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Why was my supplier (Valda Energy) not able to install a smart meter on my 3 phase supply?

  • 27 December 2021
  • 6 replies
  • 81 views

after  waiting two months the meter man arrived- from EDF

some time later  he said he could not fit them for some reason 

 and said i would  get a phone call and left

i am now left to read the meters and report them on line

 i have two meters one for farm buildings and one for the house in the same box

on a outside wall  {smart meters{???????

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Best answer by Lukepeniket_OVO 29 December 2021, 17:23

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Userlevel 7
Badge +3

Hey there @len heard !

Welcome to the OVO Forum. I just need to let you know that we have no way to access your EDF account from here, as this forum is made up primarily of volunteers and we’re unable to access anyone’s accounts. I can try to give you some advice though.

Could you post some photos of all your meters please? While we can’t access the Engineers Report for your failed install, it might be possible for us to figure out a few clues that could explain it. If you could also fill out your forum profile for us, that would be great.

There’s also no reason as to why EDF would be a sub-contractor installing Smart Meters on behalf of OVO or SSE, could you confirm which supplier you’re with please? We can still offer advice either way, it just helps to make sure I can give the right advice based on this.

Thanks!

Thank you for your reply. Sorry, I checked meter installer and it is IMServ (not EDF)

Supplier is Valda Energy & photos of meters enclosed

Profile, I’m an 81year old retired Farmer.

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +3

Thanks! Your image is a bit blurry, but I think I can work with it. If you’re able to take another one though, that would be helpful. I’ll see what I can do with this one for now.

Thanks for confirming your supplier by the way, that helps me a lot. Apparently, Valda currently has contracts with IMServ, E.On and Utilitec for the purposes of installing Smart Meters. I’m unable to validate this with other sources however, as I don’t have a way to check the status of contracts like those.

I can confirm those meters are not Smart Meters. They appear to be either Ampy 5235A or an early variant of Landis+Gyr E110 Single-Rate Watt-Hour Meter, which was discontinued a few years before Smart Meters existed. L+G has since released several newer variants in that time and most of those are now grey rather than white if memory serves.

By the looks of things, you’ve also got a Three-Phase Supply, which would make sense for a farm as you’d probably need more capacity than you can get on a Single-Phase setup. This can indeed be split up into to smaller supplies, each with a separate meter and tariff as is the case here. I notice however, that only two phases are in use, which is a bit unusual. In some ways, it seems as if your Three-Phase Supply has been split up into two Single-Phase Supplies and one inactive phase

As far as I’m aware, this makes it a bit complicated to upgrade, especially because Three-Phase SMETS2 Smart Meters are only just starting to become available and not all suppliers are offering them yet, so you could be waiting a while before you can try again. It also needs to be done by a specially trained engineer, as most engineers are only trained to handle Single-Phase upgrades. I can try to ask @Lukepeniket_OVO if he has any thoughts on this particular setup though.

I think I’ve also spotted a possible safety issue as well, which definitely needs to be fixed. I’m not sure if this was the fault of that last engineer, or a longer term issue, but two of the Tamper Evident Seals on your Main Fuse are missing for some reason - only one seems to be present - and it seems as if there are no Tamper Evident Seals on your meters either. The image isn’t clear enough to confirm how many are missing, but I can definitely make out at least one is missing.

For your own safety and for legal reasons, please don’t touch any of the equipment or attempt to repair this yourself. Seals can only be fixed by an engineer, so you’ll probably want to contact Valda about this when you get chance and ask them to send someone out. There shouldn’t usually be any charge for this type of work.

Userlevel 4

Hello,

 

Sorry for the late reply.

Few issues here, firstly you'll need an engineer capable of working on a 3 phase head. Second is the 'shared/looped neutral scenario' which can be rectified but would need access to both properties at the same time. Lastly is the 'making off' of the armoured cable which has left the red blue and yellow cores as single insulation which would require a separate isolator for each.

 

So needing all of that it looks like there wouldn't be much room to fit everything AND the smart meters.

Hello, and thank  both of you for your helpful replies which are much appreciated. I had hoped to get some better photos today but awful weather made it impossible but will send when I am able.. I have contacted Valda Energy to get their comments on the situation but as yet have had no reply. I will post a better photo when the weather is more suitable.

Thanks again

Len Heard

Userlevel 7
Badge +3

You’re welcome.

Luke just so happens to be an OVO/SSE engineer who installs a lot of meters, so he knows pretty much anything and everything about tricky installs (thanks Luke!).

I have spent the day wondering whether you could solve part of the issue by simply getting hold of a large meter box and having your DNO move the equipment over to it, but the problem I’m foreseeing is that I get the feeling you already have one by the looks of things.

A quick bit of google-fu revealed that you can probably fix that issue by going even bigger… Except that it would apparently cost you at least £300 to get hold of one that’s sufficiently supersized to fit everything but the kitchen sink comfortably, while still leaving enough room for engineers to work with - especially if they want to be able to not have to cram it all in too tightly. This might seem extreme, but you’ll likely want to get one that’s at least 1000mm H x 530mm W x 245mm D as anything smaller might not be enough. 

I’d definitely recommend taking advice from Valda and your DNO first before looking to upgrade the meter box though. I’m afraid it’s probably your responsibility to buy one if you decide to do this, but your DNO should be able to help shift everything over. If you get one with a meter backboard already pre-installed, this also makes things a little bit easier, but otherwise plywood is extremely cheap at builders merchants and you can always get it cut to size.

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