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Electricity switch to OVO delayed due to data collector not agreeing on changeover meter reading - Why is this and what can I do?

  • 8 September 2020
  • 11 replies
  • 257 views

Hello there!

 

Our switch to OVO was meant to complete on 7th February yet so far we have no access to our online account (My OVO) so can’t access anything ie bills, usage etc or submit meter readings.

 

It would appear that the problem is that the electricity meter has not transferred over successfully and is in the hands of the “data collector”. 

 

Very disappointing that we are no further on and only 5 months left until the contract is over. 

 

I was hoping that someone could look into why its taking so long to switch?

 

Thank you,

Mrs Shaw

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Best answer by Tim_OVO 9 September 2020, 11:39

Updated on 02/03/21:  

 

Apparently the issue is that Octopus (old energy supplier) and OVO can’t agree on closing/opening readings 

 

Thanks for this detail, @llamehtdos 

 

This rules out the erroneous transfer and meter detail issues I suggested above. I’ve tweaked the title to make it more specific to the issue: the changeover meter reading!

 

As @Transparent mentions, this could be wrong readings provided by outgoing tenants prior to the switch. Or a lack of readings in general, meaning bad estimates in the months leading up to the switch. 

 

Either way, it sounds like a reading dispute is ongoing (or at least I hope it’s been started). A supplier can raise this if they get two sets of readings, at least 14 days apart (ideally a bit more), so they can look at usage and go: using this usage to backtrack or forward on to the switch date, the reading should be xxxxx - this is what we propose: do you accept? The process can take up to 12 weeks. 

 

Either supplier should be able to confirm if this is happening, and what the delay is. In the meantime, hopefully your Direct Debit to OVO is ensuring you are building up a credit balance ready for your charges to be applied. 

 

Getting a smart meter will avoid reading disputes in the future

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Userlevel 7

It would appear that the problem is that the electricity meter has not transferred over successfully and is in the hands of the “data collector”. 

 

This has taken a really long time - so sorry to hear this, @llamehtdos 

 

Can you provide a bit more detail, so we can point you in the right direction or get the ‘best answer’ info that’s specific to the hold up. 

 

The ‘data collector’ is a third party that is (amongst other things) involved in the transfer of the supply details of one (or both ) of the suppliers involved in the switch. They are always involved, but a delay could be any of the following:

 

  1. Opening meter reading dispute (more info here)
  2. Erroneous transfer (more info here)
  3. Meter details don’t match up or are listed incorrectly on database (more info here
  4. Something else

Could you help us narrow the field of possibilities? 

@Tim_OVO  Apparently the issue is that Octopus (old energy supplier) and OVO can’t agree on closing/opening readings so therefore I can’t gain full access to MyOVO online portal.

Don’t really know to proceed with this?

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Thanks for posting here @llamehtdos - I’m amazed you’ve waited this long to ask us for help here on the Forum. You must have an almost limitless supply of patience!

All transfers between Energy Suppliers pass through the National database for electricity meters, ECOES. The process is initiated entirely by the Receiving Supplier, which in this case is OVO. As the customer you should not make contact with the Relinquishing Supplier.

Since ECOES has access to past meter readings, it should be in a position to confirm whether the meter reading provided on the switch-date is “reasonable”. There are established statistical methods by which this can be judged.

The usual cause of a dispute is when the switch coincides with the house/flat changing ownership. Sometimes the outgoing owner will try to give a low-reading in order to avoid paying the correct share of the bill. You haven’t told us whether you are a new occupant of the house, but this could affect the advice we give.

Did you take a reading on the day of the switch?

And, if so, did you provide this to OVO?

Please don’t worry if a mistake has been made or if you haven’t followed the required procedure. We can still help so long as we know what’s happened.

Userlevel 7

Updated on 02/03/21:  

 

Apparently the issue is that Octopus (old energy supplier) and OVO can’t agree on closing/opening readings 

 

Thanks for this detail, @llamehtdos 

 

This rules out the erroneous transfer and meter detail issues I suggested above. I’ve tweaked the title to make it more specific to the issue: the changeover meter reading!

 

As @Transparent mentions, this could be wrong readings provided by outgoing tenants prior to the switch. Or a lack of readings in general, meaning bad estimates in the months leading up to the switch. 

 

Either way, it sounds like a reading dispute is ongoing (or at least I hope it’s been started). A supplier can raise this if they get two sets of readings, at least 14 days apart (ideally a bit more), so they can look at usage and go: using this usage to backtrack or forward on to the switch date, the reading should be xxxxx - this is what we propose: do you accept? The process can take up to 12 weeks. 

 

Either supplier should be able to confirm if this is happening, and what the delay is. In the meantime, hopefully your Direct Debit to OVO is ensuring you are building up a credit balance ready for your charges to be applied. 

 

Getting a smart meter will avoid reading disputes in the future

@Transparent Hi, I didn’t even know about this forum until recently so  I thought I’d have a try to see if I could get any advice on here. I was just hoping that my 6 emails sent to OVO in the last 7 months would resolve the problem but very frustratingly it hasn’t.

Prior to my switch date of 7th February I received a notification from OVO to supply a start meter reading for both gas/elec - this was asked for on 2/2/20 which I did (submitted on myOVO portal) and for my own records I took a photo of each meter with the reading on my phone as evidence.

I have received my final gas bill but no final bill for electric. 

I keep being told by OVO now that the relevant department (data collectors) are dealing with the issue and will be sorted out soon but no given date for this.

@Tim_OVO Thanks for the reply.

We are not new tenants. We have lived at this property for 40+ years and simply wanted to change to a new energy supplier as OVO were coming up as one of the cheapest on the price comparison website (Uswitch) - a saving supposedly of £200+.

As I wrote above to Transparent, OVO asked my opening meter readings on 2/2/20 which I did (submitted to myOVO portal) and took a photo of each meter reading for my own proof. This was 5 days prior to my switch date of 7/2/20.

Presumably I have to keep waiting now for the data collector to come back with their findings?

@Tim_OVO 

Regarding the Smart meter, we have one but its a first generation one so it’s lost the Smart functionality I would imagine?

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Just picking up your comment about SMETS1 - there are being upgraded with new software and migrated onto the National Smart Meter Network.

This operation is being undertaken in three stages. We are now in the middle stage, which started at the end of July (2020) and will last until next summer. This includes all SMETS1 meters manufactured by Secure.

Once the software is in place and meters are migrated, they will have the same functionality as SMETS2 Meters, including full interoperability between all Energy Suppliers.

@Transparent Both of our meters are made by Secure. How do the upgrade the meter, by an engineer visit to the home or can then do it remotely?

Any further advice on what I can do about my read dispute situation please?

Thank you.

Userlevel 7

Regarding the Smart meter, we have one but its a first generation one so it’s lost the Smart functionality I would imagine?

 

Thanks for this info, @llamehtdos 

 

If your smart meter is a non standard smart meter, fitted by British Gas, this might be separate from the SMETS1 upgrade that Transparent has mentioned. But actually I’m not sure on that. Either way, can you take a photo of the meter and post it here so we know what type you have?

 

Either way: if your old supplier has communication with it, the reading history should be ample to know a good changeover reading. Also the photo you took near your supply start date (as long as it includes the reading) will also be perfect evidence. How on earth is this not enough for the DCs of each supplier to agree on a reading in the minimum amount of time? Maybe there’s more to this then we think…..

 

Keep us updated please! 

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

All SMETS1 installations should be upgradeable over-the-air without a site visit, @llamehtdos. That was within the original SMETS1 specification from 2013.

Regardless of who originally installed your meters, the data network to which they were first connected should still be available for the upgrade to occur. The main upgrade is undertaken by the manufacturer, which is Secure in this case.

That enables the Communications Hub within your electricity meter to be switched across to the National Smart Meter Network operated by the Data Communications Company (DCC). Tests can then be undertaken by both DCC and Secure to confirm that it has achieved full SMETS2 operability.

Once all is in place, the meter MPAN (electricity) and MPRN (gas) can be checked against the national meter databases and a notification sent to your current Energy Supplier, who will “take over” the Smart communications.

As far as customers are concerned, they should be unaware of all this background activity.
Let’s remember that this phase is the Middle Operating Capability (MOC). SMETS1 meters by Elster (Honeywell), Itron and Aclara started being migrated from November 2019. The fact that we have heard absolutely no adverse news about this suggests that it’s going smoothly!

 

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