Smart meters, not worth the pain?



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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 6

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

Userlevel 1

Hello All,

First time poster here - please be gentle, and if this is in the wrong place, apologies, but I thought this thread might be most appropriate.

Long story short - I currently have the old style meters and it all works fine.  I set a reminder on my phone to submit the readings once a month and job done.  I’ve recently had an email saying my electricity meter’s certification has expired.   It will keep working and is safe, but they can’t guarantee the accuracy so I need to replace it and that the replacement will be a smart meter.

I’ve been holding off for a couple of years with the whole SMETS 1/ 2 issue, but I believe Ovo now only do SMETS2 meters.  However, when browsing the forum to have a look at installation discussions all I can see is tales of woe, bugs in the system, displays not working, comms dropping out. 

If my meter is still safe, is it actually worth moving to a smart meter or are they still so buggy and fault ridden that it’s going to make my life even more complicated than having to remember to take a reading once a month?  My job means I’m away from home as much as I am in it, so on the one hand a smart meter could be useful.  But not if it is going to cause more problems than it solves.  What’s the forum thinking on the state of these meters at the moment?

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

Hi @Melchett and welcome to the Forum :slight_smile:

Meter certification is a mysterious area of science. It’s true that there is a time-limited certificate for all meters, transformers and electrical distribution equipment in general. But few will actually experience the extremes of degradation that the certification process is intended to guard against.

I’ve seen electricity distribution boards inside West Country farm buildings which still operate perfectly satisfactorily despite being used as bat roosts for the past 70+ years! Perhaps the nutrient-rich layers of guano act as an effective protection from the hostile climatic conditions.

You have elected to make your first post here on a Topic which highlights problems with Smart Meters. Have you perhaps also read the Topic about SMETS2 Meter Installation where there’s a more neutral tone of discussion?

The Smart Meters themselves are inherently reliable. We’ve now had 4 years of SMETS1 installations, and it’s 15 months since OVO moved across to fitting only SMETS2 meters.

Most of the problems you’re now reading about here on the Forum boil down to two distinct issues:

1: Software updates to Meters are occasionally disrupting communication with the In Home Device (IHD). This isn’t as serious a problem as you might suppose. None of OVO’s customers are yet using this communication channel for controlling appliances in the home or for monitoring a Time Of Use tariff. Moreover you can still view your Usage Statistics via your Online Account.

2: Errors in the new Billing System… which is not tied to use of Smart Meters anyway, and is mainly going wrong when historic data is migrated across from the old software.

Does that help to provide you with a more balanced view of the current situation?

Userlevel 7

Hi @Melchett and welcome to the forum - can you say hello here?

 

What did you think of @Transparent’s detailed reply?

 

I agree with their point that smart meters in general offer a big net-gain to customers and suppliers alike. And to the grid. It’s worth remembering that this is a support community. That means people use it mainly for support with queries and issues. Think of all the smart meter customers in the UK that haven’t had an issue……. I bet there’s lots!

 

I’d love to hear about your first few weeks with a smart meter. It might be a critic>advocate story that’s worth sharing. Can you post here after they’re installed? 

We had almost a  year of hell with OVO when they installed the smart meter. I’m a physicist and I’m pretty sure the meter was reading wrong. It is well documented that many smart meters don’t like the DC conversion that LED lights used.

Complained to OVO and then had a four + month fight with them to get it sorted which it never was. So today, I bit the bullet paid them off and left.

Smart meters only save you money if you don’t normally keep your eye on consumption- and as can be discovered by looking on the web, they can get the consumption wrong.

I would say avoid.

Userlevel 1

Hi @Transparent , @Tim_OVO,

Thanks for taking the time to reply.  I’ve had a look at the SMETS2 installation thread suggested by @Transparent which was really detailed and a useful explanation of things.  However, I’ve also had a mooch round the rest of the forum and there still seem to be quite a few issues cropping up across a range of matters - whether it be the length of time for things to settle down, having to input manual readings for months afterwards (did I read that you were in this position @Transparent?), peoples’ bills seemingly suddenly rocketing once a new meter has gone in etc. As it is, beyond a bit of inconvenience when I forget to submit a reading or a reading date crops up when I’m away with work, it’s all pretty straight forward and I don’t have any issues. 

Whilst I appreciate that complaints and issues on here probably represent a tiny proportion of the overall numbers of smart meter customers, it still makes me a little nervous.  My friends will tell you that I am notoriously unlucky - they love it, I seem to attract all their bad luck! - and I can’t shake the nagging feeling that rather than making my life easier, I’m going to be battling through issues various over the coming months if I go ahead with it.   And given that I’m often working away from home, I may not even know there’s an issue until it’s progressed from being a small issue to a big issue, or I end up spending what precious spare time I have trying to resolve problems, neither of which is ideal.

If - and it’s a big if - I did go ahead with it and it turned into an issue, is there any way the smart functionality can be disabled and I can simply go back to submitting readings manually?

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 1

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!

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

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 1

@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.

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