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Can OVO fit a 3 phase meter which measures solar exports if we switch over?


Good morning

 

We currently have a 3 phase supply with a Landys Gyr meter 

 

We added solar a couple of months ago but have realised the meter isn’t billing us correctly for our net usage

 

Instead it bills us for import on any phase, even if we’re exporting on another phase.

 

weve been told by Ofgem tte meter needs to be compatible with “Vector sum metering” which our current model is not. 
 

Our current supplier (Bulb)  cannot supply the correct meter so have advised us to move. 
 

Before we change we’re looking for a supplier that will supply the correct meter. We’re aware smart meters aren’t yet available and we don’t want one anyway. But there are plenty of normal meters which perform this funxtionality

 

Can you let me know if Ovo can fit the correct meter if we move to you?

 

Thanns
 

 

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Best answer by Nancy_OVO 18 May 2020, 17:14

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Hi @Benseb and welcome to the Forum.

Well that question opens up multiple cans - all of which are full of worms! :face_palm_tone2:

Let me explain first that this is a discussion forum hosted by OVO. Their Customer Services don’t read what’s here and you can’t obtain “official” responses. We are fellow energy customers, like yourself.

 

Let me me just lay out the situation before you as it currently stands:

 

1; All GB Energy Suppliers are constrained in doing on-site work due to the Coronavirus pandemic. They are unable to meet their contractual obligations for the number of Smart Meter installations. OVO will now only undertake installations for Pay-As-You-Go (pre-pay) meters.

 

2; Even as the pandemic restrictions are lifted, the priority will be to fit SMETS2 meters. They have no available manpower capacity for non-Smart on-site work unless the meter is actually faulty, which yours is not.

 

3; OVO’s earlier SMETS1 meters (manufactured by Secure) are scheduled to upgraded to SMETS2 capability and transferred across to the National Smart Meter Network on Sunday 28th June ‘20. This is barely 6 weeks away.

At that point all manner of new faults will manifest themselves. Some properties may even find themselves without gas, electricity or both, and Pre-pay meters in rural locations are particularly vulnerable. They will require site visits to re-boot software and restore power. That takes manpower from experienced engineers.

 

4; There are no 3-phase SMETS2 meters yet approved for connection on the National Smart Meter Network. You can see the list of approved hardware here.

The same situation applies to all Energy Suppliers. So hunting around each one and asking the same question won’t get you very far! It’s better to discuss the options here where there are technically-aware people who can help find some answers.

 

5; You have hit the nail on the head when you write

it bills us for import on any phase, even if we’re exporting on another phase

Precisely! That is how existing 3-phase meters were designed to work. See what I wrote here on another Topic a couple of months ago.

Vector sum metering” on its own doesn’t resolve the problem either. You still need a Supplier who can offer a suitable tariff, and whose Billing Software has the capability to handle the data. I don’t know of any domestic Energy Supplier who is yet in a position to provide this.

 

Now let me tag a Moderator, @Tim_OVO and another couple of Forum Members who are technically astute: @ITGeek123 and @PeterR1947 .

Each of these may have their own view on the situation. That includes disagreeing with what I’ve just written above! But that’s the benefit of using a Forum to chew over problems like this.

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Three phase meters should calculate exports thus:

Look at the total amount of energy being consumed on all 3 phases, look at the solar being generated on the single ‘solar’ phase then subtract the consumption from the generation to get the export total.

So if the system in generating say 3.5kW of power, and they are using 1 kW on each of the 3 phases, it is exporting 0.5kW (3.5kW – 3kW) and importing nothing from the grid.

On some meters, the firmware is configured to only count exports on the solar phase so using the same scenario, the system is generating 3.5kW but consuming 1kW therefore we are exporting 2.5kW back to the grid on the solar phase but on the other two phases 1 kW is being imported on each so paying for 2kW in total.  The net result is that the householder is losing out!  Being cynical, which sort of meter would a supplier prefer?

As @Transparent says, “Vector sum metering” isn’t the complete answer but I’m sure a meter such as the first scenario described would solve the problem.  Unfortunately, as far as I’m aware, there isn’t a standard dealing with how three phase meters calculate import/export, the only answer would be to check what sort of meter each supplier uses.

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Thanks @PeterR1947 .

That sort of meter configuration would seem to work OK from the householder’s viewpoint…

… but it’s bad news for the Grid. :disappointed_relieved:

Installing 3-phase meters which increase phase-imbalances is a no-no!

It cuts across the RIIO-ED1 strategy which Distributed Network Operators are required to adhere to under their Ofgem licences.

I gave a more full (and illustrated) explanation of phase-imbalance losses here on this other Topic.

To reduce losses and reduce our carbon footprint, we need to reconfigure domestic properties with 3-phase supplies so the current drawn is more evenly spread across all three phases.

One solution is to input PV-panels to a Storage Battery, where its output is connected to whichever phase is drawing the most current from the Grid.

OVO/Kaluza are currently evaluating test sites to trial such a battery, albeit at this stage only on single-phase locations.

 

@Benseb- please say if you’re not able to follow what Peter and I are discussing. We may be introducing all sorts of concepts and terms that you’re unfamiliar with.

Hi all

 

our situation is as Peter has explained

 

we have 3 phase supply and 3 phase solar too

 

However the house was only wired to use one phase. We’ve since added some extra loads to different phases (Air Source Heat Pump) however there is still an imbalance between phases.

 

So as an example

 

ph 1: 2kW Gen.  No load, 2kW export

ph2: 2kW Gen. 1kW load, 1kW export

ph3: 2kW Gen.  3kW load. 0kW export  1kW import  

 

Here we are  generating 6kW and using 4kW. Our meter shouldn’t be showing import as we are net exporting. However it seems to measure the import independently on each 3 phases and therefore is billing us for the ph3 import. 
 

From my understanding there’s a legal obligation of the supplier to ensure our electric is metered correctly. Which it isn’t. 
 

we’ve really hit a brick wall with Bulb so are hoping another supplier will understand and offer a meter. But it’s so hard to explain!
 

 

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Updated on 25/04/22 by Jess_OVO

 

Whilst a 3 phase Smart meter has now been approved for use by the Smart Data Communications Company (DCC) - OVO are still trialing our offer of this new technology, so we can’t upgrade these setups  just yet. We’ll be sure to advise when this changes but for the moment you’ll need to continue supplying readings manually if you’re using all 3 phases.


If all 3 phases aren’t in use, you may consider downgrading to a single phase supply which is compatible with the current Smart meters we fit. Here's the process:

- Get an electrician to check if downgrading the supply is possible (you've done this already - nice work).
- Arrange a date for (and pay for) a visit from your Distribution Network Operator (DNO), who will rewire your supply to make it a single phase set up.
- Contact our Support Team to make sure we can get an engineer to you on the same day that the DNO visit, to fit your smart meter free of charge.

 

As you mention needing a ‘vector-sum’ 3 phase meter we’d recommend checking out this related discussion.

 

 

OVO member but not got a smart meter yet? - Book today!

 

Interested but not yet an OVO member? - Check out our plans!

 

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It’s interesting that @Nancy_OVO has indicated that it’s possible to have a SMETS1 3-phase meter. Which manufacturer?

Is the one used by OVO a “Vector sum” model?

All the SMETS1 meters made by Secure are due to receive a software upgrade and be migrated onto the National Smart Meter Network from Sunday 28th June. I wonder what happens then if it’s a 3-phase installation?  :thinking:

 

@Benseb- I think you should know that there is serious consideration at a national level to require all new houses to be constructed with 3-phase electricity supplies. This would not only slow the increase in technical losses at substations, but it is also required for homes with electric showers and an EV charger of 7kW and above.

That being the case, I can’t believe it will be long before the Data Communications Company (DCC) announce that they have approved a model.

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@Transparent 

Sorry my bad, I was thinking of 5 port meters, not 3 phase ones. I’ve corrected this above.

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Ah… that makes more sense @Nancy_OVO. :slight_smile:

5-port SMETS2 meters are being fitted by other Energy Suppliers. They are most likely required for switching loads when we have Time Of Use tariffs in the future.

However, OVO have the Kaluza Platform which provides a more powerful/flexible way of achieving Load Control. So they are the least likely Supplier to need 5-port electricity meters for their customers!

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@Transparent 

We can offer 5 port with S1, it’s currently being looked into for S2 too :)

I am considering switching to Ovo. I have a 3 phase supply with export for my solar panels. Does Ovo offer a 3 phase smart meter with export?

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Welcome @adammason !

I’m Blastoise186, one of the forum volunteers. I don’t work for OVO myself though, so I can’t make any promises or commitments on OVO’s behalf.

I do have some good news and some bad news. I’m afraid Three-Phase Smart Meters weren’t available officially on OVO the last time I checked, however they are definitely going to be available in the near future. OVO has been testing them out recently ahead of making them available, just to make sure the billing platform learns how to handle them properly.

Most Smart Meters are capable of dealing with exports as well, it’s really more about how they’re configured than anything else. While I don’t have any further news for you right now, I’ll ask @Tim_OVO and @Jess_OVO if they know of any updates.

thanks for your quick reply!

I currently have an emlite EMP1.av which was installed by my current supplier. Its supposed to send readings in automatically but it was only installed 3 months ago and I still haven't had automatic readings (and I haven't got a smart home display). 

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No worries. :)

I’m really sorry to tell you this, but unfortunately you don’t currently have a Smart Meter. That particular model is incapable of passing either SMETS1 or SMETS2 specifications because it cannot support smart communications at all by the looks of things. Unless it’s got some kind of Automatic Meter Reader (AMR) device attached to it, I doubt you’ll ever get automated readings out of it, let alone smart readings.

And this is after I spent a fair while reading the entire user manual for it! I’m no electrician, but if I can figure out a 108 page Aclara SGM1400 Series user manual, a 30 page emlite one is nothing to me. :)

It does have an optical port, but that’s not going to be useful to you anyway, because that’s for a different purpose which never really gets used in the UK beyond manufacturing and testing.

Technically speaking, you’d want something like the Aclara SGM1430 Series, as those are all Three-Phase SMETS2 Smart Meters. I think this is what OVO is testing.

Im not surprised to learn that! Its been 3 months and Im still submitting readings to my supplier who are totally hopeless in sorting this out, never replying to my messages and it seems they don't understand what they have fitted!

Its a new build house and Ive still no idea how much energy I'm using! I found that Ovo have good reviews for smart metering and wondered how long Ovo would take to fit one for me once tested. 

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Well, assuming there’s no blockers like not having any WAN coverage, and assuming that the right meter type is available… OVO could probably arrange an upgrade within a few weeks of them being available depending on factors like engineer availability and stocks. Single-Phase upgrades can be done by any OVO engineer, but Three-Phase upgrades require additional training which only some engineers have.

Of course, you’d be welcome to switch anytime anyway and if you’d like to do that, you can get a quote via https://switch.ovoenergy.com .

I know of only a handful of suppliers capable of creating new connections for new build houses, so let me guess… British Gas is your supplier? I’m getting the vibe it’s either them or Scottish Power somehow...

It was BG who connected then switched to So Energy early last year but they have been hopeless (especially if they haven't realised they have fitted the wrong type of meter!). They put the new meter in and said it would take a while to send automatic readings in (forever if its the wrong meter!).

If I switch the service can only improve! :)

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I’ve utilised my detective skills to dig deeper.

Based on https://help.so.energy/support/solutions/articles/7000065159-our-metering-services-and-charges-listed it appears that SO Energy are not ready to install Three Phase Smart Meters at all at this time, and you should have been told this fact prior to agreeing to any changes.

You may want to raise a complaint to them directly, as it might help prevent this situation happening again.

hmm that's fascinating!!! they told me that it was a smart meter but not the type that comes with an in-home monitor screen. They also said it would take a while to be set-up to send automatic readings. 

Either they don't know its not a smart meter or they are just fobbing me off !! 

this is so enlightening !!! 

They are so difficult to deal with, I've been trying to get my account updated with meter readings. I had a call from someone on the metering team to give them readings and they couldn't understand why they were lower than previous readings despite me explaining to them it was a new meter so would obviously have lower readings!! I then had to send them photos to prove the readings were lower! clearly lefthand does not speak to righthand!!

At least I now know the meter was never capable in the first place !!

 

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I’ve heard that story far too many times I’m afraid, that I don’t want to admit the exact number. I help out here on this forum as well as elsewhere, so this isn’t new to me. A lot of suppliers can trip up for several reasons, but this is one that really shouldn’t.

If you get them to do an ECOES Lookup, that might help to prove the meter was replaced. All electric meter exchanges are supposed to be logged against your MPAN on the ECOES database, which is the national electric meter database that every supplier has access to. Xoserve is the equivalent one for gas meters.

Your DNO can probably also do that for you as well.

thank you I think ill get UKPN to look it up as I might actually get a response from them!
 

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No worries. :)

If you give UKPN either your MPAN or the current Meter Serial Number from the front of the meter, they’ll be able to locate the record for you. Technically speaking, even previous MSNs are also valid because they’re all linked to the same record.

I can’t do this myself as I only have permission to pull down my own records. But if you get stuck and need more advice, we’ll be here for you.

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