Semi concealed gas box woes 2 years +

  • 3 September 2019
  • 26 replies
  • 2788 views

Updated on 18/02/21: The info in this update box was taken from this topic on semi concealed gas smart meters:

 

These fittings need to be based on a case by case basis. Some of these boxes are big enough to fit the meter, as long as the engineer has a bracket on them to ensure they can tilt the meter upwards. When booking the smart meter appointment, it just needs to be made clear that you have a semi concealed gas meter box.

 

If it was made clear when booking, it might be that there was an issue with space or an unusual ECV (sometimes replacing the ECV in semi-concealed boxes can be difficult due to the space).

I would advise sending a picture to the team as a Facebook PM, or a Twitter DM, or in an email: hello@ovoenergy.com. The agents can make a judgement call or get help from the smart meter experts. 

 

Hi folks I am writing this after months of problems relating to Smart Gas meters and trying to fit one in a semi concealed meter box.

Back in 2017 OVO suggested it would be a good idea to upgrade to smart meters. A Lowri Beck engineer was dispatched and he removed our working gas meter and fitted a new smart gas meter. After he left we noticed the meter box lid was buckled and the noise from the meter was vibrating through the house.

Without boring you with the whole story...The smart meter was replaced with a new digital dumb meter.. (This engineer said "which clown tried to fit a smart meter in there")

The new dumb digital meter also failed with a blank screen after a few months ... This was then replaced with another dumb gas meter...

This latest one failed with a blank screen back in March.

Since then we can take no gas readings and have been left in limbo. 2 weeks ago my wife received an email from OVO asking us to contact a company called "Cadent" who would be able to provide a concealed gas box extension quotation which would give room for a smart meter.

We rang...The guy laughed a lot ... and said... We stopped doing those 2 years ago because it was too much hassle.

Latest advice from OVO is for us to find a builder to fit a concealed box extension which you can buy from a builders yard...I haven't found such a product anywhere yet..!!

So... sorry to drone on ... This is the abridged version … At the moment we cant read our dumb broken meter and have no idea how to upgrade the box so we can have a new meter. Apparently the dumb meters are no longer available.

Photo below is current dumb meter in box.(Digital Screen is Blank)

P.S. I see some people on this forum have had a SMETS 2 meter installed by OVO in a concealed box. Why can't we have that option ... It has never been offered..??

 

3e05b5ac-e4e0-4584-a99a-9f7bd141e266.jpg

 


26 replies

Userlevel 6
Potentially SMETS2 meters aren't available in your area, @popeyeuk, have you seen this topic? @BenCS essentially moved his gas meter box - could this be an option for you?
Hi @Eva_OVO Thanks for the reply.. not sure about this.. but I assume it's a major operation.. I didn't realise SMETS 2 were only in certain areas... I really wish we had never gone down the smart meter route.. I think we were early adopters and the engineer should have known not to try and fit a smart meter in our box.

Maybe @BenCS could update on his progress..
Hi popeyeuk,

My scenario was different to yours. A few years ago they upgraded the gas main in our road and as part of this they also renewed all the pipes running from the main to our gas meters. Our meter was at the back of the house at basement level, inside in a specially installed cupboard. They insisted that the gas meter be relocated outside at the front and put it in a box in a hole in the driveway next to the house. The box was never properly fixed (you could pick it up) and the meter was half buried in a hole in the ground. There was new pipework which ran under the front door and round the outside of the house (through a gate post!) and into the basement.

We later requested a smart meter from OVO and had to wait until they had one suitable to be half buried. It fitted in our box OK but I am not sure whether that was just because the hole in the drive had been made deep enough.

Anyway, we were luck enough to build a small side extension on the opposite side of the house. As part of this we got the builder to include a box fitted into the external wall to house the gas meter and get it off the driveway - where it was in danger of getting run over and was constantly tripping us up! The new wall box we had was big enough for the smart meter and it was moved without any issues. We (the builder) dug the trench for the pipework to be diverted to the new location. The builder was having to move the boiler anyway and so ran new pipe from meter under the floor in the new extension, and so was able to remove the old pipework running round the side of the house. I have not idea if our meter is SMETS 2?

Wish you luck.
Hi @BenCS Thanks for the reply.. quite a story.. It's not something we would want to do now you have explained your reasons. OVO have already agreed to pay for our meter box to be modified to accept a smart meter..

Problem is they (OVO) say we need a meter box extension but can't say where you get one 😂😂😂
Userlevel 6
We can't recommend where you purchase a meter box extension, @popeyeuk, but I'm sure there are local hardware stores where you'd be able to purchase one from.

Thanks!
Hi @Amy_OVO already tried.. they never heard of them .. My wife complained to OVO chief exec.. she received a call this morning and the gentleman has gone off to investigate . He admitted that your engineers (Lowri Beck) should never have removed our old meter..
Userlevel 6
Sorry to hear that's the case, @popeyeuk, we no longer use Lowri Beck.

I had a quick browse online for you and found this on the national grid website, it may be of some help!

Thanks!
Hi @Amy_OVO Thanks for your reply .. greatly appreciated.. Interestingly enough the gent my wife had contact with at OVO emailed her the very same thing ...

We should be able to get somewhere with this now ..

Thanks again

Steve
P.S I will update as we go along as it maybe of interest to others..😃
Userlevel 6
We'd love to hear what happens here, @popeyeuk, so please do update us when you can! It will be helpful for other users too! 🙂

 

Hi folks I am writing this after months of problems relating to Smart Gas meters and trying to fit one in a semi concealed meter box.

Back in 2017 OVO suggested it would be a good idea to upgrade to smart meters. A Lowri Beck engineer was dispatched and he removed our working gas meter and fitted a new smart gas meter. After he left we noticed the meter box lid was buckled and the noise from the meter was vibrating through the house.

Without boring you with the whole story...The smart meter was replaced with a new digital dumb meter.. (This engineer said "which clown tried to fit a smart meter in there")

The new dumb digital meter also failed with a blank screen after a few months ... This was then replaced with another dumb gas meter...

This latest one failed with a blank screen back in March.

Since then we can take no gas readings and have been left in limbo. 2 weeks ago my wife received an email from OVO asking us to contact a company called "Cadent" who would be able to provide a concealed gas box extension quotation which would give room for a smart meter.

We rang...The guy laughed a lot ... and said... We stopped doing those 2 years ago because it was too much hassle.

Latest advice from OVO is for us to find a builder to fit a concealed box extension which you can buy from a builders yard...I haven't found such a product anywhere yet..!!

So... sorry to drone on ... This is the abridged version … At the moment we cant read our dumb broken meter and have no idea how to upgrade the box so we can have a new meter. Apparently the dumb meters are no longer available.

Photo below is current dumb meter in box.(Digital Screen is Blank)

P.S. I see some people on this forum have had a SMETS 2 meter installed by OVO in a concealed box. Why can't we have that option ... It has never been offered..??

 

3e05b5ac-e4e0-4584-a99a-9f7bd141e266.jpg

 

 

Hi

Only just joined this forum so not sure if I am replying correctly. Have you had any luck with this? We have had a similer issues with out smart meter, having two installed, as they stopped working, and then a replacement digital meter which like yours stopped working. Ovo will not fit a new meter now and said the box needs to be moved or replaced. Our transporter SGN have quoted £1000 to do this!! 

 

Angry with Ovo that they pushed us into the smart meter in the first place and now seem to not be helping. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Hi there @popeyeuk and welcome.

Don’t worry about the formatting there, as long as the post is readable, that’s fine with us.

It sounds like you’ve really had a bit of a headache with this issue and I’m really sorry for all the trouble. It is indeed possible for a SMETS2 smart gas meter to be installed in a semi-concealed box, and I know @Transparent often has a lot of advice for members who need to get this kind of setup working. I will also notify @Tim_OVO about this as well.

It is a more complicated install though, especially if there’s not much space. From my understanding though, the newer SMETS2 smart gas meters tend to be smaller than the SMETS1 versions - so it might be easier to fit one. There definitely needs to be something done here.

I don’t think you should be expected to pay for this work, as it sounds like the damage was caused by Lowri Beck who were a sub-contractor for OVO back in the day. I can assure you that OVO has terminated that contract with Lowri Beck and no longer uses their services. In addition, the existing meter has failed, which means you qualify for a free Meter Exchange anyway.

Cadent is one of the main gas distributors in the UK and they’re capable of assisting with certain types of works. They’re independent of all the suppliers, but do get involved where needed.

So the puzzle to solve here will be finding out exactly what can be done. I’m really glad you asked here on the forum, as we’re volunteer led over here and the forum runs independently of the Support Team. However, we do have members of the support team who help out as well, so perhaps @Jess_OVO knows a thing or two which might help.

Please hang in there with us, we’ll definitely try to advise the best we can!

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Sorry, my fault!

The quote pyramid threw me off. Apologies for the ping.

@AL73 please see the advice in my previous reply. I think it applies in your case as well.

Hi

Thanks for message. I think our problem is slightly different as it seems to be the smart meters dfit the meter box but stop working after a while. I suspect it is due to the nature of the box being in the ground, which causes damp issues.

SGNs quote is, basically to put in new pipework and a new box, which would make sense if we needed to move the meter for an extension for example, but we just need a meter which works in the current box really.

I wish someone could just put an old fashioned, non digital meter back in. We had no problems with that.

Or do you know if the newer smart meters will definitely work in a semi concealed box.

Thanks 

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Thanks @AL73 .

I’m pretty confident a that certain types of SMETS2 smart meter will work better than others in your case. You can’t get the older non-smart meters anymore as they’ve all been discontinued. You’re entitled to as many free smart meter replacements as it takes to solve this issue. I’ve asked Transparent for some advice as well and alerted Tim/Jess, so we’ll try to follow up in the morning.

Your issue seems really strange though!

Thanks for understanding.

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

There’s a number of crossed-threads in the above tale of woe. Let me help by untangling them.

In 2017, only SMETS1 Gas meters were being supplied by OVO. They did fit within a semi-concealed enclosure, but it was tricky and almost impossible to view the integral screen.

When SMETS2 gas meters started to be installed by OVO they had just developed a “fitting kit” which resolved the problems. A steel collar (green arrow) pulled the meter to the back of the enclosure and two rigid steel pipes with complex bends (purple) allowed the input and exit pipes to line up.

The meter display could be read, although I usually put my smartphone in front and took an photo!

There was no size difference between the two versions of smart gas meters. They just used a different make of electronic unit which sits in front (red).

There is one major manufacturer of smart gas meters which uses a very different shape, and that’s Landis & Gyr:

L&G units are generally fitted by British Gas, so they’re very common. Personally I don’t like the inbuilt display. It’s tricky to read because the line-widths are so narrow.

Your non-Smart meter looks like it might be an L&G optical-measurement variety.

 

The fact that your gas meters are failing has nothing to do with them being positioned in a semi-concealed enclosure, or how damp it is. I’m not suggesting you try this, but I can’t actually think why such a meter would fail even if completely submerged in water!

Simply contact Customer Support and request that a replacement meter is fitted.

Userlevel 7

Great advice from @Transparent there about semi-concealed meter setups and smart meters. Bit of a confusion over the photo though, as that’s not your meter. Are you able to post a photo of yours? 

 

Sounds like you’ve had a bit of a frustrating time with it all! So to clarify, you’ve had two smart meters which have now been replaced with a non-smart meter? When you say your digital meter has stopped working, is the screen now blank? As @Blastoise186 mentions, if this is the case we will replace it but it might depend on whether it will fit in your current box. Sure @Transparent will be able to help assess this once we’ve seen your actual setup... 

 

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

Why do you think the photo from @AL73 is not his/her meter @Jess_OVO ?

Have you checked the Xoserve database to see what type has been registered? :wink:

The first photo (above, with coloured arrows) of the Uniflo gas meter in a semi-concealed box is on my site, and was the second (of three) SMETS2 gas meters I’ve had thus far.

So I’m absolutely certain that an OVO Installer could do an identical job for @AL73. The semi-concealed boxes are made to a standard pattern, as are the “bellows type” gas meters.

 

Incidentally, whenever I get the chance, I take photos of other interesting meter installations so I can refer to them when answering questions on the Forum. The photos of the Landis and Gyr meters in the lower graphic I’ve just posted are from that library.

Hi

Attached is, a photo of my meter. It is a non smart meter with a digital display which is now completely blank.

If we could get a new smart meter fitted then that would be great.

Thanks

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Thanks @AL73 !

That gas meter is just a bog standard Landis+Gyr G130, nothing special about it at all. But I totally agree with @Transparent as well about the displays on L+G meters. I’ve pretty much never seen any L+G electric or gas meter with a display that you can actually read easily without the help of a microscope.

By the looks of things, at first glance I’m going to say yes, a SMETS2 UniFlo gas meter should fit in that box, provided it’s installed using OVO’s special fitting kit. But let’s wait for a second opinion first. :blush:

Userlevel 7

Agree with @Blastoise186 on this one @AL73, from the photos you’ve added it certainly looks like we should be able to get an S2 meter fitted there using the fitting collar @Transparent described above. 

 

In order to get a meter replacement arranged I’d advise giving the Support team a call and explaining that your current gas meter is faulty (with an unreadable screen). They will be able to advise on whether a dual meter replacement is needed to ensure the meters are compatible with each other if you already have an electricity smart meter. Hope this helps. :slight_smile:

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

And @AL73 - if you fill out your Forum Profile page, then we won’t be having to guess whether you do or don’t have an electricity Smart Meter.

Thanks :slight_smile:

Hi,

I am having similar issues about getting a smart meter fitted and moved to a semi-concealed box at the same time. However, I am a bit confused by the comments about reading the display on smart meters. I don’t have a smart meter yet, but I thought the whole point about them being ‘smart’ was that you could access the read outs remotely, via a wireless display elsewhere in your house. Is this not the case?

Thanks

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Hey there @Nowhere Man !

You are indeed correct. Once a Smart Gas Meter has been installed and is sending in readings as expected, the display on the meter itself becomes somewhat redundant for the most part, provided you’re not on any Pay-As-You-Go/Prepayment tariffs. For the most part, you’d then use the In-Home Display to check the current readings and MyOVO to see all the historical data. You can place the IHD almost anywhere as long as it’s in range of the meters and is getting a signal from them. However, the built-in display is never completely useless by any means.

It has to remain visible and operational for a few purposes, for which this is a few examples:

  • Diagnostics/Troubleshooting in case of any faults
  • Manual UTRN Top-Ups (for Prepayment/Pay-As-You-Go only)
  • Balance checks if the IHD isn’t working (for Prepayment/Pay-As-You-Go only)
  • Meter readings - mainly for when the meter reader comes round (which still has to happen at least once a year) or for when the IHD isn’t working
  • Commissioning/Installation/Engineering purposes - the display needs to be visible for the engineer to be able to install the meter

You won’t need to worry about most of these too much and OVO have special fitting kits that will help with semi-concealed installs. You just need to let OVO know about your semi-concealed gas meter when you book the appointment and the engineer will bring one of those kits along.

I hope this helps, but feel free to let me know if you have any other questions. :)

Userlevel 7

Hi @Nowhere Man and Welcome to the OVO online community!

 

Our community volunteer has already given some really detailed info as to why it’s important that you can still read the screen on your smart meter.

That being said, having a semi-concealed gas meter shouldn’t prevent a smart meter installation. If you’re an OVO member you can check the appointments we’ve got available and book an appointment here. We’ll also offer you an In-Home Display which you can use to track your usage without having to check the meter readings on the meter itself.

 

Hope this helps - keep us updated with how you get on! :slight_smile:

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