Old Dial meter vs new digital


Old 10-20-05, 09:20 PM
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Old Dial meter vs new digital

Hi, I am new to this. We just had our electrical box updated to a 200 amp with new breakers. The power company did not give us a new meter. Are the newer digital meters better than the old dial meters? We were told the digital are faster and can cost us more in electricity bills unlike the older ones with a little dust and dirt in them that cause them to run slower. Your input please. We thought the digital was mandatory now when you upgrade. I live in southwestern Pa.
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Old 10-21-05, 03:47 AM
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The meter is up to the POCO. If they want/need to replace it they do.
When I do a service change, and the meter is one of those old style "A frame" meters, the POCO comes later to install a new meter since the old one cannot be used.

A digital meter will not run "faster" and cost you "more". It will give a very accurate reading of usage. The biggest advantage is the ability to read them on the fly. They can shoot a reader from the truck as opposed to driving/walking up to each meter and taking a reading. Of course, this does nothing for the waistline of the utility worker.

As for the dust issue. I've never heard this. Sounds like suburban legend to me. It is also a mild form of cheating. I'm not saying lowering you utility bill a few cents would be a bad thing, but it is still cheating.
Old 10-21-05, 05:15 AM
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A spinning disk power meter works as follows: a torque is induced upon the disk which is proportional to the power flowing through the meter. A separate magnet induces a drag torque on the disk which is proportional to disk speed. The net result is that the speed of the disk is proportional to the power flowing through the meter.

Any mechanical drag on the system will tend to slow the meter down slightly and cause the kWh reading to be low. Any weakening of the drag magnet will cause the meter to speed up slightly and cause the kWh reading to be high. According to 'the meter guy', the vast majority of problems with a meter will cause it to read low. http://www.themeterguy.com/highbill.htm

It is power company responsibility to calibrate the meter. IMHO, if you do nothing to damage or disrupt your meter, and it is reading a couple of percent low, then the POCO is giving you a freebie. My guess is that a digital meter will _probably_ be more accurate, and compared to an analog meter will likely read a tiny bit higher over time.

Old 10-21-05, 06:08 PM
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Ditto to what everybody else said.

Electromechanical meters do tend to err on the side of the customer. In other words, if they're bad, it's usually slow and to the customers favor. Dirt, fire ants, register drag.....all tend to slow the meter. About the only thing that speeds up a meter is the weakening of the "drag" magnet and that usually requires a really solid lightning shot.

And I mean really solid!!!

Modern (ie-anything made in the last 35 years) meters have magnets that are very stable and are very dependable to be accurate.

Electronic meters are probably more accurate. In fact, many don't even have a means of calibration. They're either good or bad. On the down side, the electromechanical will last 30 years, while the electonic one will be lucky to get half that.

As to what Speedy Petey said, just because a meter is electronic does not mean that it can be read remotely. Conversely, many electromechanical meters can be retro-fitted to be read remotely. Remote reading and electronics are two seperate and destinct features.
Old 10-21-05, 06:13 PM
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This is true.
In my area though the residential digital ones are remote reading units. They've only recently been using them widespread.
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