Smart meters, not worth the pain?



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Userlevel 7
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Re-posted and written again from memory because the Forum software discarded what I posted here yesterday evening. Bah!


Hi @Chasdob - I agree with @tony1tf that 3 weeks is too short a time for you to have fully functional SMETS2 meters. There's quite a lot of test and commissioning which occurs up to 5 weeks after the Installer leaves site.

Had I known of your situation earlier, I would've counselled against asking OVO to make any changes to your meter software in the meantime.

The issue concerning erroneous costings on your IHD has been discussed extensively here on the Forum over the past 4 months. See here for example, where a Moderator was correcting my post within an hour of me uploading it! It was only on 19th June that OVO announced they had traced the fault to software in the Communications Hub, and not the IHD itself.

The code was changed first on my Comms Hub as a test, and subsequently on many others too. Just because you read here on the Forum that customers like myself and Tony1tf are receiving fixes for bugs we've highlighted, does not mean that the same code can then be rolled out across all OVO customers. Our SMETS2 installations have been used by OVO to check the effects of code changes because we are providing feedback with significant technical clarity.

So I'm unsurprised to learn that when the IHD costings bug was resolved for you that you then noticed the loss on data transfer for your SMETS2 gas meter.

OVO were quite correct to close the first Complaint you made. They follow clear guidelines. The issue with the lost meter connection is separate to the IHD costings resolution. Part of the problem with reporting faults is knowing when there is direct interaction between issues. That's why OVO have decided to assign @BenS_OVO , a member of the SMETS2 Team, to the Forum. We can describe symptoms, but we need to let Ben decide which are generic, which are site-related, and which will resolve themselves once something else occurs.

You ought to know that the status of the Smart Meters and Comms Hubs when they are shipped to the Energy Suppliers is "sub-optimal". Without apportioning blame on an open Forum, these items require code changes and harmonisation before they will correctly operate.

It was only this last Sunday morning (28th July) that I had code downloaded to my Comms Hub which left me in a position where I appear to have no further bugs on-site. That includes successfully reconnecting a gas meter link which appeared "stuck" in a partway state.

There is no way OVO Customer Support would know about this successful test for several days yet. That's why they can't possibly give you a date when your gas meter issue will be resolved.

It's quite likely that I'm the only OVO customer to have experienced all three of the commonly reported SMETS2 bugs, and yet now have a full working installation, including correct costings on the IHD. It will take several more days before OVO's engineers will feel confident that this new code is robust and suitable for wider distribution.

They will probably re-test code on my meters. They have specific consent to do this, and it would cause me less disruption than most if I totally lost gas and electricity. I have a number of off-grid facilities, including internet connections which I can use to report faults without requiring mains power!

Please feel free to post again here. There are Forum members here who are technically astute and we're a pretty friendly bunch.
Userlevel 3
Hi @Chasdob

I sympathise with your frustration, although 3 weeks is a fairly short time for Smart meters ;-)
I just wish the moderators on these forums, or the customer service people could give us honest answers. We all know that it doesn't take weeks or months for data to sort itself out, so we must be in a queue. When you ring most telephone answering systems they tell you which position you are in the queue, and the waiting time. However, this doesn't apply to OVO and their smart meter data retrieval. Despite being a regular poster here, I have never managed to get a serious technical response to what is going on, except from a smart metering team person when discussing why my electricity meter was going wrong due to reverse current flow from my solar panels, and the firmware upgrade needing to fix it.

Tony
I had my Smart meters fitted just over 3 weeks ago and wished I had seen this forum beforehand and not bothered with the Smart meters.
First the Home Dispay unit only displayed energy used and not money spent. Eventually (after a number of phone calls and escalating my complaint) Ovo got it displaying £, only to find the gas meter is no longer sending readings and no one at Ovo can tell me when it will be sorted. They even wanted to close my complaint!
So a complete waste of time and a lot of frustration. Ovo customer services are very friendly but ultimately nobody takes responsibility for sorting out the problem. I have emailed the CEO but it doesn't look like I going to get a response so I may just have to take my business elsewhere.
Userlevel 6
@Transparent Praise be!!

This is great news!
Userlevel 7
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Well I too have experienced a miracle, Brother! 😉

For on this glorious Sunday morning, I was enlightened by my IHD proclaiming messages of great joy!



and thus they did exhort me:
  • Electricity Meter initialised
  • Gas Meter initialised
So not only do I now have a gas supply reading for the first time in the 4½ months since installation, but my electricity meter has been raised from the dead without the laying on of hands!
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

Userlevel 3
Mine just updated to "waiting for God"
Userlevel 7
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There's not a lot I can say about these screenshots @tony1tf

except that these are errors which surely ought to be notified by email to Customer Support.

You are seeing far more data from your SMETS2 meters than I ever have.

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 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 7
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Well, I'm pretty sure this isn't a SMETS2 issue @tony1tf. So don't be surprised if we don't hear from @BenS_OVO about this.

The online graphs in your My OVO page are generated after the data has been retrieved from DCC and sent to Billing.

I'd really like to have created a diagram showing how the data gets from Smart Meters to the My OVO page for each customer. Unfortunately, I'd be working somewhat blind, because I have never yet seen any usage histograms on my own My OVO page in the 4months since the meters were installed.

I'm not concerned about that, but it's a tad difficult drawing diagrams of stuff I haven't seen with my own eyes!
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
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 @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 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 - 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
Great news @tony1tf glad to hear everything is now working for you 🤞 The power of the forum hey...!

Yeah it's a good point, trust me, no guesses from us, just passing on the details we've been advised to share with customers, so no need to be patronising! We are only here to try and help! 💪

Perhaps @BenS_OVO could help us on this one??

Darran
Userlevel 3
This forum may be pleased to know that my IHD is still showing my electricity readings after the meter/firmware upgrade on 4th July 2019, and as from 18th July I can now see 1/2 hour readings on the OVO My Energy/usage website. I would still like someone with knowledge at OVO to explain the process which creates such a delay before the data is displayed - not guesses from people who don't work for the Smart Meter team.

Tony
Userlevel 6
Water pistol at the ready 💧💧

Let me know if there's anything I can help with @Andrewmk
Userlevel 7
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It may not yet be apparent @Andrewmk, but the idea is that us customers should be generating most of the Forum content. It's not where OVO themselves make announcements, nor where customers should be posting complaints.

It's very much up to "us" what we want to discuss here... and there's even a section for stuff that's not energy-related!

You won't get flame wars here because there's a 7-strong Moderator Team, with one of them specifically assigned as "Mod of the Day". Today it's @Nancy_OVO and if there's the slightest glimmer of flame, she'll be brandishing her water-pistol. 😮

No, I'm not yet posting anything more about the possible cause of SMETS2 electricity meter failures. I'm in communication with the relevant OVO engineer, Ben, and I'm discussing it with other technical contacts in the energy industry.
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
Hello

If your smart meters are SMETS2, there is an ongoing discussion from some of those affected here

You may wish to add something to this discussion - those involved may be able to give you some more advice.
Hi, had the smart meters installed a couple of months ago now. Electric worked after a few days and tells me how much is being used and the tariff. The gas one still doesn’t show any readings and my account online says the electric readings are being sent with the smart meter but the gas ones aren’t.
Userlevel 7
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Hi @Andrewmk - The Private areas on the Forum are a feature intended to be used for pooling ideas, but without the risk of 3rd parties taking those ideas and turning them into products.

To date only two private areas have been set up. But we'd like to see other departments in OVO embrace the opportunity for discussions on particular aspects of OVO's strategy and product-range before they become public. We've dubbed this concept "Focus Groups", but none currently exist.

That's why I spent 8 minutes this morning trying to persuade Google to let me into a multi-party telephone discussion with OVO staff at their London Offices. Bah!

The advantages of using a Focus Group for such stuff is that information can be fed in (including photos and diagrams) by members who aren't all online simultaneously.

To get into the Superuser group, you have to become a Ninja ‼️

That's the Forum status-badge you see next to our ID when we post submissions.

It's not so much the number of posts you make, but how active you become across a range of Topics arising on the Forum. Your posts thus far are only on this one Topic... hence no badges being offered to you yet!

However, if you branched wider into related Topics about SMETS meters like this one here, then the Moderators will notice. They may then alert you if someone else asks a relevant question on yet another Topic so that you can chip in and help.

Since your observations above are mostly accurate, and somewhat humourous, you should definitely spread your skills wider on the Forum. You'll fit in just fine 👍🏼

Don't worry too much about making mistakes... there are others here who can correct stuff.
Userlevel 2
Hi @Transparent

thanks for your posting. — this offers a little hope I guess.

i know for my part there is no active engagement behind the scenes from Ovo with my issues. I have been told they will passively monitor what happens. That’s why I find the whole ‘wait 3 months and see’ response so unhelpful.

Intrigued about out your private forum area... how does one get in ? (I’m guessing the answer is —- one doesn’t 😋 ) !!

andrew

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