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Who can move items on my meter backboard to make space for an OVO smart meter?

  • 22 March 2019
  • 3 replies
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A fitter came to install a smart meter and remove my British Gas smart meter. He measured and said that when the BG smart meter was removed the space was about 2mm too small for an OVO smart meter and that an engineer would need to move the other items on the board and that OVO would charge for this. I emailed OVO querying this but never received a reply.
Has anyone else come across this?
It seems unfair as it is not my fault how the board is laid out and given the governments position on the installation of smart meters is this right?
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Best answer by Nancy_OVO 28 March 2019, 16:07

Hey @Len Smith,

As your energy supplier we're only authorised to repair/replace the meter. If you can post a photo of your meter backboard and the items on it, we can offer some more specific advice on who can move them. Generally speaking, your Distribution Network Operator (DNO) would be responsible for anything before the meter, and an electrician could help with anything after.

Sorry to hear you haven't heard back from the team too. We'd generally advise 24 t 48 hours for a reply, but if you drop the team on Facebook a message, they can chase up where this has got to.

Thanks
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Userlevel 7
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That's an interesting question @Len Smith

Firstly, I assume that this an electricity Smart Meter we're talking about isn't it? Gas meters aren't usually fitted to "boards".

The items on an electricity backboard all belong to your Distributed Network Operator (DNO), which in your case is SP Manweb. Indeed the board itself is regarded as their property as I once found out when I used it without permission to install a switch disconnector and surge suppressor before the consumer unit. Whoops!

So basically, even a qualified electrician shouldn't be working on devices secured to that board.

That gives you two choices
  • instruct SP Manweb to move the relevant items (main fuse, distribution block etc)
  • agree for OVO to do it when installing the replacement meter
Most people wouldn't have a choice. It's only because you're having a Smart Meter fitted that you can have OVO do the work, and the Meter Engineers are the only people other than your DNO who are permitted to undertake such work. Personally I'd get OVO to do it.

a. Other people on the Forum have stated fees charged by OVO for such minor works, and they appear to very reasonable

b. OVO have a 2nd tier of more experienced engineers who work on problematic sites. So the calibre of the work will be very high. (Your Profile tells me you used to work in Q.A!)

c. You can be sure that the new board layout will be optimised for the cable entry points on the new meter being fitted.

However, I do feel that you should've received a response to the email which you sent OVO. I believe their aim is to respond within 5 days, even if that is to tell you that your enquiry has been passed to the relevant engineering dept.

If it's been longer than that, I think you should send a follow-up email with the word Complaint in the subject line. The Complaints Procedure is audited by Ofgem, and OVO are particularly good at dealing with this correspondence promptly!

You can copy this response from me into your next email if you think it will help clarify the situation.
Userlevel 6
Badge +4
Hey @Len Smith,

As your energy supplier we're only authorised to repair/replace the meter. If you can post a photo of your meter backboard and the items on it, we can offer some more specific advice on who can move them. Generally speaking, your Distribution Network Operator (DNO) would be responsible for anything before the meter, and an electrician could help with anything after.

Sorry to hear you haven't heard back from the team too. We'd generally advise 24 t 48 hours for a reply, but if you drop the team on Facebook a message, they can chase up where this has got to.

Thanks
Userlevel 7
Badge +3
Thanks for that input @Nancy_OVO

I too would like to see a photo of your backboard @Len Smith
I can understand OVO not being authorised to move the main fuse holder and any fixings which hold the incomer cable in place.

However, it is sometimes the case that the backboard has additional connection blocks which are after the 100A fuse. Since stuff like this would be dead once the fuse is removed, I can't see why they couldn't be moved 2mm as part of the Smart Meter installation.

I've seen some amazing backboards in older properties around the Westcountry. There's one at a farm near me with a vast array of timers and isolator switches on the feeds to all the outlying buildings! I'll post a photo here if the owner will let me.

Even if this particular matter now gets discussed and resolved in private (away from the Forum) I'd be interested to know what eventually happens. It would assist others who want a new Smart Meter but are unsure what's involved in having it fitted to an existing backboard with historical apparatus on it!

Thanks.

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