Faulty smart or traditional meters: Blank display, inaccurate, broken, noisy meters - DIY tutorial series

  • 15 October 2020
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Faulty smart or traditional meters: Blank display, inaccurate, broken, noisy meters - DIY tutorial series
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Updated on 13/04/22 by Jess_OVO


Types of meter faults - Your Guide


Worried that your meter isn’t clocking your usage accurately, is it making an unexpected noise or even worse are you off-supply? These could indicate a meter fault that we’ll need to get sorted. In all these scenarios we’d advise getting in touch with the Support Team ASAP to do some further investigations, but we’ve put together a quick guide to cover what might be causing the issues.


Blank Display or Meter Not Clocking


  • The display has gone blank and cannot be read and it cannot be turned back on by pushing buttons.
  • This is the most common type of meter fault and has many different causes. Unless it’s a smart meter, we will not be able to bill you accurately (we will have to estimate usage)  until we have completed a faulty meter exchange.
  • Another common type of meter fault where the meter will stay on the same reading and not register any usage.
  • The removal reading will be recalculated using either readings prior to the fault, new meter consumption or usage averages. More info here

Inaccurate Meter


  • If you believe your meter is clocking too fast or too slowly you can arrange to have a meter accuracy test (MAT) or an OFMAT for gas. There is a charge for the test which is refunded if the meter is proven to be faulty. The charges are £149 for MAT or £157 for the OFMAT. More info on costs here
  • If a meter accuracy test has determined that a meter is clocking too fast by at least 2.5% or slow by at least 3.5% we will need to complete a faulty meter exchange. Please note that for OFMATs, the gas meter is replaced as part of the OFMAT appointment.
  • If the meter is deemed faulty and once the faulty meter exchange has been completed we will be able to re-bill your account, factoring in the results of the MAT test. We do not recalculate the removal reading if the meter is confirmed as slow. :blush:

Negative consumption (clocking backwards) due to solar panels


  • Solar panels can cause older meters to start clocking backwards. This is because the electricity generated that has gone back to the grid causes the meter to clock backwards (breaking the meter) and the meter will need to be replaced.
  • We recalculate the removal reading by using your generation readings for your solar panels to estimate how much the meter has back-clocked. If we are unable to obtain these readings then we estimate a removal reading using your new meter consumption. More info here

Loss of power


  • For a guide on what to do in a power cut, see this guide 
  • For a gas outage or emergency, see this guide

Broken Timeswitch (Electricity Meters)


  • If you have a two-rate meter, sometimes the timeswitch that controls the timing of when the registers clock can break. Normally one register stops clocking resulting in all consumption clocking on the other register. In some cases however both registers clock consumption but at the incorrect times.
  • Once the meter exchange goes ahead, we redistribute the removal reading across the two registers using either your annual averages prior to the fault or new meter consumption depending on which is most appropriate. Redistribution is not required if you’ve been charges the same prices for both registers the whole time. 

Noisy gas meter


  • There are two common issues that can occur in a gas meter to cause either a constant or an intermittent noise. 
    • The first is the when the regulator is faulty, causing a "humming noise" to come from the meter
    • The second is when the diaphragm in the meter is faulty and causes a "mechanical noise" to come from the meter (using a high-pitched screeching sound)
  • Both of these faults are deemed to be safe but can cause disruption for the household.
  • To diagnose the fault we will need a video of the meter so we can diagnose the sound. Email this to hello@ovoenergy.com. 
  • The recalculation of the removal reading for noisy meters is not required unless there is confirmation the meter is clocking consumption inaccurately as well.

Noisy Electricity Meters


  • Occasionally you may think your electric meter is making a beeping a noise. In these instances it's always recommended to check any carbon monoxide/smoke detectors around the meter to check if they are low on battery as this is most likely to be the issue. 
  • If a meter is heard to be making either an arcing, vibrating or zapping noise then this could be the meter arcing which will need to be booked in for an emergency meter exchange. Call us to get this done: 0330 303 5063. 

Smart meter communication issues


  • If a smart meter has any of the above issues, it will likely need to be replaced, however if there is a communication issue only, please see this guide for a Secure Liberty smart meter, and this guide for an Aclara or Honeywell/Elster smart meter.


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