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How do I get a smart meter when I have a 3 phase supply?

  • 12 January 2018
  • 47 replies
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I have 3 phase electricity with a dual rate meter. I would like a smart meter. I have asked my electrician and he says that it is very easy however the OVO technician who came to fit a smart meter said he couldn't do it. So I am paying over the odds for my electricity because OVO will not put me onto a single phase and install a smart meter

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Best answer by Tim_OVO 17 January 2018, 12:57

Updated on 28/09/20: The info below was taken from this topic which asks ‘can I get a smart meter with a 3 phase supply:

All Smart Meters being installed in the UK are selected through a process managed by the Data Communications Company (DCC). They own the Smart Meter Network, and they alone can communicate with our Smart Meters using a proprietary encryption system. DCC have, thus far, only commissioned single-phase Smart Meters to be joined to their Network.

The info below is about what’s needed to get a smart meter if you have a 3 phase supply:

 

It's possible, @Dartmoor

You will need to get your 3 phase supply downgraded to a single phase supply, before a smart meter can go in. Here's the process:

- Get an electrician to check if downgrading the supply is possible (you've done this already - nice work).
- Arrange a date for (and pay for) a visit from your Distribution Network Operator (DNO), who will rewire your supply to make it a single phase set up.
- Liaise with OVO to make sure we can get an engineer to you on the same day that the DNO visit, to fit your smart meter free of charge: 0330 303 5063.

Tim

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Userlevel 7

Updated on 28/09/20: The info below was taken from this topic which asks ‘can I get a smart meter with a 3 phase supply:

All Smart Meters being installed in the UK are selected through a process managed by the Data Communications Company (DCC). They own the Smart Meter Network, and they alone can communicate with our Smart Meters using a proprietary encryption system. DCC have, thus far, only commissioned single-phase Smart Meters to be joined to their Network.

The info below is about what’s needed to get a smart meter if you have a 3 phase supply:

 

It's possible, @Dartmoor

You will need to get your 3 phase supply downgraded to a single phase supply, before a smart meter can go in. Here's the process:

- Get an electrician to check if downgrading the supply is possible (you've done this already - nice work).
- Arrange a date for (and pay for) a visit from your Distribution Network Operator (DNO), who will rewire your supply to make it a single phase set up.
- Liaise with OVO to make sure we can get an engineer to you on the same day that the DNO visit, to fit your smart meter free of charge: 0330 303 5063.

Tim

Hi,

I recently had one of your meter engineers pop over to fit a smart meter. As I have Phase 3 with eight cables running in and out of the current meter he was unable to assist. One of your competitors is currently offering this and as a loyal customer of OVO, I wanted to see whether OVO can help?
Userlevel 7
I recently had one of your meter engineers pop over to fit a smart meter. As I have Phase 3 with eight cables running in and out of the current meter he was unable to assist. One of your competitors is currently offering this and as a loyal customer of OVO, I wanted to see whether OVO can help?

Have a look at my answer above your comment @JM71 - I moved your comment here as it's got more info on this process!
@Tim_OVO - your answer seems like a cop-out. If your premises is using a 3 phase supply properly ie feeds off of every phase to some sort of machinery etc then you can't realistically expect the customer to go to the expense of having 3 separate single phase supplies put in; surely that would mean 3 smart meters would be required to be installed.

We couldn't have a smart meter installed at work because of the lack of support for 3 phase installations (However we are with a different supplier)

Just my 2p worth, having spotted this conversation.
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That's an important point @DataKnight. The absence of 3-phase supplies to the majority of our domestic properties means that we are suffering increasing losses at sub-stations due to phase imbalance.

In Germany, they are heading in the opposite direction. 3-Phase is becoming the norm. Unlike this country, they can foresee the massive savings that can be attained once EVs can be grid-connected using V2G chargers.

To be fair, this isn't OVO's problem. The British Energy Suppliers may only install Smart Meters which have been designed and tested in accordance with specifications drawn up by the Data Communications Company, and approved by Ofgem and GCHQ. No designs have been sought for 3-Phase meters.

One of the Ofgem-approved meter manufacturers, EDMI, already have a 3-phase Smart Meter design, the Mk10, which is installed widely in other countries. This could be adapted for GB use if DCC were required by Ofgem to have an option for a 3-phase Smart Meter.

Although there is currently no open public consultation on the portfolio of SMETS2 meters, there is no reason why you can't write to Ofgem and ask for their reasoning on why such a product isn't being sought. You might want to draw their attention to this discussion on the Forum.

I'm sure there are others here who would like to know of their response.
@Dartmoor I asked OFGEM as I'm facing similar issues to you. They said they should be available from the second half of 2019 but gave no further detail.

I just wondered why are you on a three phase supply? Given you location is that your on Economy7 with night storage heaters?

I'm down in Cornwall with night storage heaters, Eco7 tariff and facing similar issues I believe but I am one step behind you in that I don't yet have a dual rate meter. I'm still on two separate analogue meters; one for off peak one for day rate.

Could you tell me the make and model of your meter as this is what I need to get my provider to supply me with?

Thanks

Robin
Hi Robin
I have 3 Phase but only use single phase. I think the house had night storage once upon a time. It was also used as a Doctor's surgery.
Photo of meter below

**photo link removed**
could you check those links? they both launch the gmail sign up page?
Oops- I wonder how I can take them down!
Photo attached

Cheers for that Dartmoor - at least I have now seen one. Would do the job perfectly for me but I guess if the provider will change my two separate meters, as I want, it will be a more modern digital unit.

Can I ask is there a separate time switch to handle the switching between rates?

And you mentioned "used to have storage heaters" So you don't use Night Storage / Eco7 any more?
No time switch does it automatically. No the previous owner took the night storage out 20 plus years ago
ok, thanks for all the info.
@Tim_OVO - your answer seems like a cop-out. If your premises is using a 3 phase supply properly ie feeds off of every phase to some sort of machinery etc then you can't realistically expect the customer to go to the expense of having 3 separate single phase supplies put in; surely that would mean 3 smart meters would be required to be installed.

We couldn't have a smart meter installed at work because of the lack of support for 3 phase installations (However we are with a different supplier)

Just my 2p worth, having spotted this conversation.

At the moment smart phase 3 meters are not being fitted but not far off so I've heard,
But going back to the 3 phase, it sounds like this home is a massive consumer of electric to be using all 3 phases.
If not....
It doesn't necessarily need ripping out and having a single phase cutout put in you can run a single phase on 3 phase and a single phase engineer could work on it
Userlevel 6
It's possible, @Dartmoor
You will need to get your 3 phase supply downgraded to a single phase supply, before a smart meter can go in. Here's the process:

- Get an electrician to check if downgrading the supply is possible (you've done this already - nice work).
- Arrange a date for (and pay for) a visit from your Distribution Network Operator (DNO), who will rewire your supply to make it a single phase set up.
- Liaise with OVO to make sure we can get an engineer to you on the same day that the DNO visit, to fit your smart meter free of charge: 0330 303 5063.

Tim

Updated on 12/07/2019


We follow the above process, @Tufty71, here at OVO.

Thanks!
No probs, every company has its own processes.

Is this still the case? Your 8-legged competitor now fit 3-phase smart meters.

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Badge +2

I too would be interested in the answer @phproxy .

There was a Government Consultation (BEIS) on energy matters in January where we were being asked to comment on a number of ideas, including Part-L of the Building Regs.

There is serious consideration of a requirement for all new-build homes to have 3-phase supplies. This will reduce losses due to phase-imbalance at sub-stations, more easily facilitate EV charger installation for 2-car households, and increase the installed base of energy-storage technology.

 

8-legs aren’t actually installing 3-phase Smart Meters yet AFAIK. There are none yet shown on the Approved List.

In any case, OVO’s next priority is likely to be SMETS2 Meters with a 5th terminal for time-related devices (storage radiators etc). Rival Suppliers have been able to install these for many months already.

I spotted it on their forum, posted by staff.

 

 

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And I spotted this on their main website, @phproxy 

I’d suggest it’s imminent, but they can’t actually install them without DCC Approval.

And I spotted this on their main website, @phproxy 

I’d suggest it’s imminent, but they can’t actually install them without DCC Approval.

They’re installing them now but it’s location specific/not yet nationwide. So hopefully you’re right and they’re imminent for nationwide availability..

Userlevel 6

The process is unchanged currently, @phproxy, but as @Transparent, mentioned it is something we’re hoping to be able to do soon. 

Thanks! 

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I should perhaps point out that having 3-phase domestic supplies is a very different scenario than industry.

Industrial use of 3-phase power is pretty well balanced. Either it’s actually driving 3-phase machinery, or else the building will have been wired so as to spread the load across the phases.

In a domestic situation there is likely to be significant imbalance. Most houses will have only one or two power-rings, a separate feed for an electric cooker, another one for a shower etc. Even if these are divided across the phases, the usage on one phase will have no correlation to the other two.

In households with two EVs, the chargers themselves will most likely each be single-phase.

Grid-connected generation will also be connected to a single phase. If both EVs have V2G chargers, and a Solar PV array is connected to the third phase, these will still be exporting at different times.

 

This results in a much more complex set of data to be retrieved from a 3-phase Smart Meter.

Two phases might be in demand, whilst the third is exporting back to the grid. The Billing system must be able to correctly account for that.

 

As for the customers… how would you feel if you’re generating solar electricity on one phase, but still being billed full rate for charging an EV on a different phase?

There’s a lot to discuss here.

I do have some solutions to propose, but let’s see what others think first.

Userlevel 7

There’s a detailed Q&A topic on SMETS2 smart meter installs with 3 phase supplies, check it out here

OK - I’m new here so please be gentle with me - especially if I am posting in the wrong place.

We have a three phase supply to our house (been in a year now) but only two of the phases are connected. We have three old-style meters as one of the phases also has a low tariff meter for a few storage heaters (which we don’t use). We’re going to install  12 kW or so of solar panels and we’d like the ability to export power.

So should we wait for three phase meters to be available? Or install two smart meters (one on each of the working phase)s? Going down to one phase would limit what we could export. Or is there an even cleverer option?

Thanks for any advice.

K

Userlevel 7

Hi @Uncle K thanks for posting and a big ol welcome to the community!

 

This looks like the right place to ask your question, nice work finding the same topic of the same question!

 

Now then, to your answer. The info above outlines how to get your 3-phase supply downgraded to allow a smart install. I’m not sure of your set up (although to be fair, it doesn’t take a lot before I become unsure of electrical supply technicals), so let’s wait to hear from some of our better informed volunteers. 

 

One thing to note: you don’t NEED a smart meter to export. I know that for customer’s of a ‘feed in tariff’, without a smart meter, they can get paid for half of their generation meter recorded usage, as if it was exported. For some, that works out as a better deal then measuring the export exactly (which is possible with a smart meter). 

 

However, smart meters are very much recommended. So let’s see what we hear from the likes of @Transparent. Please be advised, Unckle K, we’re all busy folks leaving busy lives, so a reply from other volunteer might not be instant. :) 

 

Keen to hear from you about this solar fitting though - fancy posting a topic about this when they go in. @Uncle K ?

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