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Why does my usage graph show I used 100,000 kwh in January?


Something seems to wrong with the usage graphs. I submit my meter readings manually every month. The readings stored on the system are correct but the usage graph for January is wildly inaccurate.

Is this a known problem?
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Best answer by Darran_OVO 3 April 2018, 13:01

Hi all

Just to update this is something we are aware of and our Tech team are trying to resolve.

Please continue to submit meter readings if you need to, and keep a check on your account.

Thanks

Darran
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Hi @arubin,

Wow! That's impressive. I'd wondered where OVO's profits were coming from :P

So... is this electricity or gas we're discussing? Or both?

Have you had a bill/statement issued since January?
Does it match the "real" figures from your manual readings?
I have a similar issue - Electricity usage graph for Feb shows 670,000 kWh. At the bottom it helpfully tells me my daily electricity costs were £343.

Transparent - these figures don't bear any resemblance to reality. In my case (where the alleged usage is much lower than Arubin's) it corresponds to usage of 1 megawatt for an entire month. This is equivalent to ~1,000 bar heaters being on continuously, ~1% of the output of a small nuclear reactor, or the electricity consumption of 30 large houses where the meter has been bypassed for illegally growing cannabis. This much energy can't be used by a single house because the supply fuse would blow.

OVO have added a bizarre statement under the graph (potentially in response this issue being flagged a while ago): "We’re aware of some occasional inaccuracies with your energy use graph. For the most accurate information, look at your statement or book a free smart meter installation." Unfortunately, instead of fixing the bug they are using it as an excuse to plug their smart meters.

The real explanation for the problem appears to be that their graph software doesn't cope with someone entering a lower meter reading than a previous erroneously high one. Thankfully their billing software was written more carefully. However, the website software appears to assume that if a subsequent number is lower than the previous one then you must have used up so much electricity that your meter has gone all the way up to 99999 and then reset to 0 before hitting the lower number.

One would hope that they have taken more care with the smart meter software. However, I see so many reports from friends on social media about similar ridiculous smart meter readings that I don't hold out much hope.
> The real explanation for the problem appears to be that their graph software doesn't cope
> with someone entering a lower meter reading than a previous erroneously high one.

Not the case with me. The figures on the statement are correct and none is lower than the previous one. It is just that the graph software is buggy.
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Ah, OK. So the errors could occur for either electricity or gas.

I agree that the problem seems to be errors in the algorithms used to create the usage graphs. The only reason the errors wouldn't show up if the meter readings were delivered to OVO from a Smart Meter is because there are so many taken during the course of the month that it provides a sort of built-in sanity check.

As far as I can see, there must be (at least) three different algorithms used by OVO
  • to create the bills/statements
  • to forecast what our Direct Debits should be
  • to generate the usage graphs

And I'm surmising that these are decreasing order of accuracy.

Although all three are derived from the same meter readings, I would suggest that the algorithms used to calculate bills are audited and open to inspection by Ofgem if requested. The DD Forecasts will have margins of error built in. And the maths behind the usage graphs are given a much lower level of priority.

I think much of this will have to change with the advent of SMETS2 meters at the end of 2018, so I'd hope OVO are busy recruiting some dynamic mathematical geniuses to create some self-learning algorithms that will automatically alert them if there are significant deviations from the expected usage.
I doubt this is anything to do with algorithms. They have the monthly figure reading and merely need to convert this into a histogram. There is a small complication which might be introduced because the day the reading is taken varies but this is simple arithmetic.
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I wish it were that simple.

Firstly I'd far rather OVO put the majority of their effort into the software algorithms to create accurate bills.... which they do appear to be doing. The usage histograms must remain a lower priority.

Secondly, I think the algorithms are a good deal more complex than you might believe. They can't have one nice tidy piece of arithmetic to handle those of us who reliably send in accurate readings at scheduled monthly intervals, and a different method for coping with those who send in erroneous meter readings at irregular intervals.

Ideally OVO would use intelligent self-learning algorithms which can track the period and accuracy of readings we send them, applying filters to gradually tweek each customer's histograms, and lowering the margins of error as they built up a pattern of how well the readings matched the forecasts. But that's expensive technology.

OVO is growing rapidly, and I'd gladly suffer a time of iffy histograms if I knew their best mathematicians were busy on the billing system.
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Hey @arubin, @Transparent, @Customer,

I've only seen this issue appear when there's been "negative consumption" on a bill, as you described @arubin. If that's not the case for you, I'd advise dropping us a message on Facebook or Twitter, so we can feed this back to our Tech team and get them to take a look into it.

Cheers,
Nancy
I emailed and received a bland reply and have posted here. I am not inclined to take this to social media as well.
@Nancy_OVO Please can you confirm that you will at least fix the meter reading wrap-around bug in your MyOVO website and app software at the next opportunity. Its a trivial thing to do (when you test to see if the new reading is less than the previous one you only augment the new reading by the full range of the meter if the difference exceeds a threshold corresponding to the maximum amount of electricity that could have been used in the intervening period). Unfortunately its not a question of priorities as suggested above. You have a legal duty to correct misleading personal data you hold / process. I am sure you will be keen to sort this out and improve your customer experience but if for any reason you disagree please let me know promptly so that I can make a formal complaint to the ICO / ombudsman. Thanks.
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Hi @Customer,

If you want to communicate more directly with the software team maintaining the App, they have thread running here where you can post feedback directly.
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Hi all

Just to update this is something we are aware of and our Tech team are trying to resolve.

Please continue to submit meter readings if you need to, and keep a check on your account.

Thanks

Darran
The usage graphs for our account show ridiculously high usage for February 2018 for both gas and electricity. They bear no relation to the readings we gave.

I realise that the most important thing is that the readings are accurate on the bill. But there's little point in having graphs if the information is so wildly inaccurate. Is this a known issue?
I know this is an old thread, but our graphs are hugely out too. Our February readings were (very) slightly higher than our January ones, but I've just spotted that the usage shown on the graph is around three times as much as January for gas and twice as much for electricity.

I've posted a new topic about this, and hope it gets sorted out. The graphs are great in principle, but as I said in my own post, there's not much point having them if they're going to bear no relation at all to the readings.
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Well there's definitely recent programming work been done on the algorithms that create usage feedback, @Jules50.

I've only had an electricity usage histogram available for the previous 3 months, but in the last week, my gas-usage is now operating again:


This looks accurate to me, and matches the readings I've submitted each month. March was freezing cold, and in June-July, our gas was only being used for cooking because we have a new solar-thermal panel supplying all domestic hot water.

I don't know if you've got a Smart Meter or not (I haven't), but feel free to post a screenshot of any graph you're querying, and we might be able to use our combined brain-power to decipher what's been happening.
Thanks @Transparent. It's useful to know that work's been done recently on the algorithms. I'd taken into account all the variables in weather and usage. But as I say, our graph definitely doesn't - anywhere near - match the readings we've given, although our bills do. We don't have a smart meter either (and don't want one!) We've been with Ovo for a few years now, and haven't had this problem before.
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Hey @Jules50 - I've moved your original post "Wildly inaccurate usage graphs" onto this topic too so the conversation is all in one place.

It sounds like something happened in February to trigger this, like a reading was given for the first time in a while. If you'd used more than we estimated in the colder months, this may have caused a catch up bill. This might mean it looks like you've been charged an awful lot in one month, when actually you may have had pleanty of credit in your account to cover this.

Drop the team a message on Facebook if you'd like them to look into it more closely.
Thanks@Nancy-OVO, but I give a reading on time, without fail, every month. And as I said in my original message (sorry if it was unclear in some way) the bills DO match the readings we've sent.

I've had an email back from a member of Ovo staff who's confirmed what I already knew -that the bar chart is definitely incorrect. It's now with your technical team. I hope they manage to sort it out.
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Thanks for updating us @Jules50. Good to know there's nothing wrong with your billing, that's the most important thing. Do keep us posted on the Tech team's progress with this.
Hi,
I noticed that my electricity usage suddenly went from an average of around 400kWh per month to 75375 kWh in March (this figure is my actual meter reading not the amount used in March). I assume this is an error but wondered how to get it fixed as it's throwing off my calculations. Any help would be appreciated.
Cheers
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Hey @totty815,

I've moved your post over here. I think some of the information other users have posted might be helpful!

Cheers

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