As a representative of the company, an employee who is assigned to investigate a customer’s inquiry concerning his billing has a dual responsibility. First, make absolutely certain that all service used by the customer is being accurately registered on the meter. Attempt to explain some of the metering factors to a customer who does not understand them to assure the customer of the accuracy of the meter.

The following is a plan suggested for conducting metering investigations. Steps 1 and 2 are frequently performed by a representative of the commercial department of the company. In many companies, only Steps 3 and 4 are performed by meter department personnel.

Step 1
A. Upon arriving at the customer’s home or place of business, the company representative should introduce himself, show his identification card or badge when requested, and explain the purpose of his visit. He should also advise the customer that, in the process of checking, the electric service might be momentarily interrupted.

B. The meter readings should be compared with those on the last bill. If an error is apparent, it should be explained to the customer and reported to the billing section.

C. If the customer’s question concerning his bill cannot be explained from the aforementioned, the company representative should ask the customer if any appliances have been added recently. Inquiry about appliances that affect seasonal loads is particularly important.

These may include air conditioners, dehumidifiers, space heaters, and heating cables. It should also be determined whether the customer has replaced any major appliances recently. The replacement of a refrigerator with a newer, frost-free model may result in an increase in operating cost, and this should be explained to the customer.

D. Ask the customer if there has been an increase in the number of persons living in the household.

E. Ask the customer if situations have occurred that were out of the ordinary routine of the household. These would include such things as more entertaining than usual, guests visiting in the home, an illness in the family, and other factors that would increase the customer’s bill.

F. If the customer’s inquiry can not be explained after carrying out the parts of Step 1, proceed to Step 2.

Step 2
A. Check for causes of abnormally high consumption.
1. Dirt- or lint-clogged filters on furnace or air conditioning units.
2. Leaky hot-water faucets where electric water heaters are used.
3. Defective water pump.
4. Use of electric range units for space heating.
5. Heating water on range.

B. If the preceding investigation is sufficient, discuss these factors with the customer briefly, pointing out any reasons you have found for the increase in the customer’s electric bill.

C. If further investigation is necessary, proceed to Step 3.

Step 3
A. If there is a load on the meter, ask the customer to shut off all appliances and lighting at the appliance or light switch. Recheck if the meter continues to indicate a load and determine absolutely whether rotation is due to a missed load or loss to ground. If there is a loss to ground, this should be checked with a stop watch and the rate of loss established.

B. If possible, it should then be determined which circuit is grounded and, if convenient to the customer, the circuit should be disconnected by removing the fuse or opening the circuit breaker. The condition should be explained to the customer and he should be advised to have the condition corrected by a wireman before using the circuit again. If the loss to ground is found to be a defective appliance, it should be disconnected and the customer advised to have repairs made before reconnecting the appliance.

Step 4
If no explanation for the bill has been reached, the meter should then be checked for accuracy, creep, proper constant, and correct register ratio. The results of each check should be noted on the investigation order.

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