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I'm still waiting for an engineer to fix my smart meter so it can give readings


I got an electric smart metre in 2015, no problems - got a new gas smart metre October 2017 - which was not giving any readings to Ovo, rang and advised the metre needs work to talk to my electric metre to give the reading correctly, Lowri Beck will be in touch in 6-8 weeks. Rang Ovo today for an update as its 8 weeks. Told to ring Lowri Beck direct and guess what - they do not have any jobs listed for me. Not happy and just received an email from Ovo to say they will be in touch as soon as possible.
I am appalled that I again have to wait for engineers to come to do what they should have done in the first place - very disgruntled customer!
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Best answer by Nancy_OVO 7 February 2018, 12:23

Hi @bella1690

It sounds like there’s been a bit of miscommunication between us and our engineers. I’m very sorry about this as it doesn’t normally happen.

We do employ third party engineers currently, but we’re also working really hard on training our own team of engineers so we have a more direct line of communication with them and a much closer working relationship.

I can appreciate it’s frustrating to have to wait even longer, and the error was definitely on our behalf so I’d like the opportunity to put this right for you. Drop us a PM on facebook or Twitter with you're account number, full name and DoB and I’ll see what I can do to prioritise your appointment.

Cheers,
Nancy
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Userlevel 7
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I'm sorry no one else has yet responded.

It is frustrating the the Energy Suppliers have to rely on the availability and efficiency of a plethora of 3rd party installers to work on Smart Meters. I'd really like to know what level of choice and oversight OVO have on this matter. Could a Moderator enlighten us?

In the situation you describe, it isn't possible to tell whether it's OVO or Lowri Beck who have slipped up. I would've thought that OVO's Customer Services would have instant access to a database showing the progress of your job. The fact that they asked you to call Lowri Beck suggests an IT failure rather than an OVO employee being difficult.

I heard yesterday from a non-OVO customer who moved into a house with a 12-month old Smart Meter which seemed to have a new earth cable to an external copper rod. Not only did the stake not have an accessible test-point (which is mandatory), but the sub-station is "PME" which means that the earth is provided through the incoming cable. The house shouldn't have its own earth connection.

A qualified electrician confirmed this layout shouldn't exist because if there is a neutral fault in the underground cable, then houses downstream of that fault have their mains supply floating, making metal appliances "live" at up to half the supply voltage. The earth was therefore disconnected.

Now we find that the house is indeed floating! A multimeter between the concrete ground floor and the house wiring "earth" reads 110v !

Instead of putting in an improperly-installed earth stake, the Smart Meter installer should've informed the DNO that he'd detected an earth fault. After all, they're the ones paid to maintain the grid.

But I believe that Smart Meter installers are not required to be qualified to the level required to be a domestic electrician. They don't issue test certification, and don't appear to be answerable for potentially life-threatening mistakes, even if the homeowner believes something is wrong.

So I too would like to hear what control OVO have over those who they commission to install and check Smart Meter installations. Is it just administrative? Or are these companies required to actually file technical reports on the jobs they are being sent to do?
Each time I have called Ovo I was to “wait for the 6-8 weeks” you are on Lowri Beck list so basically give it the required amount of time! It seems I have not been on Lowri Becks list! This leads me to believe it is Ovo at fault as they should have checked with LB each time I rang up so I do not believe that fault is with Lowri Beck as they get the jobs from Ovo if it isn’t added to Lowri Becks list how are they to know about it, and I also don’t think it should be the customers responsibility to ring LB to check – what are Ovo getting paid for!!
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Hi @bella1690; Yes, I take your point.

I'm still suggesting that there appears to a deficiency in the IT methods being used to get Smart Meter engineers to a site. It seems to me inadequate for OVO to simply send a message to LB giving details of your job.

I feel there should be a bi-directional communication. OVO's CS Team should be able to look on their database and see
  • an acknowledgement from LB with a date/time stamp on it
  • an update from LB to give an approximate date for the job
  • an alert flag to highlight that 8 weeks is almost up and there's no completion date yet posted by LB

etc.

This would give CS a fighting chance of actually providing you with the Service that you're expecting!

If they're left looking at a computer which simply gives them the date that LB was told to attend your site, then they don't even know whether the original message has been received.

In the case of the unsafe meter-installation I was referring to, I discovered that there was no feedback or report from the Meter Engineer to that company (not OVO) which had sent him to site in the first place. So the Energy Supply Company was completely unaware that he'd not only installed a meter, but also a completely new earth-system.

It's the general lack of computerised job-management which I find bizarre.

After all, the customer's contract is only with their Energy Supplier. We have no control over the Meter Engineer's Company (LB in your case). So we are left totally reliant on the Energy Supplier to effectively manage the work which is required. I can't see how that can be expected to happen if OVO can't even check whether LB have you somewhere on their "jobs to do" list!

Frustrating!
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Hi @bella1690

It sounds like there’s been a bit of miscommunication between us and our engineers. I’m very sorry about this as it doesn’t normally happen.

We do employ third party engineers currently, but we’re also working really hard on training our own team of engineers so we have a more direct line of communication with them and a much closer working relationship.

I can appreciate it’s frustrating to have to wait even longer, and the error was definitely on our behalf so I’d like the opportunity to put this right for you. Drop us a PM on facebook or Twitter with you're account number, full name and DoB and I’ll see what I can do to prioritise your appointment.

Cheers,
Nancy
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Good response, @Nancy_OVO.
I hope this isn't now going to take another 8 weeks! Please @bella1690 let us know when you have the engineer visit and actually get the Smart Meter working.

Great news to hear that OVO are wanting to train your own engineers. That's no mean feat to try and cover the entire country. However, I think you really must make the SM Installation Engineers directly accountable to OVO.

Firstly, your current database seems to be providing Cust Service with naff-all information on the status of site visits. I wonder if you even receive test results from meter installations? And yet there are safety issues to be evaluated, and the SM installations are being undertaken under a contract with OVO, rather than your customer.

This currently leaves the customer in a very weak position.

Secondly, as OVO extends its portfolio into the realms of Li-ion Home Batteries and EV's, you really do need site installers who also adequately check the bi-directional communications between the equipment and OVO's in-house computers.
  • Electricity/Gas SM interaction (2.4GHz?)
  • In-house display
  • Smart Meter to/fro DCC (GSM network)
  • XStorage battery to home WiFi
  • WiFi router to OVO's battery management mainframe
  • App control for managing Home-battery and EV charge timeframes

This network all has to hang together, and really does require an OVO in-house team to take full responsibility.

If you do need to use 3rd parties to cover remote areas, surely you would be better to recruit existing domestic electrical contractors who not only know their locality, but are also already qualified to work around meters and distribution boards. They could include OVO meter installations as an additional service within their business, and they'd be able to provide safety test certificates (which your existing 3rd party SM installers can't do!)
thanks for all your information people, still waiting to hear from LB or Ovo as to when an engineer will call as apparently LB are really busy!! - will let you all know when they do eventually get in touch as I do not see why I should keep contacting Ovo for updates!!!
Need to complain now as private messaged Ovo as per Nancy but not heard a thing, it is really worrying me to the point that I am not sure my gas smart metre is not safe!!
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Hi @bella1690,
I agree. I think this is now best worked out by the official complaints procedure.

I have had considerable experience of this with other energy companies. Twice before, the Ombudsman has referred my case upward to the Industry Regulator, Ofgem. He was able to do so because I had written (email) evidence of having followed the correct process.

Here is OVO's current Complaints Procedure.

Although their website suggests that the first step is to fill out the online form, this doesn't leave you with a time/date-stamped copy. So I would personally go for the email option listed in the Procedure. I'm fairly sure that the address given is missing the .com at the end. It should be hello@ovoenergy.com.

OVO are required to implement the first stage response within 5 days, otherwise it gets escalated to the specialist Complaints Team.

Please let us know here how you get on.
Thank you for your advice - will keep you posted
Userlevel 5
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I hope you’re in the process of getting this sorted. If you’d like to raise a complaint @bella1690, please either give the team a call or complete our complaints webform here: https://www.ovoenergy.com/help/feedback.

Lucy
Hi Sorry for not responding sooner but all is now resolved as engineer called 28th March to enable metres to talk to each other. Only problem was that the engineer said I would be able to view usage once they sync....however this was not possible as can only see from 28.3.18.
But one happy customer now - thanks for all your responses and information
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Thanks for the update, @bella1690.

I'm assuming that this was another Lowrie Beck engineer whop arrived?
yes it was however the first guy did not finish the job correctly - he no longer works for the company apparently lol
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Ah... and that's another reason why we'd like OVO to have their own team of Meter Installers!

It would be great to have engineers who are not only technicaally competent, but show the same sort of helpful attitude as OVO's Customer Services.

Perhaps now that OVO have announced new Products like the V2G Charger and the Home Energy Storage Unit both of which require on-site installation, they might now be forced to use an in-house team.
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Ah... and that's another reason why we'd like OVO to have their own team of Meter Installers!

We do - we use a range of engineers from Lowri Beck, OVO and SMS. 🙂

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