Smart meters, not worth the pain?



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Userlevel 2
Well ok, Transparent, I’ll provide what I can.

First Smets2’s went in at beginning of October 18, but never appeared to work so I won’t go into that.

Their engineer Tim, great guy (knows his stuff), replaced the electric SMETS2 with a revision model. He had gas and electric working on the day he left. Both returned daily readings which showed in the app and the IHD also showed dual fuel. Things were great from 16/4 for six days, and then the electric dropped off the IHD and there were no further daily readings for electric uploaded.

Ovo had no idea what was going on, and had no suggestions other than to do another swap.

Tim was back with a third electric meter and comms unit on 5th June. Again everything just worked — but the electric dropped off on 31st June.

Gas has been fine throughout — Ovo tell me the electric meter has stopped communicating with the comms unit, (even though they are linked ??) but don’t know why.

LEDs always show normal (all flash in unison apart from mesh - every 5 seconds).

Only advice I’m given is to wait 3 months — see what happens.

hope this helps.
Andrew
I agree with the pain.

I had British Gas Smart Meters which were fine when I was with them, but when I migrated to OVO, they stopped being Smart. I held off getting new meters until the SMETS2 roll out became available and I had a Gas and Electricity Meter installed.

Worked fine for a few days and then Electricity Readings just stopped. Gas has been fine.

Raised the issue several times and it's all gone a bit quiet. Being told to wait 2-3 months in the hope that it will sort itself out is not really what I expect.

I've no idea what would happen if I changed supplier.
Userlevel 2
Ahh, something else Ovo can add to their list of things to fix 😋

Andrew
Userlevel 7
Badge +5
Sorry @Andrewmk - the Forum software is being quite vindictive towards me this evening. It's re-routed both of responses to you into the Spam bin! Aaaagh!

The Moderators will retrieve them in the morning (@Amy_OVO or @Tim_OVO ?). It's a known bug which hits me more than other users. So I'm keeping this message short in the hope I can get it uploaded before the gremlins notice I'm still here! 😧
Userlevel 7
Badge +5
That's still useful feedback @Andrewmk

There are two people in OVO who need to read what you've just written.

The first is Justin, who is the Manager of Customer Services. I was able to talk with him over lunch a couple of weeks ago. He is favourable towards the Forum, and I was able to put to him two particular cases where OVO's procedures were needlessly making more work for his staff.

It's clear that the SMETS2 failings aren't going to get resolved in the next few days, and possibly not within the 8 week time-frame during which OVO must respond to any customer who implements their complaints procedure. So Justin will need to know that the SMETS2 Team must provide his staff with better information before they get deluged under a pile of complaints!

The second person who needs to know what you're facing is Ben, a member of the SMETS2 Engineering Team. He's monitoring technical points being made here on the Forum. But he needs accurate information such as dates when meter engineers attended, whether you've got PV panels or an EV charger etc.

So for Ben's benefit please

a. fill out your Forum Profile with basic background details. Some faults may be geographically based, so such information is important.

b. state here any further observations you may have, such as "the gas meter never communicated with my IHD" or "the electricity meter stopped sending data to OVO after n weeks".

That means others can read what you've written, and say "me too" or whatever.

I'll now tag @Darran_OVO because he's the Forum Manager, and he'll ensure the two relevant members of staff get to see this Topic.

I'm now away for 24hrs because I'm meeting up with representatives & engineers from my DNO (Western Power) tomorrow. So I won't be responding further here.

And, yes, I know that the Forum-software has just removed my first reply to you, but that's due to a software bug. The duty Moderator tomorrow (@Amy_OVO or @Tim_OVO ?) will fish it out of the bin and re-post it here.
Userlevel 2
Hi Transparent.

Thanks for your posting. Clearly you are very knowledgable about this and I hear what you say. However though Ovo are never anything but polite, but I’m finding it hard to be sympathetic. The problem may not be of their making but they simply appear to have little sense of how this technology works, or how to resolve it when it doesn’t. As an end customer, I shouldn’t care how it works — but I know it doesn’t, and I’m afraid I only have Ovo to talk to.

A typical dialogue (I’ve had many) with Ovo will go something like this:

Me: my smart meters have stopped working.

Ovo: no they haven’t, we’re getting daily readings.

Me: no you’re not.

Ovo: yes we are.

Me: no, really you are not.

Ovo. Oh, no we’re not. We’ve lost comms.

Me: why?

Ovo: we don’t know.

me: what should I do ?

Ovo: wait 3 months.

Me: what will happen in 3 months?

Ovo: we don’t know, let’s wait and see.

Me: will connection resume in 3 months?

Ovo: we don’t know.

Me: oh ok, and if it doesn’t?

Ovo: we’ll swap out your meter for the fourth time.

Me: will the new meter work or will it have the same issues ?

Ovo: we don’t know.

And on it goes, with no end in sight. I wouldn’t have any confidence in buying a toaster from these people.

they are very nice, they are charming — but they don’t know what they are doing.

andrew.
Userlevel 7
Badge +5
Thanks for posting this @Andrewmk

To clarify matters for others who read this, the earlier SMETS1 meters were supplied under contracts between Energy Suppliers, like OVO, and the meter manufacturers. The meter communications were those implemented by the Energy Suppliers themselves, most commonly in partnership with mobile phone network operators.

In other words, SMETS1 hardware and software was under control of the Energy Suppliers themselves... hence the issues when you tried to switch!

The later SMETS2 meter network was commissioned under contracts between the Data Communications Company (DCC) and suppliers. You can actually read those contracts here for the communications service providers. And here is the specification for the interface which a SMETS2 electricity meter manufacturer must provide if they wish to get hardware approved to operate on the National Smart Meter Network.

In other words, the design of these meters and their functionality is no longer in the hands of Energy Suppliers like OVO.

Whilst there is a lot of flak being aired on this Forum, much of it is directed at the wrong parties.

The test and approval process by DCC may need to take its share of the blame.

And the Energy Suppliers are obliged to keep fitting Smart Meters under the terms of their Licence Agreements with the Energy Regulator, Ofgem.

OVO is caught between a rock and a hard place.

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