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I'm getting an electric vehicle (EV) charger but how to get my meter tails upgraded and a DP isolation switch fitted? Who and how much?


Userlevel 2

Hi,

I’m in the process of purchasing an EV. Before the charger install I’ve been advised to have the meter tails uprated and  an isolator switch fitted before my electrician fits a new consumer unit and installs the charger.

I have been charged £264.25 for OVO to carry out the work in the meter cupboard. Thinking this seemed a bit much I did some research and came across this price list by OVO. DP isolator says £158.25 but has no mention of the meter tails. I called my DNO and they said the tails are normally updated during any work carried out by the supplier like a new meter. My smart meter was installed last year and the old tails were left in place. So my question is, why have I been charged £264 for an isolator normally costing £158 and the DNO says meter tails are normally updated during any work carried out as they are not my responsibility and down to the supplier to ensure they are safe and sized according to the demand required.

Many thanks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Best answer by Tim_OVO 26 July 2021, 13:26

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18 replies

Userlevel 7
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Hi there @david8 !

Thanks for the question, it’s great to see another member going green. :)

My name’s Blastoise186 and I’m one of the forum volunteers here. I can’t access your account directly to see the exact job report, quotes or invoices but I can try to do some detective work based on the price list we’ve got listed on the forum.

As far as I can tell, taking the total cost of £264.25 that you mentioned and subtracting £158.25 leaves me with £106 outstanding. There’s a few jobs which match this exact price:

  • Site Survey (Technical)
  • Site Survey (Non-Technical)
  • Meter Removal
  • MEX (Meter Exchange) due to functionality change
  • Check PME Earthing Live/Dead Test
  • De-energisation/reenergisation
  • Install new meter

All of these jobs on their own are charged at £106. My guess is that you were charged for one of the jobs I’ve highlighted in bold. If it’s one of the Site Survey ones, it may be possible to get the job done for free in some cases - OVO’s Support Team would be best placed to ask whether this was valid in your case and whether a refund might be due. I’m not sure if your case would be a valid one, but it never hurts to ask.

It’s also possible that the need to fit the isolation switch could have triggered the De-energisation/reenergisation job, but I don’t think that’s quite as likely. So the only other one would be the PME Earthing Test. If you’ve got the job notes, quote, invoice or receipt handy, there might be some more details on there explaining exactly what you paid for.

I hope this helps

Userlevel 2

I think you maybe right @Blastoise186  thanks for pointing that out. It will come under the following

**Site Survey (technical): This covers sealing meters, reconnecting meter tails, meter tail upgrades and assessments for any non-standard work.

Site surveys (such at fuse finders and meter tail upgrades) which are requested by us or for safety, may be offered for free. Please speak to 2L to get this authorised. 

 

As the meter tail upgrade request is due to an upcoming EV charger install resulting in a much greater demand on the meter tails, then in my opinion they should be offered for free going on the quote above. I believe it’s a safety issue if they are not uprated. It’s not like my electrician has suggested it just for fun.

I will take this up the 2L support as suggested or complaints if necessary, although hopefully OVO will contact me beforehand.

As I mentioned in my first post the DNO says the tails are normally uprated as a precaution during a smart meter install, but mine unfortunately were not.

Many thanks.

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

No worries.

I think the chances of OVO responding to this are extremely high actually. Not least because you’ve posted on the OVO Forum. While the forum is volunteer led, that doesn’t mean it isn’t monitored by OVO’s staff.

So… I think there’s a good chance @Tim_OVO or @Jess_OVO might be able to advise on at least some aspects once they’re back.

Userlevel 2

Thanks, I thought it would be good to use the forum as I’m sure it would help others in the future with possible upcoming upgrades for EV’s

 

 

Userlevel 7
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Definitely! This place is a treasure trove of all sorts of things. In actual fact, if you help out on a regular basis, then good things might happen…

I've got an offer for you actually. Check out https://forum.ovoenergy.com/events as there is an event coming up soon that might interest you. :)

Userlevel 7
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That work to fit the isolator switch could’ve been done by any local electrician, @david8 

They are used to liaising with engineers from the regional Distribution Network Operator and a time would’ve been booked for the Service Fuse to be re-sealed as the electrician completed his side of the job.

I don’t understand why the electrician who you have approved to install the new consumer unit didn’t undertake the isolation switch at the outset of that on-site work.

There’s a topic about installing an EV Charging Point here. It’s still being reviewed and edited, but mentions a number of factors you’d probably like to know before your consumer unit and charger actually get installed.

There’s a separate discussion about lightning with recent warnings by a customer whose charger and car got fried. You might also find that illuminating too  :zap:

Userlevel 7

Nice one for posting this, @david8 - let’s get one concise, complete answer which I hope will help you and anyone else that follow with a similar question. 

 

I won’t comment on other member advice, other than to say I’m thinking the same as @Blastoise186 with regards to the extra £106 being due to a “Site Survey (Technical)” job.

 

I’m not actually able to confirm if we would always replace meter tails whenever a smart meter is fitted. My understanding is we will replace the meter tails when they’re required. If that’s due to work or upgrades the customer is having done, the work would be charged for. If it needs doing due to the smart meter, or a safety issue that the engineer has observed on site, this would be done free of charge. 

 

With all that in mind, I’ll work on my main answer and post it below shortly…

 

*edit: @david8 as you can see from my comment below, it looks like the cost of the isolation switch and the site survey combined should be £158.25. Would you be able to question your £264.25 charge with the Support team, in case there’s other work that’s on the list? 

Userlevel 7

Often when an EV charger is being fitted (see OVO’s latest EV smart chargers here), some work is required to the electricity equipment, between the main fuse (cut out) and the consumer unit (fuse box), which the charger will be connect to. 

 

Let’s try and outline common upgrades needed. 

 

Meter tails

 

The meter tails between the main fuse (cut out) and the meter are the responsibility of the supplier (full list of who owns what, here). These may need to be upgraded, which would be classified by OVO as a ‘Technical site survey’, at a cost of £106 as of July 2021. Latest job prices here

 

Isolation switch

 

Installing an isolation switch will act as a circuit breaker on the mains electrical supply, so that the installation of the EV charger can be completed safely by a private electrician. It also negates the need for a supplier to send an engineer to the property to de-energise the cut out (and re-energise afterwards) whilst the charger is being fitted. On its own as of July 2021, this would be a job cost of £158.25. Latest job prices here

 

If the fitting of the isolation switch is done at the same time and alongside another job, the cost as of July 2021 is £52.25. So actually getting an isolation switch fitted and getting the meter tails checked/upgraded, will cost the same as just getting the isolation switch fitted, which as of July 2021 is £158.25. Latest job prices here

 

How to book

 

This is best done with our Support team. I’d recommend a phone call on this occasion, in case there are lots of compliance related checks you need to run through. The number to use is: 0330 303 5063, Monday-Friday 8am-6pm. 

 

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

Meter tails themselves aren’t the major cost here. A typical set of the 3 tails costs £11.

What you’re paying for, @david8 is bringing that expertise on-site.

Apart from the tools, the training costs are considerable, and meter engineers require regular refreshers too. OVO’s engineers operate under the Meter Operation Code of Practice Agreement (MOCOPA), which allows them to unseal the Service Fuse without involving the Distribution Network Operator (DNO).

At first that may seem somewhat excessive just to snip a seal and replace it afterwards. :thinking:

However, they form a critical line of defence to ensure that the Service Fuse, the feed cable to it and the house earthing arrangement are within specification. The DNO may own those components, but they rarely see them because they only visit a house if you summon them to a fault.

The whole subject of these Service Fuses (known as Cut-Outs) and fault-codes is described in the Topic Who Owns What?

Userlevel 2

Hi all.

If the fitting of the isolation switch is done at the same time and alongside another job, the cost as of July 2021 is £52.25. So actually getting an isolation switch fitted and getting the meter tails checked/upgraded, will cost the same as just getting the isolation switch fitted, which as of July 2021 is £158.25. Latest job prices here

 

Unless I have misunderstood, the above posted by @Tim_OVO confirms I should have paid £158.25 for DP isolator and meter tail upgrade if both are done at the same time.  I have paid £264.25

I will have to contact support. Is there a direct email for them? as that would be much easier for me with my hours of work.

Many thanks

Userlevel 2

I have just checked by booking email confirmation from OVO, the only jobs listed are:

Meter Tails upgrade.

DP Isolator switch.

 

 

 

Userlevel 7

Yes @david8 based on the information I have internally, it looks like £158.25 should’ve been the correct price. However I may be missing something. 

 

The Support team’s email address is: hello@ovoenergy.com. 

 

If you go to the Help centre (here) and scroll down, you can get a web chat open, usually within a minute, and link them to this thread - this might save you having to explain everything. Likewise feel free to link to this thread if you prefer an email. 

 

Keep us updated if you can! :)

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

Your wish is my command, O Master of the Lamp. :rofl:

I grant you the power of Live Chat, Phone or Email. Which do you desire?

Email: hello@ovoenergy.com - it’s recommended to include a link to this forum thread and let the team know that you’ve had some help from the forum volunteers here. Mentioning our names sometimes speeds things up.

Phone: 0330 303 5063 - Lines open 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday. Sadly, my Genie Powers can’t seem to magic up a time machine though, so I can’t extend the hours.

Live Chat: Right here. My magic powers will conjure up a pink Live Chat button at the bottom of the page whenever someone’s around. I placed a few magic spells on there so that it replaces the Email Us button during those times.

Forum: I’ve already cast this magic spell that brought you here! :stuck_out_tongue:

I just wish I had a Genie Power that could detect when I’ve been ninja’d by a Moderator that spoils the joke… Ah well...

Userlevel 2

Update:

OVO site works team are looking into the case.

Online chat says this should take about 3 days.

I’ll post the outcome here, even if I’m mistaken and make myself look like an idiot :)

 

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

Nice. Hopefully this one gets resolved!

There’s a bit of a rule that I follow actually. Ask a question and be a fool for five minutes. Don’t ask a question and be a fool for life. It’s good advice that has served me well for years. It may be useful food for thought for you as well. Speaking of which, that Ask Me Anything event we’ve got is coming up soon. don’t worry if you can’t attend. If you’d like to ask any questions anyway, feel free to let us know and we’ll make sure you get a copy of any answers.

I think you have potential here on the forum as well. Something about you makes me think you’re enjoying the place and that’s a good thing. After all, good things happen to those who help out here...

Userlevel 2

Update as promised:

OVO emailed this morning and admitted the overcharge for the meter tails and DP isolator. £106 refund is being processed. £158.25 is the correct charge as @Tim_OVO mentioned above if both jobs are done at the same time.

Thanks to @Blastoise186  @Tim_OVO  @Transparent for your help.

Ovo online chat works awsome, as does the forum.

Thanks again.

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

Nice one! Thanks for the update. :)

Depending on the refund method, it may take a few days to go through but you should see it show up somewhere eventually. If you paid by Debit/Credit Card, you’ll probably see the refund come back through the same card just like any other refund within a few days or so.

OVO is working on speeding up customer support stuff at the moment, so you’ll probably see it get even better over time. :)

Userlevel 7

Glad the Support Team managed to correct the over-charges, @david8.

 

And really great to hear such lovely feedback on our little community here. :blush:

 

We’re always happy to help and support those making steps on their journey to Plan Zero - do keep us updated on how the charger install goes and how you find life with an EV.

 

If you haven’t seen it already our EV members have given some great tips on what to consider when choosing an EV here -

 

 

Have you picked your EV model yet? :red_car:

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