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Do I need wiring to my flat upgraded from Phase 1 in order to get a 5 terminal SMETS 2 meter installed?

  • 16 February 2023
  • 13 replies
  • 149 views

New customer here, just spent 45 mins on the phone to OVO customer services trying to arrange install of a SMETS 2 smart meter to work with new storage heaters.

** PLEASE DON’T COMMENT ON THE CHOICE OF HEATING SYSTEM. **

 

Customer services told me that my current meter is Phase 1 style, and that I need to contact my energy distribution supplier and get them to upgrade / amend the wiring into the flat before the new smart meter can be installed by OVO. Cust services were unable to tell me who the energy dist supplier is - had to rummage to find that its SP Energy networks.

Is all of the above correct ? All seems a hell of a faff.

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Best answer by Tim_OVO 17 February 2023, 12:08

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Userlevel 7
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Hi @Martyg10 ,

You probably don’t need 3-Phase for this - it’s perfectly possible on Single-Phase as well. Please post photos of your current meter setup, I’d like to see what you have now.

Userlevel 7
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You have a single phase power supply at present and the feed for that will be sized accordingly. If you really need a 3 phase system (which is what a 5 terminal meter normal is) then your cables will need upgrading. Have you been told that you need a 5 terminal smart meter or are you thinking SMETS2 are 5 terminal by default?

 

thanks for the input. 
Storage heater company told me I’d need a 5 terminal meter. I assumed OVO could fit this. Ovo told me I’d have to get cables upgraded. 
current meter / fuse box pics.

 

Userlevel 7
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Hmm… Some of the meter tails do look a bit thin to me, and I can’t verify what the capacity of your main fuse is.

I’d recommend asking OVO to book in a Site Survey. This won’t make any changes by itself, but it’ll result in an engineer coming over to review what you’ve got and make recommendations on anything that’s needed. It’s an easy way to be certain.

Userlevel 7

Hi @Martyg10 and thanks for this question. 

 

Quick disclaimer here that a trained and qualified electrician is best placed to advise you on specifics for your electricity phase demand, main fuse cables and the rest. However we can give general advice. 

 

A 5 port smart meter doesn’t have to be 3 (poly) phase. They often are, but they don’t need to be. Also your current meter is a first generation smart meter with 4 ports. Am I correct in saying this currently doesn’t work with your storage heaters? If that’s correct and your storage heaters have never been connected, it’s possible that the demand, when connected, would warrant a 3 phase supply. Otherwise, you should be able to book a 5 port second generation meter without the involvement of your distribution network operator (DNO). 

 

@PeterR1947 what’s your take on who would do the re-wiring from a 4 port meter to a 5 port meter? 

 

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

Technically Tim, it should be the DNO but they seem to have relaxed the rules and allow others e.g. SMS meter installersto do this work.

Agree with Blastoise about the meter tails, those coming from the main fuse carrier do look small but may just be the angle of the photograph.

Peter

Thanks for the input folks.

To be clear, we are PLANNING to get storage heaters installed, the company told us we’d need to get a different meter installed with 5 inputs. They advised us to talk to our electricity supplier. No mention of phase 1 / phase 3 / anything like that. Prev supplier, Good Energy, couldn’t do it, so we switched to OVO.  

Switched to OVO effective 15th Feb. Gave first reading. Called OVO customer service to arrange 5 input meter installation and was told that current meter and setup is PHASE 1 (new terminology to me) and that it needs to be upgraded to PHASE 3 by the DNO - SP Energy networks. I have completed an online request form with SP for this.   

Will keep this post updated.

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

Thanks for the input folks.

To be clear, we are PLANNING to get storage heaters installed, the company told us we’d need to get a different meter installed with 5 inputs. They advised us to talk to our electricity supplier. No mention of phase 1 / phase 3 / anything like that. Prev supplier, Good Energy, couldn’t do it, so we switched to OVO.  

Switched to OVO effective 15th Feb. Gave first reading. Called OVO customer service to arrange 5 input meter installation and was told that current meter and setup is PHASE 1 (new terminology to me) and that it needs to be upgraded to PHASE 3 by the DNO - SP Energy networks. I have completed an online request form with SP for this.   

Will keep this post updated.

Ok, that’s useful. A single phase (phase 1) system provides 230v and can normally provide enough for a domestic property. A 3 phase supply is supplying voltage around 440v and has the capacity to provide significantly more power, possibly required for the storage heaters. 
More power = larger cables

Userlevel 7

Is there any way you can check with the installers of the storage heaters to see if they agree that a 3-phase supply (and meter) is necessary, @Martyg10? If not, it’s a easier job of booking in a 5 port smart meter...

Userlevel 7
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Just to clarify how three phase works, yes it can provide more power but that isn’t because it’s 440V; when a three phase supply is used, different parts of the house are connected to different phases each of which is c. 220/230V.

Personally I doubt if modern storage heaters would warrant a three phase supply, @Martyg10 how many storage heaters are you installing and what rating is each?

Peter

Is there any way you can check with the installers of the storage heaters to see if they agree that a 3-phase supply (and meter) is necessary, @Martyg10? If not, it’s a easier job of booking in a 5 port smart meter...

Hi Tim,

Just spoke to the storage heater supplier, they say that it is possible to get a 5 terminal meter connected to a single phase supply - can you confirm ?? How do I get OVO to arrange installation ??

Userlevel 7
Badge +1

That’s correct. It is possible to do. :)

Simply book the upgrade request and mention you need a Five-Terminal Meter because of your storage heaters etc.

UPDATE - Ovo have now agreed to install a 5 terminal meter on my current set up. Don’t know why I was given the runaround by the first customer services person I spoke to, wasted a lot of time tbh. 

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