You can save money if you can slow down the spinning of digital electric meters (such as smart meters and old electromechanical ones) with a neodymium magnet.
The faster the meter spins, the higher your energy usage will be displayed on your bill, so slowing it down for a few seconds here and there might reduce the total amount you pay.
This is because the smart meter will adjust its speed to match your average daily usage, and usually it’s slightly faster than real-time; if the clock on the device is not perfectly synchronized with the power company, you can ask them for compensation.
What is a digital electric meter?
Many homes and businesses now have smart meters installed, which record your energy usage in real-time. Analog meters can be as slow as once every 3 seconds, which gives you a 0.2s window to slow it down with magnets.
Newer digital models often spin twice as fast though, at 1-second intervals (0.5s window). A Digital electric meter is a device on the power line that measures your current energy usage.
It is usually attached near the electric box on the outside of your house, or inside the utility space in an apartment building.
Your energy company can also install a smart meter, which measures your energy usage at half- or quarter-second intervals.
To slow down a typical 4-digit 7-segment display electric meter with a neodymium magnet follow these steps:
1) Locate the magnet which controls the switching of the meter from “read” mode to “standby” mode. It might be hidden behind a panel, so check all sides and the top of the meter. Also, remember that sometimes meters are insulated from the outside world by metal housings, so even if you located the right switch it might not work.
2) Attach the magnet to the outside of the meter, as close as possible to this switch (you can use tape or even Sellotape if you like your gadgets to be permanent).
3) Now every time you want to slow it down, just wave this magnet near the meter and wait till the 7-segments display starts blinking; now you know that the current speed is 0.0 and the meter is in “standby” mode.
4) Wave again after a few seconds to turn back into “read” mode because the power company might start detecting malfunctions. If you do it too often – the power company will detect speed changes and will send someone to investigate what’s on there. It happens more quickly with old electromechanical meters (which are also more reliable when attacked by EMP).
5) Wave again to slow it down, etc.
Repeat this five times, and you will get 1 W usage on your bill instead of 2-3 like in the example above. If you wave magnet three more times (total of seven) before the power company gets suspicious, you’ll get 3 W instead of 7. 🙂
The bigger the magnet is – the better for slowing meter; in most cases, even a very big one won’t be visible from the inside of your home unless your electric meter is located near where people can see it from outside through the window or similar opening. Also note that if your meter spins too fast, users might get suspicious because nothing in their home uses so much energy.
To estimate your daily power usage, you can use an online calculator or just look at this table. By the way, if you know how to slow down older electromechanical meters with magnets, please post it in the comments. I remember that my grand-grandfather knew something about it but forgot how he did it 😉