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Smart meter installation – seamless or a potential nightmare?

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Transparent
(@transparent)
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@dockray if we're writing stuff here which is deeper than your understanding, then we rely on you to drag it back to an acceptable level!

Please start with the issue of solar-photovoltaic panels, as you suggest.
There's newish topic on PV advice and support which would be ideal for you to join.

I'd allowed myself to take it off-topic (mea culpa) and I've just pulled it back onto the original question.

I have photos and diagrams ready to post there once you've identified what you'd like to know.
And I'll happily comment on what does and doesn't require a suitably-qualified contractor.

Save energy... recycle electrons!


   
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(@derek-m)
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Posted by: @dockray

@transparent Thanks for the reply. 

Please elaborate on what sort of 'contractor' you believe is required

By 'contractor' I meant someone to help us with solar installation, we've only got an ASHP at the moment, solar is the next step. It is reassuring to see that the lack of smart meter technology wouldn't be too much of a hinderance. But I will write to the 'powers that be' you suggested.

(I've read the other thread on the Seplos Mason battery box and that is, currently, so so far above my level of comprehension but thank you for thinking I might understand it 😊. It has made me realise that I probably need to do a lot more learning before getting solar.)

Having a solar PV system installed should be a reasonably painless experience, and once installed requires virtually no further involvement other than monitoring, and deciding how best to utilise the free supply of energy.

It is also possible to have a battery storage system installed by a suitable installer, rather than considering the DIY route. I believe that it is still the case that if battery storage is installed at the same time as solar PV, then both qualify for zero VAT.

 


   
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 cswd
(@cswd)
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> Please share your experience of your smart metre and whether it was seamless or not, and whether you had an easy or tricky installation spot.

The replacement of our dumb gas and dumb electricity meter was straight forward, but I regret having the gas meter upgraded. The install by a Bulb appointed contractor (a while back) was easy, they turned up on time, replaced them both in about 45 minutes but it was made easier by both meters being in a large cupboard with plenty of space around them.

However, I've now ripped out the boiler and I'm moving to an ASHP, so I'm trying to get the gas meter removed so I don't have to continue to pay the standing charge. My current provider (Octopus energy) quoted more to have a smart gas meter removed (£150) than to have a dumb gas meter removed (£100, if I remember correctly). They are also going around the houses, trying to persuade me that Cadent, my local DNO, need to remove the gas pipes from my house to the mains before they can remove the meter, contrary to what their website and various of their customers tell me on twitter.  Hopefully I'll get there, but it seems it may take persistance!

Cheers,

cswd


   
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Transparent
(@transparent)
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That's a good point @cswd
and I agree that the 'rules' for decommissioning a gas supply are unclear.

Technically Cadent is a Gas Distribution Network Operator (GDNO) or a "Gas Transporter". The term DNO is assumed to refer to electricity distribution companies.

Octopus is right to say that they may not remove a gas meter on a live pipe because that leaves the adjacent isolation valve in place. It's too easy for the lever to be moved, thereby causing gas to leak out at 'mains' pressure.

I would start the process by asking Cadent for the price of them 'capping' the pipe, rather than isolating it 'in the road'.

You are also right to highlight the cost of a household moving across to a 'net zero' heating regime with a heat-pump.
Government strategy has failed to alert the public, or account for, the costs of removing gas supplies to our homes.
75% of UK households use mains gas as their basis of heating.

Official Government strategy is to migrate the gas network to deliver hydrogen, which contributes no CO2 to the atmosphere.

It's difficult to see how that strategy can be carried out in practice.
You can't commit a home to use hydrogen until the network delivers it.
Either the pipework in an area carries natural-gas (butane/propane mix) or hydrogen.

It's impossible to gradually migrate an area from one gas to another!

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 mjr
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@cswd removing gas supply currently free in the Netherlands, paid by their government: David Hembrow: Having the gas disconnected – https://davidhembrow.blogspot.com/2023/03/having-gas-disconnected.html


   
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(@gutoffowc)
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We live outside of Brecon, with no mobile signal. We rely on wifi calling, and the wifi is provided by Voneus :
Question; A smart meter just installed by Octopus;  isn't working-and won't work- as there is no mobile signal (WAN) (it's a KAIFA MA 120)
Is there a smart meter that doesn't need a mobile signal?
The smart meter looks complicated but we weren't given any instructions. Is there anything useful I can get out of it?
Will anything change to make the smart meter communicate with octopus in the near future? Satnavs work fine around here.


   
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Transparent
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Your location means that you are in the Central Territory of the National Smart Meter Network.

The Data Communications Company (DCC) has assigned the wide area network communications to Telefonica, who operate the O2 mobile network in UK.
Here's a screenshot of their GSM Coverage map with Pin-A for Brecon in the middle.
The other Blue pins are transmitter positions, spread along the valley floor.

image

The Wide Area Network uses a derivative of the 3G mobile system.
It operates beyond the range at which a mobile phone would be capable of sustaining a signal.

 

The KAIFA MA 120 you refer to is the Electricity Smart Meter Equipment (ESME).

Kaifa MA120

Bolted on top of that is a Communications Hub, which should have five green LEDs, of which at least four should be flashing every 5-seconds.

The Comms Hub has more than one variant, and yours has been chosen for your location by the engineer who checks a SMWAN Coverage Database prior to installation.
Most homes have a SKU1 version

CommsHubsSKU

The SKU2 version can optionally be fitted with an external aerial.

It incorporates two transceivers capable of reaching the Smart Meter Network.

When direct (line of sight) signals are too weak, the SKU2 scans the surrounding area to seek out any other SKU2 (or SKU3) Comms Hubs.
If it can find a minimum of three others, then they automatically form a Mesh Network.

Smart Meter data is passed across the Mesh Network until it arrives at a site where there is connection to a Telefonica tower.

My own house, on a hilltop in rural West Devon, has a SKU2 Comms Hub and an aerial stuck (literally) onto the outside of the external meter box.
That acts as a 'relay' for houses in the valleys to the west and north of my location.

SMETS2 E2sm

Instructions for reading a Kaifa MA120 ESME are posted on the Octopus website.

This post was modified 1 year ago by Transparent

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(@lenny)
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20230520 154620

Shell can't connect to my meter (WR135DW). The IUD works OK but it can't "pair to the account".

I guess the oblong thing with cable is an aerial? Should I yry moving it ? We are in very bad mobile reception area ....

Samsung 12kw ASHP, nine 415w PV panel array, upgraded radiators and DHW water tank (+ pumps etc). Two wireless zone thermostat controllers and Samsung MWR-WW10N


   
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Transparent
(@transparent)
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Hi @lenny - can we clarify a few points please?

Was it Shell who installed the Smart Meter?
It looks like it has been there many months. There's an archive of (expired?) spiders upper-right 😉 

What flash pattern are you seeing on the row of five LED indicators?
Compare this with the explanation I posted here earlier in this topic.

The oblong is indeed an aerial, although I haven't previously seen one placed that close to the Communications Hub.

Moving the aerial might be worth a try, especially as it's only hanging from one screw.

We don't know how your Comms Hub has been configured.

  • that aerial could be intended to increase the signal strength to the nearest Telefonica transmitter
  • or it might be used to allow connection to a Mesh Network operating in your area

 

The only GSM 'mobile' signal strength which you can compare with is that used for the O2 network.
Other mobile networks aren't relevant.

I think you might be referring to an In-Home Device (IHD).
An IUD is a contraceptive device and unlikely to be supplied with a Smart Meter.

Are you telling us that the IHD is receiving/displaying data from the Smart Meter's Comms Hub, but that the link to your Energy Supplier (Shell) is the only bit that's non-functional?

This post was modified 12 months ago 2 times by Transparent

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(@lenny)
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Thanks

First, I'll confirm that IUD is stored elsewhere with no spiders !

Second, yes, the issue is no connection to Shell (who did install the meter via third party installer). IHD works  and tbh I haven't bothered about the connection until now I have the PV array active and want to explore feed in tariffs.

 

I'll check the LED actions and maybe move the aerial 

Samsung 12kw ASHP, nine 415w PV panel array, upgraded radiators and DHW water tank (+ pumps etc). Two wireless zone thermostat controllers and Samsung MWR-WW10N


   
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Morgan
(@morgan)
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I had a smart meter installed by Octopus via a third party installer.  All went well (apart from the guy managing to break the hinge on the meter cupboard).

However the IHD has changed its display.  For the first week it showed amount currently being used on the left and a daily total on the right.  That then changed to the right hand display showing a notice informing that it is awaiting data from the gas meter.  This is annoying because the initial display was useful and informative.  We don't have a gas supply.  We aren't on the gas grid here in our rural location.

Retrofitted 11.2kw Mitsubishi Ecodan to new radiators commissioned November 2021.


   
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Transparent
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There's several unrelated points in that saga, @morgan !

First - the meter cupboard door.
If this is a 'standard' electricity meter box, then replacement doors can be bought separately.
There are a number of different types. Take a photo and email it to the supplier.

 

2: Smart Meter Commissioning

Once a Smart Meter Installer has completed the on-site part of the work, there are a number of other operations which still need to be undertaken remotely

  • the Data Communications Company (DCC) runs a series of tests; that allows analysis of signal strength for example
  • DCC informs your Energy Supplier (Octopus) that the meter passes the specification and is available to them
  • the manufacturers of the electricity meter, communications hub and In-Home Device (IHD) send firmware upgrades to the current versions
  • Octopus downloads the data for your chosen tariff into the Comms Hub; that gets reflected in the IHD

So those actions account for why the IHD looks different a week later.

 

3: 'Awaiting data from gas meter' is probably an error in your Comms Hub configuration.

We need to know if you are in Southern, Central or Northern territories of the UK.

So either give us your approximate geographical location, or else tell us whether the Comms Hub has five (green) LED indicators or two bi-colour ones.

CommsHubsTerritories

Then tell us what those LEDs are doing!

This post was modified 12 months ago by Transparent

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