Not so 'smart' gas and electricity meters?

On Wednesday 6th March 2019, we had 'smart' electricity and gas meters installed.

We have a four bedroom detached, and our usage has always been modest, as may be seen below:

When the 'smart' meters were installed. we were supplied with a Chameleon Technology ihd3-PPMID. This has been displaying some frankly ludicrous numbers.

Given that I have - elsewhere - seen responses from OVO that always amount to 'these meters are always accurate and you the customer are therefore wrong', I am going to attach a sequence of photos of the IHD.

On the Wednesday, we had already noticed that supposed electricity consumption was rapidly mounting.

When we went to bed at quarter past 11 pm, the IHD claimed £8.77. The following morning, it claimed that between 23:13 and 23:59 , we had used an additional £3, despite everything being off or (a few) on standby, except for the fridge freezer (rated A).

On Thursday, we supposedly used £14.40, and then we surpassed ourselves on Friday with £15.10. So within three days £41.23 - or £13.74 per day an eleven-fold increase on our February daily average.

This equates to an annual electricity charge of £5,016.

And then there's gas. Well, yesterday, a whopping £38.17 supposedly passed through our huge array of gas burners. Well, actually, all we have is a gas boiler - and that was off for most of the day - as usual.

This equates to an annual gas charge of £13,932.

These figure are total nonsense.

BUT if you dig about and look under OK - OK - ACCOUNT INFORMATION, a completely different picture emerges. For 'Day 7 of a 1,860-day period' (and what a strange period is that? It's five years and 34 days!!!), it shows 'bill so far this period' £4.99 (electr.) and £3.40 (gas). Now, these figures are altogether more sensible.

Why are the headline figures at least 10x higher?

Are any of these figures dependable?

Why should "USED SO FAR" and "BILL SO FAR" be different at all?

Day 1 bedtime (23:13)

Day 1 (23:59)

Day 2 (23:59)

Day 3 (23:59)

Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

If OVO do not respond to this, properly and in a timely fashion (by Friday 15th March), we will change supplier on Saturday.

Best answer by Transparent 10 March 2019, 16:40

Don't panic @fosh90 This isn't a fault.

Have a look what I wrote about this here a few days ago.
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Don't panic @fosh90 This isn't a fault.

Have a look what I wrote about this here a few days ago.
Thank you Transparent, for your response.

It does seem to offer a logical explanation of the errant HDI outputs. However, I will hold off accepting this until an official OVO exlanation is published on this site. I do not see why their work should be done by enthusiasts – however accurate and well-meaning their interventions.

If this HDI behaviour is well known to OVO, why is it not explained to new ‘smart’ customers when the meter / HDI is installed? This is basic courtesy and good practice. Not doing so gives rise to completely unnecessary stress.

This is not the first issue we have had with OVO. We had a faulty gas meter that was continually registering usage even when switched off at the meter. It claimed in July / August that our gas usage equated to ‘toasting 11,000 slices of bread’. That’s 8.5 tons. In the middle of summer. Four people. On holiday abroad. Very obviously something wrong. Despite trying over almost a year to get a sensible resolution direct from OVO, I eventually had to take them to the Obmbudsman, who ruled in our favour.

That is why I want a direct response from OVO.
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I concur with you @fosh90 that we need a much better guide as to what happens as Smart Meters get installed and configured.

I've now seen two SMETS2/Chameleon installations within the last fortnight. My own house had its smart meters installed yesterday. So that gives me at least twice as much experience as most householders!

Fortuitously, on both occasions there have been problems which couldn't be resolved by OVO's engineer. He was helpfully talking through everything he was doing and I was able to hear his conversations with OVO technical staff as they diagnosed those issues.

From my side, that has been very helpful. I've learnt a great deal more about the process of commissioning SMETS2 meters, and where this differs from earlier SMETS1 systems.

Your IHD has succeeded in providing far more information than mine, which has stubbornly stayed looking like this for the past 22 hours:

So although I know that the gas and electricity meters are operating and communicating with DCC (Data Communications Company), and that the Zigbee signal is reaching my IHD, there is in fact no actual data being transferred to the latter.

I'm fairly confident that this will resolve itself over the next few days as the comms-links get checked and configured. But I think most customers would already be complaining to OVO, and that's not good.

So let me tag @Tim_OVO and @Nancy_OVO at this point and ask them to alert the Smart Meter technical team of how these installations are being perceived by customers.

I will be writing more about the SMETS2 meters on another Topic, because @Tim_OVO has already asked me to!

But you're quite right to raise your concerns here on the Forum. Thanks for posting.
[h4]Hi @Transparent and thanks for your second useful response. [/h4]

I really D O hope that your assessment is correct, as the IHD has shown combined G / E of £50 - £60 for each of the the past four days!

I look forward to the official OVO explanation - along with something like an apology, and an undertaking to make things more, yes, transparent, to other customers who make the transition to 'smart' meters.


[h4]@Tim_OVO, @Nancy_OVO[/h4]
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As promised above, I have now written in greater detail about what's involved in the process of installing (SMETS2) Smart Meters on this Topic here.
Hi Transparent. Thank you for the considerable effort that you put into the linked topic.

I would have been happier if this had been an official response from OVO, because as things stand, they are making money out of your good will, because they are not obliged to invest in proper customer service - they are getting it for free. AND THEY MUST BE FULLY AWARE OF THIS.

Despite this complaint being raised on 12th March, there has been no response from OVO - and despite our both having linked this to your two contacts @Tim_OVO, @Nancy_OVO

I initially gave them a week to respond. I have actually given them six.

You did put my mind somewhat at ease with regard to the stupid readings on the IHD. A week ago, it entirely stopped giving any data for electricity. Today, it's completely gone. The only data showing is gas 'used this period'.

Given OVO's total disregard of this complaint, I have today switched supplier.

great post. thanks
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Hi @fosh90

So... dealing with your latter point first: @Nancy_OVO has posted here on another Topic that OVO are now aware of a bug in the IHD's being installed with SMETS2 meters.

At this stage I still don't have gas-usage showing on my own IHD, but that's no surprise because my Tariff information hasn't yet been uploaded into the meter anyway. So I have no idea whether the inaccurate costings being displayed on the IHD are solely due to lack of tariff data, or whether I'm seeing symptoms of the "bugs" which Nancy refers to.

However, it seems that your IHD was more sick than mine, and you've understandably decided to switch supplier.

Did you actually file an individual complaint by phone/email, or are you referring to your post here on the Forum as the complaint? If you raised an individual complaint, then their Procedure states that it must be addressed within 8 weeks, or else you may escalate it to the Energy Ombudsman.

Either way, your membership of this Forum is unrelated to you being an OVO customer, so you are free to comment further as this story develops. I think we'd all be interested to hear how a new Supplier picks up a SMETS2 customer, and whether the meter data transfers seamlessly!

What will they do if it transpires that your IHD does indeed have a bug?
Providing you with a replacement means it would need re-pairing (as opposed to repairing, IYSWIM!).

I'm replying to your other point in a separate post in a few minutes.
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Ok, @fosh90, turning to your other point, yes, OVO are obviously aware of the level of input I'm having to the Forum. That SMETS2 Installation Topic reached 1200 views in the first fortnight, and the Moderators decided to "pin" it to the Forum home-page so it was easier to find.

I've also received feedback out of the public eye, in which I learned that OVO's own in-house Meter Team have been reading it! 😎

The Forum allows members to write things which OVO themselves couldn't do. I criticised the software provided to their Installation Engineers, and wrote details on frequency clashes with WiFi in a manner which would never pass the criteria for corporate announcements!

Overall, I don't think most members of the public are yet aware that it is government strategy to facilitate greater democratisation of our UK energy supplies. This is reflected in Ofgem's regulatory framework and their increased support for local community-led initiatives.

I don't work in the energy sector, but I'm also involved with a local group in West Devon who are monitoring a smart sub-station. This is an Ofgem-funded project and I've posted background detail about OpenLV here on the Forum, so others can see what's happening.

Yes it's true that OVO get my technical input for free. But I'm gradually becoming more effective at seeing how and where I can influence better use of precious energy resources without waiting for large corporates and Government to act.

I may not have joined Extinction Rebellion on the streets of London last week, but I have successfully "done my bit" locally by ensuring that my Local Planning Authority requires house-builders to provide 10% of energy from local renewables, and that new estates in this area must be built with EV charge points for all dwellings.

I also now know how to save around 5% of electricity which gets wasted in the Distribution Grid. If implemented, that's a couple power-stations we won't need to build!

Elsewhere in the Westcountry, local community groups have micro-grids. They own and run the electricity grid supplying houses in their area... with spectacular savings.

Eighteen months ago, when I became an OVO customer, I had no idea how the energy-sector worked, still less what I as an individual could do to make it more efficient. Reading the Forum has informed me, motivated me to take up the opportunities offered by the process of energy democratisation.

The SMETS2 meters are the most visible part of a revolution which is opening up the way we handle energy in this country. That's why I feel it's important to write more about them here.

There is much more to come...
I would love to know more. Your posts have been quite insightful. Thanks a ton!
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Thanks @Vellin_Boute . I don't know where you are geographically because you have yet to fill out your Forum Profile page.

However, I recommend that you seek out any possible local group associated with the Transitions Towns movement. My local group has a monthly "all comers" meeting in a Devon pub, where we partake of a pint or two of real ale and discuss all things green or energy-related. I often use this group to bounce around my ideas before I commit them to the OVO Forum!

I also recommend that you have a look at the website for Regen. Although they are Westcountry based, they are becoming an important National inter-networking hub for community energy groups. Their website is packed with useful information, links to conferences and the latest energy-related news.