F.A.Q.

Radio teleswitch (RTS) shutdown sunset FAQ

  • 26 January 2021
  • 29 replies
  • 7539 views
Radio teleswitch (RTS) shutdown sunset FAQ
Userlevel 7
Badge +1

Updated on 18/02/22 by Blastoise186 and Jess_OVO

 

The sun is setting on Radio-Teleswitched (RTS) meters

 

As you may know, some big changes are coming which affect old electric meters that use Radio Teleswitches. Here’s some helpful FAQs about what’s happening.

 

What is the Radio Teleswitch System?

 

The Radio Teleswitch System (or RTS for short) is a system that was created to help with the control and management of electricity meters that had special tariffs such as Economy 7 prior to the existence of smart meters. It has a few features that are seen in smart meters today, such as remotely switching between Day or Night rates and automatically turning heating/hot water on or off, but doesn’t have the ability to collect meter readings.

 

As a fun fact: The same signals and frequencies also get used for the BBC Radio 4 longwave service, and the three transmitters have enough power to blast the signals across the entire country at once.

 

What is a Radio Teleswitch Meter?

 

These are legacy meter types that may be known as Radio Teleswitch Meters (RTS Meter) or Dynamically Teleswitched Meter (DTS Meter), however they both work in a similar way. Alongside the electricity meter itself, a Radio Teleswitch device would also be installed and it’s this device which picks up the RTS signals and controls the time switching features on the meter.

 

So are they smart meters?

 

Well… Sort of… But not quite. The signal was only ever one-way and had no way for meters to send any kind of replies, while current smart meters can do two-way links. But you could say that they were a really early form of smart meter! :wink:

Many RTS Meters could be updated with a single message, such as making changes to every time switch in a particular area all in one go. Smart Meters can only be updated individually and will ignore random broadcasts that don’t specifically target the meter directly, making them more secure.

 

What are DTS/RTS Meters used for and why would I have one?

 

These meters were mainly used for special tariffs such as Economy 7/Economy 10, HeatWise, WarmWise, Total Heat Total Control and Weathercall. Officially speaking, the tag line for them was “Using Radio transmissions to control tariffs and loads economically and reliably.” The purpose was to allow entire groups of meters to be switched in one go based on the appropriate tariffs. It also had the ability to be used for certain emergency scenarios as well. They were not used for single-rate tariffs.

 

What kind of tariffs were these meters installed for?

 

OVO has never offered or supported any legacy RTS/DTS Tariffs, but other suppliers have done so in the past. A full list is hard to locate, but here’s a few examples of known tariffs:

  • Economy 7 (only if it’s a load controlled plan where an RTS Meter is installed)
  • Economy 10 (only if it’s a load controlled plan where an RTS Meter is installed)
  • Total Heat Total Control
  • Weathercall
  • HeatWise
  • WarmWise
  • Storage Heat Control
  • White Meter
  • Superdeal
  • Flexiheat
  • Comfort Plus
  • Comfort Plus Control
  • Twin Heat

 

These tariffs sound like good deals, so why doesn’t OVO offer them?

 

Well… Here’s the thing… They’re all legacy tariffs and RTS/DTS Meters are all legacy meter types which are no longer installed. On top of that, the RTS service is actually shutting down by the end of December 2023 and this would make it impossible to provide such tariffs without smart meters being used. Most of them are also not exactly great value for money either…

 

It’s also worth noting that almost all such tariffs are closed to new customers (except the standard non-teleswitched Economy 7 which is definitely not going away!) and the suppliers which previously installed RTS/DTS Meters are ending support for them soon anyway.

 

These meters are also on life support at this point, since the BBC has been trying to shutdown the BBC Radio 4 Longwave service since 2014!

 

I’ve got an RTS/DTS Meter at the moment and it’s working fine. So what’s the problem?

 

All of these meters are legacy types which are no longer installed by any supplier today. 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. OVO’s Resident Smart Meter Expert (and that’s not me!) is working with the industry and Government to figure out a safe migration plan and keep the RTS Service running until all customers can be migrated off it. The signal will be turned off eventually, but only after alternative solutions have been implemented to ensure that your heating and hot water continue to work properly.

 

In addition, many of these legacy meters are reaching end of life and the certifications are about to expire due to age. When this happens, suppliers are required to replace the meter as part of the terms of their licenses. There are still stocks of RTS Meters in the inventory that OVO and other suppliers have access to - but these stocks are reserved for existing installs only and will not be used for new installs. These stocks are intended to be used to help with maintenance of existing setups, such as replacing faulty RTS Meters. 

 

But I don’t want a smart meter and I’ve already made it clear that I wanted to opt-out! Can I have a non-smart meter instead? And why is my supplier not respecting my request?

 

Due to the rules that suppliers have to follow, suppliers are only allowed to “override and bypass” a smart meter refusal in specific circumstances. They cannot bypass just because they want to try and meet targets or boost their stats. However, attempting to force an upgrade due to a meter fault, for safety reasons, end of life meters, expired certifications or for accuracy reasons are considered valid cases to bypass opt-outs.

 

OVO has stated however, that they will not force a Smart Meter upgrade on a member who doesn’t want one. I’ve had confirmation that OVO is working with both the Citizens Advice Bureau and the Energy Ombudsman to help with discussing any concerns with members who decline an upgrade to see if there’s anything that can be done to resolve such concerns. They’re willing to discuss these with you for as long as you wish and you won’t be forced to make any decisions if you’re not ready.

 

I’m no longer with the supplier that originally gave me the meter and I don’t have that kind of tariff anymore. What can I do?

 

The good news is that your current supplier will be happy to sort you out and they’ll be in touch at some point. Parts of OVO Group did offer legacy tariffs or meters that relied on RTS/DTS, other suppliers did so back in the day. All suppliers have a duty of care to help customers migrate over to smart meters, and this includes OVO. Your current supplier will know if you’re affected and they’ll be best placed to assist.

 

What will happen if I don’t get my meter replaced/upgraded?

 

Impending doom is sure to follow and there’ll be no way to escape your fate! And you really don’t want to be trapped in a temple of doom with a 500 stone boulder chasing after you…

 

What will actually happen is that your meter will stop working properly and it may mess up your bills pretty badly. If your heating and hot water are also controlled via RTS, it’s very likely that your house will turn into The North Pole or Sahara Desert… Not sure which one I’d prefer myself to be honest…

 

OVO have advised that they’re working incredibly hard to make sure the RTS closure is only done when all customers impacted can get a suitable solution. So this is worst case scenario if nothing was done and OVO were negligent.. something they have no plans to be.

 

Hold up! I’ve got Economy 7 and I’m with OVO?! What do I do?

 

Firstly, please don’t panic, OVO has considered this possibility. Economy 7 tariffs are fully supported by all suppliers which provide them, including OVO and there’s no plans to change that. If you’ve got a smart meter in Economy 7 mode, you’re good to go and the RTS shutdown won’t affect you.

 

However, if you are on Economy 7 or Economy 10 with any supplier and don’t have a smart meter, now might be a good time to consider getting a meter upgrade.

 

I’ve got one of these legacy meters, but I moved to a single-rate tariff. Does this still affect me?

 

Kind of. The good news is that it won’t hit you as hard, but you would still be affected to a degree. I’d recommend upgrading to a smart meter anyway to make sure your current meter doesn’t come back to haunt you later. Given that the meter is probably reaching end of life anyway and the certification is probably going to expire soon, my advice would be to say that you are affected.

 

As a bonus, replacing your meter might even let you get rid of that second MPAN (Meter Point Administration Number) if your RTS setup currently has one.

 

What will happen to my tariff?

 

Good question! Your tariff will be set free into the wild where it can relax and enjoy the luxury of retirement, safely looked after by the best hospitality in the jungle… Meanwhile, a Dungeoneer will cast some magic that summons a much younger and more modern tariff to take its place, just for you.

 

Spellcasting! R E F R E S H

 

Or I wish I could say that! The exact answer will depend on your circumstances - OVO have advised that this totally depends on the RTS arrangement in place and where in the UK you may be... I hear there are challenges being faced with replacing RTS meters that are being worked upon.  So I strongly recommend talking to your supplier about your options, or consider switching to a new supplier - you can sometimes get better deals by switching anyway.

 

Just a heads up though. Once you switch away from a legacy tariff, you won’t be able to get it back. Please make sure to choose your options carefully. Or as Treguard used to say…

The only way is onwards… There is no turning back.

 

 

I’ve got another question that’s not covered? I’m still confused and need more help! Where can I go?

 

Right here! These forums are the perfect place for getting help and advice like this, and we’d be more than happy to help you out. Feel free to create a new topic on the forums or reply to an existing one that’s similar and we’ll swoop into action.


29 replies

So, for someone with an RTS setup  with two meters on say, a “Total Heat Total Control” tariff, which provides lower cost electricity for heating (space & water) at various times of the day _and_ the same lower cost electricity for some direct heating (e.g. panel heaters & showers) 24x7, how will this be replicated in the smart meter world?

Thanks

Userlevel 7
Badge +1

Hiya @AG17 !

Good question there. I don't have the authoritative answer as such, but my understanding is that THTC type tariffs will cease to exist post shutdown. Unfortunately, you can't remain on any legacy RTS Meter or RTS reliant tariffs because the meter will stop working properly.

In most cases, the best alternative for the time being would be Economy 7, since Time of Use tariffs would not work very well for your use case. 

Userlevel 7

Welcome @AG17 - and thanks for asking a great question!

 

Not sure who your current supplier is but if you’re with SSE you might want to check out this relevant thread -

 

 

The possible Smart meter replacement would depend on your exact setup so it might be best to contact your supplier to establish your options. 

@Blastoise186 - thanks for your reply. Can you please advise why you think that THTC type tariffs will cease to exist post RTS shutdown - do you have any source? I would have thought this type of tariff, and more complex ones, would become more widespread! A simple economy 7 tariff would not be a realistic replacement for the current THTC-type tariffs, with their three circuits.

 

@Jess_OVO  - I have seen that page before, thanks. I have done a little research and found this which may be of interest:

https://www.energy-uk.org.uk/files/docs/Policies/Smart%20Meters/TheFutureofRTSFebruary2020.pdf

It seems a 5-terminal smart meter is required to replace the legacy meter + RTS controlled contactor, but (as of just over a year ago) these were relatively rare.

The industry will have its work cut out to replace all the c1.4 million RTS installations in the next two years!

 

 

 

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +1

Hiya!

Thanks for getting back to us @AG17 . I can try to answer these ones too.

When it comes to the future availability of THTC, I don’t have any sources myself, but I can confirm that SSE is pulling the plug on THTC outright. Given that other suppliers that offered similar tariffs are also pulling the plug and these tariffs were removed from the live market some time ago, it’s unlikely that they’ll be making a comeback. They were indeed widespread 30 years ago, but have been slowly disappearing over the last 10 years.

I’m afraid there’s no tariff on the market today from any supplier that I know of which offers similar service to THTC. One of the biggest nightmares of that tariff was that it was very much anti-competitive and made it nearly impossible to switch supplier because of the massively limited support for the meters used. The current tariffs and meters used by suppliers these days are far more flexible and inter-compatible with each other, which avoids that headache. You might be able to get Economy 10 though, which may work better than Economy 7 in some use cases. Technically speaking, Smart Meters can do Economy 10.

The government actually wants to step away from weird complex tariffs in order to make life easier and there’s a lot of controversy towards those tariffs continuing to exist.

5-Terminal SMETS2 Smart Meters were a bit rare a while ago, but have become more common now. As far as I’m aware, OVO does have full support for them now and does have the ability to fit them. This is the best option you can go for to replace an RTS Meter.

Replacing 1.4 million meters in two years might sound like hard work, but when spread across all suppliers it’s actually not as bad as you might think. :)

Userlevel 7
Badge +1

Ah ha, found something! I read this ages ago but didn’t think to note it down

https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/sites/default/files/docs/2014/11/understanding_the_customer_experience_of_dts_meters_and_tariffs_final_version_0.pdf

https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/ofgem-publications/82288/state-market-customers-dynamically-teleswitched-meters.pdf

https://www.gov.uk/cma-cases/energy-market-investigation

Thanks - that’s interesting.

I engaged with Ofgem years before they wrote that report over the difficulty DTS customers had with switching, plus the competitive advantage it gave to suppliers like “Scottish Hydro”, who enjoyed a largely captive, high usage customer base, that they didn’t have to put any effort into retaining.

It’s a shame Ofgem have done almost nothing to promote competition in this area, despite the report!

It’s interesting that the Ofgem report from November 2014 estimates 550,000 DTS customers, whereas UK Energy estimate 1.4million MPANs in February 2020 - of course many DTS customers will have two MPANs, but the implication is that the number of DTS customers has not dropped markedly.

Whilst replacing 1.4m meters may be achievable, it seems to me the industry hasn’t done anything that I can find to propose replacement tariffs for DTS customers - even Economy 10 doesn’t meet the requirement (it only replaces two of the three “THTC” type circuits) - and there is potential for significant detriment to many customers, which I can’t see Ofgem tolerating.

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +1

Definitely true there!

But the ultimate problem is that the meters required to support these kinds of tariffs will. stop working properly once the RTS Signal is gone, since none of them have any local timeswitches to provide redundancy.

As for the three circuits… I personally think that keeping that kind of setup just creates even more nightmares than it solves. It’s unlikely that there will be any Six-Terminal SMETS2 Smart Meters, so unfortunately THTC style Three-Circuit setups will have to go in the bin.

I have also seen forum threads and other content elsewhere today which were very, very scathing towards THTC, ComfortPlus Control, Weathercall and similar tariffs. Some even say that these tariffs are bad value for money. Unfortunately, I can’t link any of those here because the content isn’t appropriate to link to.

While Economy 7 or Economy 10 with a smart meter might sound worse off, it’s worth noting that migrating means zapping that second MPAN. Not only does this nuke the second standing charge, but it also makes switching suppliers far easier. I’m also unable to say whether the 1.4 million MPANs filters out the dual-MPANs properly, so it could actually be 700,000 customers rather than 1.4 million. It also isn’t clear whether it factors in extremely weird edge cases with three meters and three MPANs…

Suppliers are no longer allowed to hold customers to ransom like this however, but getting customers migrated is a bigger challenge.

Let me see if @Tim_OVO can call on a new friend of ours though, he happens to know someone who’s an expert on similar matters… :)

Userlevel 7

@Blastoise186 - thanks for your reply. Can you please advise why you think that THTC type tariffs will cease to exist post RTS shutdown - do you have any source? I would have thought this type of tariff, and more complex ones, would become more widespread! A simple economy 7 tariff would not be a realistic replacement for the current THTC-type tariffs, with their three circuits.

 

 

There’s more information about the ending of the THTC tariff on the SSE website, @AG17.

If you have more questions about how this will affect your supply and the options you have in terms of meter replacement I would really advise giving them a call on 0345 071 7972. The options available will be dependent on the area you live in and the exact set-up you currently have.

 

It might also be worth contacting an electrician or citizens advice for impartial advice about the best option going forward. SSE have advised that they will be reaching out to all customers with RTS meters to let them know that this meter option will be phased out by 2023 and customers will have the choice to decide which tariff option will be most suitable to their needs at this point.

 

Obviously the benefit of having a more standard set-up will allow for more choice in terms of supplier and the option to upgrade to a smart meter. Would be interested to hear how you get on and whether SSE are able to offer more clarity to your exact situation... 

I actually think the main problem is replacing the tariffs, not replacing the meters - smart meters which replicate the RTS functionality are available today, but there are (apparently) no tariffs! Whilst removing the second MPAN does indeed remove the second standing charge, that can easily be wiped out by higher electricity costs for high users.

Three circuit setups cannot “just go in the bin” if the industry has no proposed replacement which is not detrimental to consumers.

 

Jess - I’m not a customer of SSE - but that website doesn’t give more information - it just says they are ending and SSE will be in touch with its customers…! I have written to my supplier. I’ll report back what they say and maybe contact Ofgem for their take.

Userlevel 7
Badge +1

Unfortunately, there are no plans to do Six-Terminal Smart Meters anyway, which means doing three-circuit setups will be impossible. It's also less of a case of supporting these tariffs either. Just about all suppliers pulled the plug on legacy RTS Tariffs several years ago. The only reason they still exist at all is because existing customers on such tariffs were grandfathered into the system. You can no longer sign up for any and I think it was maybe 2015 onwards that some suppliers began having cold feet about offering them. OVO has definitely never done any except Economy 7!

They were always horrible value for money and I've seen many cases of people desperate to escape the pitfall traps and wanting to get onto less complex tariffs. 

Ultimately, the only winners with legacy tariffs are the suppliers that still keep them around under a grandfather rule. The market has changed, it's time to move on. 

Userlevel 7

 

Jess - I’m not a customer of SSE - but that website doesn’t give more information - it just says they are ending and SSE will be in touch with its customers…! I have written to my supplier. I’ll report back what they say and maybe contact Ofgem for their take.

 

Sorry for the confusion there, @AG17. We were under the impression that the THTC tariff was only offered by SSE (formerly known as Scottish Hydro) but are happy to stand corrected.

 

Which other supplier also offers this tariff? We’d also be interested to hear the proposed alternatives that your current supplier offers, don’t forget to update us with how you get on..

 

Sorry but having reads this entire thread I am somewhat dismayed by the answers

-Firstly THTC is an old SHE (SSE) tariff - however there are similar meters in the SPOW area and the old SE (SSE) area with different name

-Secondly - THTC is only a 5 term meter (i just counted the wires going into my meter there is 5 not 6 despite the 3 circuits - Constant 24/7 off peak for shower / panel heaters (usually bedrooms) / hot water boost and feature effect fires) - similar in the SPOW area for Comfort Plus White Meter. 5 term meter with 3 circuits - so there is quite a lot to be lost for these customer who are off the gas grid - e7 is no use for these types of properties especially in the north of scotland off the gas grid!

-Thirdly - Changing to any other 5 term meter may mean that despite having a working meter and a lovely wee smart box that you obsess over for your usage, there may be additional work needing to be done in order to allow your shower / panel heaters / feature effect fire etc to work as the 24/7 off peak is likely to stop also. so additional costs for electricians - customer did not in most cases chose this tariff - councils installed most of them when they were away from the gas grid - this is an unnecessary additional cost with suppliers will not pick up on! 

Fourthly- most THTC accounts only have 1 meter box with one meter serial number which has 2 rates - as does mine - so there is no second standing charge! (i just checked my bill to make sure as well).

Fifthly - THTC gives between 5 and 12 hours off peak for storage heating and hot water (ignore the 24/7 circuit) which means that depending on the meter (E7, E9, E10) - means that off peak time will be potentially be lost with any change of meter!

I'm  no smart meter expert but As THTC is only 5 term - why cannot a smart meter be programmed to work with it?  The loss of that 3rd circuit will mean larger bills and additional costs.  Smart meters work off of a mobile signal so what cant the DTS be replaced with something that picks up on this?  

Although admittedly there will be area of the country where smart still cannot be used because there is not 100% mobile coverage across the country.

This is unfair on many who are not on the gas grid and needs addressing - there is no way that that many properties will be changed in advance of that switch off - as its difficult enough in many areas to get a smart appointment

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +1

Heya!

I’m Blastoise186, one of the forum volunteers involved with this thread and the creator of this guide. Based on reviewing the thread again, I’ve decided to go back and review all the resources I can find again, just in case things have changed.

OVO did provide me with some degree of assistance with correcting the guide a few months ago, but as far as I’m aware it should be accurate. There’s still a couple of years left in the RTS Service yet and I’m told the position still remains that all customers will be migrated before the service gets turned off - but it’s dependent on the valves at the transmission stations holding out for long enough.

SSE’s THTC tariff isn’t the only one affected by the sunset. ALL suppliers who offered anything close to SSE THTC are also being affected, regardless of the tariff name. The advice I give here for THTC is mostly applicable to all meters and tariffs that rely on the RTS Service in some way.

In Scotland, Smart Meters don’t use the mobile phone signal, but run off a Long-Range Radio signal powered by the Arqiva WAN. It has a much, much longer range than the Cellular based Telefonica WAN used elsewhere in the UK. This is the solution being used to replace the RTS Service in your area.

While your THTC meter might seem to only have four or five terminals, that doesn’t mean they all do. Other members have previously (and very kindly!) shared photos of their THTC meter setups on this forum when we were helping them out, and all of those cases had two meters with what seemed like a seven terminal setup. If you have something different, please show us some photos as this really helps us out a lot.

If you take a look at these two guides, you’ll understand my next point a bit more easily.

I’m afraid that your energy supplier isn’t responsible for re-wiring your property after a meter exchange. However, they do have a duty of care which means you can ask them to hold back for just a bit longer while you get an electrician to re-wire everything beforehand, in order to keep it working in the future. Suppliers don’t have to contribute anything else towards this work that I can think of at this time - everything beyond the meter is your responsibility to maintain as it belongs to you.

There is only one Smart Meter that I can think of which is capable of doing THTC tariffs right now, which is the Secure Liberty 114, which has seven terminals. The problem is that it’s a SMETS1 meter and there’s no SMETS2 equivalent that I can think of. It’s things like this which have slowed down the ability to upgrade but progress is being made.

When it comes to the one meter/two meter matter for THTC, I used SSE’s own guides as part of my research. Based on the information available here, I’m confident that I’ve got the information correct. If I’ve made a mistake, I will be happy to correct it.

As for your specific meter/tariff setup, the SSE Electric Heating Team will be best placed to advise you on what to do. 

Morning - thanks for the reply.

 

Just to advise that I have lived in three properties that have had THTC (Scottish Mainland) in the last 20 or so years so will concentrate on what I know best - however agree that this is a country wide issues and will mostly affect rural areas or areas off the gas grid - I also work in the industry so know the supply well and also know that there are slightly different versions of THTC (or more exotic meter as we call them) out there.  However these 6 and 7 term meters will very much me in the minority and will probably also take a lot longer to fix.  These will probably be Island Communities where there were very specific meters to deal with the very different situations in regards to power that Island communities face.  This is where the RTS system is used for network resilience purposes and load switching.

I believe however that for the vast majority of THTC (exotic) users it will be a 5 term meter that they have.  I also know that from working in the industry, THTC heritage meters were being installed reasonable recently in council properties and some new builds.

The meter I have is an out of certification Ampy 5028 which used to be a PPM (the wee carboard tokens) but was reprogrammed to be a “credit as token” so could be set up on a direct debit.

I do deal with a lot of smart meters in my day job and my reference to mobile signal was probably just a catch all as i know that between North and South it is indeed different however, it does not get away from my main point that as the most of these will no doubt be 5 term, 5 term solutions exists and i cannot for the life of me fathom out why a 5 term cannot be used with the relevant programming. I also know that a THTC trial was underway a couple of years ago (as I put my name down for it) which seems to have gone nowhere. 

I do however know that one of the main problems is the migration and that the orion system is the main problem as it cannot support these meters and tariffs and may even struggle with e10!  The SSE CS system - whilst old and cranky can do it and does it very well considering it is 20+ years old.

With regards to the 6 term smets 1 you refer to, i do know that Smets 1 meters can be reprogrammed to act as Smets 2 not always successfully but it can be done so there may be a solution, it just doesn't exist yet.  Also I believe that an economy 9 solution is being tested but no being installed by depots at the moment as there are issues with the load switching.

I never said that suppliers should pay for the rewiring etc and glad you pick up on the duty of care aspect of this, however  the signal is due to be switched off in March of next year and given the issues with smart installs, it really does not allow much time for consumers to prepare - also given the effects of the pandemic, it is actually quite difficult to get contractors as they are so busy playing catch up. 

Companies such as SSE/OVO - Scottish Power etc really need to start actively speaking to consumers now before the heating goes off.  March in reality is not that long for consumers to make changes to properties.  I only really know about this as i work in the industry!

Finally, nothing compares to what I have now, so any changes discussed with the elec heating team will be a detriment to most users!

Userlevel 7

Thanks for joining this important discussion on the future options for THTC customers in light of the RTS shutdown news, @will1314 .

 

A quick mention here that whilst the details of this guide have been checked, we can't always guarantee the accuracy of all forum posts, particularly on such a technical depth - as outlined in our community Ts and Cs here.

Whilst you've mentioned that the migration of customers from SSE to OVO might cause some issues for members with these complex metering setups, these RTS meters would need replacing regardless. The main issue is how smart meters can be used to replace RTS meters in Load-Managed Areas (LMA) and this is something that’s being worked on by all suppliers and government to ensure alternative metering solutions are in place before the RTS network is de-commissioned. 

Hi all,

Just adding in my 2p worth to this discussion.  The ongoing de-commissioning of RTS/DTS is definitely going to cause problems for customer in MPAN 17 and 20 areas and will result in THTC, SuperDeal, Storage Heating Control and some Heating Load meters for the Shetland Islands useless.

Economy 9 which can be utilised with SMETS2 on a dual MPAN has been causing some issues with the load switching and last I had, there was a pause on the trial until tests and investigation can be carried out.

As for Secure Liberty 114s, even if it was the case these meters could support THTC, SSE are cannot support Secure Liberty at all unless they are enrolled into the DCC if they are SMETS1.  SSE only install Landis & Gyr and EDMI SMETS2 for Single Rate and Aclara SMETS2 for Economy 7 / Economy 10.

 

I have read this thread with interest, I have been on THTC for the last 9 years in my property, it took a long while to get my head around and have managed to use it quite effectively to keep my bills relatively cheap (still not cheap). I understand that the RTS signal is to be lost resulting in storage heaters being either on all the time, off all the time or running to their last received signal.  I’m assuming that the ‘on all the time’ THTC circuit will remain to work as is, can anyone confirm if this is the case and the timed circuit is a bit of a mystery?  The reason I ask is that 2 of my main storage heaters (kitchen and lounge) have a booster radiator inside them, just to use as a backup whilst a better solution comes through. Eco 10 or Eco 9 seem the best bet but sounds like it’s not a like for like swap.

Userlevel 7
Badge +1

Hey @bernhard1980 and @Michael0410 ! Welcome to the forum :)

I’m an OVO member and one of the forum volunteers here. I don’t live in Scotland myself, but I’ve attempted to research the topic and keep track of progress as best I can.

I don’t have any new information that I’ve encountered with regards to Economy 9, so I can’t comment on that right now but there’s a couple of things I can comment on.

I read in a report from Energy UK a while ago - which I think is this one - that the SMETS1 Secure Liberty 114 is one of the emergency options on the table if push comes to shove. While it is indeed a SMETS1 and not the most ideal solution, Secure has offered to allow any supplier to use their smart meter data services regardless of whether that supplier is a Secure client, for the purposes of supporting their customers with Secure Liberty 112/114 meters in these circumstances. The ultimate aim would of course also be to migrate all of those to DCC as well, so this would only be a stepping stone at most. According to the report, this special arrangement would remain active for as long as it’s still needed, such as once equivalent SMETS2 meters are available and all the S1 Secure Liberty meters have been migrated to DCC via Enrolment & Adoption.

I’ve not found any more recent reports or updates since then, but I am more than happy to update my guide if anything new comes to light. If you’ve got any resources that could help me, please do feel free to share them on the forum and I’ll take a look.

As for the behaviour of the circuit for THTC, as far as I’m aware if the circuit was jammed on, you’d still be able to control managed devices like storage heaters manually, such as by switching them on and off individually. There are plans to try and keep the RTS Service running until all affected sites have been migrated to Smart Meters and no-one else is relying on it, but there’s no guarantees as to how much lifespan is left. The best I know is that all suppliers will figure out alternative arrangements as quickly as possible if the RTS Service collapses ahead of schedule.

I would definitely recommend discussing your situation with your supplier, as they’re best placed to figure out the options you have.

Oh, and I don’t think most people would need a Dual-MPAN with Smart Meters, especially since most of the use cases involving them can already be served with a Single-MPAN and a Smart Meter.

Userlevel 7

Just want to step in here to clarify that whilst there are future plans to decommission the RTS service, the stability of the service isn't expected to reduce in the meantime.

 

There's an understanding that if an alternative metering solution isn't in place the planned shutdown of the signal may be delayed.

Thanks for all the info, at the moment I am with Utility Warehouse as their rate was much cheaper than SSE and they managed to mangle a tariff together to do that. Standard meter is on standard electric tariff and the THTC (RTS) meter is on an eco 7 rate.   I really don’t know how I will heat my home for a comparable cost if I have to get a smart meter and economy 7 with panel heaters and towel radiators all on the cheaper rate, 24/7.  My preference currently would be to keep my current set up and ‘Manually’ time the storage heaters, or, controversially move the timed circuits to the 24/7 THTC circuit and swap out storage for ceramic core radiators.  Although i’m not sure on the ins and outs of this, or even if I’m allowed or will it just be frowned upon?

I upgraded to quantum heaters which if a change to e9 or e10 is required, then the heater itself can be programmed to match the off peak times. this is not easy with traditional storage as they do not have the timers built in.

However, Quantums work really well on THTC as they also “learn” the off peak times (even with the seasonal changes that the RTS/DTS brings), however in order to do that they need a dual supply.  Off peak and constant 24/7. 

The other good thing about Quantums is that they learn and take into account the “weather”.  Whilst they don't have a direct link to the met office, they do seem to be able to adapt to conditions in the house and only take as much power from the off peak supply as they need to heat the home.  so even if the off peak circuit is open, if the heater doesn't need the power it wont take it,  Added to that they are much better insulated and with the fan in the bottom, hold and distribute the heat much better than traditional storage and are advertised as being about 30% cheaper than traditional storage.  Also I believe that this type of heating could still meet the plan zero objectives with a green tariff so would have thought that this is something Ovo (with the ethos behind it) would be keen to support?

My plan would have been to eventually connect the 24/7  supply of the quantum to the 24/7 off peak circuit of THTC (through having additional sockets added to the circuit) so that the boost element in the quantum storage heaters would have benefitted from the off peak heating rate, however on e9/e10 then there would be no point in doing this. 

However @bernhard1980 is correct any change to this would seriously affect that 24/7 o/p rate and would result in potentially some invasive and costly rewiring to the property.

Now I freely admit I'm not a meter engineer / designer, however if a 5 term meter can be fitted, surely it is still possible to have the constant 24/7 off peak for showers, panel heaters, feature fires etc still on that side of the meter, but a manual time switch on to storage heating circuit so that it can utilise the off-peak during similar time periods to that of THTC for the storage and hot water? Cant be impossible to program a smart that way… surely?  I mean we landed on the moon with the processing power of a calculator?

my thinking is that this would be much simpler to replace in a normal home completely recognising that not all exotic tariffs have the same as me - especially in the islands.

Hello, my 96-year-old Dad was switched from Economy 7 to Economy 10 last year - no mention of the future RTS shutdown - and he was actively encouraged not to worry about having a Smart Meter (as he was so set against having one). SSE told him categorically that he didn’t have to have one. The whole RTS thing has passed me by to be honest, and today was the first I heard of it when Dad (via me, as his PoA) received a very poorly phrased email from SSE forewarning of the loss of his heating and hot water if he doesn’t act NOW in switching to a Smart Meter, while SSE are in his area. How convenient. So, can anyone tell me what to do here? He is on a fixed tariff until September 2022 so clearly we don’t want his rates compromised. But, if and when he is forced to switch to a Smart Meter, how does he still get the 2 different rates that Economy 10 currently gives him (or doesn’t he?). Grateful for any advice. Thanks.

Userlevel 7
Badge +1

Hi @SnowBelle ,

Thanks for asking about this one. I’m Blastoise186 by the way, one of the forum volunteers here. I can’t access or make changes to your dad’s account myself, but I can give advice that may help.

I would strongly recommend that you upgrade to a smart meter as a result of that letter. It really is true that the RTS Service is shutting down over the next few years and while it will try to keep going while people are still using it, you are ultimately better off migrating to a smart meter setup. This is the only way to keep his Economy 10 setup functioning after the RTS Service has been turned off but please rest assured that his tariff rates will remain intact. The smart meter that gets installed will be configured to switch between the two rates based on the existing switching times and he will continue to benefit from the cheaper off-peak rates.

I’ll ask @Tim_OVO and @Jess_OVO to stop by as well.

Hi, thanks for your reply. He is adamant that he won’t have one, and fair enough as he was totally assured that he wouldn’t have to have one, when clearly SSE would have known then that he would need to change soon, anyway. Pretty sneaky not to mention that, and instead, send him a worrying email 9 months later. (We have family members who have had BIG problems post-Smart Meter installation so I understand Dad’s concerns). I’m thinking that it would seem sensible to wait until his tariff expires in September and then endure the changeover, particularly as the oracle (Martin Lewis) has said that the earliest switch off is March 2023, and the latest, December 2023. Would you concur? 

Reply