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Why are OVO disabling the real-time smart usage features!?



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Userlevel 3
So they've now turned it off, and my Gas history or costing isn't working at all, the only 'historical' values I can see relate to Electricity, I can't get anything back for Gas.

To me, they're now in breach of Ofgem licensing as mentioned earlier, specifically Condition 34.
Another dissatisfied customer here. The real-time usage data was one of the big reasons why we stayed with OVO. Can't see that there's really much point now. @Scotty22 - if you make any progress on the contractual side, do please share it here!

I can't help wondering whether it's a coincidence that the real-time data is being switched off on exactly the same date that the new General Data Protection Regulations come into force. Is there some aspect of this related to privacy and data security, that OVO can't (or can't be bothered to) solve? @Emma_OVO - care to comment on that, please?
Userlevel 3
At this point it looks very much like this is a cost saving exercise! I hope they manage to save more than they lose from all the customers (like me and the others detailed on this thread) who will now switch to a cheaper supplier! I have always heralded OVO as different from all the other suppliers as they have always seemed to genuinely care about customer satisfaction. It seems this is no longer the case.

@chrissfoot please keep us updated of your progress :-)
No progress so far but the freeware i'm using is rate limited ;)

On a related note, is there any way to remove the "Solved" tag on this post since it clearly isn't solved and it probably means that no-one from OVO will look at it again while it remains "Solved"
Userlevel 3
Unfortunately I suspect this thread will continue to be ignored by OVO while it still has a solved tag on it! Maybe making lots of individual threads will get their attention faster...
Userlevel 3
Thanks Cassie,

I appreciate you taking the time to respond and I understand how it would not be cost effective to continue running the current service when it won't work with the newer meters anyway.

I would however, ask you to respond to the original question about re-using the smart gateways that we already have linked to our existing smart meters (I assume you won't be replacing existing smart meters in the short term?). It would seem fair to let us use these for our own local monitoring before your new product is available. If nothing else this could save them from going into landfill! I would not be expecting any support in getting this up and running, simply the username and password for the admin interface.

Chris
Userlevel 2
Typical over moderated ITIL system. Maybe if we put a few swear words in it may get someones attention. Pish poor no consultation, this ran smooth for years and overtime standard stupid updates/security patches have been at the detriment of the end user (us). See it all the time "if it aint broke dont fix it" comes to mind.
Userlevel 4
I've emailed Ovo and had a swift response, for which I am grateful. I still think the guys answering the emails and manning the forums are trying to be helpful, but they are just not coming up with good enough answers so we are all left guessing what is actually going on within the software development team at Ovo. Rumours abound - there are security issues ahead of the May 25 deadline, they've run out of storage etc, and my twopennorth is that they may be having resourcing issues and can no longer afford to support a feature that only a minority, albeit a very enthusiastic minority, really use. But given that some of this enthusiastic minority are capable of writing software that would allow us to get our own personal usage data from the smart gateways, I fail to understand why Ovo's advice is to recycle the gateways, rather than giving us the information needed to access them directly.
Userlevel 3
I can't help wondering whether it's a coincidence that the real-time data is being switched off on exactly the same date that the new General Data Protection Regulations come into force. Is there some aspect of this related to privacy and data security, that OVO can't (or can't be bothered to) solve? @Emma_OVO - care to comment on that, please?

You know, I was thinking the exact same thing...
Userlevel 3
Once my current contract expires I will choose the cheapest supplier and say goodbye to OVO. I only stayed with OVO once prices went up because i like the Smart gateway Live data features.
I think this withdrawal of an important feature counts as breach of contract by OVO and I am looking into legal aspects of leaving immediately without penalty because of this.
Will keep you posted.


This may be of use:

https://epr.ofgem.gov.uk/Content/Documents/Gas%20Supply%20Standard%20Licence%20Conditions%20Consolidated%20-%20Current%20Version.pdf

This quotation stands out to me:

Condition 34. Provision of an In-Home Display
The general duty
34.1 The licensee must, where it installs or arranges for the installation of a Smart Metering
System at any Domestic Premises on or after the Smart Metering Designated Date,
ensure that it:
(a) provides to the Domestic Customer at the premises complete and accurate
information, which does not mislead the Domestic Customer, concerning the
availability and benefits of an In-Home Display;
(b) communicates that information in plain and intelligible language;
(c) offers the Domestic Customer the opportunity to have an In-Home Display
provided at the Domestic Premises on or after the HAN Date;
(d) where the Domestic Customer accepts the offer, provides at the premises on or
as soon as reasonably practicable after the HAN date, an In-Home Display; and
(e) where it provides an In-Home Display pursuant to sub-paragraph (d), provides
an In-Home Display that is of a type that is capable of being connected, through
the HAN to the Smart Metering System at the premises, at the Specified
Frequency Band, unless it would be technically impracticable for an In-Home
Display provided at the premises to be so connected (and for the purposes of this
sub-paragraph (e) it shall be considered to be technically impracticable for an InHome
Display provided at the premises to be so connected where any such
connection cannot be made without the installation of additional equipment or
the relocation of any part of the Smart Metering System at the premises).


Considering the IHD does *not* provide real time data in relation to the Gas consumption, as well as the fact that the costs figure on the IHD is also never accurate (I've seen posts where the tarrif amount on the IHD is different to that on the bills) to be they are in breach of the licensing requirements set out by ofgem? The data is not accurate, and is most definitely misleading...

As for the 2 exceptions

34.5 The licensee is not required to comply with paragraph 34.1 if a device has been
provided by any person at the Domestic Premises which on the date on which the Smart
Metering System is installed at the Domestic Premises constitutes an In-Home Display.


Well they don't let us use our own CAD device, so this doesn't apply...

34.9 Where the Secretary of State gives a direction to the licensee under paragraph 34.10,
the licensee:
(a) is not required to comply with paragraphs 34.1 and 34.6 to such extent and
subject to such conditions as specified in the direction; and
(b) must submit to the Secretary of State the evidence specified in the direction by
the Relevant Date.


Have ovo had this exception from the Sec of State?
Userlevel 3

I can't help wondering whether it's a coincidence that the real-time data is being switched off on exactly the same date that the new General Data Protection Regulations come into force. Is there some aspect of this related to privacy and data security, that OVO can't (or can't be bothered to) solve? @Emma_OVO - care to comment on that, please?


Maybe there's a big old data leak that they don't want to admit to...
Userlevel 3
Hi @chrissfoot,

Yes, I’ve investigated and unfortunately we can’t provide you access to your smart gateway. I’m assuming you have good tech knowledge if you’re interested in doing this, so I won’t hold back on the technical detail!

Before a CAD can be connected to our smart metering network, the hardware-firmware combination of the device has to be tested and approved by our smart meter manufacturer, Secure. This is because any device paired to the smart metering network can pose a potential security risk and may affect the functionality of the smart meter.

Changing the endpoint to which your CAD sends data to an endpoint of your own would require an update to the firmware image installed on the CAD. The problem is, once you update the firmware on the device, it would no longer be recognised as an approved CAD by Secure and they would therefore remove it from the smart metering network.

Sorry for the disappointing answer,

Cassie


That is indeed a shame. Most devices like these have settings like this customisable by end users but I can see why this would have been hardcoded into the firmware for security reasons. I actually thought that the HAN was isolated to each smart meter so that security wasn't a major issue but i'm obviously wrong in that interpretation!

Luckily I can work around the issue by having an awesome firewall (Ubiquity USG) which will allow me to override the dns and talk to my own servers but others aren't so fortunate i'm sure.

I really hope there is some solution to allowing smart meters to talk to smart homes soon
Userlevel 2
@chrissfoot please keep us updated of your progress 🙂
I have taken Ovo at my London Home, my Suffolk holiday cottage and for my father in North London. This remote capacity is vital to me. I took Ovo because I liked the UK call centres and I loved the live portal. Yes it has started to get a bit hiccougyh but rather than give up, fix it. I have accepted that I may not be paying least but I am getting service.

I'm afraid that at the end of the year, I will look much more seriously at the offerings of other companies.

Please consider changing your mind. I have enjoyed the Ovo experience.
Userlevel 7
But when? and does "great new features" include API access to our usage data?

When depends on how well these early trials go. I'm sorry I can't be more specific. As for live API access, your best bet is to sign up to take part in future trials for this: https://forum.ovoenergy.com/understanding-your-smart-meter-65/smart-meter-live-usage-api-58
Userlevel 4
I haven't been notified by email, although I've just found a conversation begun 6 days ago by @chrissfoot, who has received such a notification, as have many of the people who commented on his post.
Why didn't I get an email?
Userlevel 4
@Cassie_OVO, thanks for taking the time to explain the decision.

With that in mind, I’d like to ask for your help in shaping the product that we’re currently building. In the next couple of months, we’re looking for early adopters to try out the new online experience - which will provide an up-to-date view of your energy charges - and provide feedback. If you’re interested in this, please let me know either by PM or by commenting on this thread.

If the new online experience will include access to current/historic data in a format that I can use to perform my own analysis, visualisations etc (i.e. kWh numbers that I can feed into something else), then count me in. If all you're proposing is a 'view', then I won't bother thanks.
Userlevel 4
This is also something I would be interested in.
Hi @chrissfoot,

Your question about re-using the smart gateways is an interesting one. I'm investigating - I'll respond here when I have a definitive answer.

Thanks

Cassie
Userlevel 1
I am very unhappy with OVO. I have remained with OVO even when prices have been higher because of the provision of this excellent feature. This is a step backwards. Please, can anyone tell me whether there is a supplier who provides similar high granularity reports? Are there any alternatives?
Userlevel 1
QUESTIONS FOR OVO: Is there a competitor that you can recommend that provides a service similar to Smart Gateway, or a competitor who allows access to Smart Meter data?

I notice that devices are available online that will allow access to Smart Meters. Can Ovo recommend a third-party solution?

Can you replace the Pippit with something better? I threw the Pippit into my employer's WEEE waste bin.
Userlevel 1
Your observations are still valued, @Sterling.

If you feel able to, would you please stay as a Forum Member and comment on
  • whatever OVO are rolling out by way of a new usage product
  • third-party usage metering alternatives
  • what gets released as SMETS2 becomes available

Thanks


Thank you, Transparent. I am sure that there is far more that can be done with smart metering and automation to achieve energy efficiencies. I will continue to look in with interest. For now, Ovo appears to have made a cost decision not to invest in Smart Gateway. Perhaps another energy supplier will take over where Ovo left off. Apart from customer service, there is little to differentiate energy suppliers and I really thought that Ovo was doing something special.
Userlevel 7
Badge +2
Hmm, @krad Do you mean like this Chameleon variant...?


with this Spec....?


Did you perhaps notice this post from last month?
Interesting I can see mqtt stuff going out of the device. We should be able to get access to the data under gdpr, but i would imagine the latency issues would make it useless for real time monitoring
Userlevel 7
Badge +2
Looking around the responses to this issue on other Forum Threads, I think there was an email sent out giving 2 weeks notice of the intention to remove Live Usage Updates.

However, the email was sent to those Customers who OVO believed had Smart Gateways and IHD's with WiFi connections (in addition to the Zigbee link to the meter).

Those who had other IHD's weren't sent the email, even though they might have a particular need for that Live Usage stream.

That might be an over-simplification, but it largely fits the responses I've seen.
Userlevel 7
Badge +2
Times have indeed changed, haven't they @chrissfoot?

The SMETS protocols were devised almost a decade ago. Ofgem's site has technical briefing papers describing the enhanced SMETS2 capabilities dating from 2013/14. It takes a long time to conduct the consultations and pass the necessary legislation.

The world has changed so much in those years, and the security of our Energy Supplies is increasingly threatened by foreign operatives with malign intent.

Only yesterday I had an email exchange with a UK organisation which will shortly oversee Community Trials of new Electricity-Grid monitoring equipment. I thought I had spotted a couple of weak points in the strategy. Fortunately, it seems I was wrong... but I'm still glad I raised it.

As OVO works towards a new platform to handle Live-Usage data compatible with both SMETS1 & SMETS2, and Cassie is asking for volunteers to help "shape the product", I hope those with technical software knowledge, like yourself, can be selected.

It's going to be a tricky balance to maintain flexibility for us customers, whilst simultaneously ensuring there is no back-door for cyber attack.

This time we're also having to test control connections to 3rd-party devices which are themselves prone to hacking. They will have both their own App-interfaces and dedicated remote-controls. Smart washing-machines, deep freezers, storage radiators, home-batteries and EV chargers are all going to hanging off our SMETS2 meters.
Userlevel 1
If the organisation that you work for relies on digital data (like OVO does) and a "tech problem" arose - how long would it be allowed to go on before somebody got a kicking?

In the organisation that I worked in - it would have been counted in hours.

Why has the "tech problem" with usage data at OVO been going on for months now???

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