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Economy 7 and smart meters.

posted by geoffsid | 5 months ago

Hi all,

             SP inform me that I can't have a smart meter with Economy 7 storage heaters. But as I already have E7 storage heaters with a radio telemeter (which will stop working in 2023 when the long wave radio signal is turned off by BBC), this is something of a problem. Am I expected to install oil, lpg  or heatpumps at a cost of many thousands (no mains gas)? I know that other energy suppliers are offering E7 smart meters with five terminals which can switch the night rate circuit on/off at the appropriate time.

This is the weird reply from SP when I posed the question:

Thank you for your recent e-mail regarding metering  query  of your energy account xxxxxxxxxxxx.

I have checked the account and I can see your area is showing smart ready . In that case if you will remove the storage then we will install smart meter at the property.

You can have smart meter with the below check points :

 If the you do not have storage heaters or under floor heating you can have a smart meter installed,

 If the you have storage heaters or under floor heating installed you  cannot currently have a smart meter.

We are in the early phrase of installing Smart Meter and we are continuously upgrading our technology.  we are upgrading out technology to adopt them, so that without replacing the meter we can use them as a Smart Meter. Once it is updated we will send the details to the engineer and they will update the details accordingly.

Please be confirmed mobile signal and metering signal compatibility is different.

Your patience and cooperation are highly appreciated.
You can now download our energy app via the iOS App or Android Google Play Store where you’ll have access to speak to us directly at a time that’s convenient for you via In-App Chat.
Alternatively, you can instantly connect with us via Live chat by clicking this link: https://www.scottishpower.co.uk/getintouch

 The reason we ask you to contact via live chat is because then one of our chat advisors will be able to assist you on a real time basis and it is a 2 way conversation so it becomes a lot easier to help you and get the issues resolved on a real time basis.

Kind regards
Rima Mridha
Customer Services Representativ

As you can see the agent does not have a great command of English. Any advice?



posted by DavC1 | 5 months ago
Re: Economy 7 and smart meters.

@geoffsid    Sorry about that, you need to speak simple English to them, say please remove your Comfort Plus system from my house and install a simple Economy 7 system.  If you insist they MUST do this for you.   It's a problem with this old SP system. 

posted by geoffsid | 5 months ago
Re: Economy 7 and smart meters.
Thanks for the advice, I am wondering who best to speak to about ordering the smart meter as I realise it must be done if the storage heaters are to remain operational. But I have heard several horror stories about smart meter installations leaving the storage heaters out of commission because the fitters were not conversant with E7. Also there is a big question mark over the communications, ie. very poor mobile signal and no close neighbours for the "mesh" system. So I really want to speak to a knowledgeable technician before going ahead.

Top answer

posted by DavC1 | 5 months ago
Re: Economy 7 and smart meters.

@geoffsid   You are right to be cautious.  Only SP can remove your Comfort Plus, and it is up to them to decide what sort of meter to replace it with.  When the fitter comes spend time talking to him to explain about your storage heaters and the need for a good E7 system.  He will decide if smart meters would work at your location, and if they do not SP will have to install conventional E7 meters.  Once you are on the new system you will be free to change supplier. 

posted by DavC1 | 5 months ago
Re: Economy 7 and smart meters.

@geoffsid   Thanks for the 'Top Answer'  One thing more,  your house is probably wired so that the storage heaters are on their own separate circuit. Conventional meters have a time switch which activates that circuit and it gets cheap electricity, but the rest of the house remains on normal priced electricity.    Smart meters work slightly differently, they change the tarrif pricing for the whole house without switching on a separate circuit.   So it is importnat that the fitter understands that and that he adjusts the wiring so that the storage heaters are supplied like the rest of the house. 

I believe this is correct but I'm not an electrician and you could ask a local chap to check your wiring.  (There are also some old types of economy 7 meter that switch the whole house to cheap electricity)  Once you know what is going on you will be able to give good advice to the smart meter fitter.

posted by geoffsid | 5 months ago
Re: Economy 7 and smart meters.
Yes the storage heaters are on a separate circuit with their own fuse box, they have to have their own circuit as the household consumer unit would be overloaded by the storage heaters. That is why a special 5 terminal , second generation smart meter is needed. I have taken the plunge and made a smart meter appointment. I found it impossible to speak to anyone at Scottish Power with technical knowledge so advised this requirement on the web booking portal (as suggested by the SP call centre). However I have no confidence that a successful installation will be possible, especially as at least three neighbours have had installations aborted because of the weak or non-existent mobile signal (which I also mentioned). But the installers have confirmed the appointment, I won't let the fitter proceed unless I am 100% sure he knows what he is doing. It is a pity that it seems impossible to discuss these matters with an engineer before making the appointment. I will keep you posted. PS. SP insist that they are now installing smart meters in this area?

posted by margo354 | 4 months ago
Re: Economy 7 and smart meters.
Hi! I just wondered if you had any success with having a smart meter fitted? It sounds like we have a similar set up with one meter for the storage heaters and hot water and another meter for everything else. Our meters are SSE meters and I believe the radio signal will be switched off in 2023 making the one for the storage heaters defunct. I’ve just switched to Scottish Power and was going to ask them to change the meters and install a smart meter if possible since the current system won’t work in a few years anyway. Any advice would be greatly appreciated before I begin the process!

posted by DavC1 | 4 months ago
Re: Economy 7 and smart meters.

@margo354   Your system has the storage heaters on their own circuit separate from the rest of the house. This needs to be changed so that they are on the same circuit as the house. Then a smart meter can give you a cheap night tariff for the whole house.   You will probably have to pay for the rewiring yourself, ask an electrician for an opinion.  You will probably need separate time switches on the storage heaters so they only charge at the cheap times. 
People on here have been saying SP will not do this work now because of Covid restrictions giving priority to new straightforward smart meters. 

posted by margo354 | 4 months ago
Re: Economy 7 and smart meters.
Thank you for the reply! Our hot water tank is also wired in to the off peak supply as all the storage heaters and the water tank have 2 switches - one off peak and one normal so I can boost them when needed (they are all brand new and fitted last year and this was to replace ancient storage heaters that only had one switch each). My brother is an electrician so I can probably get him to do any extra work that’s needed but the meters are really my problem at the moment as the current off peak meter won’t work once the radio signal is switched off in 2023.

posted by geoffsid | 4 months ago
Re: Economy 7 and smart meters.

I think there is some out of date info here. I have the setup with hot water and storage heaters on a separate circuit. The company fitting the smart meters for SP tell me that they now have the neccessary 5 port meters to run this system without rewiring and that their engineers are trained for this. My problem  is that there is no communication for smart meters in this remote location, all installations in this area have been aborted.

If you put a load of storage heaters on your standard domestic consumer unit it would be overloaded (fire hazard?), also standard timer switches are not rated for the heavy currents used by storage heaters. This is a total shambolic mess caused by the useless money wasting project of smart meters ( 11 Billion Pounds or more, all to be paid by we consumers). There are millions of us with E7 storage heaters likely to be affected, are they going to turn off our hot water and heating overnight, I think not. I will certainly not be paying to have my house rewired. Don't take to much notice to what SP tell you, they don't appear to know what they are talking about!