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British Gas agent says our new gas smart meter may take a couple of weeks to read accurately. Is this rubbish?

  • 25 August 2018
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Hi All,
I’m not a customers with OVO but I’m hoping this general smart meter question is still relevant to ask on here.

Basically we recently had a smets1 smart meter installed by British Gas (we didn’t necessarily want it but it was part of the T&Cs of the tarriff) - anyway long of the short of it is in 5 day’s the amount of gas it’s claiming we’ve used is almost 3x what our average rate is!! And we haven’t had the heating on or anything.

I rang up British Gas and chatted to an agent on the helpline. He was very friendly and helpful, but one of the things he said was “there is a known problem where for the first couple of weeks, the Gas Smart meter can read a bit inaccurately, and then it’ll calibrate itself (or words to that effect) and do a retrospective correction” - he didn’t go into the technical specifics why.

Now I can’t find anything about this online anywhere? Is this BS rubbish or is this something anyone hear has heard about before? If so, I don’t suppose you can explain it to me in a way I can understand.

Ultimately, he said give it 2 weeks, keep an eye on it then call back, but it’s hard to sit patiently for 2 weeks if your gas consumption is measuring 3x higher than it should be!!

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

Ben
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Best answer by Transparent 28 August 2018, 15:05

Hi @Willmottb. The points you make are perfectly valid, and this is a good Forum on which to raise them!

What you state BG have told you is substantially true. There's more to installing a Smart Meter than simply having the engineer attend on site to install hardware.

Following his visit, a Notification is sent to ECOES (National Meter Database) and to DCC who handle all your meter communications links.

ECOES will check the readings of the meters which have just been removed, send a message to inform your Energy Supplier who will perform a sanity check. They have a period of a few days to raise an Objection if the reading varies from the expected mean based on your consumption history.

DCC will busy themselves setting up test routines to your meter and checking it is correctly responding to the SMETS1 commands. They can download firmware patches and provide calibration. DCC will inform your Supplier once everything passes these tests.

Your Energy Supplier then sends DCC a data bundle which includes your Tariff information, which they encrypt and send on to the meter. Until that time the meter is using a standard set of defaults.

Only once the meter has all this data on board can it start to send correct usage readings to your Supplier via DCC.

So, yes. This is a lot of work which will certainly take a week or two.


You also wrote:

smets1 smart meter installed by British Gas (we didn’t necessarily want it but it was part of the T&Cs of the tarriff)


I think I also ought to comment on this. You cannot be "forced" to have Smart Meters installed, whatever a Supplier tries to tell you in their T&C's. This is a breach of Smart Metering Installation Code of Practice (SMICoP).

Ofgem's own website clearly states that Smart Meters are not compulsory, and there was a heated campaign on this matter by the Daily Mail in April 2018.

There are major benefits in using Smart Meters... but obviously not until BG have actually got yours fully functioning!

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Hi @Willmottb. The points you make are perfectly valid, and this is a good Forum on which to raise them!

What you state BG have told you is substantially true. There's more to installing a Smart Meter than simply having the engineer attend on site to install hardware.

Following his visit, a Notification is sent to ECOES (National Meter Database) and to DCC who handle all your meter communications links.

ECOES will check the readings of the meters which have just been removed, send a message to inform your Energy Supplier who will perform a sanity check. They have a period of a few days to raise an Objection if the reading varies from the expected mean based on your consumption history.

DCC will busy themselves setting up test routines to your meter and checking it is correctly responding to the SMETS1 commands. They can download firmware patches and provide calibration. DCC will inform your Supplier once everything passes these tests.

Your Energy Supplier then sends DCC a data bundle which includes your Tariff information, which they encrypt and send on to the meter. Until that time the meter is using a standard set of defaults.

Only once the meter has all this data on board can it start to send correct usage readings to your Supplier via DCC.

So, yes. This is a lot of work which will certainly take a week or two.


You also wrote:

smets1 smart meter installed by British Gas (we didn’t necessarily want it but it was part of the T&Cs of the tarriff)


I think I also ought to comment on this. You cannot be "forced" to have Smart Meters installed, whatever a Supplier tries to tell you in their T&C's. This is a breach of Smart Metering Installation Code of Practice (SMICoP).

Ofgem's own website clearly states that Smart Meters are not compulsory, and there was a heated campaign on this matter by the Daily Mail in April 2018.

There are major benefits in using Smart Meters... but obviously not until BG have actually got yours fully functioning!

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