Smart meters, not worth the pain?



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Userlevel 6

You're right @Andrewmk, this is not the customers problem and I'm really sorry to hear your feel that we are putting this on you.

Regardless of the situation we pride ourselves on our customer service, frankly the experience you have described is not good enough.

I would urge you to contact our team and raise a complaint so that we can get the customer service aspect of your experience looked into.

You can send us a message on FacebookTwitter and our Help Centre has online chat, or give them a call. You can reach our Customer Care team 9-5 Monday-Friday on 0330 303 5063.

I hope this helps!

Userlevel 2
Hello @Amy_OVO

i have raised a complaint.

i have been told that you will not enter into discuss about compensation until the issue is resolved.

You can look at my complaint reference 05420768, and Jame’s email to me of 10th September.

i am booked in for my fourth meter in November. It has taken from June (when the electric meter stopped communicating) to get this far.

i very much hope that the fourth meter will stay on line, but I have been told you cannot guarantee this.

In as much as no-one can guarantee anything, I understand that completely.

So do I have to wait a week to see if it stays online, or a month, or maybe 6? If the new meter doesn’t work, will you again refuse to talk compensation until you install a fifth? I don’t know.

You have my complaint ref, pull it up — take a look. If you don’t have access to my account, call James in ‘complaint resolution’, and let me know what to do next.

Andrew
Userlevel 6

Let’s hope your bad luck ends here, @Melchett, if your meter were to lose it’s smart function and we couldn’t communicated with the meter remotely, your meter would in effect be a non smart meter. We’d require manual readings from you so that we could bill you accurately. 

Before we book an install we ask eligibility questions, you’ll find more info here, this helps to ensure the smart meter will be effective in your home. 

If there is anything we can do to put your mind at ease, please let us know!

Thanks! 

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.
Hey @Chasdob.



There's 2 important things to remember. First is we are all learning about this new technology and there have been some growing pains. I think we are in a very positive position now and please bare with this new technology, I assure you they are the way forward for the industry. They exist to make energy cheaper for all and (most important) make us all more mindful of how and when we use our energy. The difference between this and any 'normal' new tech trail is we are at the whim of a lot of government and industry regulation that has been put upon all energy suppliers. Could we have done things better? yes, but please keep in mind we are all about building the best customer journey and we we want you to be happy and stay with us forever (That sounds almost sinister).
Second point is with our customer services; although they have been doing amazing things by helping out our customers with S2 issues, it's new to them also and it will take them some time to really get on top of everything (and as we are discovering new things all the time this can be a difficult process). They are a lovely bunch of guys so please be patient with them.

I am really happy this forum is growing and I'll do my best to help as much as I can going forward. I'm going to try and be more of a presence on here that you guys can use. I don't know everything (if anything) but I can always find someone within OVO (or the wider industry) who can help.


Hi Ben, in response to your comments (albeit a little while ago) I'd like to add my own.

This 'new technology' isn't that new and when your customers agreed to have SMETS2 fitted they expected a working system, at least that's what was sold to them. If you bought a car and it once it had rolled off the lorry and handed over it was left with 3 wheels you wouldn't be happy - although you would have some recourse in this case. What recourse do your customers have?

If the units are not being supplied to you correctly (as suggested earlier on the forum) configured as agreed then why do you continue to take delivery and subsequently install them. In a similar vein why don't OVO get the sufficient resources in to correct the situation and back-charge the supplier.

I could go on out of frustration but I will close with this. The forum may be growing, should you really be happy about that?
Userlevel 7
Badge +5
That's a good, clear, powerful argument @enterpryse

... and interestingly I've just given a diametrically opposite view on this other Topic!

I don't think OVO would be prepared to say in this public Forum what (legal) action they may be pursuing against the suppliers of the SMETS2 hardware, firmware, telecommunications and services, but I'd be surprised if there weren't some level of formal complaint being filed.

I don't think anyone in the domestic energy business is wanting to actually throw money at litigation, but I would hope that Ofgem is seeking redress from suppliers on behalf of those, like OVO, who are having to make multiple site visits to exchange meters.

Actually I think OVO will be pleased to see more feedback on this growing Forum about Smart Meters. It's proving very helpful to identify the faults and categorise them. Sometimes us customers are able to assist each other in better describing a fault, which is also useful.

The whole discussion of Smart Meters is going to roll on for a great deal longer. There's lots of other technology coming along which will sit on top of the SMETS2 system. Customer awareness and perception is important in deciding how to present these products, so our comments will be required for many years hence.
Userlevel 2
....... and yet my problem remains unresolved 😕

andrew
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 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 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 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 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

Let’s hope so @Amy_OVO - especially as I took the plunge and booked it in.  If it isn’t broken don’t fix it is still running through my head, but seeing as I’m working from home that week it means I can get it done without having to take any time off work. 

I’m assuming that even though it’s just the electricity meter certification that has expired they will replace both meters?  Part of the reason for doing it is working away from home a fair bit means it’s one less thing to think about, so having one smart and one dumb meter would defeat the object a bit there!

Thought I’d drop in here with an update, my last three statements (Feb, Mar, Apr) have all been only for gas usage, I haven’t been billed for any electricity since my January statement.

It seems there’s a second period of billing disruption/suspension that has been trigged by the smart meter becoming ‘smart’ (part of the provisioning stages I imagine). Ovo are receiving the daily meter readings, I can see them going back to 2nd Feb in the app.

I haven’t contacted customer services about this, as appreciate they are busy and this isn’t the most important thing in the world right now. My fix is coming to an end shortly so hopefully this isn’t going to cause any problems with me switching to another plan/supplier.

Ultimately though, I wish I’d never bothered, I had a better idea of what my electricity was costing me on the old meter giving monthly readings - the “smart” meter has been a complete failure so far!

Userlevel 6

Perfect, @CrispyUK, the team will be in touch! 

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 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 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 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 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 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
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
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


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

This mirrors my experiences. Really friendly and helpful people who all appear to have started working for OVO 10 minutes before I communicate with them. OVO, you’re doing your staff no favours at all. You need a system whereby a complaint is logged and owned by someone from start to finish, not dealt with by random people who happen to be on shift. Before you tell me how difficult this is, I’ll tell you that it isn’t. I worked in a customer service environment exactly like this for close on 50 years and, believe me, it works. As an ex CS trainer, I’m happy to give your staff some training along these lines if it helps.

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

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