Smart meters, not worth the pain?



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Userlevel 7
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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.
Userlevel 6
Hi @Andrewmk,

I can absolutely appreciate how frustrating this issue must be. At this stage, it might be worth dropping us a message on Facebook so we can take a closer look at this issue - there's only so much guesswork we can do via the Forum. We'd really need to access your account and read through what's happened to give you any more specific advice.

Thanks
Userlevel 2
Hi @Nancy_OVO

yeah you you are right —- it was a lousy analogy. I’ll give you that one 😋

But I am really really fed up with the whole thing and I’m seriously tempted to move companies because of it. You have to understand that this has been going on since October 2018, and there is no resolution in sight. It has not been without consequence, as aside from my time, it has screwed up my billing.

Ovo alas is one of these companies where you never speak to the same person twice and no-one takes ownership of a problem to its conclusion. I don’t *know* what the problem is and I don’t *know* what the solution is, but then I don’t work for Ovo. I only know that your only answer is to wait for 3 months to what — see what happens ??? So you guys do nothing but leave the customer with the problem, well — just in case. ?? How can that ever be an answer ? I no longer want thee damn things but you won’t even take them back without charging me. Can you begin to see why I am not happy ?

Andrew
Userlevel 6
Hey @Andrewmk - it's not quite the same. A more appropriate analogy might be: if your laptop was connected to your home wifi, and then signal dropped, this doesn't mean it won't ever reconnect. It's a communications issue, not a mechanical issue.
Userlevel 2
I don’t understand the logic. If I bought a toaster that stopped working after 2 weeks, I don’t expect to be told to wait 3 months just in case it started working again. I mean, sure — it might. But almost certainly it won’t . Anyway the second meter you put in earlier this year exhibited the exact same fault and that one didn’t start working again, so I don’t think this one will either.

andrew
Userlevel 6
Try to be reasonable, @Nancy_OVO . We know that electronic systems don't have time constants measured in months! If you want to stick to this argument, then you must treat us with some intelligence, and list what steps the system has to go through, and where the bottlenecks are that result in customers having to wait 3 months to receive the information they signed up with OVO to obtain.

Hi @tony1tf ,

Certainly don't want to make anyone feel they're not being treated with intelligence. I don't work for the Smart team myself, so I'm not well versed in what steps the meters go through during this waiting phase, but I can certainly try to find out. It may be the case that we simply monitor the comms to keep an eye on what's going on. Equally, meters that have been in comms with us for years can suddenly drop. We'd follow the same process to see if we regain them, or if we might need to intervene.

Not necessarily, @Andrewmk. If it worked for a couple of weeks and suddenly dropped, it may come back. We need to wait a significant enough length of time to be sure that comms aren't coming back before we jump in.

Cheers
Userlevel 7
Badge +5
I'm with you @Andrewmk

My first ESME (that's the correct title for a SMETS2 Electricity Meter) which was installed 11th March, worked fine.

When OVO arrived to correct a problem with my SMETS2 Gas Meter, 10th June, the engineer said he'd been instructed to also replace the operational ESME.

This replacement unit operated for a few days, and successfully sent two readings to DCC, which appeared on my "My OVO" page. Then it simply ceased to send readings across the WAN. It is still working because it's sending readings to my IHD on the HAN.

I know a fair bit about what happens to commission a SMETS2 meter post-installation, and I don't think these faults are connected to that process.

I'm about to send an email to CS with my monthly (manual) readings, so I'll be giving them a timeline of the faults. Hopefully they'll be able to compare that against the transaction record of what communications have been sent to my meter(s).

@Nancy_OVO - is Ben still reading these Forum Topics?

Any chance we could be given a whole lot more feedback on the stuff we're busy reporting please?
Userlevel 2
Hi @Nancy_OVO

thanks for the post.

I know the original message can get a little lost over time, but just to be clear the electric meter *was* working after install, and continued to do so for about 2 weeks. It was returning readings to you and to the IHD.

it then stopped. Your tech guys tell me it has stopped talking to the comms hub. So now you are not getting readings and neither is the IHd. I would presume if you cannot now reach the meter you cannot either reset it or upload firmware. So what are you realisticly expecting to happen In 3 months.?

Going from working to not working does not indicate a need to ‘settle’. It would indicate something is not working. Would you not agree ?

andrww
Userlevel 3
HI @Andrewmk

It can take a few months after installation for the connection to 'settle', which is why we'd leave it a few months first to see if it establishes itself.

Hope this helps!


Try to be reasonable, @Nancy_OVO . We know that electronic systems don't have time constants measured in months! If you want to stick to this argument, then you must treat us with some intelligence, and list what steps the system has to go through, and where the bottlenecks are that result in customers having to wait 3 months to receive the information they signed up with OVO to obtain.

Tony
Userlevel 6
HI @Andrewmk

It can take a few months after installation for the connection to 'settle', which is why we'd leave it a few months first to see if it establishes itself.

Hope this helps!
Userlevel 2
Hi @tony1tf

I’m glad you have yours sorted.

i did (with much effort) get through to the specialists at the smart meter team.

As above, I spoke with Reece, polite and professional as everyone is, I can’t fault them for that. but it was Reece who told me they will take no action for 3 months. When asked why, it was to see if the electric meter reestablishes connection to the comms unit. I get what you say, how can they resolve this if connection is lost ?? I don’t know. I am powerless to do anything. they won’t even remove the damn things (for dumb meters) unless I pay £110.

Andrew
Userlevel 3
Hi @Andrewmk

I'm sure it's very frustrating for you, as it was for me. I'm pleased to say my electricity (and gas) meters are still connected and showing readings on the IHD. The operators do respond at OVO eventually, and will communicate with the SMETS2 experts , and even put you through to them sometimes. It looks like this new firmware upgrade is stable, but you will need a new meter install if the meter has stopped communicating with the data centre, because the firmware can't be downloaded to it. I can see no reason for that advice on waiting 3 months to establish a connection. I would want an expert to explain to me how that could possible be.
I can understand how getting usage on the website could take time if there are loads of customers already in a queue and there is some manual data entry involved. I just looked to see if my usage is appearing yet, but https://paym.ovoenergy.com/ is showing down for maintenance, so I don't yet know!

good luck
Tony
Userlevel 2
@Eva_OVO Hi there,

Well as as I said at the beginning of this thread, I’m not looking for a resolution here. But that’s only because I have emailed, many many many times. I have called many many times. I have taken three mornings off work for meter installs, and that has not got my anywhere.

This isn’t the forum for me to moan but I have tried desperately hard for a solution, from your company for many months, not least because my billing has been messed about since October 2018.

i have been told to wait 3 months for the electric meter to reestablish connection with comms unit (to which it is attached and in the same cabinet). I was told this by Reece in the Smart meter team. I have no idea why it would suddenly reestablish connection, but neither did he. But I have to wait. If nothing resolves itself, that will take me up to a year of this nonsense. I am just trying to warn others off.

Andrew
Userlevel 6

Hey @Andrewmk,

Sorry to hear about the issues you've experienced with your SMETS2 meters. It's hard to say what's happened, or why we've suggested waiting 3 months before a fix can be implemented.

We'll need to take a closer look into this, can you send us a message on Facebook or Twitter with your name, DoB and account number please? If you don't use social media our Help centre has online chat!

Userlevel 7
Badge +5
Hmm. I think this needs further clarification @tony1tf. Most (less-technical) members of this Forum might reach one of two conclusions:

a. Your installation of SMETS2 meters in July 2018 combined with your particular arrangement of grid-connected PV panels resulted in a unique set of circumstances whereby your electricity meter was unable to send data to the Communications Hub bolted above it.

b. SMETS2 meters and grid-connected PV panels are a combination which is not supported.

Personally, I believe that neither of these conclusions is valid.

If (a) were true, then you've just had your SMETS2 meters configured in a way which is different to everyone else, which breaks the concept of SMETS2 universality.

If (b) were true, then there would be uproar from the thousands of people in GB who have grid-connected micro-generation.

I'd like to hear somewhat more fulsome feedback from OVO's SMETS2 Team about what's happening please!

Let's remember that four other members of this Forum with SMETS2 meters installed during 2019 have also reported in the last fortnight that they too are experiencing no readings from their electricity meter. Two have confirmed that they have no grid-connected generation.

So are these completely different faults?

Or would they too benefit from the code changes that seem to have resolved your situation?
Userlevel 3
@Transparent said
What puzzles me about this solution @tony1tf is that the code inside your SMETS2 meter needed changes to be made by OVO in order to allow your grid-connected PV panels not to disable electricity readings.


I would guess that the firmware upgrade will have come from the manufacturers, and needed to be uploaded to meters that were in stock at OVO. It appears that in my case that had not been done to the meter that my fitter was issued with, so had to be done on-line. It feels like these SMETS2 meters have been issued in a hurry without comprehensive testing. Perhaps this is the problem with all modern tech stuff - especially those that use wireless - too many different scenarios to test them all.

Tony
Userlevel 7
Badge +5
What puzzles me about this solution @tony1tf is that the code inside your SMETS2 meter needed changes to be made by OVO in order to allow your grid-connected PV panels not to disable electricity readings.

I had assumed that all SMETS2 meters were universal, and would therefore be running identical code. Isn't that a crucial part of the philosophy behind migrating away from SMETS1 meters which were operating differently for each Supplier?

I can understand that OVO's web-based customer pages may have required changing in order to cater for the concept of Exported Power. And I can appreciate that the billing system may have needed to be altered to accept the data incoming from DCC for customers with grid-connected generation.

But neither of those software upgrades would require new code to be downloaded into the Smart Meter itself.


What would happen now if you moved from OVO to a different Energy Supplier?

Would they be able to accept your meter readings?

Or would they need to remove the code-changes which have been made by OVO?

Is each Energy Supplier being permitted to put their own software variant into your Smart Meter when you switch to them?
Userlevel 2
....... and yet my problem remains unresolved 😕

andrew
Userlevel 7
@tony1tf Well this has made my Friday....! This is GREAT news, not just good news.

I know, I know, lets not get too excited, but really glad to hear this is for the most part resolved for you now Tony!

Great to see you and your solar panels taking advantage of the great weather we are having right now. Have a good weekend.

Darran
Userlevel 3
Hi @Darran_OVO @Transparent et al

Good news this morning! Electricity meter readings still happening, and a phone call from Nick at the SMETS2 tech team. They have successfully uploaded new firmware to the meter, so he was happy for me to turn the solar panels back on - exactly 24 hours after I had disabled them (£5 OVO?) Also a reset of the IHD got the correct electricity prices showing. Nick says they will be keeping an eye on our readings as we have now become a bit of a test case (or is it cause célèbre?).
I was looking at a smart meter website and see now why the reverse meter current could cause problems - the meter sends error messages because we might be fiddling the system by reconnecting the meter backwards. Apparently the generation side of OVO software is not yet available, but as long as they know that I have solar panels they wont be sending round the electricity police!
The panels have now been running for over 1 hour at over 3kW in this lovely weather, so I am charging the car at 3.6kW and seeing a residual power draw from the grid of around 900W.
Hopefully you wont hear any more from me about failures in SMETS2 meters. Although, I am led to believe it could be a few weeks before our usage appears on OVO's MyEnergy - the next milestone.
Tony
Userlevel 7
@tony1tf Thanks for the updates on your latest install. Seriously, I think we are jinxed with yours. Not great, appreciate its frustrating.

There is a problem with the IHD showing the right readings on SMET2, we are well aware of this and working to correct, so you are not on your own here. It's actually what we were busy testing in the Smart Meter test room you visited when you were here. @Transparent has posted about this over on this topic.

Hopefully this will all be sorted soon and you will be fully up and running. For both our sakes, I hope that's the case.
Userlevel 6
I've moved your posts over here, @tony1tf!
Userlevel 3
@Darran_OVO @Tim_OVO @Nancy_OVO
@Transparent @Leo Moran @aaronr @UC Bear @PeterR1947 @NoPoke

A phone call to OVO customer service got me through to the tech team, and they managed to turn on my electricity readings, which hadn't happened after 3 hours without my intervention.
The operator also says that they will be emailing me about the solar panel problem. So, here's hoping it's sorted. I do note, however, that the electricity cost readings are rubbish - probably a known fault for all?
Userlevel 3
@Darran_OVO @Tim_OVO @Nancy_OVO
@Transparent @Leo Moran @aaronr @UC Bear @PeterR1947 @NoPoke

Over 2 hours now, and no electricity readings. Should I just turn the solar panels on again and forget about OVO?

Tony
Userlevel 3
This is probably the wrong thread, so moderators please feel free to move it somewhere else. I just wanted to give some feedback to those of you who are 'eagerly' awaiting the results from the 4th smart electricity meter install here in Leicester, which I talked about at the Bristol VIP day. This is needed to get a SMETS2 meter with updated firmware which can cope with my solar panels without losing communication.

The installer - Richard - who has been here before, and knows me on first name terms now 😉 arrived on time. He hadn't been told the exact details of the problem, so I explained to him that he was supposed to have a meter with updated firmware. He rang OVO and found that this was not the case - new firmware would need to be uploaded on-line. Now that immediately created a problem, in that if the meter failed before the upload, then yet another visit would be needed. We discussed the problem, and I agreed that I would leave the solar panels off for 2 days, giving OVO plenty of time to get new firmware uploaded. The agreement is to get an email from OVO when the upload is complete - apparently the team cannot schedule an immediate update. This will cost me around £10 at this time of year, which I will attempt to claim back from OVO.

I left Richard and his new lad who was learning on the job to install the new meter, and they then announced that all was complete. I looked at the IHD, and it was still not showing electricity, so Richard said to wait a bit for it to update, but he wasn't prepared to stay till it did.
I have now been waiting for 50 mins since the power went on and the IHD is still only showing gas. I will give it a an hour or two more before ringing the OVO line and also possibly Richard's mobile number to find what is happening. At the present time I have little faith in the system!

Tony

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