I think my meter is clocking too fast - How can I test if my high usage is due to a faulty meter?

I think my meter is clocking too fast - How can I test if my high usage is due to a faulty meter?

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Not unrelated to @fatbloke88‘s questions, I’ve been looking in more detail at my own IHD recently. I’m in the fortunate position that, aside from only about half the nightly gas meter readings being retrieved successfully by Ovo, everything else about my smart meters seems to be working ok. In particular, almost all the HH usage data get through successfully. (It’s a shame, therefore, that Ovo seem not to make as much use of the HH data as they might.)

So, the info that has caught my attention is the usage so far data, which is available

so far today, so far this week, so far this month, and so far this year.

From my own observations (of an IHD and meter that seem to be working fine) I’ve concluded that something (either the IHD, or the meter, or the Comms Hub, I can’t say which) is taking the difference between the current meter reading and a stored meter reading. I can explain what I see no other way: these usage so far values are live and update as one would expect them to, given how the current meter reading changes.

With care, one can work out what the stored meter readings are (with a precision of 0.001 kWh, despite the usage so far values only being shown as a whole number of kWh when they are 100 kWh or more).

I believe these readings were taken within a minute or so of midnight at the start of 1 Jan this year, and the start of the 1st of the current month, and the start of Monday this week, and  last night.

I’m still reviewing the data I’ve recorded from my own meter, but it would be fascinating to do this with @fatbloke88 ‘s IHD to see what those old meter readings are.

BW

PS in the case of a new account, I suppose that the new supplier resets these old meter readings (especially if they’re stored in the IHD - I’m unclear to what extent the supplier can go trampling over data stored in the meter/comms hub, and kind of hope that they’re not able to do that but, because it relates to billing, I fear that DCC will let them do exactly that) to ones that relate to the day the account opens, as best they can, anyway.

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The information we don’t have @fatbloke88 is what configuration gets put into your SMETS1 meter when it’s upgraded to SMETS2 software.

If the anomalies were solely related to price, then we might reasonably suppose that the memory locations where your tariff data has been stored have defaulted to an arbitrary default value.

Once your site gets passed across to OVO by the Data Communications Company (DCC), the correct tariff would get sent across by their Billing System.

In your case there seems to have arisen a sudden jump in the consumption itself (measured in kWh). We could conjecture that there might be a memory location where the SMETS firmware holds a ‘calibration factor’. But I’ve not heard of such a system before and don’t know if Secure’s meters operate like this.

Whilst I remain intrigued from a technical viewpoint, I don’t believe there’s any need to be concerned that you will end up paying for such an error.

At this stage you haven’t even received a bill which covers the days on which the suspicious readings have occurred.

Nor can the Billing System start sending you invoices or warnings to ‘increase your Direct Debit’ because it can take weeks for a meter to be tested on the upgraded software and then passed across to OVO by DCC.

So panic not!

If you want to cover all eventualities you could email hello@ovoenergy.com and state something like:

Further to our telephone conversation of Nth July, I appreciate that my early Smart Meter is in the process of being migrated to the National Network.

The meter continues to provide consumption readings which are significantly greater that have occurred during the previous months on my contract with you. I accept that this process includes a number of technical steps and that testing may yet take some time.

I am reassured by your assertion that my account will be credited for the erroneous readings during this time.

That basically put in writing a date/time-stamped copy of what you were told on the phone. If any of it is incorrect, then OVO has the opportunity to refute that.

In any case, the email stays ‘on your file’.

Under those circumstances, even if you do get emails asking you for extra payments, you can safely ignore them. There is no possibility of you being threatened with legal action because the High Court (Small claims division) would be unlikely to let it proceed to a hearing. As soon as you produce a copy of the email, the case would have to be withdrawn.

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What I find ‘interesting’ about this situation are the following:

 

a: that a SMETS1 Smart Meter can ‘overclock’ at all. This suggests a fundamental flaw in its design. It may not necessarily be within the software. It could equally well be the current-detector.

But these meters have been through cyber-security scrutiny to ensure that they can be sited in ‘unguarded’ meter cabinets without threat to the country’s energy supply system. So someone should be keen to analyse this particular meter and ensure that it hasn’t been adversely affected by any external influence. That could be anything from a magnetic field to a software hack.

 

b: that there’s no software ‘sanity check’ being done by OVO to verify if any unusual usage exists.

This is relatively easy to do. After all, most sudden changes in energy consumption will be due to a particular device being connected. I bought an EV a few months ago which has increased my base-line electricity usage by 2½ times whilst it’s charging. But it obviously doesn’t charge 24hrs/day!

A sensible sanity check on @fatbloke88’s usage should easily be able to show that there must be an ‘energy leakage’ somewhere!

After all, if this was an errant gas meter, such a constant jump in supply would indicate a leak that needs immediate attention.

Any such energy usage anomaly should generate an alert from the Billing System software that gets passed immediately to the Meter Engineering Team!

 

c: What would be the case if the situation is reversed?

What if there are a hundred meters out there which are sending erroneous data, but the customers haven’t noticed?

Would it make any difference to OVO if the meters were under-clocking and the company was losing money?

 

d: We discussed the proposed Betelgeuse option nine months ago. Such a method of displaying the usage-data would be more capable of showing up such a faulty meter.

Betelgeuse presentation extrapolates the energy-usage forward to verify that the account will be in credit at the end of the contract. So an over-clocking meter would have a profound effect on the end of the curve, thereby alerting the customer and OVO that something had suddenly failed at a particular point in time.

It was that topic which resulted in the formation of a Tech Treehouse in which software discussions concerning the Billing System could be fed back directly to the development team. What’s happened with all that feedback?!

Has Betelgeuse entered a black hole?

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@fatbloke88 wrote:

EEEEEEEEEKkkkkkkkkkkk!!!!!

What is going on here?

 

Possibilities include:

1: someone has tapped into your supply and is now running their house on your meter

2: faulty meter

3: cannabis farm :scream:

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I suggest that a Complaint is always sent by email (hello@ovoenergy.com), rather than left to a voice conversation. If it should get as far as the Office of the Energy Ombudsman (which I doubt!), then you require evidence of when the complaint was started.

That’s a separate issue to my involvement. I’m wanting to see the in-house software changed to prevent such errors going un-noticed. And remember, I’ve been asking for this months before you turned up with an illustration of why it’s needed!

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@Tim_OVOwrote:

the Direct Debit calculator does this pretty much, I mean, it’s pretty similar wouldn’t you say?:

 

Well the data is there just the same. But it produces no response/feedback which prompts OVO to do anything!

 

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UPDATE: apparently at some point, someone somewhere registered ours as a dual rate meter…. bear with me;

That means when I press “9” on the meter I was getting total consumption from both Day & Night registers even though there is no night register… ok so far?

 

Now when they advise me to press ”6” and look at a range of data there is a reading in there of kwh which is more in line with what is expected

Using this data I get an ave consumpotion of 16 kwh/pd since mid July (I think I’m ok with that)…

Here’s where it gets confusing;

last year Mar20 - Feb21 they tell me the meter reading which were being sent automatically showed a consumtion ave  995 kwh /pm:fearful::fearful: hence the reason Iwe were asked to pay a large end of year settlement value.

I am now confused, because NOTHING in our consumtion use has changed in the last 17 months yet our consumption pattern was well over double the volume that we are now using and since I’ve been keeping an irregular eye on…

Just going to have to keep a wary eye as we go through winter..

 

 

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Great to see that there’s a solution here. I don’t know why I never even thought of that one! I’ll try to remember this in case it ever affects anyone else in the future.

Admittedly, this is another reason why I’m not a huge fan of the overly complicated interface with the Secure Liberty meters (It’s definitely not the worst one ever though!). While having a full numeric keypad is useful for cases if you’re on PAYG and and you need to manually punch in a UTRN to top-up because it didn’t go through automatically, it serves little purpose for anything else - especially if you’re on Pay Monthly. And besides that, the majority of IHDs also have PPMID (Prepayment Meter Interface Device if memory serves) capability anyway that allows a customer to enter a UTRN code via the IHD and send it to the meter from there. Most of the other manufacturers have just two or three buttons instead which is a lot simpler and Aclara goes the extra mile by utilising the giant displays to clearly indicate exactly which register you’re looking at when taking readings - and does a pretty good job of using plain English to label them - rather than complicated short codes that confuse even me sometimes.

I’m still learning what all the buttons do on Secure Liberty meters and I can’t practice on Raichu because it’s an S2 Aclara. Luckily there’s a few guides around that I can read up on.

You’re far from the first person who has been caught out by those confusing buttons, and I doubt you’ll be the last. :wink:

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Hi there @Atherz .

I’m really sorry to hear about that. I can try to offer some advice to help sort the original issue out, but I will also respect your request in the meantime.

I’ve never actually heard of a meter being locked as such, but I’ve asked @Jess_OVO if she knows anything.

If you’d like me to try to help solve the other issue instead of leaving OVO, please feel free to let me know. I can’t access your account, but I can offer advice. If you’d still prefer to leave anyway, I will understand.

Thanks

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Don’t forget that regardless of your payments, you’ll only ever be charged for what you actually use and the rest stays on your account for the future bills.

 

 

Good shout this ^^^

 

@Atherz thanks for posting, it’s an interesting one this with such a close comparison possible between properties of a similar type. As Blastoise186 mentioned, we’ll be happy to help you drill down into these costs, and also with any advice on switching. Your meter being ‘locked’ has me scratching my head, but I’ll get to that. 

 

Would you be able to read the main article of this topic that Jess posted - I’ve moved your topic thread and combined it with the one Jess made as it’s very relevant here? She’s just recently posted it, and this outlines various things you can do at home to work out why you’ve got higher then expected costs. 

 

Some info from you would help us to help you: 

 

Can you also confirm via your online account if your Direct Debit is > £70, or if that is the rough amount of your charges? 

 

Can you let us know what smart meter you have, or even better: send us a picture? Do you know if this smart meter is communicating with OVO remotely? You’ll have meter readings and usage info in your online account if you do have communicating smart meters.

 

We’re on hand to help as best we can. I’d be very surprised if there was a reason your smart meters meant you couldn’t switch. That wouldn’t be OK, switching should always be possible, otherwise it’s just not fair. So I’m hoping with a bit more info from you, we can work out your options. 

 

Tim

 

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I should add, I have asked for the actual read data that they tell me they have. I assume there will also be additional data to confirm that it actual read data sent/received from a smart meter. Does anyone know what I should see when they send that through?

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Oh great… another trivial point to lighten the mood:

I agree that data is certainly plural because datum is the singular.

But, like many people, I treat data as if it is a collective noun and write data is rather than data are. I know that’s incorrect, but it’s one of my little contributions to the evolution of language.

The bigger issue here is to decide if I should continue to use the word data to refer to numerals within my energy usage which are ‘manufactured’. Data normally implies that there is authenticity within the information being presented.

Physics has created the expression dark matter in order to balance mathematics with observations at cosmological and sub-atomic levels. Does OVO use dark data in similar fashion?

This evening when I’m observing Orion, I will know that its components are held in place by something dark. Ah well… no matter  :wink:

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Might this (from another live thread on the forum) be in some way related?

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For light relief, after that little rant, I found myself reading this blog post. Perhaps it’s an indication of how keen I am to know what, exactly “my” smart meter and its Comms Hub have within them…

Can I find out by making a GDPR-style Subject Access Request, I wonder? Not of the meter and Comms Hub themselves of course, but of whoever is their Data Controller.

I’m wonder if @Transparent has a ready answer to this question ;-)

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@Simon1Dwrote:

As far as I can tell, the only thing the Comms Hub remembers is consumption, known in Ovo-land as “usage”.

Ah… that’s an interesting hypothesis. I wonder if the Electricity Meter (ESME) calculates the difference between its last two readings before sending the result to the Comms Hub, or whether the calculation is performed after the transfer. Both units have a processor capable of doing this, and sufficient RAM to store the results.

Perhaps the ESME retains a copy of the actual readings for each HH period.

We should be able to work this out:

a: an OVO installer, like @Chris_OVO can be sent to site to replace just the ESME or just the Comms Hub. Suppose that happens at 10:30 and the next data-request from DCC isn’t going to occur until 00:20, what data has to be recorded at that point from the unit being exchanged?

We must assume that the unit being swapped-out is broken and unable to be interrogated. The Installer has the ability to directly contact the S2-team in Bristol who can issue a SMETS-command via DCC and they have their own Enigma software (on a mobile phone) which facilitates pairing etc.

 

b: The ESME (or a GSME) is a generic device sold in other countries who have different Smart Meter Networks. But the Comms Hub is designed specifically for the GB market and is supplied for each site by DCC.

Does that provide a clue as to what data must be available from within the ESME?

Between you, I think @Transparent and @Blastoise186 appear to know enough to reach a definitive conclusion on this matter. I look forward to learning what it might be.

Of course, any inside information from Ovo staffers would be most welcome...

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@Simon1D  wrote:

The wages of sin is death

or

The wages of sin are death

Fortunately this historic translation issue can be checked!

As it’s in the letter to the Romans, the original language would be Latin.

But both Wycliffe (14th Century) and Tyndale (16th) were translating into English clandestinely, using whatever manuscripts could be smuggled out of an abbey scriptorium at night and returned at Lauds the next morning.

The texts might be in Greek, Latin or Hebrew (OT) and verse numbering wasn’t much in evidence. Capital letters and punctuation weren’t generally present either!

The literal Latin for this phrase is stipendium peccati mors est…

but the Latin Vulgate more properly has

stipendia enim peccati mors gratia autem dei vita æterna…

There is no est (is). The translator infers this from the second half of the verse “but the gift of God is eternal life”.

Due to the way in which the English language versions emerged, they are least likely to agree with all other Bible translations in the world! We have a good 500 passages where the verse numbering varies from other languages, let alone the text!

 

The manner by which we are now trying to understand how usage data is derived from meter readings suggests to me that Wycliffe and Tyndale are alive and busy working for Kaluza.

I am enjoying our discourse on this matter and I am picking useful insights into meters and what they do along the way. Philosophy fascinates me but I’m sorry to say most of it goes over my head. The history of phrasing and translations was educational and witty and prescient. So thank you all I’ll continue to update as the situation changes. @Jess_OVO  The one contact in complaints is NOT working so far I’ve had responses from 3 different “Managers” each one varying slightly in info and and a lot (sorry to say in clarity). I have asked to be referred back to the one with whom I had the most satisfactory response… Watch this space

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...

Or I guess you could potentially use the API to grab everything?

Ah yes, if only the still-there-but-unsupported-for-public-use-API had everything of interest(*), we’d be laughing - metaphorically, and perhaps even literally!

I genuinely hope (including for Ovo’s sake) that they have more than is made available by the API. Actually, I know they do. For one thing, Ovo do still have meter readings, because my Android app lists them (but the API no longer gives access to them). Actually there are still versions of My Ovo out in the wild that list meter readings too: see this here. Sadly tho, that doesn’t include the version that my account is linked to.

(*) As far as I’m aware (it’s hard to tell, what with the API being unsupported and all), my Python script already retrieves a copy of everything that’s there. At least, I believe it retrieves everything that’s available under the “daily” and “half-hourly” names.

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@Simon1Dwrote:

As far as I can tell, the only thing the Comms Hub remembers is consumption, known in Ovo-land as “usage”.

Ah… that’s an interesting hypothesis. I wonder if the Electricity Meter (ESME) calculates the difference between its last two readings before sending the result to the Comms Hub, or whether the calculation is performed after the transfer. Both units have a processor capable of doing this, and sufficient RAM to store the results.

I’d just like to emphasise that @Transparent has picked out a key question, here.

I laboured for a long time under what I now believe to be an illusion, that the Smart Meter/Comms Hub (for the moment, I’ll just lump them together, I don’t really care what’s where, exactly) really did have a time-stamped reading for every element of usage. I can see that this would increase the storage requirement by at least a factor two but, since the original proposal to keep 3 month’s data was (easily?) revised to 13 months, I’m bound to say that such fretting over storage capacity, if that’s what it is, betrays the mindset of one who, gosh, well they might even be as old as me.

There are some things that really are not relevant constraints any more.

 

PS Although there are some, Micro$oft for one, who seem able to bring the very latest hardware to its knees with contemptuous ease, just by releasing a new version of whatever malware they have convinced businesses to exchange their hard-earned revenue for.

Me? Bitter?? Possibly, but an advocate for free software with good reason.

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 Especially with an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS and an NVIDIA RTX 3050 Ti - not even Cyberpunk can overload it! Hehehe

Nice rig...

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UPDATE; since i’ve been away these are the readings from my meter. The red values are total since 20/07 when that spurious high value was displayed. the green values are the differences between readings.

Still struggling to understand how and why that anamolous value appeared in the readings. My ovo is still showeing 30kwh usage which I understand is an estimate and will be corrected, the question is when and what happens to the registered consumption since the last official reading was sent?

Extra note: I had forgotten to advise this earlier; when my billing year was up, OVO advised that we had registered well in excess of our payments and I needed to make an immediate payment of nearly £500 to bring it up to date and increase the DD to £260pm!! - I thought about this on holiday, could my meter have “jumped” previously because NOTHING of substance has changed in the last 15 months regarding our energy usage… @Blastoise186@Transparent@Jess_OVO ???

 

My gas (meter according to “MYOVO”  appears to be sending readings but not my electric meter, the red lights on it appear to flash in different combinations at different times, despite fairly normal usage in the property - is this normal?

 

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@Jess_OVO the original post came about after me noticing in MYOVO consumption that my consumption had almost doubled.

 

It was after that when I checked the readings and saw that jump on the meter itself.

  1. According to MYOVO readings, the last officially sent reading was 14/07 = 55304
  2. By the time of my checking the meter after noticing the above on 20/07 = 57884
  3. According to MYOVO a manual reading on the 27/07 = 55493

Something is obviously askew somewhere as the reading on 27/07 is significantly lower than the reading on my meter on 20/07:thinking: and I’m confused by that reading (55493) as I dont recall having submitted it.

The manual reading in MYOVO does not fit with any reading I recorded with photographs for 27/07 date. In fact the readings I have recorded show values of 57987 at the end of that day.

 

Silly question, am I reading the meter correctly:

1 press 9

2 display kWh

3 record value

4 that value is the consumtion

I have mentioned before that the RED LED’s seem to flash in strange patterns at different times when I check the meter and NOTHING unusual in terms of consumption is going on.

 

Is it me?

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Latest update summary EXTREME FRUSTRATION!!!

I have had since my  last post on here no less than 5 agents all who seem to have different titles and frankly a complete lack of understanding of the core complaint.

The latest of which is an “Advanced Resolution Specialist”, “A senior Advisor”

in no particular order I’ve also had a manager Jack and Niamh

agents Ivan, Kaitlin, Anand, Nathan

Despite being advised in an email that HH readings were being collected, it appears they aren’t. Yet MyOvo clearly shows HH consumtion data!

Ive had a mail on 05/11 telling me that my meter read od 31/08 is inconsistent and can’t be used. You see my point about not being informed!!!

Since 31/08 I have been supplying the readings myself, with zero thanks acknowledgement or appreciation by Ovo!! Every read is supported by a time stamped photograph on my phone and I’m getting more than a little frustrated by the complete lack of progress.

Nobody why my meter isnt submitting or Ovo arent collecting consumption data, no one can rectify the unconfirmed excess charge we were asked to pay earlier this year

No one takes responsibility and no one reads or takes in the information that I have provided in full before answerin only a portion of same.

 

@Tim_OVO@Jess_OVO perhaps you can put me in touch with your director of customer services to see if we cant get this resolved once and for all? If anyone knows who to talk to please do chip in. 

I have advised OVO CS teams that I am now ready to forward all mails chat logs and forum mesages to the media by COP monday if I am not satisfied with progress by then.

 

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A miracle the smart meter lives!!!

Now what  I have to do is follow the readings it gives on my phone and lets see what it says, figure out with Ovo why the massive discrepancy for last year +£500 settlement, get it refunded, (no evidence that we did actually use it) as I believe data supports us…. :thinking:

What do you think our chances are??

@Blastoise186@Simon1D@Transparent 

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It was the issuing of incorrect bills and inaccurate estimates which landed OVO with a fine of £8.9m from Ofgem at the beginning of 2018.

As a consequence the Board of Directors decided to create their own new Billing System in-house, thereby removing the company’s future from the poor algorithms which beset the 3rd-party software.

So we might think that OVO would be highly motivated to be using Billing software which properly addresses incomplete, incorrect and estimated readings within customer’s usage records.

It therefore seems decidedly odd that the Board have now decided to distance Kaluza, who develop the Billing system code, from OVO Energy who use it to invoice us.

They’ve come full circle to the situation where OVO Energy is reliant on software from a ‘3rd party’ who will themselves not suffer from an Ofgem fine for incorrect and inaccurate billing. :face_palm_tone1:

 

The difference this time is that some of us customers here on the Forum have been busy isolating and reporting the bugs. :ant:

That leaves OVO with an option to avoid another fine from Ofgem, and instead to listen to its customers.

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HI @fatbloke88, please see Jess’s comment from a month or so back:

 

Sorry to hear this ones still not been fully resolved, @fatbloke88.

 

In this case it’s worth responding to the email you’ve received requesting that your complaint is escalated. If our Support Team aren’t able to reach a resolution that you’re happy with, the next stage of our Complaints procedure would be to escalate this to our dedicated Complaints team. At this point your complaint would be assigned to a complaint agent who would be the nominated point of contact as you describe.

 

From your message over the weekend I can see you’ve got now this assigned to the Complaints team. They wouldn’t want us to advise you any further on this one as they’re the point of contact for you on this issue. 

 

All the best with this resolution,

Tim

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