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Why can't I have a smart meter fitted?


I have been with OVO for some years and I am extremely happy with them with one exception. I am still waiting for my first smart meter. When I enquire the answer is always ‘when we are in your area. I don’t understand this. I live in the Scottish Borders not outer Mongolia.

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Best answer by Bumblebee 21 March 2018, 19:30

Updated on 25/08/2020: Book in your smart meter appointment here. Info on SMETS2 meter installations here and a smart meter FAQ here

 

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Userlevel 5

Updated on 25/08/2020: Book in your smart meter appointment here. Info on SMETS2 meter installations here and a smart meter FAQ here

 

Thanks for your reply. I don’t have storage heaters just normal gas central heating with radiators so both gas and electric
I will check out the booking suggestion though. I was not aware of it
Hello
To be honest don't worry about getting a smart meter they are nothing but trouble if they are using wireless or mobile phone signals
had mine removed after complaining to my MP who got it removed within a month for a non smart meter so don't rush to get one installed...
Userlevel 5
Hello
To be honest don't worry about getting a smart meter they are nothing but trouble if they are using wireless or mobile phone signals
had mine removed after complaining to my MP who got it removed within a month for a non smart meter so don't rush to get one installed...

When it comes to signal strength, it’s really tricky for us to predict this. We can advise customers to complete checks (like checking their phone 3G/signal near their meter) but we’ll never be able to say for sure.

In most cases though we won’t have any reasons to suspect that the smart meters won’t work. In instances where the signal is too weak to be able to communicate with us, we can look at installing relays to try and boost the signal too, so there are options we can explore to help customers in these situations.

Lucy
Further Comments from my MP in our Village Meeting

" I,m aware of certain parts of my constituency which have no mobile phone coverage and I'm talking to the Dept for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Ofcom and the Mobile Phone Companies to try and get these "not-spots" covered by a mobile phone signal as soon as possible"
You replied above saying "In instances where the signal is too weak to be able to communicate with us, we can look at installing relays to try and boost the signal too, so there are options we can explore to help customers in these situations."
Why wasn't this offered to me when after trying several times to carry out your complete checks eg.(like checking their phone 3G/signal near their meter) and in the end ......Failed!
Sorry but I don't accept your comments....
Userlevel 7
@garysue I'd be happy to clear this up!

If the meter area has bad signal, but there's OK signal a short distance away (say 3-5 ft away), we can fit an aerial. This doesn't improve the signal, but simply moves the 'hub' trying to connect to a network away from the meter and towards an area where there's signal.

When there's not enough signal for the smart meter to communicate with us in the property (or the whole village in your case), there's nothing we can do to change this.

Tim
So... I have been with ovo for almost 2 years. The reason I changed to them in the first instance was due to a neighbour having a smart meter installed. Fast forward 2 years and umpteen emails regarding the situation I still haven't heard about getting one. I use alot of electricity as this is also the source of our heating plus a hot tub. Considering moving to another company who can supply one.
Userlevel 6
Sorry to hear that, @Jen88. Have you checked up on the booking platform recently?

If you have electricity only at the property, there could be something to do with the meter specifics preventing a smart meter exchange. Does the meter have 5 ports/tails? If so, it can be difficult to swap these due to it being a more complicated type of meter.
Userlevel 7
Badge +2
Well @Jen88 I booked a Smart Meter installation last week, and was offered an available slot this coming Monday!

It does matter where you are in the country. It would help us if you filled out your Forum Profile because that's where I look for such information. Thanks.

If you wish you can take a photo of your existing meter and post it here. That could tell us a lot more than you trying to describe it in words.

There are some interesting new technologies which will shortly become available that might be of interest to you. In the next couple of years, you should expect to see Time-Of-Use (TOU) Tariffs, which will offer variable half-hour slots to purchase energy.

Households which can store energy in any way will therefore be able to choose when to use the electricity according to price-points which you can configure.

So whether it's storage-radiators or a hot-tub, your running-costs could soon be a lot less.
Hi,

Is anyone else having problems getting a smart meter booking ?

[h4]I have used the Ovo smart meter availability website loads of times of the past few months but it always says "However, we’re experiencing high demand in your area, so we don’t have any appointments right now. We’ll send you an email as soon as we have engineers free in your area."[/h4]

I have even been called by Ovo on three separate occasions asking if I'd like a smart meter fitted, but when they go through the checklist and finally try to do the reservation they say sorry, there are no slots available.

On the availability website I've said that I am available every day of the week and all time slots, and can even do same day notice, but I've not heard anything back for months.

I live in Maidenhead and I wonder how wide an area seems to be covered by the lack of booking availability.

  • Paul
Userlevel 6
@Bothhenshaws

Good evening,

I hope you are well,

The teams installing smart meters focus at one place in the country at a time, for example I live near London and have not been able to get an appointment so far.

The meters have been truly popular on an epic scale and OVO are working incredibly hard to get the meters out as soon as possible.

I would encourage anyone who wishes to book or go onto the waiting list to visit smart.ovoenergy.com/credit

I am sorry for the long wait but rest assured its not because you are in the Borders, they will be there soon I'm sure.

All the best

Bumblebee :)


Welcome to the forum @PaulRichard!

Please see the above best answer, I'm sorry there hasn't been any availability so far.

Hope this helps!

Hi guys

This is lengthy but very detailed so please stick with it.

I am really beginning to wonder what is happening at OVO these days in terms of customer service.

I was a previous customer of OVO in both Manchester and Fife and moved to where I live now last July. It was not possible for me to switch to OVO when I moved in because of a complex meter set up and the fact I had storage heating.

I suffered an absolute nightmare compounded by the fact I am a severely visually impaired man , senior in years however I stuck with the situation and with effect from early Dcember 2019 I had obtained a mains gas supply and a brand new central heating system, happy days. 

I had sounded out OVO at length about my position saying I ultimately wanted to return to them for my energy provision, gas and electric. When I say at length I mean at length, over several calls.

My position was quite clear, I wanted OVO to be my energy provider and that as a Blind man it was essential that I have smart meters which whenever I had previously been supplied by OVO was not an issue and the wait was minimal. I was advised that all would be ok and I could have smart meters as soon as I switched, albeit I was advised they would likely be Smet 1  variety.  I had no issues as I was intending to commit to OVO  with a lengthy 2 year fixed plan and therefore started the switch early in December receiving my welcome email dated 11 December 2019 confirming my plan with a monthly payment (direct debit) of £70 per month.

Naturally I wanted to keep track of the switch by checking on line via the on line account management that OVO are so proud of. Although I have a severe visual impairment I use assistive technology so I clicked on the link in the welcome email and got nothing., zilch.

I then phoned OVO only to be advised that for some unknown reason my switch and been canceled and I therefore had to start all over again.

Now the fun really begins but I received the same assurances that everything would be fine and OVO would “look after me”. 

New welcome email dated 19 December 2019 says my monthly payments would be £66 per month however nice lady on phone had already set up Direct Debit for £71 per month. I did not stress too much and received the same assurances re smart meters and was told that once the switch had been completed and I was OVO customer an appointment would be booked.

No worries then? Followed the link on my welcome email in an attempt to set up my online account, took notice of the first time logging in info and logged in using my new account number. Hey presto it said and still says to this day “You are switching to OVO on 29 November”

Not to be daunted by this I tried to log in using my email address and hey presto it said and still says to this day “You are switching to OVO on 29 November”!

I called customer services to be told  “do not worry” your switch will be complete by 9 January 2020 and the issue with on line account management was known about and would be addressed, something to do with me having the same email address for all previous accounts, but do not worry the database will be cleared and everything would be fine.

I was also advised to call the day after completion of the switch to book an appointment for a smart meter. One should be able to do this on line but just another part of OVO that is not working as it should.

So I called after the 9 January 2020  and it was confirmed the switch had been completed however I could not book a smart meter appointment because there were “no appointments” I naturally asked when appointments might be available for booking and was advised to check back in a couple of weeks when the new cycle would be available. This caused alarm bells to ring and I expressed concern because smart meters are vital to me because of my disability. Was told it was down to the meter installer a sub contractor appointed by OVO. I was told “we have no control over this”.

I left it at that however returning to the switch process I also received numerous communications in the post, all of which were in standard size font. I had actually requested email communication as  my first preference with documents to be provided in a PDF format which my technology can use all ok.

One of the documents I received in the post was “Thanks for joining OVO energy. Here is everything you need to know” It was dated the 20 December, 2019 but under important details it said “To cancel call any time before 22 November 2019!!

Today I called for an update on the smart meter situation, guess what? No appointments available. When will appointments be available,? No idea down to the sub contractor. Are meters actually available for install in my area? No answer. Requested to speak to  line manager , was put on hold. Response was “Team Leader says same nothing we can do, that is the way it is” “I will put you on a list to be notified when appointments become available but have no idea when that will be because sub contractor deals with that.

Formal complaint has been submitted and I am one very angry and frustrated punter 

Comments and suggestions welcome.

Userlevel 7

Thanks for sharing this experience with us, @grahambenidorm - we appreciate it, and I can certainly understand why you’re a frustrated punter at the moment. 

 

Please be advised that it is one of our priorities to fit smart meters for as many of our members as possible, ASAP. Operationally, we just can’t cover all areas all of the time. It needs to be on a region based rotation. 

 

The complaints team will be passed this soon - they can take a bit of time (up to 5 days) to investigate before reaching out to you. This will include checking with our engineers and third party contractors to see if and when an engineer can visit. 

 

Please come back once this has been resolved to give us an update!

 

Tim

Will probably play the field and switch again, your loss. Just very poor communication. I understand there can be a wait, area by area etc but assurances I was given are just hollow. Will wait to see result of complaint before deciding if to switch again.

Userlevel 6

That’s fair enough, @grahambenidorm, I’m hoping we’re able to get you an appointment and turn things around!

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

Thanks for sharing this story @grahambenidorm.

May I make a couple of observations?

I note from your Forum Profile that you’re in Scotland, where the National Smart Meter Network is administered by Arqiva. I know that there have been technical difficulties and delays in bringing this “Northern Territory” into full operational capability.

However, I’m still surprised that you were being offered a SMETS1 meter as late as December 2019. That implies you were initially going to be connected via a network which OVO (and other Suppliers) had been using whilst awaiting the National Smart Meter Network to go live.

OVO has not been able to gain “credits” for installing SMETS1 meters in the Central and Southern Territories since 16th March 2019.

 

Secondly, as you have identified yourself as being blind, are you registered on the Priority Services Register?

If so, I would’ve expected this to have been flagged up on OVO’s staff screens whenever dealing with your enquiries. As a result some of the mistakes you mentioned, such as receiving printed correspondence in standard-sized fonts, should not have occurred.

I would hope (and expect) that this will be picked up as a separate issue to the main complaint about Smart Meters.

In the unlikely event that OVO fail to address your complaint within the timescales stipulated in their Complaints Procedure, the Energy Ombudsman would most likely file an additional black-mark against a Supplier who failed to properly address an issue related to the reason a customer was on the Priority Services Register.

Having said that, OVO score very highly for addressing customer complaints long before the Ombudsman gets involved!

 

Finally, I’ve used coloured words in my reply above. If this causes additional difficulties with the technology you use to read material, please say so. The Forum colour system is relatively new. So if it needs adjustments, then now is the time to do so!

Transparent

I am extremely grateful for your detailed response and interest in my situation.

My story has many other strands to it and dates back to July 2019 when I moved from Fife to the Scottish Borders.  When I moved from Manchester to Fife OVO were my preferred supplier and they were supportive and smart meters were installed with a minimum of delay. I do not think the issue of what type of meter came up and everything was fine.

I live in social housing and you may or may not know that thousands of properties  (including mine when I moved) were all electric having storage radiators. Scottish Power were and in many places still do “rule the roost” and many all electric households have the Comfort  Plus type multi rate meters which are a unique beast and cause all sorts of problems when it comes to switching as I found out last July.

When I moved into my property I contacted OVO about switching and basically it was a no no. because of my meter set up. I spoke at length to many many people however one thing that did come out was that OVO openly stated to me last July that they would install a smart meter subject to certain changes to my then meter set up. OVO stated that smets2 availability was very limited however they would install a smets1 type meter. This is a fact I can assure you.

Thanks in part to my own personal lobbying this resulted in first the Comfort Plus White meter being replaced with an Economy 7 meter which in turn opened up the opportunity to switch to other suppliers. Secondly  in November, again following  much lobbying, I had mains gas supply installed and then in early December full gas central heating, happy days.

At that point I instigated a switch to OVO and again had numerous lengthy conversations relating to my needs and one of the first things offered to me was the Priority Services register which having had it over the years agreed to and believe I am on it although quite frankly it counts for nothing.

In fact I was bluntly told yesterday by an OVO customer services individual that if they gave priority to me having a smart meter then some one else with an existing appointment would lose out.

You mention Arqiva and yes I was aware of the delay in DCC but I don’t think that is the issue that concerns me at the moment and  a very nice knowledgeable British Gas engineer who installed my gas meter made some checks and said there was no reason that I could not have smets2 meters. The only reason he did not install a smets2 gas meter was because I still technically had storage radiators and there was another issue with my then electric meter set up which prevented smets2 being installed.

In summing the problem with OVO is the front line customer service staff have a limited knowledge and are unwilling or unable to take ownership of any more complex issues such as mine. They are reluctant or perhaps instructed  by Team Leaders or management  to process calls in the most simplistic way. It seems to be a case of computer “says no”

I do not think it unreasonable for a customer such as me to ask the questions i did such as: do you have smart meter availability in my area ( both stock and engineers)? what is the lead time (delay) in providing smart meters in my area? why if having been told at the time of switching did you assure me that immediately after the switch date I could contact you and book a smart meter install? why are you telling me that your meter installer (sub contractor) has total control and that there is nothing you can do about it?

OVO depends most heavily automated systems and software and this is most flawed. In my case the on line account management system has been a case in question.

OVO needs to up it,s game relating to disabled customers. OVO seemingly cannot send an email in large print format. 

Perhaps my expectations are too high, OVO are not alone but they have not kept pace with their increasing customer base. and are fast becoming just another energy provider. This is unacceptable to me.

Thanks again.

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

Sorry for my delayed response @grahambenidorm - it’s been a busy few days.

Have you yet heard back from OVO as a result of the Complaints Team getting involved?

I generally agree with your assessment that “the front line customer service staff have a limited knowledge and are unwilling or unable to take ownership of any more complex issues such as mine”. But I hope that one of the Moderators (@Nancy_OVO or @Eva_OVO?) might draw what you then said about CS Management to the attention of Justin.

I’m not giving his direct contact details here, but I have met him on a visit to OVO last year, and he’s a strong supporter of this Forum. I know he’d be appalled that you’re being given that impression. If something needs changing in the way that his staff are trained, then he’ll get it done.

Knowing what I’ve learned about the way OVO operate, I think you’d have received a better response if you had emailed rather than telephoned. Not only would both parties then know that you’d got a timed/dated copy of what you said, but it could’ve been forwarded by the most junior CS Staffer to the technical people on the SMETS2 Team (who I’ve also met).

 

Finally the Priority Services Register does count for more than you might imagine. Firstly, it raises the importance of any complaint that you make. An Energy Supplier would be dealt with much more firmly if such a complaint remained unresolved and got referred to the Office of the Energy Ombudsman.

Secondly, last month I just happened to visit the a local resident on the PSR whose electricity supply had ceased. As I left the house I bumped straight into an engineering team from the Distributed Network Operator. Not only did they express concern, but they immediately brought to me the Team Leader with his map of the area on which was marked all PSR houses.

PSR registration doesn’t just affect the way you are dealt with by OVO. It’s a much wider concept than that and will become ever more important as the UK Energy Industry evolves into a multi-agency supply system over the next few years.

New possibilities will start to emerge, such as providing energy (via the Smart Meter) to houses that are being helped by a local Food Bank. Communities are being given a much greater say in how we want energy supplies to be managed… and that’s all for the better.

Userlevel 6

Hey @grahambenidorm, just wondering if you’ve heard back from the complaints team and if there has been any further developments at all? 

Just a heads up, @Transparent, Justin left in early December. 

Thanks!  

Hi guys

Apologies for the lack of updates been a bit manic and  having to get ready for an operation in February.

 

Will put a detailed post here over the weekend.

 

Thanks to everyone who has shown an interest it is appreciated.

Hi guys

I am pleased to report that the vast majority of my issues have been sorted and as of Friday just gone two very nice guys from OVO  Field Force installed my smart meters so happy days!

I “bombed” OVO by phone, email and social media and in a short time received a call from a very nice Customer Services person in Bristol. She informed me that she was passing all my issues to the dedicated complaints team and after a short hold on the line I was put through to a very nice, competent guy who effectively took ownership of my complaint.

Later that afternoon  I got the call from the guy who had arranged an appointment from my smart meter install  and highlighted what he thought were matters that were not handled correctly in the first place and would be looked at internally within OVO. He also manged to sort out an unrelated issue concerning a missing cheque for my Warm Home Discount and the money has now been credited to my OVO account.

The long and short of all this is that my issues should never have happened in thie first place and the guy from OVO complaints department fully agreed.,

The first stop or point of contact with OVO by email or phone needs improving without doubt and hopefully this will happen to avoid experiences such as mine.

Thanks again to all those who have helped.

Userlevel 6

Glad to hear this is getting sorted, @grahambenidorm. Thanks for updating us :)

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