Electric Meter Not Spinning (Mechanical, Electrical Failure)

electric meter not spinning

Electric meters measure your energy consumption. But they are not infallible. If yours has stopped spinning, this is everything you should know:

Is The Electric Meter Supposed to Spin?

Analog meters have a disc that rotates as it takes measurements. Analog meters have multiple dials that turn clockwise or counterclockwise.

Start with the farthest dial to the right. Record the numbers one at a time as you move to the left. Each dial will transition from zero to nine before returning to zero, which amounts to a complete revolution.

Meter readers will multiply an analog meter’s readings by a specific number if you consume large volumes of electricity. But again, this only matters to analog meters. Digital and smart meters don’t spin.

Does It Matter That An Electric Meter Has Stopped Spinning?

Yes, it matters. Meters don’t provide electricity. Instead, they measure the volume of power you’ve consumed within a given period. A dead meter won’t necessarily disrupt your home’s power supply. However, without a functional meter, the energy company cannot track your energy consumption. That sounds like a good thing, but it should concern you. Eventually, the utility provider will identify the fault.

Energy firms use meter readers to collect information from the meter every few weeks. They will notice that your property’s readings have stayed the same month after month. If the meter shows signs of tampering, they may blame and penalize you for the damage.

But even if the meter stopped spinning due to natural wear and tear, the company will still bill you for all the months you did not pay. They will estimate your consumption based on previous readings.

This isn’t a big deal if they discover the problem within the first few weeks. But if you permit the issue to persist for several months or years, the energy company will saddle you with a massive bill.

Don’t allow your balance to extend beyond a reasonable threshold. Keep an eye on the meter and immediately report any glitches you’ve noticed.

Why Does An Electric Meter Stop Spinning?

Most people blame this symptom on a defective electric meter. They are not wrong. According to Utility Meters Warehouse, electric meters have a lifespan of ten to twenty years. But they can die earlier than expected if you expose them to extreme conditions. Electric meters are vulnerable to the following:

  • Mechanical Failure

Electric meters can break down because of strenuous elements such as harsh weather. Many homeowners have lost meters because a tree branch fell on the device. Mechanical failure tends to manifest physical symptoms such as broken glass and dented surfaces.

Don’t expect the meter to stop spinning immediately. Sometimes, an electric meter sustains damage and then gradually slows down over the next few days, weeks, and even months before finally stopping.

  • Electrical Failure

Meters have sensitive internal components that fail when they encounter overloads, surges, and other electrical faults. Modern meters are unlikely to rust because manufacturers use corrosion-resistant materials and technologies to make them.

But older meters are not as resistant to rust as their newer counterparts. And if you have an analog meter with spinning components, the device is most likely ancient. Therefore, you cannot rule out corrosion as a potential source of electrical failure.

Electrical failure is more difficult to identify and diagnose than mechanical failure. You need an electrician to take the electric meter apart.

  • Wear And Tear

As was noted above, electric meters have a lifespan of ten to twenty years. In other words, they will fail regardless of how well you care for them. They have moving parts that lose their integrity over time.

Old and worn-out meters will struggle with mechanical and electrical failure, as well as corrosion. You can fix an aging meter, but replacing the device before it fails entirely is more cost-effective.

What If You’ve Ruled Out Mechanical Failure, Electrical Failure, And Wear And Tear? Why Would The Electric Meter Stop Spinning?

This device spins because it detects the flow of current. The spinning shows that appliances in your home are using electricity. The device will stop spinning once the current stops flowing. You see this when something (such as a blackout) disrupts the power supply.

The same thing will happen once you switch off all the electrical equipment in your home. The meter can actually move in reverse if you have a system that generates and exports power to the grid.

What If The Electric Meter Is Spinning With No Load?

If all the devices are off, but the meter continues to spin, you have an electrical leak in your home. Or maybe you switched your appliances to standby mode instead of turning them off. Modern appliances use vampire energy. They continue to draw power until you disconnect them from the circuit.

What To Do When An Electric Meter Stops Spinning?

An electric meter that doesn’t spin may disrupt your power supply. Therefore, it is in your best interests to fix it quickly. Fortunately, the energy provider owns the meter. They are responsible for installing, maintaining, repairing, and replacing the device.

Call the company and ask them to send help. If you expect delays, take pictures of the broken meter and submit them. This may encourage the company to take quick action. It can also absolve you if the utility provider suspects tampering later on.

Most energy suppliers are unlikely to charge you for repairs. However, if you add obstacles that limit access to the meter, they may refuse to perform repairs until you pay them to move the meter to a more convenient location.

If you need a new meter box, Forbes expects a replacement to cost you $60 to $800, depending on the amperage. The meter box is your responsibility. You can hire a third-party electrician to deal with it without going through the energy company.

However, any tasks that involve the meter itself are off-limits. Don’t break the seal without contacting the utility provider.

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