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It’s time for a new meter - what do I need to do!?





So I've had the email to say my current 'energy' meter's certification is soon to expire.

No problems there, but which one? Gas or electricity?

Now we have a second question, last time I agreed to have a Smart Meter installed the (Lowri Beck) installer arrived said sorry you need an isolation switch fitted first then left and even after contacting OVO about this nothing happened, so am I going to have the same scenario again (resulting in a wasted day off work) ???

Now I know the contractors cannot normally fit an isolator, some can, so is this going to be properly scheduled to be done the same day or the same mix up with no result and again me being left wondering why?

Over to you OVO.
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Best answer by Transparent 12 August 2018, 11:46

Hi @RickieF.

You'll need to email OVO direct on hello@ovoenergy.com to ask which meter they're referring to.

Secondly, since OVO are shortly going to be offering the new SMETS2 smart meters, you might want to request that one of these is fitted. It depends where you are in the country, which I can't tell until you fill out your Forum Profile (please!).

Thirdly, is this a gas or electricity "isolator" which is absent? As you call it a switch, I assume it's electricity - correct?

It's unusual to have a consumer unit without a Switch-disconnector, and there may not be space to fit one. But one option (which I have) is a Disconnector in a separate housing just before the tails enter the consumer unit.


This arrangement allowed an electrician and I to continue working on running new circuits from the consumer unit in several sessions over the next few months without needing to summon Western Power back to the property to re-seal the main fuse (the usual way to safely work within a consumer unit).

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Userlevel 7
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Hi @RickieF.

You'll need to email OVO direct on hello@ovoenergy.com to ask which meter they're referring to.

Secondly, since OVO are shortly going to be offering the new SMETS2 smart meters, you might want to request that one of these is fitted. It depends where you are in the country, which I can't tell until you fill out your Forum Profile (please!).

Thirdly, is this a gas or electricity "isolator" which is absent? As you call it a switch, I assume it's electricity - correct?

It's unusual to have a consumer unit without a Switch-disconnector, and there may not be space to fit one. But one option (which I have) is a Disconnector in a separate housing just before the tails enter the consumer unit.


This arrangement allowed an electrician and I to continue working on running new circuits from the consumer unit in several sessions over the next few months without needing to summon Western Power back to the property to re-seal the main fuse (the usual way to safely work within a consumer unit).
Userlevel 5
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Some great info there @Transparent, thanks!

It does sound like you're taking about the electricity given the mention of a switch. Gas would be an ECV (emergency cutout valve). I'd agree with Transparent, and double check with the team first though!

Both meters need "recertification" once every 20 to 25 years. This just means replacing the old meter as functionality can deterioirate over such a long time.

You would definitely need to get the isolation switch fitted first before our engineer could replace the meter. This allows the engineer to stop the incoming supply before the meter, to make it safe for them to carry out any work. Without this, they'd be working with live electrics! Your DNO (Distribution Network Operator) would need to do this for you. Find out who your DNO is here.

Hope this helps!
Thanks Nancy, the important bits are will both meters be done at the same time, it is an electric supply that needs the isolator (thought that was a given it would be a 100A DP isolator).

Second important part who will organise the isolator fitting, having just checked the NPG site they state their prices 'start from £445 + VAT' which I'm obviously not happy with.

It would appear moving suppliers to one that will actually do the full job, and not just bits or not at all as in the smart meter fiasco, is the best move for us in this case.
Userlevel 7
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It would be more usual to have a local (qualified!) electrician to add an isolator or Switch Disconnector, @RickieF.

He will arrange with your DNO to attend on-site at given time/day. About an hour before then the electrician snips the seal on the main-fuse (100A) and removes it to isolate the house. He can then fit whatever isolator is required, test it and provide you with the relevant certificate.

As he finishes the job, the engineer from the DNO turns up, checks the installation and reseals the fuse.

Most electricians have a good working relationship with the DNO, and this is a very straightforward operation.

I'm not quite sure about @Nancy_OVO's comment re "stopping the incoming supply before the meter", as the required Switch-disconnector is normally on the incoming side of the Consumer Unit, which is after the meter.

However, the meter fitter is quite right to point out that you must have one, and it's reasonable that he doesn't proceed on a site which fails to comply with the standards. The whole point of the exercise is to ensure that older installations are operating safely and within the regulations.

When a meter (or Smart Meter) is installed, I believe the engineer again cuts the seal on the main-fuse. But I think he's permitted to seal it with a new tag without having to call out the DNO. That's the whole point of Smart Meters being fitted by properly trained/certified personnel!

Can anyone else here on the Forum please confirm this?
@Nancy_OVO?
@Tim_OVO?
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Afternoon @RickieF, @Transparent,

I'm working on a lot of assumptions here, and there could be a number of reason why Lowri Beck aborted the original smart meter exchange. @RickieF, feel free to post some photos of your meter setup so we can take a closer look!

Basically, in most modern properties have an isolation switch after the meter to cut off the incoming supply to the property. Some older ones don't, but this isn't always a huge issue, as all incoming supplies will also have a "service head" (aka cutout, or mains fuse) containing a fuse which can also be disconnected to cut off the incoming supply.

However, in some properties (for example flats, specifically large old houses which have been converted into multiple flats), there may be a service head on the incoming supply, after which the supply splits to redirect to multiple meters for each flat. In this case, it's not possible to pull the service head fuse out without cutting off the electricity to all properties. Individual isolation switches will need fitting before each meter in order to isolate each supply separately. Could this be the issue at your property, @RickieF?

@Transparent it sounds like you've had an isolation switch fitted after your meter, before the fuseboard. This would indeed need to be done by an electrician, as the DNO and supplier can't work on the supply beyond the meter itself. If we need to fit an isolation switch before the meter, the DNO can do this, or we can do it at a cost of £67.20.

There's also another possibility, although a bit less common. The engineer might be unable to remove the fuse from the service head due to it being metal clad, welded, or fused neutral. Again if this is the case, we'd need an isolator before the meter. Alternatively, you could ask the DNO if they'd replace the service head. You'd need to enquire with them regarding charges.

Hope this helps, and sorry for the long post!
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£67.20 is a very reasonable price for a pre-meter isolation switch to be fitted by OVO, @Nancy_OVO. Do you fit this to the meter "backboard" which is technically the property of the DNO?

Does this isolator also have to be sealed, or can it be left as a future means of an electrician being able to replace a consumer unit without needing to call the DNO to site once he's finished?

Can you confirm my assumption that OVO's Smart-Meter Installers are permitted to re-seal the Main-Fuse without needing to call the DNO to site?

... and if you think your's was a long post, have you seen some of mine?! 😛
REF : https://forum.ovoenergy.com/meter-exchanges-and-installations-73/it-s-time-for-a-new-meter-what-do-i-need-to-do-1988/index1.html

You closed this as SOLVED, when it hasn't been, I've been busy and unable to respond for a couple of weeks, so I'm a bit upset that you chose to just forget about a customer enquiry in this way.

Anyway - updates;

Your email states
"Would you believe it? Due to the age of your energy meter, its certification is soon to expire. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy requires us (by law) to recertify it, so we're going to give you a completely new one."

So will you do this or not? You missed asking a basic question in the 'closed' post like do you own or rent? - We rent so not our responsibility to pay for an isolator to be fitted, but again it is your legal obligation to fit a new meter.

I do not wish to have a SMART meter fitted that's not actually smart enough to work with more than one provider so that's out.

My dis board is basic but has a newish Consumer Unit, I have this time attached a pic of it.

So from the mains incomer up it's incomer, meter, meter tails to a JB, then Consumer Unit - no isolation switch, meter tails look modernish and the incomer is an old green cast box but still in good condition.

Things have obviously not been planned well a long time before I took tenancy.

So now the question is will OVO fulfill their legal duty to replace the meters (gas one is just a bog standard so none of the same issues), or is this going to be a run around to make it an easy job for unqualified 'fitters'?

By the way I hate to have to finally make this clear to you but I qualified as an Approved Electrician on the IEEE 12th Edition, so I've been more than just familiar on this type of work for some time, having signed off hundreds of installations, I could do it live without a problem but the sign off has changed and it's now just anyone that can sign off who is in a position within a company which at the moment I'm not!

I hope this time I can get a proper response to the renewal of installation issue rather than pandering to how great OVO is and internal back patting, as seriously I'm getting fed up (also told even though I'm in credit by a fair amount my DD should be increase which is usually followed by increasing it whether I agree or not, and I'm using less).

Will you give me a reason to stay with OVO?

Regards
Rickie

Userlevel 4
It's a shame to hear you feel this way, @RickieF. Although the topic was marked as solved, we're still happy to help here.

Firstly - let's talk about the isolation switch. The switch doesn't help the meter function, which is why we wouldn't cover the cost. As you live in rented property it may be worth asking your landlord or letting agent if they can cover the cost.

Secondly, your meter has a metal clad cut out. As Nancy mentioned this isn't very common, but they do exist. This means we'll need to arrange a visit from a SMT (Senior Meter Technician). I'd recommend giving our Customer Care team a call - they'll be best placed to get this sorted.

You can call them on 0330 303 506, they're available Monday-Friday 8am-6pm.

Eva
Userlevel 7
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Thanks for posting the photo @RickieF.
And I think @Eva_OVO's now clarified the technical point.

Can I also please comment, just because an OVO Moderator flags a Question as "solved" doesn't prevent us Forum Members from adding to the thread. There's still a response box available for us to add something without us having to start a new Topic.

This is most useful when answers change over time. Having everything together on a single thread enables new Forum Members to see what's been written previously, whilst still adding their own questions.

I don't know where you are in the country (please fill out your Forum Profile, coz it helps me!). I'd be interested to hear when this meter-replacement gets resolved and how quickly a SMT was able to attend to you once the booking was made. Thanks.

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