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When will RTS meters stop working?

  • 6 October 2023
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The Radio teleswitch (RTS) shutdown FAQ seems to say that the RTS meters may stop working at the end of 2023 (which is now less than 3 months away).  Is this correct or has the date been extended?  We have an RTS meter and are on the Superdeal tariff but have had no communication from OVO about this or what is happening.  Should I be worried?

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Best answer by BPLightlog 7 October 2023, 09:07

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Updated on 14/06/24 by Shads_OVO

 

Update on RTS shutdown:

 

As part of the RTS Project development, we are really happy to share with you our progress:

 

As you may be aware, the RTS signal that instructs some of our meters when to move to the “Off Peak Period”  will be closing down soon and we need to arrange for all of our RTS customers to have a meter exchange so they don’t lose any of their meter functionality.

 

The RTS signal will end for our customers on 30 June 2025. The period between 1 July - 30 September 2025 will then be used to close-down the RTS signal and allow us to manage any unexpected customers impacted.

 

After a very successful pilot, from the 17th June 2024 we will begin writing to our Economy 10 RTS customers to invite them to call us to arrange for their meter exchange. 

 

We are continuing to work at pace to enable the same solution for the majority of our other RTS customers and our aim is to begin writing to these customers in Aug 2024. 

 

We will continue to update you on our progress.

Hi @SteveUK , as far as I’m aware the deadline hasn’t moved but it’s the signal that’s being decommissioned so if they’ve not changed your meters by then, they would continue to operate just without the signal. 
Here’s a thread on the subject 

 

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I’m also told that OVO will be starting to reach out to affected customers soon to commence the process of upgrading you to Smart Meters.

I strongly recommend you accept that offer.

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There’s very little time left before the end of the year so it will need to be addressed with some urgency!  If the RTS signal stops from January onwards we don’t want to be stuck with no heating in the winter (or paying a MUCH higher rate for heating).  The ‘top up’ period in the afternoon under the superdeal tariff is also essential for effective operation of our storage heaters.

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It would be good to have some communication about this from OVO - time is now very short.  There will be chaos in January if the RTS signal stops (as forecast in the FAQ article quoted above - which is the cause of my concern).

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Even if the RTS Signal dies, most of the affected meters should continue to run as-is using the last known switching times on repeat. The engineers of the 1980’s did consider that possibility and built-in a fail-safe mechanism.

But it’s designed for short-term use only - please don’t rely on it for longer than you have to.

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I hope that’s correct and the fail-safe mechanism works (although I must admit to being sceptical). 

The FAQ article says the following which is why I’m worried:

“The shutdown of the RTS service would mean that the teleswitching features would completely stop working, which could in theory leave your electricity meter jammed on the last rate it was on before the signal died, prevent your heating/hot water from turning on properly or leave the heating/hot water jammed on 24/7.”

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Indeed, it was myself who wrote that, albeit some time ago and things have changed a little since. I wasn’t aware of the fail-safe at the time, but arguably it’s better to leave that in as a precaution and to factor in the worst-case scenario.

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Hey @SteveUK,

 

We have an FAQ which may be helpful to you:

 

 

If a customer has a meter that’s affected by the RTS switch off, we’ll be in touch to arrange a meter and tariff upgrade to keep your heating and hot water working.

 

There is more information about this on the website here

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Thanks Emmanuelle - hopefully this will be actioned in good time before the year end.  I note the link refers to “a meter and tariff upgrade”.  Does this imply that the tariff will change?  If so, it would be good to understand how.  We are on Superdeal and it’s important that we have an off-peak heating period during the afternoon to top up our storage heaters (as well as off-peak overnight).

Incidentally, we are finding that the RTS signal somehow interferes with the data recording for our solar battery.  It doesn’t interfere with the functioning of the system but randomly switches on and off the data log at midnight, 08:00 and 16:00.  I wonder if anyone else has this problem.

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My understanding is that the tariff being offered depends on your circumstances. The best people to talk to are the specialist team at OVO handling these matters.

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Do you have the contact details for the relevant team?

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IIRC you can be connected to them if you call 0330 303 5063 and request it.

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Hey @SteveUK,

 

Blastoise is right, it would depend on individual circumstances. I imagine most customers would be moved onto an Economy 7 Tariff. 

 

I did some research but couldn’t find anything online about RTS interfering with Solar battery. If you find out, would be brilliant if you popped back to this topic to update us! 

 

I’ve added a badge to your account for having solar! 🌕

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Hi Emmanuelle

 

I hope something better than Economy 7 is on offer.  Superdeal or Economy 10 are MUCH better for those of us with storage heaters as they provide a top up in the afternoon.  Even with modern, well-insulated storage heaters it is better to have a top up in the afternoon to ensure they are hot and functioning well during the evening.  OVO should be promoting electric heating and so providing a tariff that works best for this type of heating.  Another option would be an ‘intelligent’ tariff which provides some charge to storage heaters (and batteries) when the demand (and price) is low. - again, this is likely to provide some charge in the afternoon.  Will smart meters provide this function?  Although we have a battery to store cheaper rate electricity during the winter, this is only sufficient to power normal household use.  It’s not practical (or cost-effective) to use batteries to store the much higher number of kwh required to heat a large number of storage heaters (we have 10 or more).

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Another on a THTC set up who feels Economy 7 wouldn’t quite cut it.  My hot water is also switched on and off at least twice per day at the moment.  It would be no good just being able to heat your water for 7 hours overnight.  I hope all this will be thoroughly looked in to and a suitable tariff with timings that work for those of us that are currently perfectly happy with our set up.

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Smart THTC might be an option in some cases - OVO might offer it to you if the Electric Heating Team feels it’s appropriate once it’s ready.

However, you must be prepared for change - there’s no guarantee that whatever tariff you currently have will still be around in the future.

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I agree with Maureen, our hot water can be used up by morning showers so a boost in the afternoon means we still have hot water in the evening.  We have been on Superdeal for over 30 years and our heating system was designed around this tariff (with the help of SSE experts).  Any change in tariff should be an improvement not a backward step that would leave many of us with an inadequate set up (or being forced to use more expensive rate electricity).  There is a great drive to shift loads away from the peak times and those of us with storage heaters, immersion heaters and batteries are well positioned to help with this - but only if we are provided with suitable tariffs.  This is all common sense but the replies we’re getting are worrying.

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I agree with Maureen, our hot water can be used up by morning showers so a boost in the afternoon means we still have hot water in the evening.  We have been on Superdeal for over 30 years and our heating system was designed around this tariff (with the help of SSE experts).  Any change in tariff should be an improvement not a backward step that would leave many of us with an inadequate set up (or being forced to use more expensive rate electricity).  There is a great drive to shift loads away from the peak times and those of us with storage heaters, immersion heaters and batteries are well positioned to help with this - but only if we are provided with suitable tariffs.  This is all common sense but the replies we’re getting are worrying.

Simply out of curiosity how would the Octopus Cosy tarrif work for you? Would it work out very expensive? 

https://octopus.energy/smart/cosy-octopus/

It was designed for heat pumps but has a low cost afternoon slot. 

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Jeffus

Yes, I thought that but they say its only for heat pumps which is a shame.

 

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Hi Emmanuelle

 

I hope something better than Economy 7 is on offer.  Superdeal or Economy 10 are MUCH better for those of us with storage heaters as they provide a top up in the afternoon.  Even with modern, well-insulated storage heaters it is better to have a top up in the afternoon to ensure they are hot and functioning well during the evening.  OVO should be promoting electric heating and so providing a tariff that works best for this type of heating.  Another option would be an ‘intelligent’ tariff which provides some charge to storage heaters (and batteries) when the demand (and price) is low. - again, this is likely to provide some charge in the afternoon.  Will smart meters provide this function?  Although we have a battery to store cheaper rate electricity during the winter, this is only sufficient to power normal household use.  It’s not practical (or cost-effective) to use batteries to store the much higher number of kwh required to heat a large number of storage heaters (we have 10 or more).

There was some work on intelligent charging of storage heaters but I don't think it progressed to a full blown solution. Others may know. 

https://company.ovo.com/ovo-and-glen-dimplex-heating-ventilation-announce-partnership-to-drive-the-decarbonisation-of-heating/

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Jeffus

Yes, I thought that but they say its only for heat pumps which is a shame.

 

If it was for your situation would the costs  work? OVO have shown some flexibility with their tariff in the past. I know people without EVs on their old Go tariff for example 

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Jeffus, yes, good idea, I’ll see if I can persuade them.

What I’m not clear about is who pays for installation of the new meter and all the rewiring of the consumer units and installation of timers etc that will be necessary.  Also not helped by the fact that we have a 2-phase supply due to the total load of our storage heaters so its not a straight forward set up.

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Jeffus, yes, good idea, I’ll see if I can persuade them.

What I’m not clear about is who pays for installation of the new meter and all the rewiring of the consumer units and installation of timers etc that will be necessary.  Also not helped by the fact that we have a 2-phase supply due to the total load of our storage heaters so its not a straight forward set up.

I suspect you are better off waiting to see what ovo are going to do with your meters, then potentially shop around for tarrif if ovo are not competitive. That was my main thought with the cosy tariff. 

Especially as you have the added complication of a 2 phase supply.

Out of curiosity what are the grants like for heat pumps in Scotland. Is this something you have ever considered.

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Yes, I agree it makes sense to see what OVO come up with first (although if its still in development that doesn’t provide much confidence that it will be ready - and installed - by 31/12/23!).

Not sure why you think we are in Scotland - we’re in deepest Oxfordshire.  A heat pump would not be suitable for us as 1) we have a poorly insulated Grade 2 stone farmhouse built in the 1700s and 2) it would be very difficult (and undesirable) to install pipework without damaging the floors, walls etc.  This is why we opted for storage heaters 30+ years ago (which have served us well).  The gentle, continuous heat is also much better for the fabric of the  house rather than the more rapid changes of temperature that radiators would provide.

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Yes, I agree it makes sense to see what OVO come up with first (although if its still in development that doesn’t provide much confidence that it will be ready - and installed - by 31/12/23!).

Not sure why you think we are in Scotland - we’re in deepest Oxfordshire.  A heat pump would not be suitable for us as 1) we have a poorly insulated Grade 2 stone farmhouse built in the 1700s and 2) it would be very difficult (and undesirable) to install pipework without damaging the floors, walls etc.  This is why we opted for storage heaters 30+ years ago (which have served us well).  The gentle, continuous heat is also much better for the fabric of the  house rather than the more rapid changes of temperature that radiators would provide.

Have you looked at this?

https://www.current-news.co.uk/centrica-and-glen-dimplex-to-trial-storage-heaters-in-vpp/

https://www.centrica.com/media-centre/news/2023/british-gas-launches-dimplex-quantum-tariff-the-smart-tariff-that-decarbonises-your-home/

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