is either disconnected or not properly connected - which is no fault of the consumer - meter will show excess reading.
Signs of tamper events that will be visible on the electronic energy meters
Signs of tamper events that will be visible on the electronic energy meters


“In case of earth tamper, if there were multiple connections in the premises like apartments and multi-storey buildings, the energy meter may record consumption of adjacent power supply as well,” said the circular issued by the executive engineer, MRT Wing, Thanjavur to the assessors, wireman and other staff who are involved in the changing of consumer meter. The circular has come at a time when several consumers have raised the issue of excess billing.
In recent times, it said when they received faulty meters at the MRT, the reason given was high reading.
“Normally, there are a very few chances of electronic or static energy meters showing a false high reading. It may show high reading due to certain conditions,” the circular said.
Apart from earth tamper, it said that in the case of a single-phase meter, if the neutral cable from the utility is disconnected and the household equipment operated using the consumer’s local earth, it may show excess reading.
The phase and neutral of the meter are interchanged and reverse current flows through the meter, which may read the reverse energy. And, magnet fields are present near the meter with the intention to reduce the energy consumption. “If such tamper signs are seen in the meter, it will show excessive reading than what is consumed by the consumer. To prevent power theft and to discourage theft attempts, such technology was used in the meters,” it said.
S Neelakanta Pillai, a retired Tangedco engineer and activist said that out of the five tamper events mentioned by the MRT wing, the utility would be responsible for four events while the consumer will be at fault for keeping the magnet.
“The consumers should be made to pay the excess energy bill for no fault of theirs. I have written to the code review panel of the Tangedco to suitably amend the TNERC supply code to record such tamper events in the consumer metre cards and consumers should not be billed for the excess reading if they are not at fault,” he said.

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