Huge Power Usage Spikes - Help!

I have what I think is similar. Sense is reporting huge power spikes many times a day. It doesn’t identify where they are coming from. My electric bill has doubled the the past couple months but nothing has changed. I wasn’t noticing these spikes till I changed the view on the power meter to weekly or monthly.
HELP my electric bill for the last month is $717. I have to find out what is causing these spikes. Normal power meter looks about right. I am willing to hire someone to track this down, I live in Manhattan, and don’t even know exactly what type of person/firm I am looking for.

Welcome @jn1,
Zooming out is useful to see your worst case peaks, but once you identify the highest few peaks, zooming back in should help you assess them. Zooming in to within a few days and a few hours of my largest peak helps me see things in context (the two big peaks in the second image are both in the early hours of the AM). The third image shows that my highest peak is one EV charging in the middle of another.

So pleas share some similar zoomed in images of your highest peaks.

HI Thanks I have attached some additional screen shots. It seems like they are motor start up type spikes, but there are no motors to speak of that I can identify (heat circulator pump but heat is off). I live in a townhouse in Manhattan so there aren’t a lot of unusual electric loads. But these spikes must be why my usage is so high, it’s out of control right now…

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It looks like you are having 700-1000W transitions, but not necessarily motor-like. A motor usually shows a big inductive spike at the leading edge when it starts. One more thing you can Dinis try to see which positive and negative transitions are seen by the Sense monitor’s native mechanism. Leave the Power Meter running for a while and you will see the “transitions of interest” tagged with power numbers by Sense. Some of your big transitions look like slow ramps that Sense might break into multiple transitions, even though they are a single one.

Here’s what the tagging looks like for me.

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Kevin thanks. I only sent screenshots of a brief period to the forum. I also raised the question with sense where they can see all the data. I am getting spikes as high as 8000 watts there may not be examples of that in the screenshots.

To date I have found sense tech support to be weak. They haven’t answered this question yet so we will see. I don’t know if there is any way not look at the data, if there is I would be happy to do so and/or extract it and send it the forum.

My electric bill is up to $716.00 but nothing has changed so I am desperately trying to figure it out. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.


What is dinis?

Typo !

One more thing you try is to see which positive and negative transitions are seen by the Sense monitor’s native mechanism.

Wow, that’s a wild electric bill, and a higher draw than my all electric very large home.

@jn1, I can understand your immediacy, but also the challenges that Sense is facing in trying to answer your questions. If you are really concerned about the change in your bill, you really need to go through a step-by-step process and not just focus in on “what is causing these spikes ?”

The first questions to answer.

  1. What kind of billing plan do you have ? I took a brief look at ConEd rate plans and it looks like they are labeled EL-xx where the x’s are numbers. It also looks like your supply cost is variable, so your bill could go up, even if your usage hasn’t changed.

  2. Is Sense showing the same usage your utility is showing ? Do you know what your metering period is ? If you know can do a quick check by setting the Billing Cycle Date to the day in the month when your billing starts, then looking at Trends under the Bill tab. Here I can see that my total usage for July 22nd until Sep 23rd was 1868.4kWh. I can compare that against my most recent billing statement, which shows 1872kWh after the adjustment for my solar. So that’s how I compare, to double check.

ps: I have also included Time of Use pricing in my Sense setup so I see actual $$ as well.

  1. Are you seeing big changes across billing periods. If I am in the Bill tab, I can swipe between the billings period and see if some are much greater than others.

It would be useful to understand those three things before trying to push down into what’s going on with the spikes.

Something doesn’t smell right… I am in southern Utah, pulling almost 2khw per month in the summer for a ~3000 sq/ft rancher. Post up your electricity bill.

Here in NH, 2kwh would be costing about 35-40 cents, negligible. My similar size home runs around 200-250kwh/month during summer, depending on how hot it’s been.

Will do… thanks

Yes that’s the problem it makes no sense and when I look at sense it is usually a reasonable number. It these spikes that I think are the problem. I gave attached a screen shot for this morning. The spikes are around 6500 watts but sense doesnt give me any help figuring out what they are.

I don’t have a clue what you mean or how to do that…

@jn1 , thanks for the image. I don’t see a 6,500W spike though. Based on this limited view, I see lot of different power loads that form a 3,000W baseline and other devices that cycle on and off, including your oven, that add up to 7,000 of so Watts at points in time.

Here’s more info on setting your billing cycle.

The place to compare monthly or billing cycle trends is under Trends > Usage in the Sense app. That’s where my screenshots came from.

And I think to see your rate information and billing cycle, you’ll need to log into the ConEd website.

My problem is my usage is way too high to be right. I am trying to determine what is using power and what is causing these spikes, they happen multiple time an hour sometimes a minute. The screenshot I sent you doesn’t show much. Perhaps a better question is: Is there any way for me to see the underlying data so I can analyze it. These spikes are never labeled by sense. Oh and on the screen shot I sent you,all those short spikes were prior to when I actually turned the oven on.
Right now sense is doing nothing to help me find what is causing those spikes and I need to find that to see why it is happening.

Latest bill being posted next sorry for out of sequence post. I am focused on usage not the final $ the usage is way out of line for my home. If you look at the chart on the top right of the first page. If you look at July Aug and Sept you can see what I am trying to figure out. NOTHING changed about electric us In my home for those months. The same number of people were home, If you look at the temp line you will see it is flat yet the usage varies a lot. I am very careful about A/C use in any event, but if it was A/C that was using the power, the usage would get the same in those 3 months. The same is true if you look at May and October. I don’t understand how my usage can be 35.5 (approx) in those 2 months and 75 in other months. I have made no changes, added no electric loads, changed no loads, nothing. Oh and I have gas cooking (1 electric wall oven and 1 gas range) gas heat and hot water. I have 2 mini split a/c units. I use them only during the afternoon if at all. I have had both of them serviced (PM) recently so they are okay. I was hoping sense would help me figure this out. When I look at the power meter across time atr a granular level (like hours) what I see is hundreds of very brief spikes 7,000, 8,000 even 11,000 watts. Although they are brief hundreds of them add up and must be where this big utilization is going. I simply don’t have the kind of loads that would consume this much power. Every since lightbulb in the house is LED even.
Thanks for the help any ideas are appreciated.


All of this is very helpful in working through the mystery.

  • Your rate plan is EL1, the basic residential plan (no funky commercial 3-phase electricity for your building)
  • Billing cycle = 8/13 through 9/14 = 32 days
  • 2,383kWh used = 74.47kWh / day
  • That is indeed a lot of usage for what you describe, but matches up with what Sense is seeing. Just to put it in perspective, I have a 4,000 sq foot house with two AC units and 2 EVs, and as you saw, my usage was only 1,868kWh
  • You could easily double check Sense by comparing the monthly Trends > Usage against your the average graph on your bill, but I’m now assuming that Sense is accurately matching your bill

On to diagnosis -

  • It’s time to look at your main breaker panel where the Sense was installed to see what is wired into that panel. Hopefully your breakers are labeled and correct. It’s also important to know whether the mains that Sense is connected to go to just your panel or other panels in the building (yes, that happens).
  • I’m wondering whether your meter is solely for your unit, or whether it also meters the “house” circuits ? We own a 4 unit building in Monterey, CA and that building originally had all of the laundry room and central hot water metering on the Unit 3 meters. We eventually separated, into a separate set of “house” meters. Figuring that out would require an electrician looking at the building wiring, though who ever connected up your Sense could have likely seen suspicious signs of a “parallel panel” to the one for your unit.
    FYI - the link below shows what a “parallel panel” looks like in a single family residential setting - in several cases Sense users have attached the Sense to just one panel of two parallel panels, so Sense was missing lots of energy usage that the utility meter was seeing. In your case, the issue might be that both Sense and the utility are reading two panels, when your apartment usage is only one of those two.
    Usage Accuracy - #22 by 2uskiwis

Sure are “using” a lot of power.
Few things you can try in order.

Turn off and unplugging everything you can think of in your home, except Sense & your network. See if the spikes disappear.

Turn off all your breakers except Sense and network, check to see if there is ANY consumption above those two devices

Investigate every breaker one by one to see what it controls. If you are unsure about one leave it off and see if any of your neighbors complain.

When all your neighbors are home shut off all your breakers and wait for a neighbor to complain, or just ask your neighbors if they are having any issues with the power in the building.

Call the number listed here:
Just note that they will have to notify the landlord/building owner in advance, so if it’s something they are aware of they could temporarily fix the issue before the utility comes out, leaving you with less recourse.