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Why is an incorrect reading since billing system change still effecting my smart meter estimated readings on the online account?

  • 9 October 2020
  • 28 replies
  • 504 views

Userlevel 2

So OVO did their system change on 18th April. My electric reading on 14th April was 0009021. 
when they have done the change they have put my reading as 0008420 on the 18th.

therefore  when I have given my subsequent readings it is thinking  I have used way more than I have, I have spoken to them and they said they rectified it however now after giving another reading it has jumped back again. 
I on average use approx 240khw a month electric 
for October now it’s stated I have used 1270kwh for 21 days. 
Iv rang, Iv emailed, Iv sent videos in, Iv done the health check they asked for, Iv emailed a complaint in. 
I’m sick of this now, I just want a new meter dont ting so we can start again at zero and this be done with! I don’t want to be doing this every single month when I have to submit a reading due to the smart meters never sending one since installing, 

I can’t be the only one this has happened to? What about the older people who can’t check online at all there reading and just pay….. 

 

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Best answer by Spritepixie 20 October 2020, 14:52

@Tim_OVO said after looking at my account “Looking at the account notes, I can see this relates to your meter using economy 7 (two rate) readings, with the old billing platform using one register the whole time, but the new billing platform pulling readings from the unused other register. A meter exchange is the best fix, which as been arranged. And we have your readings on record so we will be able to bill you up to the meter exchange date correctly!”


I have been in touch with a very helpful agent at OVO who has arranged for both meters to be replaced on 5th Nov, the battle I expect will then be to accurately bill the final reading from the old meters as I do not and never have had economy 7 readings,  I’ll update when this has happened, 

thanks all for your help 

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28 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +3

Sorry to hear all this @Spritepixie - your complaint should’ve handled better than this.

As for the issue itself, have a look at what I’ve just posted over here in response to another customer with the same problem.

Userlevel 7

Thanks for posting, @Spritepixie and sharing this negative experience. 

 

As you’ve mentioned doing the smart meter health checks, are you able to tell us the cause of your smart meters not communicating with OVO remotely? That will help us advise you on your options for getting these meters communicating with us remotely or your chances of getting new ones fitted that do! 

 

From your (very handy) topic description and screenshot, it does look like the estimates are way under your actual readings. As I outlined in this topic, that estimate is based on smart meter readings, customers readings (or in the absence of both) your annual usage average. Your usage average may be the cause, but it may also be that some incorrect readings weren’t deleted from the reading history.. are you able to check that here?

 

I’d also be keen to hear the result of your complaint. If it's not resolved, a manager and then our expert Complaints team are on hand to deep dive into this. Which gives us a good chance of diagnosing the issue. Keep us updated please! 

Userlevel 7
Badge +3

Erm… do you actually have Smart Meters@Spritepixie. You didn’t say, so I didn’t assume that you have.

Just to clarify: there are two quite separate issues here, but they interact:

1: The erroneous start-reading when your account was migrated to the new Billing System (8420 instead of 9041)

2: The very large electricity usage in September, which is complicated because it involves estimated readings from earlier months.

If Point-1 isn’t corrected, then subsequent months’ estimates will be incorrect…. and therefore Point-2 occurs when you try to provide an actual reading.

Userlevel 2

Hi, thanks for the replies. The health check results were; please note this was on on the 28th Sept so reading are slightly more now. 

1) Confirm your smart meter serial numbers - they're written directly above the bar code on each meter.

Electric 16P7120939

Gas G4P01981611600

 

2) Look for a light labelled WAN on the front of your electricity meter. Is it flashing/solid/off?

WAN Solid red 

HAN off,nothing 

 

3) Look for a light labelled HAN on the front of the gas meter. Is this flashing or solid?

I can’t find any light labels HAN or WAN, there are two lights it seems in the centre. These are both off if that’s what you mean. See picture below 

 

4) Press 0 on your electricity meter. Does this show you the time and date, or the word 'commission'?

Time and date correct 

No word commission 

 

5) Press 0 on your gas meter. Does this show you the time and date, or the word 'commission'?

Time and date correct 

No word commission 

 

6) Press 9 (or 6 if you have a two rate meter) on your electricity meter and provide your current meter reading. This appears after the word 'IMP KWH'.

0010267

 

7) Press 9 on your gas meter and provide your current meter reading. This appears after the word 'volume'.

03827

 

8) Where is the electricity meter situated? E.g, inside, outside, in a metal box, near thick wall, in a basement or anywhere that could be blocking the signal

 

Inside Cellar , front of house, almost below gas which is outside on wall. 

 

9) How is the mobile signal next to the meter? Is it good, average or poor?

Poor 

 

10) Please let us know roughly how far your gas meter is from the electricity meter. Are there any thick walls that could be blocking the signal?

Approx 4ft from front of cellar to outside front out house where gas is. 
 

yes I do have smart meters, had them fitted a good couple of years ago but they have never sent reading even after a signal booster was fitted. This wasn’t really a problem to me and I just submitted my own. 
the issue has arisen when OVO changed the system in April and my opening reading was incorrectly put in, 

my last reading I gave on 14th  April was 0009021

the opening reading on the next bill and after the system change was 0008420, therefore 601khw less then my actual reading, 

Iv still not had any official response from my complaint, and now they are wanting me to put my DD which is not happening, 

If I wasn’t tied into a contract I’d have left by now 

 

Userlevel 2

Reading I gave on 14th April, one day before the system change. 

Userlevel 2

It’s says a day later I gave 8420 which I did not, but that’s how they’ve opened the new system 

Userlevel 7
Badge +3

Well that’s all useful information, @Spritepixie - and we now know that you do have Smart Meters. As you mention pressing a numerical button, we’ll assume that you have a SMETS1 installation with an electricity meter manufactured by Secure.

Your post also tells me that there’s at least two other faults on your site.

You have no connection to the Wide Area Network, which is why you’re sending in manual readings. That’s indicated by the LED being solid-red (not flashing).

The Home Area Network isn’t functional either. So the communications to your IHD and gas meter are down.

I cannot understand why your complaint hasn’t been addressed either in the initial 5-day period, nor the 8-weeks stipulated for Stage-2. Check the Complaints Procedure here.

Could you also please complete your Forum Profile page. As I’m a fellow customer, that’s where I go to pick up basic information such as your geographical region. Smart Meter communications differ according to where you are.

Userlevel 2

Hi yes your right it is the first gen meter, I have updated my profile page if it helps.

I am currently on the phone speaking to a helpful agent called Sandy who has arranged for a new gas & electric meter to be fitted, then once that is done i will have to see what the final bill for the old meter is and go from there,

she seems to think the meter is sending incorrect readings then showing me a different ready, Iv no idea anymore

Userlevel 7

 Thanks for all of the info above, @Spritepixie - it helps us diagnosers here get to the root cause! :nerd: 

 

she seems to think the meter is sending incorrect readings then showing me a different ready, Iv no idea anymore

 

This seems unlikely, as @Transparent mentions there’s no WAN, so readings shouldn’t be making it onto your online account. However you should be able to see readings in your reading history section - can you confirm? 

 

Feel free to send me a PM with your account number, full name and date of birth so I can check that you’re getting the best advice. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +3

Just to clarify @Tim_OVO - my diagnosis was before @Spritepixie completed the Profile page. We now know that this site is in the Northern Territory.

The feature I know least about with SMETS1 meters is the indicator light patterns in the north. I guess they should be the same as Central and Southern territories because their installation pre-dates the National Smart Meter Network. But that’s an assumption on my part!

Could this be checked with the S1 Team and added specifically to the SMETS1 Tutorial and the SMETS1 Health Check?

Both Topics mention the relevant indicators and show them in pictures. But there’s no mention of either their normal status or their error-states!

Userlevel 2

hi, yes i said i doubt its the meter sending the incorrect readings as they've never sent them before but she insisted she was looking at a big list of readings …..

ill PM you my account details @Tim_OVO 

thank you 

Userlevel 7

Can we get an update on this one, @Spritepixie - keen to get a ‘best answer’ assigned….

Userlevel 2

@Tim_OVO said after looking at my account “Looking at the account notes, I can see this relates to your meter using economy 7 (two rate) readings, with the old billing platform using one register the whole time, but the new billing platform pulling readings from the unused other register. A meter exchange is the best fix, which as been arranged. And we have your readings on record so we will be able to bill you up to the meter exchange date correctly!”


I have been in touch with a very helpful agent at OVO who has arranged for both meters to be replaced on 5th Nov, the battle I expect will then be to accurately bill the final reading from the old meters as I do not and never have had economy 7 readings,  I’ll update when this has happened, 

thanks all for your help 

Userlevel 7
Badge +3

Agh! You have Economy-7 too :scream:

There are established protocols to estimate usage from a meter which hasn’t been giving readings. However, if you’ve notified OVO of the issue and they haven’t resolved the matter for many months, then you can hardly be expected to pay based on an immediate assessment.

One sensible alternative is to measure the Economy-7 usage over the next year on the new meter and then generate a bill based on that.

A second option is for OVO to offer a lump-sum discount if you’ll agree to a reasonable estimate based on one-month’s usage on the new meter. There’s obviously a significant factor which is weather-dependent, but that’s why they may wish to offer a reduction to get it sorted quickly.

 

Finally, I have once been in a relative’s house when an “inspector” arrived with an engineer to swap out a gas meter which had been reported faulty within a week of it being fitted. Over a year had now passed with no remedy being pursued and the customer paying nothing.

The Inspector suggested an estimate based on the previous full year for which there had been readings taken.

I chipped in and suggested that my elderly relative pay nothing at all on the grounds that she had correctly reported the meter wasn’t registering usage when it was first fitted.

The Inspector blew a gasket and threatened going to court.

I reminded him that the Energy Supplier must first deliver a Bill and then a Letter Before Action, laying out the terms of the debt. Since he couldn’t produce a Bill, I told him that it was unlikely that a court would hear the case.

The unknown “debt” was written off by letter the next day!  :slight_smile:

No - I don’t think that would work today. Energy Estimates are now a much more established practice.

Userlevel 2

But how can I prove I have never been on economy 7.? 
I have always been on the simply better energy deal. 
from day one (years ago) I reported the meters wasn’t sending reading, they came out and fitted a signal booster which still didn’t work, since then I have always submitted my own reading. 
suddenly since the system change its all gone tits up, I won’t be paying the extra 1200kwh they say I have used in 10 ish days

Userlevel 7
Badge +3

I don’t think the burdon of proof lies solely with you. There are bound to be times when meter technology lets us down. This has been the case for decades.

As it was a comment from @Tim_OVO which identified you were meant to have two tariffs on your account, OVO’s Billing Team aren’t suddenly going to suggest otherwise.

Only you know if there were devices in your house which are meant to have been using Economy-7, and only you know the dates of when changes were made to your meters, tariffs etc.

I suggest you write down the history of these events in chronological order so that it can be compared against the erroneous bills which you have been receiving. Don’t post it here on the open Forum, but you can send it to Tim as a Private Message if you’d like him to check that it makes sense.

You will obviously get billed incorrectly until after the meter installation on 5th Nov. So there’s no point worrying in the meantime.

Shortly afterwards I guess you’ll hear from OVO and we’ll stand by ready to advise if it seems to you that any proposed estimates are biased against you.

On balance I’d expect OVO to make a fair offer for financial settlement, and that will include a measure of compensation for their failure to address the faulty meter readings from the date when you first reported it.

 

Userlevel 2

It’s really quite simple in my eyes. 
Before the system change my reading was 9100 ish on 15th April. when the they change the system on 18th April they inputted my reading as 8400, 

then due to the change I was unable to submit readying for may June and July therefore when Iv put august/Septembers it’s like WHOA how much have you used??? Lol 

if they are saying I should have had 2 separate reading (for the E7) then have I been submitting higher than the ‘real’ readings  all this time then Iv no idea, 

 

Userlevel 7

Let’s take another look at @Spritepixie’s recent comment: 

 

@Tim_OVO said after looking at my account “Looking at the account notes, I can see this relates to your meter using economy 7 (two rate) readings, with the old billing platform using one register the whole time, but the new billing platform pulling readings from the unused other register. A meter exchange is the best fix, which as been arranged. And we have your readings on record so we will be able to bill you up to the meter exchange date correctly!”

 

Whilst I can’t confirm the details of a customer account on a public forum, from this message I think it's clear the billing can be sorted by using the correct register in the final bill. The property uses a single register, and isn't Eco-7, and it’s that correct register (used whilst on the old billing platform) that the final bill will be based on... 

 

 

Userlevel 2

Well it’s almost a month since the new meters were fitted (smets2) they still don’t  send reading in due to the signal but  that’s fine I don’t mind submitting them 

 

Iv been in touch with ovo three times since regarding the incorrect reading that was placed upon the new system change, first by email which has been ignored, secondly via phone where the person I spoke to couldn’t find any notes on my account (fuming!) and lastly a complaint email 5 working days ago. 
I’m loosing my patience now and I’m going to send the email to the ombudsman, 

im quite happy to put a copy in here (redacted of person info) as I’m sure I’m not the only one being ignored at the moment! 
 

 

“Hello OVO

I am contacting you yet again regarding the ongoing issue with my old electric meter.

I made a call yesterday 24th Nov and was on the phone 45 minutes only to be told there were no notes on my account regarding any issues and the woman i spoke to said (after a large sigh) "I don't understand what you are ringing for", this is INCREDIBLY frustrating when this issue has been going on from April and iv made numerous calls, emails, send videos, pics in, 

so to clarify ill start again and i really hope this is the last time i am going to have to explain this as if it is NOT resolved on this occasion my next email will be to the ombudsman.

 

My smart meters have never sent readings in due to a lack of signal in my area, this was fine as i just submitted them manually, 

all was ok until you did your system change on the 18th April, since then due to meter reading being wrong there has been no end of issues with overcharging, so to clarify;

on the 14th April i submitted a reading of 9021.

on the 18th April your system changed this to 8420. (601 less)

i then missed a few months of submitting the readings due to working through covid, this wasn't really a big issue to me as you have always estimated it ok in the past.

on the 28th Sept i manually submitted a reading of 10267 then a huge bill came,

i couldn't understand why it was so high so looked through all the readings on the bills and realised the numbers were wrong,

16th July 8803 EST

15th Aug 8937 EST

15th Sept 9054 EST

21st Sept 9079 EST

 

i made contact via phone and spoke to a gentleman who said this had happened on other accounts and he would reset the system and issues a new bill, all was fine.

 

the following time i submitted reading the system appeared to revert back tot he wrong initial reading of 8420 therefore a large bill again was generated, i made contact again and was asked to send videos of me taking the readings to check i had done this right, even though iv been reading these meters for years. I also completed the health check on both meters. I was asked if i had a jacuzzi, a tumble drier!! I assured the agents nothing in my household had changed and that it was the system change on 18th April that keeps entering the incorrect reading of 8420.

In the end you agreed this was going to keep happening so suggested the meters needed upgrading to SMETS2, this was done on the 11th November. the final readings were submitted and the new meter details noted on my account. I was told someone would make contact to resolve the billing issues after you had received the final readings. (They still don't send readings in however)

 

I left it a week or so for you to make contact regarding the final bill, i heard nothing, I submitted a complaint via your web page over a week ago and have heard nothing, hence why i rang yesterday only to be told there was no notes on my account, i was kept on hold while the lady repeatedly disappeared and then when she came back i she reiterated there is nothing to see on my account and even her team leader cant, so she really doesn't know why I'm calling" 

i said "what so you cant even see all the previous correspondence and complaints?" she replied "oh yes i can see those". i explained THATS why im calling! she said there is nothing she can do and she would get someone to ring me within 48 hours and just to tell them everything.

 

This is absolutely ridiculous now, I really cant see how difficult it is to realise the system change has messed the numbers up from 9021 to 8420 so its effectively recharging 601 worth of electricity, can this not just be calculated and credited back to my account

 

I am becoming increasingly frustrated at having to go over this time and time again, can this PLEASE be dealt with by an experienced higher member of staff with some authority to resolve this. I really don't want this to escalate to the ombudsman however i have given OVO numerous opportunities to resolve this, and please feel free to listen to all the calls to see that throughout all of this i have remained respectful to your staff even when faced with a complete lack of care for customer service,

 

I await your swift reply

kind regards”

 

CAN ANYBODY HELP?? 

 

 

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

Hi @Spritepixie , welcome back.

I’m really sorry you’re still having issues. I’m putting this one on my priority list to flag with @Tim_OVO urgently. We’ll try and get you back on track as soon as possible.

I’m really sorry this isn’t working out as well as you hoped. Please hang in there for a bit and I’ll try and get help asap.

Userlevel 7
Badge +3

Hi @Spritepixie - I can feel the frustration from here.

The Office of the Energy Ombudsman can’t accept a referral from you until the Complaints Procedure has run its course.

In OVO’s case the 2nd stage of the Process has an 8-week time-frame. But the clock starts ticking from the moment your communication is first recognisable as a complaint (whether you stated this or not). So don’t start calculating from the email you sent 5 days ago.

You need to have this clear in your mind before you approach the Ombudsman. I suggest you make a note of the dates when you’ve raised this issue with OVO. And don’t count the posts you’ve made here to the Forum. We’re fellow customers even though this site is hosted on their server.

Ask here again if you’d like any further clarification.

I have twice been assisted by the Office of the Energy Ombudsman so I have first hand experience of how they work. They are extremely helpful and patient, but they can only work within the remit they have been granted.

 

Userlevel 2

I first made contact back in June, then multiple callers and emails since 

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +3

You won’t see the indicator labels which OVO has asked you about. They have given you questions which relate to a SMETS2  Smart Meter and you have the earlier SMETS1 version.

Keep asking for help here on the Forum. We are well aware of what you are facing.

Userlevel 7

Thanks for sharing this, @Spritepixie - it’s really a bit sad to hear about your experience. For you, I imagine it might be deeply frustrating. 

 

Can I ask if your complaint is now escalated beyond a manager and is with the Complaints team? If so, you’re in excellent hands. 

 

This team liaises with the Ombudsmen on complaints they’ve been sent. The team don’t want the Ombudsmen to have to work these, it’s time consuming and costly. Often the remedy is exactly what the team offered. 

 

So I would strongly recommend you work with this team. They’re the best of the best, and you will have a dedicated advisor looking into it, who will be your point of contact. If a fair resolution is what you're after, they will be the ones to get it. 

Userlevel 2

@Tim_OVO i would love to work with them but unfortunately Iv still had no reply from either the phone calls or the email, it is very frustrating I don’t want to ring again as it seems to get me no where, I am going to send the email again stating it’s the third one, 

 

any advice you can offer before I do this would be appreciated 

thanks 

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