How does Champion know how much power I’ve used?
Texas summers commonly bring the highest bills many customers see all year. As temperatures rise, air conditioners use a lot of energy in order to keep up with the cooling demands of residential homes. It’s not uncommon to see summer electricity usage that more than double that of mild weather months. This may lead some customers to question where their usage data comes from and if it is accurate.
In the article below, we’ve set out to answer many frequently asked questions about the origin of usage data, how Champion accesses it, as well as the accuracy of this data.
How does Champion know how much power I’ve used?
Most people know that there is an on-site meter at their home that measures the amount of electricity that they use, but many are surprised to find out that retailers, including Champion, do not directly interact with these meters. Instead, retailers receive this usage information on a regular basis from the local transmission & distribution utility (TDU) that serves the customer’s home; examples of TDUs include CenterPoint Energy in Houston and Oncor Electric Delivery in Dallas.
Champion receives usage information from your meter two ways. Once per month, the TDU sends a summary total of the amount of electricity measured by your meter since the prior month. Separately, Champion is able to download more granular 15-minute interval usage information through a web-based service called SmartMeterTexas.com. This more granular usage data allows both the customer and the retailer to have a better view of a home’s usage patter throughout the course of a day. Both of these data sources are managed by the TDU and provide electricity usage data as measured by your meter.
Champion, like all other retailers, relies on the usage data provided by a customer’s utility company in order to generate our customers’ bills. Retailers do not play a role in determining how much power a customer uses in any given month.
Key Takeaway: Champion has access to your home’s usage
data, which is what enables us to provide customers with weekly usage updates, cost
projections, and ultimately, bills. However, we are not responsible for the
meter at your home. That responsibility falls to the utility who collects the
usage information and then passes it along to Champion.
How accurate is the usage information from my meter?
The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) has established very clear standards regarding the required accuracy of meters before they are installed. In these standards, the PUCT specifies that a meter cannot be placed in service until its accuracy has been established.
Even with all of this testing ahead of their installation, there are occasional situations in which a meter can produce inaccurate readings.
If you believe there may be inaccuracies in the data from your meter, your utility is required to provide meter testing at your request. However, utilities only have to provide one free meter test every 4 years; any meter test performed more frequently than this will be charged to the customer if the meter is found to be within ANSI’s accuracy standards.
detailed information on the accuracy required of meters, check out Subchapter F
of the PUCT’s Electric Substantive Chapter 25 Rules.
Key Takeaway: Electric meters are closely
monitored for accuracy. The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) has
specified that all meters must meet the latest ANSI Standard C12 code. If a
customer believes that their usage data is being inaccurately reported by their
meter, they can ask their utility to perform a free meter test once every four
years. A more frequent test will often result in additional charges to the
customer, unless the meter is determined to be faulty.
What should I do if I believe that my usage is incorrect?
If you’re concerned about the usage that you’re seeing on a bill we recommend that you first pull your historical usage going back at least one year, though more is preferable. If you’re a Champion Energy customer, we make this easy for you to do by logging into your online account and navigating to the “Usage History” page. From this page, you have the option to download your historical usage.
For anyone who is not a Champion customer, or who has not been a Champion customer for long, you also have free access to your usage data through SmartMeterTexas.com. Sign up is quick and easy, but you will need your ESIID and meter number, both of which can be found on a recent electricity bill.
You can create a Smart Meter Texas account here: www.smartmetertexas.com/register
Once you have your usage information, you’ll want to compare the usage you’re seeing on the bill with your historical usage.
Here are some questions that may be helpful to you:
- How much power did your home use in the same month of prior years?
- Has your home ever used as much power as it used during this billing period?
- If not, was the weather at a particular extreme (hot or cold) for some portion of the month?
- Have you had any meaningful changes to your home’s electric system? Some common circumstances include: installing a pool, purchasing an EV, undergoing a renovation, etc.
- How old are your home’s large electric appliances e.g. air conditioner, water heater, washer/dryer and kitchen appliances?
- Is the very high usage occurring consistently every day, or did it only occur on a couple of specific days?
- If your home’s usage is consistently above its prior peak every day, without an extreme weather event, then you may want to evaluate the efficiency of your appliances.
- If your home’s usage spikes temporarily and then returns to more normal levels, then the high usage is likely valid, occurring as a result of above average consumption.
We’re always happy to help our customers with this analysis of their usage in order to determine if there is an opportunity for savings.
If after running through these questions you believe that an inaccurate meter is the only explanation, then you can reach out to your utility to request a meter test at your home.
Key Takeaway: If you’re concerned that your home’s usage looks too high, the best first step is to compare your usage to a prior period. Look at the same month in prior years as well as the highest usage for your home going back as far as possible. This data is readily available in your Champion Energy online account, or at SmartMeterTexas.com. Give us a call if you need assistance reviewing your usage.