Itron Digital Power Model CL200 Meter Failure

I have Progress Energy here in Florida. About a year ago they installed a new digital power meter made by Itron (model CL200 *1647852*) which
is read remotely via RF. We have been getting screwy bills the last couple of months which prompted us to go out and read the display. It turns out the display is totally blank. It used to flash "8888s" and then the accrued reading. Now there is nothing reading on the display.
Questions 1) Do these meters retain the data even if the display fails? I assume there is a lithium battery powering the entire works, hopefully they were bright enough to maintain the memory in flash.
3) Can they install a battery in the field and show me the reading without "doing magic" back at the shop?
3) What recourse do I have if the utility has no accurate reading of the meter? I have been using the average billing method and we have been making improvements to reduce consumption, yet the past bills seem high and erroneous?
When the installer came out to first install the digital meters in my neighborhood a year ago, he somehow "lost" my meter when I asked him to show it to me for the final reading. I had to convince the utility that the last reading was wrong impossible. (digits were transposed by the reader)
--
Joe Leikhim K4SAT
"The RFI-EMI-GUY"
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CL200 is the "class" of meter. It means it is a 200 amp meter. It is not the model number. It is likely a Centron. The number you give is probably part of the serial number. It is possible the display is deactivated on purpose. It can be done.

The display can fail while the rest of the meter works fine.

If the display is bad, a battery will not enable you to see the reading. They may be able to use a portable reader to read the meter and show you the reading.

The state utility commissions have set policies on how these situations are handled.

How do you know your bills are erroneous? What accurate meter have you used to verify that your consumption is lower than recorded by your revenue meter?

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Charles Perry wrote:

We went through a cold spell and conserved on use of the AC/HeatPump. They acknowledged an incorrect "average" billing based on "estimates"(quite bogus) and reissued another although there was no actual reading of the meter done. When we went out to check the numbers the meter was totally blank. It had displayed a consumption value previously. My next door neighbors meter reads a value, now mine is blank. It does seem premature since the unit is only a year old. Perhaps since it faces the sun a good part of the day it gave out. I have no other meter but am considering a submeter arrangement.
Progress Energy seems to be in no real hurry to fix the meter. It has been over a week since we first reported the problem. I think it has been out of order for two months according to the billing records being "estimated".
--
Joe Leikhim K4SAT
"The RFI-EMI-GUY"
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<snip>

It is not uncommon for a utility to estimate a bill when they have no reading. Some do this on purpose (reading the meter every other month). Sometimes it is done because a reading was accidentally skipped. The meter is just like an odometer, it does not matter if they over or under estimate for a month as the next time the meter is read you will "catch up". The fact that you thought the estimate was incorrect does not indicate a meter error. The fact that they are not getting readings may mean the meter is dead. It could also mean that only the comm module is dead.
Charles Perry P.E.
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Charles Perry wrote:

The bill showed a 57% increase from one month to another. The credited us for the mistake but the question remains as to what the true reading is. Hopefully the data is intact in the memory.
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Joe Leikhim K4SAT
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That's only true if all of your usage is billed at the same rate. Here (BC Canada), the first N kWh/day are billed at a lower rate, and anything above that at a higher rate. If a reading is too high one month, you pay for the extra at the high rate. Then next month you pay less - but the savings are at the lower rate. The same happens when one month is artificially low and the next month's reading is correct. In both cases, the temporary error actually costs money.
Our last meter reading was 1000 kWh too high, so we have first-hand experience with this. That's double our normal usage, so we noticed. As it happens, *all* of our true usage should have been billed at the low rate, and almost all of the erroneous consumption would have been billed at the higher rate. Without correction, we would have paid $72 too much for this 2-month billing period, then saved $60 next period (assuming the next reading was correct). That's a net loss of $12.
I suspect it was a meter reader who just doesn't understand how to read the old analog meters. Unlike odometers, where each digit except the lowest one moves only when the next-lower digit rolls over, mechanical dial kWh meters have all of the hands rotating all of the time. If the correct reading is 5905, the highest dial's pointer is pointing to 5.9 (i.e. essentially 6), not to 5. The second-highest dial is pointing to 9.0. If you didn't understand how the meter worked, you could read it as 6905, not 5905. The fact that alternate dials rotate in opposite directions doesn't help either.
I guess having new meters that just display the usage as numbers means that the skill of reading the old meters is vanishing - even among meter readers.
    Dave
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writes:

When I was consulting with DTE, we had some 'fun' with this. We read meters monthly and had to try and detect this sort of read error. If the reader transposed a pair of digits or read the 'wrong side' of a digit (such as your example of reading 6905 instead of 5905), we could detect it if it was in the first couple of digits. When consumption jumped so far in one month we flagged it and went with an estimate. If the next month's reading was also high, then we'd go with the reading and assume the customer added some new load (pool, A/C, whatever). But too many estimates in a row and the algorithm gave up and went with the meter reading.
A lot of that was supposed to go away as they converted to digital RF read meters, but I had moved on about that time so I never heard for sure.
Seems like the front read-out of the meter has to work for the customer to be able to read it. A quick call to the PSC complaint department should get the meter fixed pretty quick. Assuming it is readily accessible by the utility, they should be able to swap it out in mere minutes (after taking a final reading of the old one).
daestrom

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