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A smart meter couldn't be installed because of an earth cable - why?


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Hi, The OVO engineer has refused to install the gas smart meter (there is currently a BG one in situe but the OVO meter is considerably larger. Apparently the "Earth Ground Cable" is preventing the meter being "raised" to install the OVO smart meter in place of the BG one.

Whilst its frustrating that there was no standardisation of the sizes *at the very least*, I have just spoken to an electrician who I used to meet at my networking group and he thought the installer must have been a "wet behind the ears type who didn't want to bother". I have to say I was very surprised that a qualified engineer wouldn't do something as basic as this as part of the installation as it looks like its a simple matter of unscrewing the cable connection and moving it to the back of the pipe.

I've attached pictures - could you tell me what needs doing so that the "fully qualified" engineer can come back and finish the job.



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Best answer by Eva_OVO 14 June 2018, 12:24

Thanks for posting, @Geo

Although the engineers are fully qualified, they’re not insured to move the earth cable. The earth cable is essentially part of your personal electrics, so you’d need to contact an electrician to move it. I’ve spoken with the experts about this and if the electrician can move the cable the maximum amount away, our engineers will be able to exchange the meter.

Cheers,
Eva

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Okay this is interesting - I've just read a few threads on the forum where Lowri Beck engineers refused to do work where other engineers have completed it. As you've recently changed engineers (according to Tim, quoted below). please can I arrange a new visit to sort this out - its such a simple issue and I'd rather have the smart meter installed as promised instead of having the crawl to the back of the under stair cupboard every month. (The original install was attempted in Oct17 so was definitely attempted by LB rather than your new suppliers).

Tim_OVO wrote:

We actually no longer use Lowri Beck to fit our smart meters. We use the Meter Operator 'Siemens' instead.


https://forum.ovoenergy.com/smart-meter-booking-and-installations-66/bad-experience-getting-a-smart-meter-why-do-energy-companies-use-lowri-beck-1760
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Thanks for posting, @Geo

Although the engineers are fully qualified, they’re not insured to move the earth cable. The earth cable is essentially part of your personal electrics, so you’d need to contact an electrician to move it. I’ve spoken with the experts about this and if the electrician can move the cable the maximum amount away, our engineers will be able to exchange the meter.

Cheers,
Eva
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Hi Eva,

Amazing! I can only assume this is a bit of regulatory politics gone mad then. As it forms part of 95% of all gas meters it makes absolutely no sense that they aren't insured to move them! Its like me not being insured to fill my car with petrol but okay to drive it! I'd actually say that a fully qualified but under insured engineer is probably more of a problem than you allude to.

Any way I'm grateful for a potential solution to this - if I arranged for the lead to be unscrewed and reattached as proposed in this image would your experts agree that would be acceptable for the engineer?



Regards.
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@Geo, I'm more than a little surprised at what I read here.

Let me first give a general overview of the Regulations:-

An earthing wire (actually called equipotential bonding) should be connected to the (metal) gas pipe within 600mm of the point where it enters the building. In almost all circumstances this will be 10sq.mm (x-sectional area of copper).

I actually posted a photo of my gas meter on the Forum earlier this week for another reason. Let me re-post here so you can see:


In my case you will notice that the earth-bond is outside the house. This was my choice because, on the other side of the wall, the copper pipe passes below an internal floor, and would therefore be difficult to check.

A few months ago I visited a recently-purchased house in Surrey where the previous owner had Smart Meters fitted just a year previously. To my astonishment, the Installer had found no earth connection from the Electricity Consumer Unit ("fuse box") to a ground stake, so he had installed one himself.... 10m of fresh cable and a copper earth-stake by the front porch.

This was totally wrong. He had failed to understand the principles of PME, whereby the earth is many UK locations is provided by the Distributed Network Operator (DNO) via the cable connecting houses to the sub-station. The Surrey house was indeed a PME site. An electrician was called; the DNO consulted, and the new earth cabling/stake removed again!

So, returning to your particular case, where the gas meter is positioned within the dwelling, the chances of the Smart Meter Installer finding an earth connection extremely close to the meter location is very high. That's almost certainly going to be the point which best complies with the regulations.

So I'm stunned to read @Eva_OVO's comment that OVO's engineers aren't insured to move an earth cable. I actually met Eva at OVO just yesterday (she's a very welcome new asset to the Moderator Team).

The Installer in Surrey clearly believed that he was required to fit an entire new earth and stake as part of his work. Although in that case his reasoning was erroneous, it still shows a wide discrepancy of (mis-)understanding between two Installers on the same issue!

So if an OVO Installer's not insured, are we to believe that he will leave site with the original gas meter still present, only to return again once an electrician has relocated the earth-bonding clamp?!

That would be an extraordinary waste of time/effort.

Suppose the Installer finds the earth-bond on the incomer side of the meter. Once he/she has replaced it with a new Smart Meter, how could it be checked that the earth resistance is still sufficiently low? Does an OVO Installer then do a continuity test?

If not, then it's possible that the gunk used to seal the new gas meter connections will mean that there is now inadequate continuity through the meter to the appliances within the house.

@Eva_OVO, since I now know where you sit, can you have a word with one of the guys behind you and re-check this please?

I would have expected to find that all Installation Engineers are required to verify the earth-bonding system after fitting a Smart Meter, and to adjust it if necessary.

As I'm a self-builder (with a basic understanding of Regulations) would a suitably qualified Forum Member like to comment here please?

Are any electricians or Gas-Safe engineers reading this?
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You’re absolutely right, @Transparent, I do sit in front of the experts - and I’ve double checked this with them.

Our engineers are solely meter operators. So they’re specifically trained and qualified to come to a property, isolate the supply, exchange the meter and then reconnect the supply. Anything before and after the meter and in this case the earth wire, we’re not responsible for.

The engineers aren’t qualified electricians, so although they could remove the earth wire they wouldn’t be able to put it back on and this could make it unsafe.

The engineer may have the knowledge to remove the earth wire but they’re not certified to do so.

Hope this clears things up a little.
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Thanks, @Eva_OVO. Yes, it's clear now what OVO's position is with regards to Earth Continuity Bonding.

However, even as a non-professional self-builder, I still think there's a safety problem here. If the installation work does basic stuff like checking for no gas-leaks, but doesn't include any verification that pre-existing earth-bonding remains compliant, then the house could be left in a worse state than before.

Moreover, the house-owner would be unaware that the meter upgrade has left gas appliances inadequately earthed. No electrician would be summoned to check this.

I'd really like to hear what some qualified engineers have to say. Is @PeterR1947 around?
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Okay @Eva_OVO I understand you've trained your engineers in a subset of the skills regarding the installation only of the meters. That's fine. Could you kindly confirm if I have the wire moved as per the photo if this would be acceptable with your experts and that the engineer could complete the job.

Thanks.

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It seems crazy to me that these guys are trained to disconnect a meter from a 250V supply but aren't allowed to touch the earth bonding; all three connections are vital to a safe electrical system. This smacks of covering my backside.

In the case in question, for the sake of undoing and moving a pipe clamp, which is hardly rocket science, a second visit and the resources to make that happen would have been avoided -Crazy!
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Eva_OVO wrote:


Our engineers are solely meter operators. So they’re specifically trained and qualified to come to a property, isolate the supply, exchange the meter and then reconnect the supply. Anything before and after the meter and in this case the earth wire, we’re not responsible for.

The engineers aren’t qualified electricians, so although they could remove the earth wire they wouldn’t be able to put it back on and this could make it unsafe.

The engineer may have the knowledge to remove the earth wire but they’re not certified to do so.



@Eva_OVO Whilst I understand what you're trying to say your argument is somewhat broken by the fact that they *also* fit the electricity meters at the same time which makes the idea that they aren't qualified electricians sound a little strange ;)

As I say it sounds like a bit of regulatory politics gone mad. If the engineer had just moved the wire in the first instance you wouldn't be having to deal with this, the telephone "hot line" wouldn't be having to deal with it, the "experts" wouldn't be having to deal with it and the engineers wouldn't be making two separate visits to sort it.

All that said that's what has happened so please can you confirm that my solution above is acceptable - I'd like to get this sorted asap.

Thanks.
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Hi @Geo,

You're coming through LOUD and CLEAR !!

I think there's a number of things fundamentally wrong with what these Meter Installation Engineers are and are not permitted to do. And I'm pretty sure the limitations are different between companies too.

May I please comment on your specific installation:-

1. I don't know from where your gas incomer pipe arrives in the photos you've supplied. If the wall to the right of the gas meter is not an external wall, then I deduce that the earth bonding clamp is already more than 600mm from the entry point into the building, and therefore doesn't technically comply with the regs.

Moving it further along the output pipe from the meter would make no difference... and it still wouldn't comply.

However, the conductivity of a 22mm copper pipe is excellent, and personally I doubt that this would be regarded as anything more than the lowest level of "fail". In safety terms it would almost certainly still be effective, which is the whole point.


2. If the Meter Installer is going to extend the output pipe of the meter higher in order to accommodate the larger OVO Smart Meter (made by Secure), then I assume he's going to cut the existing pipe and solder on a new connector.

If I was doing this, I would most certainly do the hot soldering work first, and only re-attach an earthing clamp after the new pipe was cold and checked for leaks in the fresh joint.

There are two reasons for not soldering close to an earth-bond in the location indicated by your arrow:
  • The heat could melt the insulation of the earth wires (minor issue)
  • The expansion and contraction of the pipe would loosen the grip of the earth-clamp on the pipe

This latter point is a safety issue. There's no point having a qualified electrician move the clamp and test it for continuity if the subsequent meter installation then compromises the very connection that's just been passed as acceptable!


3. So - what would I do in your situation...?

I'd instruct the OVO Meter Installer to completely disconnect the earth clamp and move the earth-bonding cables away from where he will solder. (Or I'd do it myself!)

I'd then book the electrician to attend site after the meter installation is completed so that the safety earth can be properly attached onto the cold pipe and tested.


In these matters, common sense should be applied in generous quantities :)
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Thanks @Transparent much appreciated. @Eva_OVO could your experts take a look at my suggestion below?

The wall to the right of the gas meter is indeed an external wall. Looking at the metal bracket it has a "higher" set of screw holes which means I think the horizontal plate on the front can be unscrewed and moved higher up to compensate for the larger smart meter. This would move the "cone" and earth bond pipes upwards as well (actually not requiring the move of the bond itself as the whole is one unit). The pipe along the wall (which has been partially painted white by the previous owner) couldbe easily repositioned so that it rises further upwards to follow the new position of the horizontal plate.

If this is possible then the new meter can be installed without disconnecting the earth bond and by simply moving the horizontal late upwards and adjusting the "white pipe" to suit.

In the (hopefully avoidable) event that there is a need to cut and solder then I'd remove the bond myself and then arrange for an electrician to reattach and test.

Thanks.


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Good suggestions @Geo.

OVO should reject what you write however, but you are to be commended for trying to find positive solutions rather than lambasting the company!

Let me first give a name to the cone-shaped bit: it's the Regulator. It takes the variable pressure of the gas supply to your house and regulates it to a steady pressure, suitable for feeding to the household appliances.

Now let's turn to that horizontal (output) pipe from the meter:

If it really can be "manipulated higher" then it isn't adequately clipped to the wall behind it!

A gas pipe shouldn't be self-supporting. There's no fixed rule on this, but I tend to use wall-fixing brackets at intervals of around 600-800mm. They cost pence; there's no need to scrimp!

Moreover, if the copper pipe is bent by simply pulling it upwards, then it may kink rather than follow a smooth curve. The kink/fold is a weak point which can degrade and leak.

Copper pipes can be bent manually by inserting a bending spring


or using a bending tool, like this one from Screwfix


The installer will be trained to do this so that there is no strain on the pipe when he attaches it to the Smart Meter output port.

It would take me less than 10mins to cut the existing pipe and add a new piece with the two soldered couplings it requires. This really is a simple task.

And if I was doing this, I'd also add at least one wall bracket to that pipe so that its weight wasn't putting any strain onto my newly fashioned meter connection/joint !


@Eva_OVO, this is an excellent Topic for your trainee Meter Installers.

Can you send the link to one of your Trainers so he can ask the current cohort what they would actually do?
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Hi @Geo, @Transparent, @PeterR1947,

Thought I’d weigh in here to clear a few things up.

Though it does just look like one small wire there that could easily be moved, the earth bonding is responsible for maintaining the same electrical potential across all exposed metal parts of a supply, thus protecting the occupant from electric shock. Electricians require a qualification to do this to ensure they are keeping the property and its inhabitants safe.

Our smart meter engineers aren’t put through this particular training as it's not often that they would need to do this in their day to day role. As Eva mentioned they’re trained and qualified to isolate the incoming supplies, disconnect the meters, remove it, put in place a new one and reconnect the supplies. They do this for the electricity meter too - that’s right, but the electricity supply is off at this point. Once the supply is reconnected and the new meter is on, the engineer wouldn’t perform any further work on any electrical appliances. In the same way, an electrician will not, and should not perform maintenance work on an electricity meter or incoming supply.

Electricity and gas supplies are made up of loads of different parts and, although they’re all connected, it requires different people with a variety of training to maintain them. We should not and will not take the risk of putting a household in danger by performing works outside of our authority.

I’ve had a look at the set-up of your gas meter, and I’m assuming the engineer wanted to disconnect that particular section of pipe in order that they can lift it up and fit the Secure meter in there as its slightly taller. So if you were to move the bond to the spot indicated in your photo, this should be fine as it’s beyond the join of the pipework where they’d need to disconnect it.

Hope this helps! Keep your questions coming if you have any more :)

Nancy
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Hi @Geo,

I think it has been useful to air these issues here, although the answer isn't probably what you (or I) had hoped for.

Would you please let us know when you actually get the gas-meter replaced and tell us how it went?


The remaining matter which still troubles me is what happens to other customers receiving a Smart Gas Meter install, whose earth-bonding clamps get compromised in the process, but who are then not informed that they need to subsequently call in an electrician?

Although we now know that an Installer won't touch or check the Earth-Clamp, there is still the likelihood of its resistance increasing due to heating/cooling during soldering, acid-flux dripping into the clamp-band or application of "gunk" to screwed fittings etc. Such issues will reduce the effectiveness of the earth bonding, which is there to ensure the safety of occupants.

I would've thought it very likely that an earth-clamp will be located in close proximity to a gas meter. The chances of an Installer meeting such a scenario would seem to be sufficiently high that all Customers should be issued with an official Safety Notification to have an electrician check their earth-bonding following a gas-meter replacement.
I have a very similar problem.
Just before Christmas the OVO engineer came to fit Smart meters for electric and gas. Electric was fine but he had a problem with the gas. As can be seen in the photo our existing meter is out of the arc, enormous and floor standing.



The new meter is apparently much smaller and he explained that the flexible feed pipe from the cut off valve to the regulator would be too short. He volunteered that this was a known problem but they were not allowed to carry the available longer pipe, it would have to be specially ordered. He said that someone would be in touch as soon as it was available.


Having heard nothing for 6 months I raised a query with customer support asking when they were going to complete my switch to smart meters. On Sat last I had a call from Ovo saying that it was nothing to do with the length of the pipe, they could not complete because I have an earth bond clamp on the pipe. They will not come back until it has been removed. I asked if that was because it was no longer required and he said "yes"!!


My interpretation of the regulations is that the bond to earth in the consumer unit is required and the clamp has to fitted on the outlet pipe from the meter prior to any branch pipes. You can just see in the photo that the clamp is fitted very close to the meter as there is a 15mm branch (to the gas hob) about 2 inches from the meter connection. This obviously precludes moving the clamp further along the pipe.


If Ovo are adamant that their engineers, although able to safely refit the mains cables in the electric meter, cannot be trained to refit and check the bonding clamp, this should be made very clear in the FAQ section of the info on Smart meters.


I would be interested to hear the Ovo moderators comments from the 'experts'
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Oh @mikeb, what a palava! You appear to have waited six-months due to incorrect advice.

1. Once more I am astonished that a meter installation cannot proceed at all due to the presence of an earth bonding connection. It is blindingly obvious that a high proportion of gas meters will have this earth point very close by.

If the Meter Installers aren't even prepared to touch it, then there will be a corresponding need to revisit the same premises to complete the meter upgrade. This is a sheer waste of time & money.

Common sense suggests to me that OVO should notify all Customers in advance of the agreed Smart Meter Installation date that they should book an electrician to attend about an hour after the works commences so that a fresh earth-bond can be made and tested.

Even if the Installer finds that there is a bond in place and an electrician hasn't been called, then he could mention this at the start of his visit. You'd still have a couple of hours to call an electrician whilst the meter replacements were being fitted.


2. An earth bond to the gas pipe is a statutory requirement.

There are a number of reasons it is there, and they all relate to safety.

If an electrical fault occurs in the house which makes the gas pipe go "live" (a rodent chewing through an adjacent cable) then it is important that the fuse/trip for that circuit must operate. The 10mm earth-connection ensures that sufficient current will flow to do this.

You should certainly not have been informed that your earth-bond was no longer required! This is a safety error, and should be reported in writing (email) to OVO. Since the Installer may have been a sub-contract company, it is OVO's responsibility to sort this out.


3. The presence of the 15mm T-off close to the output of your gas meter isn't a problem at all.

The guidance is that the earth-bond should be made within 600mm of where your gas pipe enters the property. In some cases this means it will have to be on the other (input) side of the gas meter.


Please post here again if you want any further clarifications.
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As a follow-up to what I've just posted, could you also have a look at a Topic I've placed here about the shortage of Smart Meter installers?

I note @mikeb, that you too are in Devon, where there are long delays in obtaining a Smart Meter appointment.
Ninja***. Many thanks for your comments. I've done a little more digging and found the following at www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/electrical-professionals/wiring-regulations

Wiring Regulations - BS 7671
This technical guidance concerning the application of the requirements of BS 7671: 2008 (as amended) Requirements for electrical installations has been discussed and agreed by a forum, the Wiring Regulations Advisory Group,

Q1.46 In a building where semi-rigid gas pipe is installed, where is the appropriate position to connect the main protective bond if the gas meter is: (a) internal to the building (b) external to the building?
No attempt should be made to make a bonding connection directly to semi-rigid pipework.
(a) Where the gas meter is installed inside the premises, the semi-rigid pipework will normally end at the meter and so the bonding connection should be made as normal to the consumer’s hard metal pipework after the meter and before any branch pipework. Where practicable the bonding connection should be within 600 mm of the meter outlet union.
(b) Where the meter is external to the premises in a wall-mounted or semi-concealed meter box, the bonding connection should be made to the consumer’s hard metal pipework and before any branch pipework. Where practicable this connection should be made at the point of entry to the building.
Regulation number(s)
411.3.1.2(i)
544.1.2



This guidance indicates that the bonding connection must be on the consumer side of the meter before any branch and if practicable within 600 mm of the meter exit union.


If we also look at http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/l56.pdf (Safety in the installation and use of gas systems and appliances) Regulation 18-2 states
(2) Any person who connects any installation pipework to a primary meter shall, in any case where equipotential bonding may be necessary, inform the responsible person that such bonding should be carried out by a competent person.


The guidance included with Regulation 18-2 states
202 The person who installs a section of pipework which connects with the primary meter or emergency control, whether or not the meter or control has yet been fitted, must inform the responsible person for the premises (builder, owner or occupier) of the possible need for MEB where such a requirement did not exist before the work was undertaken. Such bonding should be carried out by a competent person (see regulation 3, Qualification and supervision, for details on training and competence). The advice should be in writing. Although the regulation applies only when new systems are installed and existing ones are modified, similar action needs to be taken if an engineer notices an apparent defect in bonding in other circumstances, eg during maintenance checks (this applies to both main or supplementary equipotential bonding


The emphasis in this para is mine.

I would suggest therefore that the simple solution is that if the Ovo engineer has to remove the bonding to carry out his installation of the smart meter he issues a notice in writing to the consumer telling him that it must be reconnected by a competent person. I do feel however that Ovo should make clear the possibility of this situation arising in their information about the smart meter installation process. That way people can make their own decision to proceed and fruitless visits possibly avoided.
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That's excellent research @mikeb. :cool:

... and by the way, my Forum User-name is @Transparent, whereas Ninja*** is the badge given to me by the Moderator team!

1. I think your analysis of the Regulations is correct. There should be a Notification about Earth Bonding given in writing when Smart Meters are installed. There are three places where I think the Notice should be provided:
  • on the OVO website page when booking a Smart Meter installation
  • on the email/letter confirming the booking (so as to ensure those who didn't book online still receive the Notice)
  • on a card to be given to the householder at the start of the installation works

Frankly it shouldn't matter whether an earth bond gets disturbed or not during a gas meter installation. If the card is properly worded, it should serve as a timely reminder that we are all responsible for checking that we have homes with safe electrical connections!


2. I've also just checked Part-P (Approved Document) of the Building Regulations. It starts like this:

1.1 Electrical installations should be designed and installed in accordance with BS 7671:2008 incorporating Amendment No 1:2011.

Provision of information
1.2 Sufficient information should be provided to ensure that people can operate, maintain or alter an electrical installation with reasonable safety.

The information should comprise items listed in BS 7671 and other appropriate information including:

a. electrical installation certificates or reports describing the installation and giving details of the work carried out

b. permanent labels, for example on earth connections and bonds, and on items of electrical equipment such as consumer units and residual current devices (RCDs)


The provision of Information therefore lies at the very foundation of Part-P.

The next page states:

1.6 Regulation 4(3) states that when building work is complete, the building should be no more unsatisfactory in terms of complying with the applicable parts of Schedule 1 to the Building Regulations than before the building work was started...

I would claim that the installation of a Smart Meter without providing the Earth-bonding Safety Information has left the "building work" in a less satisfactory state.

Of course the Meter Installer could claim that they don't work to BS 7671 in the first place...
... to which I think we could now all say "believing that we can work on a building without reference to the regulations is what happened at Grenfell Tower!"


3. I take your point that the equipotential bond should be within 600mm of the output side of the gas meter. However I've seen domestic dwellings where there's 10m of copper pipe running next to electrical cables before it even reaches the gas meter!

So common sense suggest to me that a competent electrician would probably place a bond both at the point of entry to the building, and on the output of the gas meter.

There's no harm in having extra earthing connections. Looping the (uncut) bonding cable across multiple copper pipes is very much at the heart of equipotential bonding!


This is a section of the earthing for my own water pipes leading to/fro my thermal store. Note also the clear printed label on a valve and red colour-coding on two of the pipes!
Good morning Transparent,

I have just come off the phone after a long discussion with a lady at Ovo. In simple terms the issue with my installation is that in order to fit the smart meter the engineer may have to alter the outlet pipework which will require the removal of the bonding clamp. As the engineer is not a bonding clamp competent person he is not allowed to do this and the installation would be aborted. If however the clamp is not in its present position there will not be an issue and he can do the job. Simple!
I suggested that this must be a common enough situation to warrant inclusion in their 'get a smart meter' blurb to avoid the inconvenience and aggravation of aborted installations. It also calls into doubt the claim that smart meters are free if the customer has to pay (possibly £30-£40) for reconnection and testing of the equipotential bond. She accepted these points and said she would feed it back.

Interestingly there was no mention in the engineers report of the need for a longer inlet pipe - the only reason he gave me for not being able to complete the installation. I now have a date at the end of July for the job to be completed.
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Well done for persistence @mikeb :)

I realise that the helpful member of OVO staff in Customer Services is going to "feed this back", but it would probably be more helpful if the relevant Dept could have their attention drawn to this Forum Topic.

After all... this is a safety issue!

... and you've helpfully quoted from the relevant regulations.

The Moderators would know who to notify about the issues raised here. @Nancy_OVO are you able to send an internal message to a relevant person, please?
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Hi @Transparent and @mikeb,

I'm not an expert in industry regulations, so I've asked our Legal team for more information about this and I'll update everyone once they've responded.

Nancy
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Thanks @Nancy_OVO,

Coincidentally, I had a visitor here yesterday who writes British Engineering Standards Documents! I was able to show him this Thread and his opinion was that there was an unspecified area between the tasks expected of a Meter Installer and an electrician.

However, as it's a matter of public safety, it is vital that this is resolved urgently. There are probably already several hundreds of Smart Meter Installations where the earth-bonding to the gas pipe has been compromised but the householder is unaware of this.

My view is that Ofgem should be alerted and ask for guidance. After all, they're the industry Regulator. It's their role to regulate!
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Hello again @Transparent, @PeterR1947, @mikeb and @Geo!

I've contacted our Compliance & Regulations team and our Engineering Operations Managers to get some more information on this and I've been advised the following:

Engineers are not permitted to re-position, alter or extend bonding without the required qualification - Equipotential Bonding (PEB1). The reason being, they're unable to test the bonding is in working order once the circuit has been broken.

I've also been advised that we have been looking into the possbility of providing this training, but we need to weigh up the benefit (being able to complete more jobs) against the cost of retraining all our engineers. Our figures show that we don't abort many jobs due to Earth Bonding posing a problem, so it may not be the right thing to do commercially.

Compliance & Regulations pointed out a section of our Terms and Conditions regarding meter maintenance:

"6.2 You are responsible for ensuring your property has an appropriate credit meter or prepayment meter installed that meets all the following requirements:
(a) it is capable of measuring the energy supplied to your property;
(b) maintenance and legal compliance checks are carried out for all pipes, equipment, wires and other fittings; and
(c) it is suitable and meets industry standards for safety and accuracy

6.3 You are responsible for ensuring that your metering equipment is not lost, stolen or damaged. In this contract metering equipment means the meter itself and all equipment required to operate your credit meter or prepayment meter."


Hope this helps clear things up,
Nancy
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Thanks very much for pursuing this @Nancy_OVO. I appreciate what you've written and the time put into this by other OVO staff.

For the sake of clarity for others trying to follow this:-

I think it's important to realise that simply replacing the earth bonding onto a gas pipe doesn't mean that it's effective. The Installer would also need to test that the other end of the earth wire is correctly connected to the same earthing point used by the Consumer Unit, and that this had a properly installed route to earth, either via an earth stake or through the neutral of the incomer (PME supplies).

If an Installer simply replaced an earth bond which was there when he arrived, it would give the home-owner an assurance that all was safe, when in fact it might not be so.

So I understand why OVO's Engineers and legal bods are taking the stance they are.

Nevertheless, I still think that there should be Written Notification of the need to have earth-bonding tested on three occasions:
  • Online when a customer books a Smart Meter installation
  • By email or post once the booking is confirmed
  • By hand from the Installer when he attends on-site

That would bring a fair balance to the interests of OVO in not being held liable for the status of the Earth Bond, and the responsibility of the Owner/Occupier to maintain a safe installation within their home.

I really don't think customers are going to be looking up Sections 6.2 & 6.3 of OVO's T&C's when requesting a Smart Meter installation!

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