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Engineer didn't turn up to fit my smart meter - can you help?


Appointment yesterday (24/04/2017) to have smart meter fitted between 12 and 16-00. Afternoon off work wasted, rang OVO at 16.45 to be told he was on his way, never showed. It's now the day after, no phone call or text to rearrange this appointment. Not quite sure this is the way for new customers to be treated!!!
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Best answer by Tim_OVO 26 May 2017, 16:52

Appointment yesterday..... rang OVO at 16.45 to be told he was on his way, never showed.

I had a similar experience when having a smart meter installed. £30 is the industry specified compensation amount, so even though it potentially does not recompense you for the cost of taking a day off work, there's nothing you can do. However, make sure you ask for your £30!!

Hi @Yorkie180

If you weren't given at least 24 hours notice of this cancellation, you’ll be owed some compensation. Send us a message via Twitter, Facebook or email (hello@ovoenergy.com) for us to get this sorted.

If you wanted to rebook your appointment (same goes for you @Steve587) check out the customer facing booking platform below:

If you're a Pay as you go customer: smart.ovoenergy.com/paygplus.

If you're a Pay monthly customer: smart.ovoenergy.com/credit.

As this is the first topic on missed appointments, I've tweaked the title and added some tags so that other users can find it more easily.

Hope this helps,
Tim
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The whole of RM16 area which if you google you will see it covers a huge residential area, with thousands of households.
My point is why did OVO not say this months ago and save everyone time, maybe they could’ve spent their time more wisely on employing more contractors.....
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Thanks for posting again @kkdaleyk.

I don't understand the comment you quote from OVO's email. Nor do I think any of us customers can comment further because we neither know the area covered by "your postal code", nor how large an area is covered by a team of installers.

Remember that you still retain your Forum membership when leaving OVO. They are separate issues. So you can always post back here in future months and tell us how quickly you get smart meters installed via a different company.

Last night's BBC Watchdog was interesting, albeit they concentrated on safety issues rather than delays.

Steph McGovern was persistent in asking Claire Perry MP (Min of State for Energy & Clean Growth) if she would be changing the 2020 deadline for all homes to have a Smart Meter. But the Minister didn't budge.

The figures she quoted were a useful insight:
  • 44 million homes need Smart Meters
  • 8 million have been installed up to the end of 2017

It doesn't take much to see that the target date of Dec 2020 is highly unlikely to be met.

So if you know anyone looking for a job... well, you know what to do! 🙂
Had an email from OVO who have now confirmed and fessed up the following:

There have been no completed appointments for the last year within your postal code by OVO Energy which would imply there has been a lack of appointments.

Well that says it all, no talk of resolving this issue for the thousands of homes in my area - they do not live up to what they advertise ......it’s easy ! .....Nope ! It’s impossible.
Funnily enough they have accepted to release me from my fixed contract without penalising me as a good will gesture (my request I hasten to add) .....no OVO you can’t fulfil your part of the contract and I will happily leave your inadequate and questionable business ethics and priorities.
Thank you !
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Hi @kkdaleyk,

Not sure if you'll see this Post in time, but the BBC Schedule says that Watchdog are broadcasting something about Smart Meters tonight!
OVO are unable to carry out what they advertise, as said, I didn’t sign up with OVO to sympathise/understand their inefficiencies. In respect of the contractors they have chosen to employ - not my issue. As a customer I chose OVO based on their advertising of how EASY it is to have a smart meter installed - not asking for the earth.....just a smart meter that OVO advertise they CAN supply, check out their website. If they can’t supply this then I am more than happy to go elsewhere and be released from the contract without being penalised..... fair suggestion I would say ! Also OVO USED to be the better energy supplier historically ! Not now.
Thanks for trying to justify their inadequacies but as I’ve already said I’m a customer and NOT interested in understanding or trying to work out their issues for them....I’ll leave that to them and their business advisors.
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I hear you, @kkdaleyk.

However, the actually problem you are facing in getting your Smart Meters installed is predominately due to these wider issues.

a. From the available evidence on this Forum it appears that in your area, Smart-meters are to be installed by the 3rd-party company Lowrie Beck, rather than OVO themselves.

b. All licensed Energy Suppliers are required to advertise Smart Meters and have targets to meet for booking installations. This is monitored by Ofgem.

The Watchdog suggestion is interesting. But I don't think this will reflect poorly on OVO per se. There is an industry-wide problem with installation targets that are impossible to meet. OVO compares favourably across the industry.

About three weeks ago, another thread on this Forum had a link to a Daily Mail article which stated the UK needed to installing 24 Smart Meters per minute to achieve the Government target of 2020.

There aren't enough trained Meter Installers in the country.

Training more takes time.

Importing them from other (EU) countries won't work because they need to be certified to British standards.

Is this a message which Watchdog should be highlighting?
... possibly. But that alone won't generate a solution.

What about a radical suggestion....?

Should we be screening our prison inmates due for release in the next 9 months, and offer them intensive training in meter-installations?

That would help the country, give them jobs ready to walk into and possibly significantly reduce the rate of re-offending.
To be honest I am not interested in OVO’s wider issues - if they do recognise they have ‘wider issues’ then they should refrain from telling customers how easy it is to have a smart meter installation, it’s all over their website.
At the end of the day I am a paying customer not a customer paying to understand their issues - all I want is what they advertise is available ......a smart meter, in my case this clearly is not true and not available. Empathy and understanding I do not have for a multi billion energy company .....I’d like to make savings on my monthly wage. Still not even had the courtesy of a reply from them yet ! Watch this space.......I can feel a watchdog contact coming up 😩
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Thanks @Nancy_OVO,

Now that others can more easily find this discussion, @kkdaleyk, can I point out the wider issue that OVO and other Energy Suppliers face?

A Smart Meter Installer may have only a well-defined job to do in our homes, but for obvious reasons, the training is tricky. They must be qualified both to undertake the work of an electrician as well as being Gas-Safe Registered. Additionally they need to know about setting up the communications links between meters and your In-Home Display (IHD).

Apart from the work they are required to undertake, they must know what to do when they enter a property and find something unusual or unsafe. This must include enough knowledge to not proceed with an installation, and possibly issue enforcement notices for dangerous equipment such as leaky boiler.

Not only is their workload impossibly large, but once having been trained in electrics, electronics and gas, they have a skill-set which they can easily take elsewhere. Staff retention is a major problem for the meter installation companies.

OVO is trying to build up their own in-house team. This becomes especially important when you realise that they are also at the forefront of designing new innovative equipment which also needs on-site installation. The EV Smart-Charger, Nissan V2G Charger and the Home Storage Battery they announced last month are foretaste of what's to come.

You are quite right to point out that the time-lags for meter installations around the Suffolk/Essex area appear to be unacceptable. It's important that we discuss these issues here.

I don't (yet) know if installation delays are longer in rural areas or cities. But the feedback we provide can help OVO know where to channel their efforts.
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Hey @kkdaleyk and @Transparent,

I've moved your posts to this topic as suggested 🙂 If you need any more help, don't hesitate to get back to us on here.

Nancy
Hi and thank you so much for your reply - I will definitely use this as I am expecting to be contacted now by a ‘manager’ following my complaint email sent Saturday.
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Good morning @kkdaleyk.

This sounds very frustrating. There's not a lot that the Forum can do directly because we're mainly fellow customers like you. OVO Customer Services don't monitor what's said here.

However, I can answer one part of your question.

There's another thread here where User nicjmc posted on 30th/31st March on a similar issue and said he was in Suffolk.

He was assigned a visit from the 3rd-party company Lowrie Beck. This might be useful background knowledge in your next email exchange with OVO Customer Services.

I can't move this Topic to that other one, but I expect a Moderator will do so tomorrow for us!
[quote=kkdaleyk]Anyone else in the Grays Essex area wish to share their experience?
Absolutely disgusting service - been waiting months for a date to have a smart meter. Now at the point of taking my complaint to Watchdog & the Energy Ombudsman.
By there own admission, OVO website states ‘Its easy’ to have your smart meter installed ! Utter crap and all you get is palmed off by very ‘nice’ apologetic customer service staff ! Get your act together OVO you bang on about being part of the government initiative...... can’t wait for my contract to end with such a rubbish company......my experience ! Can’t wait to see what reply I get to the ever growing mountain of email Ive just sent. Won’t hold my breath - I’ll go blue !
Frustrating to say the least.
Anyone else in the Grays Essex area wish to share their experience?
Absolutely disgusting service - been waiting months for a date to have a smart meter. Now at the point of taking my complaint to Watchdog & the Energy Ombudsman.
By there own admission, OVO website states ‘Its easy’ to have your smart meter installed ! Utter crap and all you get is palmed off by very ‘nice’ apologetic customer service staff ! Get your act together OVO you bang on about being part of the government initiative...... can’t wait for my contract to end with such a rubbish company......my experience ! Can’t wait to see what reply I get to the ever growing mountain of email Ive just sent. Won’t hold my breath - I’ll go blue !
Frustrating to say the least.
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Great. So the problems with missed Smart-meter Installs looks like it's quite widespread. That's going to be tricky to solve.

@fozgg, I suggest you also fill in your own User Profile for this Forum. It's the first place I look to glean the basic information about respondents here.

And once you do get a successful meter-install, it would also be good to hear how it went. Eg
  • Was the engineer on time?
  • How long did the job take?
  • Was this within the time he'd been allocated?
  • Did he have any particular difficulties?
  • Were you left with any written/verbal advice about what he'd found on-site?

All this will add to the "collective wisdom" on the Forum and help others, particularly if they're in the same area as you.
Thanks!

I'm on the Wirral (near Liverpool) 🙂

I'll take a look at the best answer post and follow the steps.
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Hi @fozgg,

How frustrating! What area of the country are you in?

As a fellow customer, all the practical help I can give is to direct you to Page-1 of this thread. The "Best Answer" at the top gives you the links to click to rebook an appointment and how to request compensation.
I was booked in for a Smart Meter installation yesterday (03/04/18) by Lowry Beck between 15:00 and 19:00. My sister was in the house all day - she had received a text message to confirm the appointment (changed to between 14:00 and 18:00) - I'd put her number in as the contact number.

No-one turned up though. Can you help in any way? (I notice from previous posts that there is £30 compensation and the appointment can be rebooked).
I’m in Gloucestershire, UK. Thanks for your help!
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Hi @Smrh123,

I guess it depends whose name is on the contract with OVO!
But even if it's your landlord's account, you are the one who waited in, so surely he'd acknowledge that and allow you to retain the compensation?

Just for our interest here, which area of the country are you in?
I waited in all day for the smart meter man to not show up. I don’t own the house as I’m a student renting, if I claim for the compensation do I get the money or my landlord?
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Thanks @Nicjmc,

So if there's anyone else in Suffolk area with experience of a Smart Meter installation in the recent past, it would be great to hear from you!

And I think you're right about the monitoring of the 3rd-party Installation Companies. Once OVO have commissioned the site-visit, there seems to be no further communication between them. I find that odd. You'd have expected both parties would have access to a database showing progress.

Moreover, I wonder what happens if the engineer arrives on site only to find that something else needs attending to... perhaps for safety reasons? Do OVO get told about an issue whilst the Engineer is on-site? Do they even receive a safety-test certificate on completion?
Hi @Transparent. I’m in Suffolk. You’re right it could be a lack of trained engineers. Oddly they always seem to be in my area and it is easy to book! OVO seemed to think an emergency call out would have caused the failure to show. But from my experience, it feels that OVO need to develop procedures which better regulate and monitor these contracted companies.
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Wow, @Nicjmc, that's hugely disappointing!

Thanks for contributing this to the Forum. I can't tell from your Profile where you are geographically, but it would useful to compare notes with others.

I wonder how much of the problem is due to installers like Lowrie Beck not being able to retain trained Meter Installers, and how much is due to OVO's own meteoric growth? It's possible that their contract with LB was based on a much lower estimate of how many Customers were going to need Smart Meters.

Ultimately, of course, they just simply have to train their own installation team across the whole country. But there's loads to learn, especially with the forthcoming SMETS2 meters, ALCS (smart switches), Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) etc.
I’ve now had my 3rd appointment for a Smart Meter to be installed by a contractor they use called Lowry Beck. This is also the 3rd time these contractors have just not shown up! The thing I find truly unacceptable is that there is no notification to say that they can’t honour the appointment time. The time slot just comes and goes and no engineer arrives. The system then seems to be that OVO promptly send you a text to ‘rate the service’, and you, the consumer are left to contact OVO, claim your £30 and rebook another appointment with the same unreliable company. The excuse I’ve been given each time by OVO is that there must have been an emergency in the area (such a huge crisis that Lowry Beck must rush to it and can’t even send out a cancellation text). The is all hugely frustrating having waited in for the company. On my last phone call OVO suggested a new appointing. After 3 no-shows I’ve given up. It would be the same company in my area. OVO did say they would see if they could send out one of their own engineers. But as I spoke to them on the day of the 3rd failed installation attempt (19/03/18) and they’ve never phoned back, I guess they won’t be doing that. Really disappointed with this process and OVO for their lack of regulation.

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