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Will Ovo install a third meter on a 100amp supply cable when there are already two meters?


We have undertaken a loft renovation in a terraced maisonette property in London (W12)converting our 1st floor 3 bed flat into two flats- a 3 bed split level flat and a 1 bed 1st floor flat. There is a 100amp supply cable coming into the property that also serves the ground floor neighbour. Surprisingly the supply cable also supplies the 1st floor neighbours next door.

So we’ve had three flats previously on this one 100amp supply cable and now with our split to two flats, we have 4 flats.

We’ve had British Gas out to the property a number of times to install a new meter for the 1 bed flat(the original meter serves the 3 bed flat) and each time the engineer onsite has a different story. The end result is that they will not install another meter with 4 flats on the same supply cable.

UKPN have visited and advised that while British Gas may not do this(BG want an upgrade to three phase before they will install another meter), some other providers will. Is Ovo a supplier that would install the second meter we require for the new 1 bedroom flat?

 

 

 

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Best answer by Transparent 3 June 2021, 13:41

Thanks for asking a very detailed question and emailing the photos of your current setup, @granty90. I’ll post the photos below so we can get an idea of what we’re working with:

 

 

In terms of whether we’d be able to fit the extra meter, unfortunately we don’t currently install new meters or supplies. There’s more info on this relevant topic -

 

 

It’s always worth asking these technical questions here though as we have many community experts on hand.

 

@Transparent, Am I right in thinking that this could require a 3-phase upgrade to install that extra meter?

 

 

Thanks for tagging me @Jess_OVO 

There isn’t quite enough information for me to say whether it would be necessary to change this building to a three-phase supply. That would be dictated by UKPN (the regional DNO) based on the size/capacity of their incoming feed cable and the load characteristics of the sub-station transformer. I don’t have access to their maps to check those parameters.

Even so, the above photos show a feed termination box labelled AEI in which there are three ceramic fuse carriers (and a neutral connection). That suggests the building was originally fed with 3-phase.

I am in any case puzzled that a BG meter engineer has visited the site and has not picked up the status of the Service Fuse, which is the responsibility of the DNO.

Can I refer you to the Tutorial on who is responsible for what?

This links to the MOCOPA guidance document on Service Termination and Issue Reporting, which describes faults and deviations from the standards for Service Fuses. MOCOPA = Meter Operators Code of Practice Agreement.

The broken Fuse Holder is a Fault Issue even if not currently serving the property. If 3-phase enters that Service Block, then the lower-end of the damaged fuse-carrier is still connected to a live wire. The MOCOPA Guidance suggests to me that the issue is class A03 (Defective/weakened fuse carrier) or A04 (Physical damage to DB equipment requiring immediate action) and requires immediate attention.

A Meter Engineer working for an Energy Supplier should apply the MOCOPA rules and call out UKPN immediately. These rules also state that they must not leave site until those DNO staff arrive.

 

Had the British Gas engineer worked to these rules, the issue of the cable capacity to the building would’ve been resolved anyway. The inspection by UKPN would reveal whether the other two phases were active, available and capable of taking part of the load from two of the flats.

This is not just a trivial question of whether an Energy Supplier is or isn’t prepared to add another meter for the 4th flat!

 

Are you happy to take it from there @granty90 and call out UKPN for a Class A Service Fuse fault?

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9 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Hey there @granty90 !

Ooh yes, a case of splitting the supply up. We love solving these puzzles! As far as I’m aware, the most likely reason is because someone thinks this can’t happen directly off the same cable, and it might be down to trying to put too many supplies on the same Single-Phase Supply which would overload something. We do have similar threads from a while ago which might help you out here. Let me grab one real quick.

OVO doesn’t currently have the ability to create new supplies for this purpose, but there is a hack in that you can ask SSE to create the supply and then switch to OVO once it’s been installed. OVO can’t create new supplies yet, but they can take over existing ones and I think OVO can install a meter as well, provided the MPAN exists for the supply and there’s wires in place leading to the right main fuse. I’ll see if @Tim_OVO and @Jess_OVO can double check that for me to make sure.

What I can definitely say is that if the initial meter for the new supplies is a traditional non-smart meter when the supply is created, any supplier including OVO would be happy to swap it out for a smart meter later on request at no extra charge.

If you’re able to though, could you show us some photos of all the meters, circuit breakers, main fuses and that main cable please? These kinds of questions can be complicated, so being able to see how it’s all currently wired up often makes it much easier for us to give the right advice.

We’re definitely more than happy to offer advice on this free of charge, so please feel free to ask as many questions as you can think of. We’ll try to answer them as best we can!

Thanks for the quick reply. Have attached photos of the meters etc. Hope that helps.

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

No worries @granty90 ! We’re always glad to help.

It looks like the photos might not have uploaded correctly. Could you try again for me?

Don’t worry if you’re having trouble. If you can’t get the photos up for some reason, feel free to shoot an email to forum@ovoenergy.com with the photos attached and mention that you’d like to have the photos uploaded to this topic. One of the moderators will be happy to help with that. :)

Userlevel 6

Thanks for asking a very detailed question and emailing the photos of your current setup, @granty90. I’ll post the photos below so we can get an idea of what we’re working with:

 

 

In terms of whether we’d be able to fit the extra meter, unfortunately we don’t currently install new meters or supplies. There’s more info on this relevant topic -

 

 

It’s always worth asking these technical questions here though as we have many community experts on hand.

 

@Transparent, Am I right in thinking that this could require a 3-phase upgrade to install that extra meter?

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Oh wow, that’s more complicated than I had in mind!

It also looks like at least one of those meters was manufactured and/or installed back in 1989 and might be approaching End of Service Life due to the Certification running out soon - assuming it hasn’t already expired. It might be worth considering having some of those meters upgraded but you’ll want to work with any tenants to do that. Whoever pays the bill generally has the power to decide if and when to upgrade, but as a landlord it is a good idea to work with your tenants to make sure it all goes smoothly - especially if they request landlord approval to have a Meter Exchange (MEX) done. If you’re currently holding the control over the supply for any flats under a Deemed Contract however, you can authorise a MEX without needing a tenant to get involved.

Most landlords are OK with this anyway, but it’s worth mentioning just in case.

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Thanks for asking a very detailed question and emailing the photos of your current setup, @granty90. I’ll post the photos below so we can get an idea of what we’re working with:

 

 

In terms of whether we’d be able to fit the extra meter, unfortunately we don’t currently install new meters or supplies. There’s more info on this relevant topic -

 

 

It’s always worth asking these technical questions here though as we have many community experts on hand.

 

@Transparent, Am I right in thinking that this could require a 3-phase upgrade to install that extra meter?

 

 

Thanks for tagging me @Jess_OVO 

There isn’t quite enough information for me to say whether it would be necessary to change this building to a three-phase supply. That would be dictated by UKPN (the regional DNO) based on the size/capacity of their incoming feed cable and the load characteristics of the sub-station transformer. I don’t have access to their maps to check those parameters.

Even so, the above photos show a feed termination box labelled AEI in which there are three ceramic fuse carriers (and a neutral connection). That suggests the building was originally fed with 3-phase.

I am in any case puzzled that a BG meter engineer has visited the site and has not picked up the status of the Service Fuse, which is the responsibility of the DNO.

Can I refer you to the Tutorial on who is responsible for what?

This links to the MOCOPA guidance document on Service Termination and Issue Reporting, which describes faults and deviations from the standards for Service Fuses. MOCOPA = Meter Operators Code of Practice Agreement.

The broken Fuse Holder is a Fault Issue even if not currently serving the property. If 3-phase enters that Service Block, then the lower-end of the damaged fuse-carrier is still connected to a live wire. The MOCOPA Guidance suggests to me that the issue is class A03 (Defective/weakened fuse carrier) or A04 (Physical damage to DB equipment requiring immediate action) and requires immediate attention.

A Meter Engineer working for an Energy Supplier should apply the MOCOPA rules and call out UKPN immediately. These rules also state that they must not leave site until those DNO staff arrive.

 

Had the British Gas engineer worked to these rules, the issue of the cable capacity to the building would’ve been resolved anyway. The inspection by UKPN would reveal whether the other two phases were active, available and capable of taking part of the load from two of the flats.

This is not just a trivial question of whether an Energy Supplier is or isn’t prepared to add another meter for the 4th flat!

 

Are you happy to take it from there @granty90 and call out UKPN for a Class A Service Fuse fault?

Thanks very much for your feedback.

The downstair neighbour who is served by the mains cable spoke to UKPN who said that the “looping team” were to visit as the “looped” system is something that they have to rectify, moving us to our own supplies, and this is free. A subsequent conversation with UKPN has contradicted this and they now wish to send an engineer, again, to assess whether the connection is “looped” or “shared”.

I’ll have the engineer look at the broken fuse holder and assess whether there was originally 3 phase. Is there anything else I should ask them to check?

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Heya @granty90 ,

Personally, I’d probably ask UKPN to inspect and check basically everything that they’re able to and give as much as possible the once over. Given the state of what we’ve seen so far, I wouldn’t be surprised if more issues came up as a result.

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

So here’s the diagram you need @granty90 

 

1: Anything up to and including the Service Fuse is the responsibility of the Distribution Network Operator (DNO).

2: The meter and its tails are the responsibility of your Energy Supplier. Each meter has an MPAN number and can be allocated a separate account.

3: It doesn’t matter whether the incomer from the Feed to the Service Fuse is single-phase or three-phase.

4: It doesn’t matter whether the meter(s) pick up 1-phase or 3-phases from the Service Fuse.

5: A service is shared whether there are separate meters connecting to each Consumer Unit, or just one (as in your case). The point is that the divide occurs after the Service Fuse.

6: It is policy amongst DNOs that looped supplies should be replaced. How they do this and the cost is up to them.

7: If a DNO finds that the loading on their Service Fuse is too great then they can insist that their Fuse and Meter connections to it are changed. This is a safety issue and is done by an assessment of Maximum Demand (MD).

8: A DNO can issue you with a Notice requiring you to ask your Energy Supplier to add or alter meters and their tails. For safety reasons this can be time-limited, such as “within one week”.

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