Catching the Power Company's Mistakes

Some of our customers have used Wattvision to uncover errors made by their power company.  In the case of Mr. Chang, he found more than one.  Mr. Chang recently installed solar panels, but he didn’t see a big difference in his electricity bill.  Were his solar panels actually working?  Was his system wired correctly?  He purchased Wattvision to see what was going on.

After he set up the system, Mr. Chang emailed us and wrote, “I’m trying to figure out if I’ve installed the [Wattvision] device correctly or if my meter is not configured correctly.”

We confirmed that Wattvision was set up correctly (it’s quite straightforward) so he spent some time gathering data about his energy use from Wattvision.

He decided to set up an experiment -- he’d turn everything off and leave home on a perfect day for solar energy. His solar panels would produce power and send it back to the grid.  The Wattvision sensor, connected to his power company's electricity meter, should show that no power came from the PowerCo to his house.  On a sunny day last March, he left home for the entire day and made sure everything was off.  What did he discover when he came home?

He drew the following conclusions, taken directly from the presentation he sent to his power company (PowerCo):

  1. Solar panels produce energy that is being fed back into the grid; however, this is causing the meter to go forward, not backward.
  2. During the interconnection process, PowerCo engineers claimed that the meter was already performing net-metering (required for solar panels) because the device itself was capable of such a mode. Though the meter is capable of net-metering, it is not configured as such.
  3. Not only is the meter running forward, PowerCo has confused the meters in front of the house. Meter A is connected to #UPPER and Meter B is connected to #LOWER. 
  4. Customer found that meter moved forward 13 kwh despite energy being outputted into the grid for almost 8 hours.

After Mr. Chang sent the power company a slide deck with these conclusions and supporting data, they jumped to action, set up a brand new net-meter, and refunded Mr. Chang for the power he had produced to date.

Mr. Chang says it best: 

“Wattvision was able to provide me with definitive results showing that not only was my previous meter not net-capable (PowerCo had insisted that it was) the meter that PowerCo thought was ours was in fact our separately metered basement apartment. Your device's data was able to provide us with high fidelity data to show this.” 

Has your Wattvision system helped keep your power company honest? Let us know in the comments. :)

Buy an easy to install wattvision system for your house, at

4 responses
Great discovery! Everyone needs a real time speedometer for their home and business.
This is a very important issue. Accuracy of solar energy recording is on the minds of many solar panel owners. Recently I can into a person who purchased a home with solar panels, and didn't realize that they needed an interconnection agreement. As a result, there was no bi-directional meter installed, and the meter was recording the excess energy production as consumption, *adding* instead of subtracting from the new owner's bill. We got that straightened out for them, but it is really a nightmare scenario, especially if not caught early. Being able to monitor energy use — and production — is key to a low electricty bill! Jason Szumlanski Florida Solar Design Group
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