What do you think about smart meters - are they all they're cracked up to be?

  • 22 February 2017
  • 56 replies
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As part of the Government 2020 scheme, we’ve been installing smart meters over the past few years (over 100,000 so far) and there’s a whole range of perks to having them installed.

Not only do they send us meter readings (taking the hassle away from you), they show you how much energy you’re using meaning that you can save money on your bills!

Let’s see what you guys think - are they a smart idea?

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I love that I no longer have to try and remember to send in my meter readings and I can see how much my gas and electricity has cost since the meter was installed, but I would love to be able to see what individual appliances are costing over a day, a week, a month etc.

Is this something that will become the norm in the future??
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We love that idea too, Emma_G and we'd like to think that would be the case. it's exciting to wonder what kind of technology we'll have in the future!

How long have you had your smart meters?

Lucy
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Hi Lucy

The smart meter was installed at the end of October, so have had it a good few months now. The whole process was simple and stress-free, which was an added bonus.
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I can understand the attraction of smart meters if you're out all day and your meter is in an external meter cupboard - it's fit and forget and, amortised over 10 years, it reduces the energy supplier's costs for meter readings. But for me it's like online banking and using a swipe card then not reconciling your bank statement with your expenditure - you're handing control of your life to a commercial third party for the sake of a little bit of personal effort. There are some technical issues as well - read Which magazine!
Have a nice day.
I don't like how the in-home display is on constantly, surely wasting energy when the whole point is to reduce energy usage. The display should be off by default and be woken by pressing one of the buttons when required.
I've had a smart meter for over a year. I still get a quarterly visit from a meter reader. Apparently, as explained by OVO customer services, it is an industry requirement! Why bother with a smart meter then?
The in house display is appalling when compared with my previous one from e-On which was colour display and could be configured to show any screen continuously. Very helpful when checking on appliances and their consumption. The OVO in house display looks very pedestrian and cannot be set to show a chosen screen continuously as it defaults to the home screen after what seems like 10 secs but is probably 60 secs.
In addition, OVO cannot explain why my electronic smart readings do not reflect the numbers on my hard copy bill for the first 3 months of my contract. They have been trying to find out why since beginning Feb 2017.
All in all this is disappointing as the people I have spoken to at OVO seem much nicer that the people at other utility companies.
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I totally agree with you Maurice.

My previous Smart Meter was from E-On too. As you have already said, In-House Display was colourful and configurable. I could instantly see the usage as soon as I had turned on or off an appliance.

OVO in house display looks like 80s toy.

I sincerely hope that they change this unit ASAP. I would love to hear OVO's comments please.
I used to be with EoN and they tried to force me to have a smart meter. I moved to OVO because they said I don't have to have one if I prefer not. I refuse to have a smart meter for the reason that they allow your supplier to cut off your supply remotely. It's not that I am ever likely to be in arrears with my account but 'computer errors' do happen and I am see no good reason to expose my household to that kind of problem. Even if not a computer error - we all know computer systems can be hacked and what a great way for someone with a grievance to cause massive disruption. So smart meters? No thanks!
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I used to be with EoN and they tried to force me to have a smart meter. I moved to OVO because they said I don't have to have one if I prefer not. I refuse to have a smart meter for the reason that they allow your supplier to cut off your supply remotely. It's not that I am ever likely to be in arrears with my account but 'computer errors' do happen and I am see no good reason to expose my household to that kind of problem. Even if not a computer error - we all know computer systems can be hacked and what a great way for someone with a grievance to cause massive disruption. So smart meters? No thanks!

VERY strange ???
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I used to be with EoN and they tried to force me to have a smart meter. I moved to OVO because they said I don't have to have one if I prefer not. I refuse to have a smart meter for the reason that they allow your supplier to cut off your supply remotely. It's not that I am ever likely to be in arrears with my account but 'computer errors' do happen and I am see no good reason to expose my household to that kind of problem. Even if not a computer error - we all know computer systems can be hacked and what a great way for someone with a grievance to cause massive disruption. So smart meters? No thanks!

I used to be with EoN and they tried to force me to have a smart meter. I moved to OVO because they said I don't have to have one if I prefer not. I refuse to have a smart meter for the reason that they allow your supplier to cut off your supply remotely. It's not that I am ever likely to be in arrears with my account but 'computer errors' do happen and I am see no good reason to expose my household to that kind of problem. Even if not a computer error - we all know computer systems can be hacked and what a great way for someone with a grievance to cause massive disruption. So smart meters? No thanks!

VERY strange ???


Hey RJTStansted and Himmm,

There are many benefits to having smart meters installed - you can read more about these here - but I want to reassure you both that suppliers won’t use smart meters to cut off a customers energy supply.

If a Pay as you go customer runs out of credit, their meters will disconnect after their emergency credit or non disconnect period has been used up, but for Pay monthly, if a customer goes into a debt balance, we won't remotely disconnect them.

I hope this offers some reassurance.

Lucy
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Lucy, I would like to know if OVO is actually considering to change these "Cheap Toy" looking "In House Displays" to a better design in near future please?.....Thank you.
I think that the so called FREE Smart Meters are unnecessary, overrated and excessive expense to the whole electricity using public.They look very much like a con trick to me
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Lucy, I would like to know if OVO is actually considering to change these "Cheap Toy" looking "In House Displays" to a better design in near future please?.....Thank you.

I think that the so called FREE Smart Meters are unnecessary, overrated and excessive expense to the whole electricity using public.They look very much like a con trick to me

Hi Himmm,

We're actually working on a great new In Home Display as I type this message. They're in testing at the moment, so watch this space!

@EXTREMITYS - we think smart meters are great. We've got a page on our website with a bit more info on them. In case you were interested, check it out here .
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Tim
I would be keen to get a smart meter, but I live in a first floor flat. The gas meter is outside the building on the ground floor, and the electricity meter is in the basement. This makes me ineligible for a smart meter currently; is there any indication on when this situation will change?
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I would be keen to get a smart meter, but I live in a first floor flat. The gas meter is outside the building on the ground floor, and the electricity meter is in the basement. This makes me ineligible for a smart meter currently; is there any indication on when this situation will change?

Great question, Patrick.

I think you won’t be the only flat resident who wants a smart meter, so I’ve moved this query to another topic to help others find it!

The current meters (officially called 'smart metering equipment technical specifications: first version’ or 'SMET1’ for short) use the same signal as mobile phones, to communicate with us, via the electricity meter. The newer version looks set to do the same, so customers with an electricity meter in an area with no mobile phone signal might miss out. There’s an ‘aerial’ that we can fit which might help, and a ‘relay’ that can be used to link the gas and electricity meter together, but this is all based on an individual basis.

You can always take your phone down to the basement to check on the signal - you might be in luck!

Tim
Thanks Tim. Would it be the case, then, that if there is phone signal in the basement, I could actually get a smart meter? Does the location of the gas meter matter?
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Thanks Tim. Would it be the case, then, that if there is phone signal in the basement, I could actually get a smart meter? Does the location of the gas meter matter?

Yes. To be able to communicate with both, the gas and electricity smart meters will need to be close to each other. Can you let me know how far apart yours are?

I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you!

Lucy
Hi Lucy - I reckon they're maybe between 15 and 20 metres apart, with a couple of walls in the way.
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Hi Lucy - I reckon they're maybe between 15 and 20 metres apart, with a couple of walls in the way.

Ah. Unfortunately, it sounds like they’d be too far apart, especially if there are a few walls in between too! We’d normally advise that up to 10 meters should be okay but anything over this will probably affect the communication.

Lucy
I don't think the current Smart meters are worthwhile. In my experience this is entirely for the convenience and cost-cutting for the utility provider. They say "it will help you cut your bills" but that is nonsense. The display on my Smart meter panel tells me that I go from Low to Medium gas use if I have the central heating on. And it goes up to high if I put the gas hob on. And on my electricity display it tells me that an electric kettle uses a lot of electricity.

Wow. I think I could have guessed those without a Smart meter.

Also I have a solar panel system on my roof, which the Ovo Smart meter installers ripped out the instrumentation when they installed my "Smart" meter. Because the solar panel company has gone out of business (thanks George Osborne) I have no details of the original wiring, and Ovo won't accept the £30 cost of me buying another transmitter.

Also the SMET1 meters which OVO installs means you will find it impossible to transfer to another utility company unless you pay the new company to install a new meter.

I strongly advise OVO users to refuse Smart meters until at least the SMET2 design is available. And also be present when the installers arrive and watch them like a hawk. I wish I had.
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Hi Tim,

Approximately 2 weeks ago I wrote...
Himmm wrote:
Lucy, I would like to know if OVO is actually considering to change these "Cheap Toy" looking "In House Displays" to a better design in near future please?.....Thank you.

And you answered...
Hi Himmm,
We're actually working on a great new In Home Display as I type this message. They're in testing at the moment, so watch this space!

Thank you for this info....
Today I spoke to Millie (I think) regarding this "In House Displays" issue and she confirmed that 80 units were on trial. I would like to stay with OVO if I will be able to have this new Display Unit. Would you please keep me updated as I wish to take this 2 years offer. Thank you.

PS : I did not get any email notification when you have answered my question. So I presume this forum has not got this facility?
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Hi Tim,

Approximately 2 weeks ago I wrote...
Himmm wrote:
Lucy, I would like to know if OVO is actually considering to change these "Cheap Toy" looking "In House Displays" to a better design in near future please?.....Thank you.

And you answered...
Hi Himmm,
We're actually working on a great new In Home Display as I type this message. They're in testing at the moment, so watch this space!

Thank you for this info....
Today I spoke to Millie (I think) regarding this "In House Displays" issue and she confirmed that 80 units were on trial. I would like to stay with OVO if I will be able to have this new Display Unit. Would you please keep me updated as I wish to take this 2 years offer. Thank you.

PS : I did not get any email notification when you have answered my question. So I presume this forum has not got this facility?


Sure thing, Himmm (that rhymes).

We’ll be rolling out the new In Home Display after this successful trial. I just can’t confirm when this will be just yet.

As for that email notification, you should get sent this whenever your comment gets ‘liked’ or replied to. I’d check your junk folder for these emails.

Once last thing: nice work on earning that Powerup badge - you're one of us now! 🆒 🆒

Tim
On my homepage there is an icon for Smart Meter usage with the message that it cannot retrieve your smart usage. I have checked the electric meter and the WAN light is flashing 5 times so I think that means it is connecting to you. Why are you unable to retrieve smart usage?
Having waiting for nearly a year for a smartmeter to be fitted by ovo we now have an appointment in early May (yey!). However after reading about the SMETS 2 meters with which you will be able to move between providers and retain their Smartmeter functionality I'm not sure whether to hold out for now and wait to have one of these instead of the first generation type. Have you got an approximate date when these will be rolled out?
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I've got a smart meter, but the estimated bills on it are way higher than my actual bills - does anyone else have an accuracy problem?

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