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Why was my faulty meter replaced with an new Aclara meter which isn't smart? I was told it would be

  • 6 September 2021
  • 18 replies
  • 166 views

The clock on my very old economy 7 meter stopped working.  I informed Ovo and they arranged for a new meter - I was told it would be smart.  When the fitter left he told me it wasn’t smart.  Waited nearly 3 months for it.

He mentioned economy 7 as an issue - but other threads say they are available.

Can someone explain - I’m disappointed !!

Has anyone else got a smart economy 7 meter ?

Ovo customer for a lot of years

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Best answer by Jess_OVO 7 September 2021, 11:36

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Userlevel 3

Good morning @AndyBuzz and @Jess_OVO, I currently install these Aclara smart meters and like you I'm surprised at the confirmation you've had back.

 

Looking at the bottom left of the Aclara meter you can see its rated Voltage and current, 230V and 0.5-10 (100) A which would tell me it is rated for 100A single phase as with pretty much all new heritage or smart electric meters.

 

The wiring from the top of the cutout (grey fuse on the left) to the blocks where you have the older version cable colours (black and red) look to be 25mm2 cable which is rated for 100A and more than adequate. The reason why I say 'looks' is that it is slightly thicker than the black and red cables and would have to be confirmed by your electrician if/when you decide on a consumer unit upgrade. 

Perhaps where the confusion in where the meter is not adequate, is for a car charger and the extra load onto the property, dependant on which EV charger you would require you would possibly need to look at upgrading your supply. Which would be a discussion between the EV Installer and yourself to decide if an upgraded supply is needed and they would then point you in the correct direction. 

 

I will be honest the SMS engineer has done a tidy job of upgrading the meter tails and fitting an isolator, I'm just really surprised there is no comms hub attached. Ideally one of OVOs engineers would need to come out and set up the meter, with a comms hub and IHD to get any use out of the meter. I don't believe your 5th terminal (off-peak load) will work unless it has been commissioned in our systems. 

Userlevel 3

Do you know what? I'm soo happy I stumbled across this forum! @Blastoise186 that Aclara guide is really magic and so in depth! I have heard of the field trials of the S2 Aclara 3 Phase, unfortunately I haven't been asked to participate... yet! 😉

 

@AndyBuzz I have been within visual distance of Isle of Wight when I did some work down south for SSE and it looked incredible! Some of my metering colleagues had to get the ferry across each week to stock up on Materials! Please keep us updated on your journey and hopefully you have a resolution soon!

@Blastoise186, @Jess_OVO, @Lukepeniket_OVO 

FYI - after talking to very helpful support team - got the following new email :

 

Hi Andrew,

Following our conversation today just an email to confirm that the smart meter we have installed is ready for 100 amp fuse and we are happy for your DNO to complete the upgrade.

We will also be in touch shortly to book in an appointment to install a coms hub to allow the full smart capabilities of the meter.

Apologise for the initial mixed messages and I glad we were able to get to the desired solution.

Result !!  Many thanks to all involved on this

I can now get my electrician and SSEN to proceed !!

And Comms hub at some point.

Can I also assume that the fitted Aclara SGM1416-B meter is already wired to switch high loads on the night rate (not just a 2A signal).  Think this relates to the ‘5th terminal’ ?

Andrew

Woah, I am absolutely stunned at what I’m seeing here. Firstly, I’ve never heard of this “Smart Meter Solutions” as being one of OVO’s contractors - OVO normally uses their own engineers to fit Smart Meters, not contractors!

Also, you are right. This installation appears to have been done without a Comms Hub which is basically wrong. I can see there’s a cable that would block a normal Comms Hub from being fitted directly on top of the meter, but there are solutions for this which could have been deployed. Such as ones that have a separate cable wired into a Comms Hub that’s nearby. Until that’s done, I’m afraid your Smart Meter won’t be very smart, sorry.

You may want to call OVO first thing in the morning to report this as this is unsatisfactory. The Support Team should be able to investigate and hopefully get this sorted out for you. It’s probably going to need a second engineer visit though, hopefully you’ll be OK with that.

Thank you again - now I am clear.

Have attached a fuller view of the installation - as you can see there would be plenty of room for a comms unit on top of the meter had it been installed a bit lower.

I have a few parallel issues here :

  1.  My electrician is going to make various upgrades - consumer unit tails and earth wire sizes need bringing up to regs.  We’ll probably do a new metal consumer unit too.  Increased size armoured cable to outbuilding.
  2. Main fuse is being upped to 100Amp.  SSEN have asked me to confirm with Ovo that this new meter will be ok with 100Amp supply.  That confirmation is already requested.
  3. I am also concerned that the new night rate has gone up near on 60% (from 10p to 16p).  That is probably going to blow away my original plan on a 30 amp night storage Aga. I’m now wondering if economy 7 is really worth it, not having storage rads any more.  Food for thought !

Ref contractors, I live on Isle of Wight - maybe that’s why SMS were contracted.

 

Userlevel 7

Hi @AndyBuzz and welcome to the OVO online community.

 

Firstly I’m really disappointed to see that your Aclara meter was installed without a comms hub meaning it won’t be able to send us your meter readings automatically.

 

As I understand it this meter replacement was scheduled to replace a faulty meter in which case we do use SMS, a third party contractor, for these type of maintenance appointments. As the most important aim of a faulty meter replacement is to install a functioning meter, whilst we can request that a smart meter is installed there’s no guarantee that this will be possible during this appointment, so I am sorry to hear that you were promised otherwise. 

 

As our ever-helpful community volunteer, @Blastoise186  has already suggested, it’s worth contacting our Support Team to raise this issue. They can advise on the next steps to get this Aclara meter upgraded, whether that be by installing a comms hub on the existing meter or scheduling in a smart meter installation, so you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of going smart. In the meantime we’d recommend reading the Aclara meter manually and submitting the readings on the ‘Meter Readings’ page of your online account or OVO app (download for Android or iOS).

 

Hope this helps - keep us posted on how you get on, we’re always on hand here if you’ve got any more questions! :slight_smile:

 

Userlevel 7

Sorry @AndyBuzz, didn’t realise there was more to this than meets the eye!

 

 

I got a formal answer from Ovo ref whether this meter will support a 100 Amp main fuse.  Unfortunately I’m told it will not - it is only fit for a 60 Amp supply fuse.

I’m a bit surprised,  but maybe the meter itself has to have capability well above 100 amps.

 

I’m surprised to hear this too - as I understood things it’s not the meter rather the meter tails that might need to be replaced to support an 100 Amp main fuse. Happy to be corrected on this one though, maybe @Lukepeniket (a real-life smart meter engineer) might have some insight on this one? 

hello @Jess_OVO , @Lukepeniket_OVO and @Blastoise186 

Thank you all so much for your time and detailed replies.

So there is no doubt, here was my question, and the answer underneath.

Hi Ovo

Account xxxxxxx

Meter replaced 25th August as arranged - so good.

Disappointed - was promised on the phone a smart meter.  It isn't.

Worse was that the meter fitter asked if I knew the main supply fuse is only 60 amps, not 100 Amps as labelled.

My electrician says I need more than 60 amps due to upgrading the supply to our outbuilding, and making ready to fit an Electric Vehicle charge point.  Headroom on 60 Amps is bit too tight.

I have contacted SSEN, and have a quote to upgrade the main fuse to 100 Amps. (£60).  I want to go for this.

SSEN have asked me to check with you that the new meter fitted is ok for this.

It's an Aclara SGM1416-B.  It says 230V 0.5-10(100)A

Is it ok to go ahead please ?

Thank you

Answer :

Hi Andrew,

Thanks for getting in touch with us. I apologise if a 5 port was not installed to hold 100 amps as the household requirers, however, we do not hold a 100amp smart meter currently, so this would not be able to have smart functionality at the property.

Please can you send us a photo, including the Meter Serial Number of the meter so we can confirm through SMS and we can then look to resolve this matter as this has yet to be updated since your visit. The current meter installed at the property is a signal phase smart meter which will not able able to hold over 60amps.

So - I am a bit baffled by the last sentence.

However - as everyone says I need to contact support - I am sure they will help me through.

Some points. 

  1. My 2 yr contract just ended and shocked at the new ‘off peak’ rate - 16p/unit from just over 10p.  60% ? !!  On that basis I need to rethink whether the planned 30 Amp night rate Aga is really affordable to run.
  2. Yes - SMS did a good job on meter tails and new blocks for the electrician.  Now easy to isolate whilst upgrading the consumer unit tails plus upgrade all the earths.  Will also get a metal Consumer unit fitted as it’s understairs.
  3. Hopefully the meter can be moved down for a comms hub above.  They will probably have to re-do the meter tails.
  4. Meter change to different model still to be advised for the 100 Amps main fuse.

All the above I shall discuss with Ovo Support - and let you know !!

@Lukepeniket_OVO - fancy a trip to Isle of Wight - it’s nice at the moment !! Hee Hee.

Userlevel 3

@AndyBuzz  it is ready for switching the high loads via the 5th terminal, the cable marked LLL.

 

I will say that there may be a slight possibility that the meter itself will also have to be changed again. It is nothing to do with being inadequate but rather to do with the way it would be loaded into our systems but then again I could be completely wrong! Only an appointment will tell 😀

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Hi @AndyBuzz !

I can probably solve this puzzle for you. Aclara only manufactures Smart Meters and I have no memory of them manufacturing traditional meters in recent years. If you’ve requested a Smart Meter with Economy 7 capability, you’ll probably have been equipped with an Aclara SGM1412-B or an Aclara SGM1416-B which are both SMETS2 Smart Meters with five terminals that can handle Economy 7 setups with things like Storage Heaters.

If you’d like me to, I can confirm exactly what you’ve got but I’ll need to see photos of your meters. Please feel free to pop them in your next reply and I’ll check.

Thanks

Hi @AndyBuzz !

I can probably solve this puzzle for you. Aclara only manufactures Smart Meters and I have no memory of them manufacturing traditional meters in recent years. If you’ve requested a Smart Meter with Economy 7 capability, you’ll probably have been equipped with an Aclara SGM1412-B or an Aclara SGM1416-B which are both SMETS2 Smart Meters with five terminals that can handle Economy 7 setups with things like Storage Heaters.

If you’d like me to, I can confirm exactly what you’ve got but I’ll need to see photos of your meters. Please feel free to pop them in your next reply and I’ll check.

Thanks

Hi Blastoise186

You are correct - its the SGM1416-B.  Pic attached.

Well the meter fitter (I think it was Smart Meter Solutions) said it wasn’t after I asked him how I get to see usage in real time, whether I use the home wifi to connect, etc.  My son’s has a neat little separate display.

He also said I still need to manually read the usage and submit readings like before. 

So to me, what’s smart about that ? !!

I looked up Aclara on this forum and got the impression that it needs a comms module on the top to be smart for me ?

Anyway - if you could clarify I’d appreciate it.

Do I have to manually submit readings ?

Many thanks for speedy response 

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Woah, I am absolutely stunned at what I’m seeing here. Firstly, I’ve never heard of this “Smart Meter Solutions” as being one of OVO’s contractors - OVO normally uses their own engineers to fit Smart Meters, not contractors!

Also, you are right. This installation appears to have been done without a Comms Hub which is basically wrong. I can see there’s a cable that would block a normal Comms Hub from being fitted directly on top of the meter, but there are solutions for this which could have been deployed. Such as ones that have a separate cable wired into a Comms Hub that’s nearby. Until that’s done, I’m afraid your Smart Meter won’t be very smart, sorry.

You may want to call OVO first thing in the morning to report this as this is unsatisfactory. The Support Team should be able to investigate and hopefully get this sorted out for you. It’s probably going to need a second engineer visit though, hopefully you’ll be OK with that.

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Thanks, that helps a lot! :)

Yup, I’d agree with you there. By the looks of things, a meter relocation might be possible but it’d probably need a more formal check to be certain. I think you can sometimes get a meter moved for free if it’s within a certain distance of the original location - and I’d be pretty confident that if such a rule exists, moving it maybe 20cm down would probably come within the free tier. And yeah, I’d say that moving it down a bit should provide enough clearance for a Comms Hub to be fitted - but there’s always workarounds if needed. Such as having a small gadget fitted above the meter where that blanking plate is right now, then have the Comms Hub fitted close by (such as below the meter) and a wire to connect the two. That trick has solved a few edge cases before. The Support Team can probably advise on that and it might save you having to pay for a meter relocation.

Otherwise, if you can’t get the reposition/relocation done for free, OVO can do the job for you at a cost of £125 as you’ve got a Single-Phase setup. If it had been Three-Phase, the cost would have been £325.

In actual fact, if you’re going to refresh all the cables, tails and other stuff anyway, this presents you with a golden opportunity to get everything taken care of more easily - especially with the possible chance of increasing the clearance above your meter. I’d say another 20-30cm above the meter should be sufficient. Who knows though, if you can get longer meter tails then that might even work in your favour. Either way, it’s a perfect opportunity to re-jig the equipment on your backboard to give basically everything more space. :sunglasses:

Just a heads up though, this will probably involve quite a few parties as there’s different owners of all the equipment. So it’s probably a good time to make a guide on this… And in true Blue Peter fashion, here’s one we made earlier!

As far as I’m aware, the entire Aclara SGM1400 Series can handle 100A on the primary relay but the relays used to control storage heaters and secondary loads can’t, since those relays are intended for load control only. But yeah, definitely understandable - and a very smart move - to get official confirmation first from OVO. While it’s likely I’m probably right, SSEN will be more likely to accept the response from someone who isn’t a forum volunteer and it’d probably have to have OVO’s official letterheads anyway (which I can’t do!). :wink:

As for Economy 7, it’s a tricky one really. If you use a lot more electricity overnight during the E7 hours than you do during the day, then E7 might be appropriate. But if you don’t balance it out that way (I think it’s at least two thirds of your usage during E7), then it could cost you more. The Support Team can probably advise there. I can also try to do some number crunching if you know the figures.

 

As our ever-helpful community volunteer, @Blastoise186  has already suggested, it’s worth contacting our Support Team to raise this issue. 

 

 

Thanks Jess for your input on this

Yes I need to contact the Support team - I also have to make up my mind best way to go from here - also discuss again with my electrician.

 

As far as I’m aware, the entire Aclara SGM1400 Series can handle 100A on the primary relay but the relays used to control storage heaters and secondary loads can’t, since those relays are intended for load control only. But yeah, definitely understandable - and a very smart move - to get official confirmation first from OVO. While it’s likely I’m probably right, SSEN will be more likely to accept the response from someone who isn’t a forum volunteer and it’d probably have to have OVO’s official letterheads anyway (which I can’t do!). :wink:

 

Thanks again for a VERY detailed reply.

I got a formal answer from Ovo ref whether this meter will support a 100 Amp main fuse.  Unfortunately I’m told it will not - it is only fit for a 60 Amp supply fuse.

I’m a bit surprised,  but maybe the meter itself has to have capability well above 100 amps.

So if I still go for the 100 Amp supply to give ‘overhead’ for outbuilding and EV charging, looks like I will need to request a meter upgrade to a make / model that will cope.,  

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

How about I pull off some magic tricks of my own? Hehehe!

Firstly, something that might help is the guide I wrote a few months ago regarding Aclara meter numbering. I wrote it after finding a user manual and some other documentation that really helped me a lot. So here you go.

And then there’s also the S2 Aclara User Manual which I’ve got a copy of. I can’t easily post files here which aren’t images, so that link goes to the copy which is on SmartMe. If you dig through it, the user manual does state that the entire Aclara SGM1400 Series is capable of 100A (referenced 21 times to be precise!) - and there’s no references to 60A anywhere. And it’s all backed up by the datasheets as well.

I wonder if the existing 60 A Main Fuse is confusing things perhaps?

If you absolutely have to, upgrading to a Three-Phase Supply might be possible. OVO has recently been trialling a few of the latest S2 Three-Phase Electric Meters and ones like the Aclara SGM1430 Series could handle it.

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Hehehe, it’s a very good resource! Plus, even with your Custom Rank, you can still rank up in the same way as everyone else. So that means no shortcuts to get into the Treehouses. XD

OVO’s Smart Meter Friend gave Tim a copy of that user manual and it’s over 100 pages long. Tim actually tried to email me a copy but it’s too big to email, so I had to grab my copy from SmartMe instead. It’s got “private and confidential” stamped all over it, so naturally… The owners of SmartMe somehow got hold of their copy a while ago (no idea how).

Sadly, I’m nowhere near the Isle of Wight so I can’t enjoy a trip over the sea...

Userlevel 7

 

Thank you all so much for your time and detailed replies.

 

“The current meter installed at the property is a signal phase smart meter which will not able able to hold over 60amps.”

So - I am a bit baffled by the last sentence.

 

So glad you’re getting some helpful advice here, @AndyBuzz! We too are a bit puzzled by the advice you’ve been given. I wonder if the agent who sent this was getting a 100Amp fuse confused with a 3 phase supply?

 

 

I have heard of the field trials of the S2 Aclara 3 Phase, unfortunately I haven't been asked to participate... yet! 😉

 

Exciting developments are on the way in terms of 3-phase smart meters, we’ve started testing these in a very limited geographical area which doesn’t extend to the Isle of Wight unfortunately (although I’m sure we’d all love the excuse to visit the island!)

 

Not sure if a 3 phase supply would be required in your case but we’ve got some helpful advice on this guide in case you do need to upgrade your supply. 

 

As ever keep us posted here - we’d love to here how this one turns out! :smiley:

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Yay! That’s good to hear.

You’ll also be pleased to hear that I’ve got more good news for you as well. And this is exactly one of the things that I love about Aclara - their model numbering scheme is absolutely brilliant in so many ways!

I can confirm that the Aclara SGM1416-B is indeed a full on Five-Terminal model and also has an additional 2A Relay on top of that to control secondary loads like storage heaters. All of the main terminals are 100A so you’re good to go as long as it’s wired up properly. Which by the looks of things… Yours is set that way. Even if it’s not currently wired up for your use case, that wouldn’t be too hard to sort out. The meter itself is definitely capable, so at most it might just be a simple rewiring job.

Oh, and if you’d had been given the Aclara SGM1412-B instead, you’d have been on a Four-Terminal setup rather than a Five-Terminal. :)

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