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THTC meter - Removal Request

  • 10 January 2024
  • 25 replies
  • 605 views

Hi folks,

 

I am trying to have a redundant THTC meter removed from my house and OVO seem to be refusing to do this. Can anyone help explain what I should do? Some background info below:

 

We moved to a property in March last year in the west of Scotland. The property has two meters with a THTC setup running storage heaters. We are getting the storage heaters removed in February and an air source heat pump installed. 

 

Once this work has been carried out there will be nothing running from the RadioTelemeter (THTC) meter.

 

I have contacted OVO by phone yesterday to request that this meter be removed once it is no longer in use. The person I spoke with said that OVO would not do this because doing so would stop the other (ordinary) meter working. They weren’t able to explain why this would be the case. After some time on the phone I was told that if I emailed OVO with evidence that the THTC meter would not powering anything then they could arrange for it to be removed. This seemed like a positive outcome although it was not clear why we were initially told in the call that removal wasn’t possible.

 

I sent an email last night attaching the quotes from our electrician and heating engineer for removal of storage heaters and replacement with heat pump etc. I got a positive response this morning:

I am Stephen from account management at OVO energy after reading your email we can go ahead and do that for you but i am going to give you extra information so to proceed with this job there is a charge due to the nature of it I would like to clarify that your okay with that and if you are i can go ahead and get you a price and and book the job for you.

 

Again this seemed positive and I asked Stephen to go ahead and give us a cost. I then had response email from Nahim:

Apologies for the confusion form what Stephan said but as of right now, appointments for removing THTC meters aren't available. We appreciate you gave us confirmation the property's heating system is no longer dependant.

However we are working on a new meter type that'll basically replace the current two meters and you'll get one meter. The meter will reveal at Spring and you'll get an email when your free meter upgrade is ready

 

As far as I understand it the ‘new meter type’ mentioned has been in development for years and has been repeatedly delayed. I have little to no confidence that it will arrive in spring as promised above. It isn’t clear why we should be expected to wait for this.

 

Ontop of that our experience from speaking to neighbours and friends locally is that smart meters are useless in this (rural) area since they are not able to connect to a radio mast for communication. Any smart meters fitted simply operate as ‘dumb’ meters in this area.

 

Can anyone give us some hope that it is possible to get the redundant THTC meter removed as we have requested? Is there any technical reason why this wouldn’t be possible?

 

Failing that at least any good reason why we should have to wait for the new meter to be developed and rolled out? It seems in this instance that whilst waiting we’d have headaches if we wanted to switch supplier etc because we’d have a strange setup with a redundant meter and two MPAN numbers associated with the property. This could go on indefinitely since the new meters are not yet launched.

 

Below is a photograph of our current setup incase this is useful:

 

 

We’d really appreciate any help on this!

 

Thanks

 

 

 

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Best answer by Jeffus 11 January 2024, 10:40

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Userlevel 7
Badge +1

Hi @nils_aksnes ,

I think your best bet is to wait for the free option to be ready, otherwise you’ll have an absolute mess to deal with - and it won’t just be that £160 fee you’d have to pay either.

I’ve seen it make progress recently - the biggest delay was because nobody could agree how to do it, which has been… Resolved...

Hi @Blastoise186 

Thanks for your response. Could you explain why we would have ‘an absolute mess’? Is this something unique to our setup in the photograph or because we have the misfortune to have a THTC setup?

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

Hi @nils_aksnes 

The situation is certainly frustrating as the industry has known about the issue for years and the deadline has been moved before. It is an industry wide failure.

Even though the "reveal" may be in Spring, I suspect it will be a long time before all the meters are actually migrated.

In the latest annual stats for smart meter installations, OVO received the second highest fine from OFGEM having missed their target. 

So I think customers have to be realistic about when their actual installations will be changed.

If you feel really strongly you could put in an official complaint to see if they will remove the meter, particularly given the moving deadlines and conflicting information you have been given via official ovo channels.

https://www.ovoenergy.com/feedback

Then after 8 weeks or a deadlock letter if the meter hasn't been swapped you can ask the Energy Ombudsman to help

https://www.energyombudsman.org/

Alternatively as @Blastoise186 says wait until OVO issue more information on a widescale migration.

It is certainly true that some households have switched from storage heaters in to Heat pumps in Scotland and had THTC meters removed and the Ombudsman has ordered the supplier to pay compensation due to issues with the meter switch process. This is just one of many examples.

https://www.homeenergyscotland.org/switching-restricted-thtc-single-meter-electric/

There are lots of customers in Scotland that have had THTC meters swapped in the past.

In the example above the wiring was done by the suppliers meter engineer and the meter replaced for free, but obviously every case can be slightly different. The example mentions compensation. Goodwill compensation payments awarded by the Ombudsman are typically up to a few hundred pounds, in addition to any loss in not being able to switch to an appropriate tariff in a timely manner as highlighted in the example. 

Obviously this is just one example and there may be complications in your setup or area of the country.

You could try speaking to Home Energy Scotland for advice as the example was published on their website.

You can also post a review on Trustpilot if you like

https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/www.ovoenergy.com

Out of curiosity have you found anyone locally that have had their THTC meters removed in the past?

Userlevel 7
Badge +1

Mostly down to the wiring really - you’d have to get a private electrician in to rewire anything that’s on the THTC meter, and that probably won’t come cheap.

If you were to do the free option, the meter could simply be reconfigured remotely later to turn THTC mode off and otherwise leave everything as-is.

@Jeffus Thank you for your response.

Unfortunately I’ve had no further response from OVO for over a week now to my request to remove our redundant radio meter and switch us to a single meter/single MPAN number setup. So I will now make an official complaint. 

Userlevel 7

Hey @nils_aksnes,

 

I can understand your frustration, not many suppliers deal with THTC set ups. OVO are working on a smart meter for THTC but there is no set date in which this will become widely accessible. 

 

There is a team that deal with complex meter set ups. I’d advise contacting the support team and seeing if your situation can be investigated more thoroughly by someone on the metering team.

 

If they’re unable to resolve this issue, there is the option of raising a complaint. You can find out more about our complaint procedure online. 

Userlevel 1

We had a THTC meter and a regular meter removed in October. They were replaced with one single, perfectly normal smart meter. The entire process took less than an hour.

 

As we’re also in rural Scotland, we were told it was unlikely the new meter would work as a smart meter and that it would therefore need to work in “dumb mode”. Lo and behold, when the whole shebang was installed, it connected and worked in smart mode. Haven’t had any trouble with it.

 

Didn’t pay a penny for the installation, either, in case that’s helpful information for you.

 

 Best of luck…

Userlevel 7

That’s really helpful advice @JeanneL, I’m glad you had a positive experience. 

 

Did you have to prove with an engineer report that one of the supplies was no longer powering anything in the home? Did you have to pay for the removal? 

We had a THTC meter and a regular meter removed in October. They were replaced with one single, perfectly normal smart meter. The entire process took less than an hour.

 

As we’re also in rural Scotland, we were told it was unlikely the new meter would work as a smart meter and that it would therefore need to work in “dumb mode”. Lo and behold, when the whole shebang was installed, it connected and worked in smart mode. Haven’t had any trouble with it.

 

Didn’t pay a penny for the installation, either, in case that’s helpful information for you.

 

 Best of luck…

That’s encouraging news @JeanneL 

Can you advise how you went about this,as I’m just off the phone to customer support who tell me I can’t replace my THTC meter with a smart meter and if it were possible, my electricity supply might stop!!!

About 16 months ago, I asked OVO/SSE what it would take to get a Smart Meter installed. They advised then that a smart Meter was “imminent”.

Yesterday, after chasing, I received the following reply...

We are currently working on our systems to recognise a Smart Meter exchange with your current THTC setup. We also want to make sure that when the smart meters are installed this does not affect our customers heating and hot water systems, be they wet central heating (gas, oil, etc.) or electric central heating (air source heat pump, storage heaters etc.)

The second difficulty, regarding hardware issues are unfortunately a bit more complex. As I explained there are currently no Smart Meters in production that will be able to function the same as your current THTC metering setup, meaning that we would be required to support the range of heating options described above as well as retain the flexibility of the amount of time you have to store heat and hot water”.

From the above, it doesn’t look like a Smart Meter that works with THTC is coming any time soon. The gentleman I spoke to was very helpful and suggested it may “take some time”.

I’ve followed up today asking whether an alternative option of …

1. replacing all my overnight storage heaters with regular electric radiators
2. consolidating the connections currently wired into the 2 consumer units into a single consumer unit and
3. moving to a different (non-THTC) tariff

… would allow for a Smart Meter to be installed.

I presume the answer is “Yes”? It seems that some on this forum may have gone down that route.
 

It’s a hugely unnecessary and convoluted route.

I’ve also written to the Scottish Government’s “Cabinet Minister for Net Zero” 
Màiri McAllan CabSecTNZJT@gov.scot to alert them to the higher costs OVO/SSE consumers are having to bear due to being prevented from moving to smarter time-of-day tariffs and being locked out from incorporating Home Batteries, Solar PV into their energy mix.

Userlevel 7

Hey @monster9,

 

I’m really sorry for the stressful situation you’re in,

 

Unfortunately I don’t have any advice further to what the support team have advised. When we do get any updates we’ll update topics about THTC on the Forum. Hopefully JeanneL has some helpful advice. 

 

There is always the option to raise a complaint

Hey @Emmanuelle_OVO 

 

If I do the following, can I get a smart meter?

1. Replace all my overnight storage heaters with regular electric radiators
2. Consolidate the connections currently wired into the 2 consumer units into a single consumer unit and
3. Move to a different (non-THTC) tariff

Would that allow for a Smart Meter to be installed?

Userlevel 5

Hey @monster9 

 

I’ve reached out to our team to ensure these would be the next best steps for you to take in order to have a smart meter fitted.

 

They’d like to take a look and let you know for sure. I’ve also sent you a private message so we can hopefully get a little more information so the team can help confirm this. You’ll be able to see any private messages here: https://forum.ovoenergy.com/inbox/overview.

Thanks @Abby_OVO 

I’ll respond to you private message with the info you’ve asked for.

Regards
Colin

Hey @Abby_OVO 

Information supplied as requested.
No response from the OVO team.

😒

Can you advise when I can expect the response promised?

 

 

Hey @monster9 

 

I’ve reached out to our team to ensure these would be the next best steps for you to take in order to have a smart meter fitted.

 

They’d like to take a look and let you know for sure. I’ve also sent you a private message so we can hopefully get a little more information so the team can help confirm this. You’ll be able to see any private messages here: https://forum.ovoenergy.com/inbox/overview.

 

Userlevel 1

We had a THTC meter and a regular meter removed in October. They were replaced with one single, perfectly normal smart meter. The entire process took less than an hour.

 

As we’re also in rural Scotland, we were told it was unlikely the new meter would work as a smart meter and that it would therefore need to work in “dumb mode”. Lo and behold, when the whole shebang was installed, it connected and worked in smart mode. Haven’t had any trouble with it.

 

Didn’t pay a penny for the installation, either, in case that’s helpful information for you.

 

 Best of luck…

That’s encouraging news @JeanneL 

Can you advise how you went about this,as I’m just off the phone to customer support who tell me I can’t replace my THTC meter with a smart meter and if it were possible, my electricity supply might stop!!!

I went through two years of back-and-forth, being shunted from one customer adviser to another and repeatedly booked in for meter exchanges that never happened. Finally I made an official complaint. After that I spoke to several more people at OVO and waited about three months for things to get sorted out.

 

 Lo and behind, no special wiring needed; no rewiring etc at all. The man who came to take both meters out and replace them with a smart meter simply said that many of his colleagues weren’t experienced with that kind of meter exchange — it’s a Highlands and Islands thing, apparently. 
 

Anyway, he spent less than an hour getting everything sorted. That was that. The two+ years of faffing about beforehand were extremely draining, though.

Userlevel 7

Hey @monster9,

 

I’ll get Forum_Support to reach out, sorry you haven’t had a response yet. 

Userlevel 1

We are in exactly the same situation..... paying extortionate rates for our electricity, giving away electricity from our solar panels for nothing, unable to change supplier, unable to get a smart meter, refusal from OVO to help in any way.  We are in the process of putting in an official complaint and hope that may make a difference.....🤞

Userlevel 7
Badge +1

I’m afraid that probably won’t speed up migrating THTC to Smart Meters. This is VERY complicated stuff and OVO needs to be absolutely certain that it’s dialled in correctly before it can even be rolled out to a single customer to field test.

We as the Forum Volunteers in collaboration with the Forum Moderators will keep everyone here updated when we know more.

Userlevel 1

So why did JeanneL manage to get this done in an hour? There's obviously someone, who is able to do this easily, somewhere in rural Scotland. Can this guy not tell the rest of the engineers how to do it? We are fed up of being stuck with OVO and the endless excuses about how difficult this is. We just want a single ordinary smart meter.

Userlevel 7
Badge +1

An oracle I may be, a psychic I am not.

We have already given our best available advice. You can't just arbitrarily go from THTC to standard Smart Meter.

An oracle I may be, a psychic I am not.

We have already given our best available advice. You can't just arbitrarily go from THTC to standard Smart Meter.



 

I’m curious if it will be possible to go from THTC to one smart meter on Economy 7, or would some alteration in wiring need done?  I think Economy 7 would actually be sufficient for me.

Userlevel 7
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It’s not that simple I’m afraid - and not just because you’re on OVO. I’d be giving the same advice no matter who you were with.

If you’re in a Load Managed Area - something that the DNO dictates rather than the Supplier - then you can’t come off of THTC at all unless you’re willing to do away with ALL Storage Heaters and Immersion Heaters. Your DNO will be able to tell you if you’re in one - simply ask them and they can check. In this situation, you can only get a Smart Meter once the right type is ready to go. While you can leave OVO and attempt to switch to another supplier, I cannot give you a 100% guarantee that your preferred supplier will be able to support your setup. There is a risk that they’ll choke on it and bounce your supply back to over OVO, thus failing the switch process. Additionally, even with a Smart Meter, you’d have to remain on THTC and may find your supplier options limited to exclusively those capable of doing Smart Meter based THTC.

For your information, AFAIK Octopus is not recommended for THTC - they don’t have very good support for it. You’ll need to do your own research other than that as I can’t keep track of every supplier 24/7/365.

If you are NOT in a Load Managed Area, migrating to Economy 7 may be an option. You will almost certainly have to do some potentially extensive re-wiring at your own cost - neither the DNO nor your Supplier will be liable for this - and would have to renegotiate your Tariff as well as having the meter swapped out. The only path in this situation is to Smart Meters however, as there will be no upgrade/migration path that involves staying on Traditional Meters. You might then be able to change to any Supplier that offers E7, but please don’t switch immediately as you’d need to wait for ECOES to be updated first, which can take several weeks.

@Blastoise186 

So, if I understand this correctly... if I replace my storage heaters with regular electric heaters, and am prepared to move to a non-THTC (and non-E7) tariff, I can get a “regular” Smart Meter?

Userlevel 7
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Correct - as long as you’re eligible to get one and pass the other criteria. You’d need to do these changes over the phone or via Live Chat though as the self-service tooling won’t pick up on it automatically.

However, please discuss with your DNO first to make sure there are no other restrictions that may snag you.

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