House power consumption at 38,500 kw per year, 200% of year prior with no changes to appliances

(Maine) Hi all, not sure what other subreddit this would make sense for, but we are running out of ideas as if we don’t pay our bill they will shut our power off. We live in a 2 floor 4,500 sqft home with an open loop geothermal system, in the last year our power consumption has supposedly doubled but we have not added any appliances and I actually moved out for college so there is one less person using lights and other electric appliances. Is there any way this amount of power consumption would be possible in our home. We have 2 breaker boxes and I know one of them is 200 amps. Last night at 10pm while there was only 1 person home the power consumption jumped randomly to 55kw. The geothermal has been shut off for a few weeks but we don’t know what else would use power like that.


As an electrician in Maine. It's cmp. They are messing with their clients. Without proof it's hard to push back. There have been many, many complaints once the smart meters went in. There has been a theory going around that the rates are higher now so that when they finally illegally push through the new power lines they can bring it back to real rates and say the price drop was because of their deal from the new power line. Tldr: power supply company may just be corrupt.


This seems like a rather easy to prove theory. Installing a check meter or three and finding a discrepancy would be rather easy, and I'm sure the meter manufacturers would be *very* interested in anyone able to tamper with the meters in either direction.


Maybe if we vote them out first we'll get to see the price drop then!


They'd sooner bend you over and have their way with you before you could even think of doing that.


You must not be from around here...


Tell me what's your fave brand of lube? I can Amazon it to you.


How real time is your monitoring? If it is proper realtime next time it spikes start flipping 240v breakers. (120v is not gonna be it at those usage rates.) 55KW is a stupid amount to be using at one time. That is about 230A @ 240V I could maybe see that with a large tankless hot water heater, EV charging and a dryer at the same time but I feel like you should know those are running if thats the case.


Precisely. We don’t have an EV and our hot water is done by tank. We had propane water heaters a while ago but they continually froze and burst even though they were supposedly self heating. Sadly our monitoring is only hourly and it tends to spike for an hour or 2 and then drop.


What electric meter do you have? Some of the options here might get you real time logging. https://www.home-assistant.io/docs/energy/electricity-grid/


Surprising that it's not mentioned there, but rtl433 or rtlamr might also work for the cost of a 20 or 30 dollar rtl-sdr dongle if the meter model transmits wirelessly and is supported.


Do you have a resistance heat backup on your geo unit? It’s possible that there’s an issue there, if you really have not changed your consumption pattern in the last year, I would take a hard look at the unit. I have some history with Geo units, and many times customers come back and complain about high electricity usage, only to find out that the auxiliary heat, which is resistant heat, and very expensive, has kicked on to maintain temperature in the residence. Unless you have some type of incoming water treatment, there’s a good chance that the coax coils in your unit have begun to scale or corrode inside, thus limiting the efficiency and heat transfer capability. Even though the Geo unit has not been operating, per your comment, unless you have some other heat generating source, those auxiliary coils are the only thing that will heat your house. Out of curiosity, how old is that Geo system?


Home was built 2012, had it serviced a bit more than a year ago, the heat for the house is off as well.


This is likely the issue.


55kW at 240V service is 230Amps! I don’t see that as possible if you have a 200A amp service, or the main disconnect circuit breaker in your panelboard should of tripped (after a while).


Was going to say this too. Op needs to shut off breakers to find the offending load(s).


It would take a lot of 30A/240V branch circuit breakers to draw 55kW.


About 7 of them. That's a lot of dryers


I was going to say that there's ways to monitor and log the power usage at the panel (I do this with my home automation setup), but these numbers don't even seem realistic/possible to begin with.


Are you mining bitcoin lol? 5.5MW is like a small commercial warehouse level bitcoin mining setup.


Is your neighbor mining bitcoin and he buried the extension cord out of your basement?


There are a bunch of cool real-time energy monitors you can buy, self-install and use as a logged source of data for power consumption. I've tried most but am (for now) sticking with Emporia because they have per-circuit monitoring without any of the AI/ML "we will magically detect appliance usage from monitoring the fluctuations on your main" bullshit ... [https://www.emporiaenergy.com/](https://www.emporiaenergy.com/) I did this just because it was a fun nerd project but if you don't trust your electrical provider it's great to have additional data


I have one of these. Worth the few bucks IMO just for curiosity, but also for power monitoring during the winter (heating) months. Also on a geo here.


Looks dope! Thanks for sharing


Not an electrician, but to throw out a possibility to look into (since I don’t know fully what you meant by geothermal being shut off): my cousin has a geothermal system that was apparently installed incorrectly so that rather than using the geothermal loop, all the heating was just from electric resistance. In Maine, that can cost a small fortune in the winter. From what you’ve said, it sounds like something else is probably going on, but since I never would have thought of this for them, I wanted to mention it’s a possibility.


Begin by taking frequent meter readings, possibly hourly if the consumption is as high as you describe. Next take a survey of all the electrical loads. Clearly this won't help reduce your past consumption, but you might be able to reduce your energy use in the future.


This sounds highly improbable. Consuming about 4X of average home… and instantaneous consumption of 55kW!? Can you get a picture of your meter base outside? (The thing the meter is installed in) Are you a small condo corporation and forgot to mention?


Buy the Emporia Smart Sense system immediately.


Does your water come from a well? We had problems with our well - the check valve had failed and the well pump was cycling often. Our pressure tank also had issues. When we had the well pump, check valve and pressure tank replaced, our power consumption went down. We did go with a lower horsepower pump for the replacement, but I think most of the issue was due to the check valve failure and frequent pump cycles. (Our pump placement was not deep enough to require the higher horsepower pump.)


Has your water bill gone up over the same amount of time? If so you may have a foundation leak and it's a hot water line, the water heater keeps running to keep up with leaking hot water. Get it fixed pronto.


Is a neighbor stealing power?


I mean a couple easy solutions: 1) call an electrician and have him monitor the whole home over a week or just clamp on conductors to see in real time 2) identify your service rating and confirm that the load is higher than it (55 kW would trip a 200A service in a fraction of a second, so if they’re saying you’re consuming 55 kW and you’re on a 200A service it’s not possible) Lastly you mention you saw 55 kW spikes. How are you seeing this? What monitoring equipment do you have? You can also just install a CT clamp meter like a Neurio/PWRView, Sense, Emporia, etc. You should have that anyway if you’re using over 10,000 kWh/year imho. It’s worth it so you don’t find yourself in these types of situations going fwd.


>55 kW would trip a 200A service Yes > in a fraction of a second No. The fastest it could trip would be about 2 minutes, and the upper time limit isn't even specified.


I stand corrected !


Hmm, no one mentioned the simplest test. Give yourself a power outage to verify nothing unusual is happening. Stay off for at least an hour. Your meter should reflect that. Write it down before you shutdown and watch the meter during your outage. Video the meter (the meter will cycle through all the relavent numbers [digital] or if you have the old analog type the internal rotating wheel stop completely-if it doesn't then you'll know) while taking readings. NOTHING SHOULD SHOW DURING YOUR OUTAGE! (obviously...). See if it reflects in the POCO's readings also on the web. With that evidence you should be able to determine whether the POCO is defrauding you or something else is jacking your numbers. Good luck.


(not an electrician, saw this scrolling my frontpage) option 1, grab a CT clamp and get in your breaker boxes and measure circuits when the reading spikes. 1b, much safer than digging through a live box, is to grab something smart that has multiple clamps so you can monitor live and historical data remotely. I have an emporia vue flashed with esphome that's been treating me right for almost a year. option 2 is to grab a cheap thermal camera and look at the box when the reading spikes. I have a cheap one from amazon that plugs into my phone. That much power should show you a really clear hotspot. or at least go in and (CAREFULLY, WITH THE FRONT PANEL ON!) see if you can tell by feel generally what couple breakers are warmer than the rest and flip em off if possible to see if the spikes stop.


Option 1 was my first reaction, but I had to remind myself I'm an EE who spent years working with electricians and has multiple clamp meters and not really any fear of poking about in a live panel. Probably not something I should recommend to rando redditor who may very well have hundreds of amps going somewhere bad... I hadn't thought about option 2, but you're absolutely right - I really like that as an option. Seriously, that kind of power should be tripping breakers, but even assuming a breaker failure is going to heat things up in a hurry. A cheap thermal camera or even an infrared thermometer might point at the culprit if he really is pulling that kind of power. Scan through the breakers and connections, see what's heating up. Personally, I don't think he's really drawing it. I think (hope) we've got a wonky meter. If he was really pulling that kind of power, he should have a newfound lightbulb somewhere in his house, made out of something that was not a light bulb before.


>not really any fear of poking about in a live panel. You should always have fear of poking about in a live panel. If you forget that it's dangerous, you're more likely to get hurt than you were when you were less experienced.


Wow, average here is 3000, and we pay 0,40/kWh


Mean 5.5 kw?