Smart meters, not worth the pain?



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Userlevel 7
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You can be assured @Melchett that the Forum will stand by to offer advice if you experience problems with your new Smart Meter.

Yes, I did have  several months of failures, including two occasions when meters were exchanged. However, it would be unfair to use my experience as typical because I had deliberately offered my site to an OVO engineer for software testing. Whilst not permanently successful, both OVO and I learned a great deal from this work.

The background research I undertook during those months has left me in a very strong position to appreciate both the technology and where Smart Meters fit within the overall Demand Side Response strategy that the UK Government enacted during 2013/14.

It is disappointing that the main focus still seems to be on pricing. There is little yet heard about the other major benefit, which is the ability for individual households to regulate their energy use to combat Climate Change.

We need to look beyond the present difficulties and equip ourselves with a clearer vision of where we’re heading.

Userlevel 2

@Transparent 

Thanks for the advice, really much appreciated.  And I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this one thing goes without a hitch (unlike fixing the chip in my windscreen yesterday - I told you I was unlucky!).  If it all works out, then great.  I know meters in themselves don’t save money, but if it means I’m doing just a little bit towards the bigger effort, well, I’ll settle for that.

Userlevel 6

Thanks for the update, @CrispyUK, I really appreciate your understanding in this busy uncertain time, but please contact the team, we need to look into your account to bring it up to date. 

You can send us a message on FacebookTwitter or our Help Centre has online chat. You can reach our team on: 0330 303 5063. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday to Friday.

Thanks! 

Thanks for the reply @Amy_OVO - I’ve dropped an e-mail over to the team so they can take a look at this. I’ve made my own calculations and the credit on my account covers the unbilled electricity, so my account is up to date in that regard, just needs a statement to take the money over from my pot to yours!

Thanks :thumbsup_tone2:

Userlevel 7
Badge +5
Hi @Andrewmk - This is just to let you know that Forum Feedback was one of the major subjects we raised with staff when some of us visited OVO a month ago.

The Forum is a greatly under-used resource, and we discussed why OVO weren't making better use of the wide range of skill-sets available from Members here.

The number-1 issue was that we are getting hardly any feedback to the Forum in return for the amount of information that we fed into OVO. That significantly dampens our willingness to engage in discussion here.

I can understand the necessity of taking discussions off the public Forum pages if there's a need to mention privileged information covered by GDPR rules. However, it would be beneficial to know if OVO engineers have now deduced what is the cause of an error, or if they still require detailed observations to be reported here.

That's why I posted above:
Any chance we could be given a whole lot more feedback on the stuff we're busy reporting please?

and why @tony1tf vented his frustration earlier today. (He was also present at Bristol when Forum-feedback was discussed).


Just so you know, one of the Ninjas (Super-users) has just posted an item onto our private area of the Forum which suggests a possible reason as to why we see so many Smart Meter failures. I'm investigating this further, and I've flagged it up to a particular engineer at OVO who can also take a look at it.

Please forgive us for not immediately making this point more widely known on the open Forum. It would be unwise to cause others to jump to conclusions which could yet turn out to be incorrect.

@Nancy_OVO how am I supposed to know my complaint is being dealt with by a dedicated complaints handler? Clearly mine aren’t as I never get the same person twice. Who escalates? How do I escalate? Your comment just reinforces everyone’s opinions above.

Userlevel 2
Hi @Transparent

Thanks for the info re the private forums.

I must confess if it if it weren’t for my Smart meter issues, Ovo’s forums aren’t somewhere I’d be hanging out. A combo of it not being knowledgable enough and it just not being my ‘thing’ I guess. This is a friendlier place than most though — i have nightmares still about the flame wars on Sonos’s forum.

You hinted at a possible cause for the failing electricity meters. Are you able to give any more details?

Thanks
Andrew
Userlevel 7
Badge +5

Thanks for the update @kelvin1950. I experienced a similar set of delays in getting my Smart Meters to propagate through to OVO’s Billing system. However, in my case I also had an agreement with OVO’s engineers that they could use my site to test out code updates.

I must assume by now that you have actually used the word “complaint” in one of those communications with OVO. According to their Complaints Procedure, they have a maximum time-frame of 8 weeks to resolve the  second (escalated) stage of the process.

After that you may ask OVO for a Deadlock Letter, and if they do not provide one, then you are in any case deemed to have reached a state of deadlock.

It is at that point that you are permitted to refer the matter to the Office of the Energy Ombudsman.

I suspect that if you now write that email requesting a Deadlock Letter, you will receive a fairly rapid response from OVO Billing, who will resolve your long-standing complaint! This takes manpower because they have to trace back through the estimated, self-assessed and actual readings since your April change to Smart Meters. I suspect that might be the source of the blockage you’ve experienced.

 

As for you writing to the CEO, I think you went too high too fast. Even the boss of Customer Services is a Manager who is not a Director.

If there had been a collective experience evident here on the Forum, showing mass failure to propagate meter readings to the Billing System, then a Director might’ve taken an interest. They’re responsible for setting procedures in place rather than dealing with the individual cases going through those procedures.

It does however highlight an area where this Forum can help to collate customer experiences. So if more than just us two now raise a similar issue here, then I’m ready to change my mind!

Userlevel 6
Water pistol at the ready 💧💧

Let me know if there's anything I can help with @Andrewmk

Thanks for the update @kelvin1950. I experienced a similar set of delays in getting my Smart Meters to propagate through to OVO’s Billing system. However, in my case I also had an agreement with OVO’s engineers that they could use my site to test out code updates.

I must assume by now that you have actually used the word “complaint” in one of those communications with OVO. According to their Complaints Procedure, they have a maximum time-frame of 8 weeks to resolve the  second (escalated) stage of the process.

After that you may ask OVO for a Deadlock Letter, and if they do not provide one, then you are in any case deemed to have reached a state of deadlock.

It is at that point that you are permitted to refer the matter to the Office of the Energy Ombudsman.

I suspect that if you now write that email requesting a Deadlock Letter, you will receive a fairly rapid response from OVO Billing, who will resolve your long-standing complaint! This takes manpower because they have to trace back through the estimated, self-assessed and actual readings since your April change to Smart Meters. I suspect that might be the source of the blockage you’ve experienced.

 

As for you writing to the CEO, I think you went too high too fast. Even the boss of Customer Services is a Manager who is not a Director.

If there had been a collective experience evident here on the Forum, showing mass failure to propagate meter readings to the Billing System, then a Director might’ve taken an interest. They’re responsible for setting procedures in place rather than dealing with the individual cases going through those procedures.

It does however highlight an area where this Forum can help to collate customer experiences. So if more than just us two now raise a similar issue here, then I’m ready to change my mind!

Thanks for the info re. deadlocks, I’ll give that a try.

Most organisations have a department that recognises that a complaint email sent to the CEO is tantamount to a customer leaving. They employ staff to sort those problems out. Clearly OVO don’t actually respect their customers that much.

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

That’s a fair point @kelvin1950. I’ve visited OVO (Bristol HQ) several times over the last couple of years, and I don’t think that’s how they’re functioning. It’s easier to see why if you know the company background.

OVO comes from a visionary leader, Stephen Fitzpatrick, who set up the company with his wife, working from their kitchen table. He is planning 5 to 10 years ahead of the current technology, and is more in the mold of a “free-thinker” than a “business strategist”!

About 18 months ago, OVO was developing some the technology which Stephen knew would be required for future domestic energy delivery. This was attracting significant incoming investment from the likes of Mitsubishi.

However, whilst Stephen remained as overall CEO, the daily work of keeping the company on-track was seriously depleting the time needed for creative thinking. OVO therefore appointed Adrian Letts as CEO of its customer-focussed retail arm. His background at Tesco Online placed him in a better position to be the strategist for the part of the company which we tend to think of as OVO, whilst leaving time for Stephen to innovate within the Kaluza (development) side of the OVO Group which includes Indra Renewable Technologies.

 

Customer Services remains headed up by a manager, JH, who I’ve met over lunch in June’19. He is an advocate of the Forum, but for obvious reasons isn’t going to openly post here!

Nevertheless, it’s possible that the Forum Moderators @Tim_OVO and @Nancy_OVO will message him to draw his attention to topics being raised here.

 

One of the Topics which I refer to about once every three weeks is the Complaints Procedure. The system does work… but it’s amazing how many customers (of all Energy Suppliers) don’t actually implement what it says - mainly because they haven’t read it.

For that reason, OVO’s web content staff appear to have been doing a tidy-up, removing old iterations of the Procedure and ensuring that it can readily be found on the main Feedback page rather than within a more general list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). I’ve noticed changes to this over Christmas, so someone’s been burning candles to get this sorted!

That’s a fair point @kelvin1950. I’ve visited OVO (Bristol HQ) several times over the last couple of years, and I don’t think that’s how they’re functioning. It’s easier to see why if you know the company background.

OVO comes from a visionary leader, Stephen Fitzpatrick, who set up the company with his wife, working from their kitchen table. He is planning 5 to 10 years ahead of the current technology, and is more in the mold of a “free-thinker” than a “business strategist”!

About 18 months ago, OVO was developing some the technology which Stephen knew would be required for future domestic energy delivery. This was attracting significant incoming investment from the likes of Mitsubishi.

However, whilst Stephen remained as overall CEO, the daily work of keeping the company on-track was seriously depleting the time needed for creative thinking. OVO therefore appointed Adrian Letts as CEO of its customer-focussed retail arm. His background at Tesco Online placed him in a better position to be the strategist for the part of the company which we tend to think of as OVO, whilst leaving time for Stephen to innovate within the Kaluza (development) side of the OVO Group which includes Indra Renewable Technologies.

 

Customer Services remains headed up by a manager, JH, who I’ve met over lunch in June’19. He is an advocate of the Forum, but for obvious reasons isn’t going to openly post here!

Nevertheless, it’s possible that the Forum Moderators @Tim_OVO and @Nancy_OVO will message him to draw his attention to topics being raised here.

 

One of the Topics which I refer to about once every three weeks is the Complaints Procedure. The system does work… but it’s amazing how many customers (of all Energy Suppliers) don’t actually implement what it says - mainly because they haven’t read it.

For that reason, OVO’s web content staff appear to have been doing a tidy-up, removing old iterations of the Procedure and ensuring that it can readily be found on the main Feedback page rather than within a more general list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). I’ve noticed changes to this over Christmas, so someone’s been burning candles to get this sorted!

Hmmmm! It was Adrian that I emailed so his Tesco experience didn’t teach him a lot.

Part of my problem is, I realise, 50+ years of working in customer service for companies who demanded problem ownership. I just cannot understand this “I’ll reply today and then go home and forget it.” mentality. That’s what it seems we’re getting here.

The other thing I find difficult to understand is that 3 of our daughters have smart meters with other suppliers and they all work OK. 

NO SMART METER COMPANY IS INSURED AGAINST THE HARMFUL EFFECT OF 5G AND THEY WONT INSURE IT BECAUSE THEY KNOW THE RISKS. IF THEY WONT INSURE IT WHAT TAKE THE RISK YOURSELF?

Userlevel 2
Hi @BenS_OVO

Since starting this topic I have had no resolution.

To recap both meters work at the point the engineer leaves. Within days the electric meter stops communicating with the comms unit and never reconnects.

Customer Service are now offering to swap out my electric meter for a fourth unit. There is no real discussion, they insist there are no underlying faults or problems.. Each time the engineer is out, no attempt is made toi investigate, test or to diagnose the fault. It’s just a simple swap out each time.

I have no confidence this fourth unit will stay online any longer than the other 3. But CS can not offer me any other option leaving me no choice than to accept a 4th unit. This is not viable as a solution. Can you assist?

thanks
andrew
Userlevel 3
Hi @Andrewmk

Do you have solar panels? They were what was causing my SMETS2 meter to fall over until new firmware could be downloaded. Once the meter had produced too many alerts for reverse current flow, it stopped communicating, and was knackered because no new firmware could be downloaded. I got a new meter installed with my solar PV switched off until the new firmware could be downloaded - still working OK.

Tony
Userlevel 3
Hi @Darran_OVO - sorry, I didn't mean to be patronising, but it frustrating when we know you are unable to tell the full facts. The private forum that @Transparent has written about could be significant here, where we perhaps sign some sort of agreement. Then you won't get our skeptical comments in this public forum. BTW, I just downloaded the OVO app to my Samsung tablet and it won't show my 30min stats. So I looked at the website and they have gone from there as well. So many problems to be sorted with your IT structures!
Tony
Userlevel 7
No worries, just wanted to be clear that this forum and the content and replies we post are always with the best intentions to give you all as much information as we can.

As you're well aware the industry is ridiculously complicated and there are often a number of factors that could be causing issues, so we don't want to start saying it's this or that until we know for sure, hence sometimes we need to keep things simple until we have more info.

We will always try and find out info, and share what we can, we are not trying to hide anything!!

Not sure why the stats are not showing on there, again perhaps @BenS_OVO will be able to shed some light here?

Darran
Userlevel 3
Hi @Darran_OVO

Sill not back yet - getting the message below for yesterday's data which is the only date that the system will show me. I can get year, month and week data. Perhaps the heat is breaking servers?

[h5]Sorry, there is no data available for this period right now.[/h5]
[h5]Please check back again soon[/h5]


Tony
Userlevel 3
Hey @tony1tf

The delay from your live usage to them appearing on your OVO account is simply down to how we as a supplier receive your reads.

Although we are recording HH read data, it comes into us in 24h intervals and ten pushed into our read data repository twice a day. Meaning there will always be a bit of a delay with the reads showing up on customer accounts.

Good news is that once we build our CAD network (which connects your IHD to your WiFI), customers will receive live data in 10 second intervals - very exciting!

Let me know if you need any further info Tony.

Ben
Userlevel 3
Hi @BenS_OVO

Perhaps I didn't explain clearly enough - I already know from a conversation with @Transparent that the communication hub stores readings and sends them as a block of data once every 24 hours under normal circumstances. My post a few days ago said that at last I was getting the 30 minute readings I had asked for, and they started being available on the 18th July. Those sets of 30 min readings - ie 48/day have now disappeared from the OVO MyEnergy website, and I am back to only seeing annual, monthly or daily consumption.
Please let me know if you are doing some sort of upgrade which has temporarily lost the readings, or is it a fault I need to pursue.

Tony
Userlevel 3
Hi @Transparent

The weekly display shows this, but the daily display tab which did allow selecting a day back to 18th July with readings every 30mins, only has yesterday's date available for clicking and throws up the "data not available message". So access to the data seems to have gone from the database.

Userlevel 3
More info for you @Transparent and @BenS_OVO . This is what access of the day page of 30 min readings looks like today (26th July) - still not working. The date selector only allows yesterday's date. I don't have a screendump of when it was working a few days ago.

Userlevel 2
Hi @Amy_OVO

First off sorry, @tony1tf for the delay in replying, no - no solar panels here - I wish.

Well here I am, back on this forum. — approaching 11 months of living with smart meters that do not work.

I posted to @BenS_OVO who pushed a firmware update last week that didn’t work. Ben has not followed up with any contact with me and hasn’t replied to my private messages.

So, sorry guys — this is where I vent a bit.

This is so typical of every attempt, every avenue and means of communication that I open up with Ovo. It fizzles out with no follow up. Every email gets (mis)answered by someone new - and no-one takes ownership of a problem to its resolution. Calls for a complaint to be raised vanish in thin air and promises to have someone call me back are ignored (I’m looking at you here Reece). This has taken up so much of my time and any attempt to push for a resolution sees Ovo push back equally hard. You are experts at putting telephone calls on hold and then cutting them off and not calling back. Your front line call handlers are untrained in most aspects other than how to thwart customer requests to be put through to someone who might actually be able to help.

in essence nobody seems to care.

I’m past warning people off smart meters, I’m now warning people off Ovo. Sorry guys, everyone I speak with is nice — I mean very nice —. Lovely lovely people, every one of you, but you are singularly unable to resolve problems of your own making. I no longer want these awful things but you won’t give me my old dumb meters back and you cannot make work the ones you have dumped on me.

I’ll be the first to concede that letting off on here does little to help my cause or find a solution. But I’ve had over 10 months of this and it makes me feel better to call out your lousy customer service for what it is.

Andrew
Userlevel 3
Hi @Andrewmk

So sorry that it's got so far. I understand where you are at. I would be venting off if I also hadn't got a working system by now.
I've said several times here, that us customers would feel a lot more sympathetic to OVO if we got clear truthful answers instead of what seems like obfuscation. I was lucky - I was put in touch with a specialist on the SMETS2 team, and got answers I could relate to, and eventually a working system. @Transparent has done a lot here to explain the technical aspects so we can understand why there are delays. Let's hope some magic happens - it must be that, if you don't have solar panels ;-)

best of luck
Tony
Userlevel 3
@Transparent et al.
A miracle has happened! I'm getting half hour readings again, back to 18 July. And it is even working on the Android app - screen dump attached. Thank you OVO. Now please tell me, OVO, if this is considered to be an experimental service not to be relied on as it can be expected to stop regularly?
Tony

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