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Had solar panels fitted last year (Feb 2019). HAs gone really well and a shame I did not fit them years ago as missed out on better FIT payments. Anyway, in part due to Pandemic planning(!), and after DNO approval, and already running an EV with another hopefully to arrive in November we had more solar panels fitted with Tesla storage battery and the full myEnergi suite (eddi, Zappi etc) in June of this year. Has been going brilliantly since! We missed all the great April,May sun though! This second install is of course not part of any Feed-in-Tariff.

However noticed that my old type electricity meter was now clicking backwards ie-the numbers were running in reverse on a nice sunny day! I had noticed previously, after the initial solar panel install last year, that the "spinning disc" would run backwards on a sunny day but the numbers stayed put. But since the latest solar panel addition, the disc AND meter numbers run in reverse on a sunny day!

I informed my electricity company, AvroEnergy, of this and they replied with a very nice letter, to say that this is quite common with solar installs and they would arrange a smart meter install. However due to Covid there have of course been delays, but I have noticed that Avro have since been ignoring my monthly meter electricity readings and using an "Estimated" electricity meter reading which is about 5-6 times my actual/accurate usage as shown by the Tesla app!

After speaking with Avro Customer Services, they told me their computer system does not recognise my online meter reading submissions as they are lower than the previous months, and so the computer automatically uses an Estimate. There is nothing they can do about these initial 2-3 months of readings and they will use their estimated calculation.
My gas meter readings are accepted by them of course as they are increasing.

But can they charge me for electricity that I have just not used? I am more than happy to give them the Tesla readings which seem very accurate.It gives a breakdown of solar generation, grid use, Tesla battery use and export TO the grid (which is a large amount!) So what was the point of paying a few thousand £ to have this ideal set up if my electricity company is inventing its own readings of my usage. Is there anything I can do apart from make a complaint?

Also they use a company called Lowri Beck for their "smart meter" installs. Had never heard of them but when I looked them up they have some of the worst company reviews I have ever read online. But is that just internet bias? Also from personal experience of these so called smart meters (friends, parents, in-laws) these smart meters are far from smart or just plain unreliable and probably built to the cheapest possible price! (gen or Gen2!) And can cause just as many issues as normal meters or just stop working after a relatively short period of time. So they are still having to give monthly readings by phone or online! What was the point of them?! I am not looking forward to it.

Thought I would post on here if anybody had similar issues. Not sure if it is the correct place/part of this mainly EV forum! Any advice would be appreciated. MM
 

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2020 BMW i3S 120Ah BEV
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It's an interesting problem; you may find yourself having to actually use the energy you are producing before they can accurately charge you. In the long term once you switch meters they should read the old one at the time and you'll be effectively credited for the negative running you've accumulated while you still have a meter that runs backwards.

In the meantime get some electric water heating running and save on the gas!
 

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Your supplier should fit a meter that can't 'wind back'. That's what mine did.

Just give them your own 'estimated' reading in the mean time. ;)
 

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i certainly wouldnt be paying them a penny of those estimated reads. How far negative is it? If its only a little bit, it should sort itself out now its winter and go positive again. If they're incompetent as they sound, once it goes positive just sent them readings and the system should accept them.

Someone else i know does exactly this, they dont submit any reads at all during summer due to the backwards counting dial, and once the poorer weather arrives they submit a positive read and its accepted just fine.

Clearly getting the meter swapped needs to be done, but they cant be penalising you in the mean time with readings that you can prove are wildly inaccurate. It doesnt have to be a smart meter either (though its very likely it will be). Newer dial meters have a backstop which stops them turning the wrong way.

If they persist, tell them you want to lodge an official complaint, and will be also taking it to the regulator.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the replies. Very helpful. The negative read is getting less and less of course and should "flip over" into a more normal positive read in the next 2 months or so, especially when we get another EV. Due to the Tesla battery and solar production from our south facing roof, we are managing to be off grid most of the time though and still managing to charge the car for free.(i3 30kw battery so not that big of a battery) But yes it sounds like we should just start EV charging in the early hours when there is no solar and the Tesla battery has depleted to get our numbers up! What a bizarre situation.

Yes. The initial negative reading was -326 in May/June and -109 last month so getting less and less. But now we have started to enjoy some great sunny weather last few days!
I wonder whether it was the incredible April and especially May that caused something in our meter to "burn out" as that disc was spinning like a whirling dervish day after day! It is probably just the sheer volume we are exporting back to the grid though now. As we are at work during day, after the Tesla battery fills, by around 10.30am on a very sunny day, then it is all being exported staright to the grid! A good situation for the electricity company/grid to be in. Free green energy. Funny how things seem to work well for them and not the other way around!
 

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We had this problem. A spinning meter which ran backwards. We reported the meter readings and let them know what was happening. We only paid what the meter actually read. Then, eventually, they installed a smart meter. Make sure that you get a SMETS2 meter - that should be able to automatically read your export.
 

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When my solar installtion was completed the installer told me the meter would just stand still when solar power was on. It shouldn't go backwards and the meter needs changing. I've had a smart meter since then but the original meter was pretty old.
 

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Of course if power companies would just pay you at the same rate for what you submit to the grid as what they charge you for what you draw from the grid this wouldn't be a problem. ;)

The backwards turning meter is accurately measuring what is really happening - power flowing from your solar panels out onto the grid...
 

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Sure but as noted above you're already getting paid something for the power you generate, whether you export it to the grid or not. THAT is why the meter shouldn't go backwards, because you're being paid twice at the moment. For the newer part of the install without FIT then obviously the onus is on you to use what you generate so you can benefit from lower bills.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
In terms of their (AvroEnergy) computer correctly recording a "positive" meter reading, I am hoping that will be in relation to the preceedings month's reading.

My initial opening reading with Avro whom I moved over to in May (BEFORE the 2nd solar panel and Tesla battery install which was in the following month -June) was 3644. My last months meter reading was 2835.

So for example/hypothetically speaking if my next months reading was to be 3000, then I hope Avro will now record that as 165 units of electricity used for that month. Or will it still be regarded as "negative" if their computer compares it to the first or opening readings of 3644? Anybody know? If it is the original meter reading it will take a few more months to move over in to positive meter reading territory I think!
 

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Sure but as noted above you're already getting paid something for the power you generate, whether you export it to the grid or not. THAT is why the meter shouldn't go backwards, because you're being paid twice at the moment. For the newer part of the install without FIT then obviously the onus is on you to use what you generate so you can benefit from lower bills.
But that just highlights my point. It's only bureaucracy which makes that meter reading "incorrect".

Why should older installs be paid for generating power which they don't export to the grid ? Similarly, why should newer installs not be paid anything for power exported to the grid ?

Because some bureaucrat said so. It's just madness. They should be taking full advantage of people who are willing to install solar by offering to pay them a fair price for any excess generated power exported to the grid.
 

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Homeowners can get money for all exported energy be it from a PV solar array or from a battery by applying for SEG payments. Whether the payments are fair is a different discussion.
 

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So for example/hypothetically speaking if my next months reading was to be 3000, then I hope Avro will now record that as 165 units of electricity used for that month. Or will it still be regarded as "negative" if their computer compares it to the first or opening readings of 3644? Anybody know? If it is the original meter reading it will take a few more months to move over in to positive meter reading territory I think!
I would guess it needs to exceed 3644 before it will be accepted. All the other reads you've given them have essentially been completely ignored as they are less than 3644.

My mother inlaw had a similar issue, though not related to solar.
She switched providers, and somewhere along the line someone miskeyed her initial read such that it was 1000kwh high (even more comical is that it was a smart meter!). The meter became dumb after the switch, so when she started providing readings, she would input say 1234, and they would say, "nope, your initial read was 2200, please send a photo of the meter", and she would get an estimated bill. Each month the same thing happened, over and over. Eventually, it climbed past 2200 and they accepted the read and applied a huge credit for all the estimated charges.

Alas i dont know the best course to suggest. If they're customer service and computer systems are crap, then simply waiting for a positive read might well work in your favour. On the other hand if thats months and months away you risk continued estimated bills over that time and a bigger and bigger challenge if they do try to pursue the money, as you've acknowledged the issue to them already.
 

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Yeah with no FIT net metering would be great but can't see that ever happening.
 

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The estimated readings they have subsequently used will be overridden when you put in a "valid" real reading. Though if it's exceptionally low you might pop up the list of people who are due a visit from an meter reader ..
 

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But that just highlights my point. It's only bureaucracy which makes that meter reading "incorrect".

Why should older installs be paid for generating power which they don't export to the grid ? Similarly, why should newer installs not be paid anything for power exported to the grid ?

Because some bureaucrat said so. It's just madness. They should be taking full advantage of people who are willing to install solar by offering to pay them a fair price for any excess generated power exported to the grid.
Yes, it should have been implemented fairly - i.e. either everyone gets a meter that goes backwards or no-one does. They should have been forced to upgrade the meters on poperties that want to install the solar, end of story.

Then it becomes a simple debate of how much reimbursement is fair for power you supply back to the grid. It shouldn't be far off the unit cost, I would say, but you should certainly still pay the standing charges for maintaining the connection. The subsidies came about to offset the then-huge up-front cost of the solar and make sure it's financially viable for homeowners. They claim the need for it is now gone because the cost of installing solar has fallen so far that the payback time is sufficiently short for households not to need any additional incentives. I suppose this is open to debate too...
 

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The unit cost includes lots of other "stuff" though, well above the wholesale rate of the actual energy your exporting. Hence actual export tariffs pay a much lower rate 4-5p or so.
 

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The unit cost includes lots of other "stuff" though, well above the wholesale rate of the actual energy your exporting. Hence actual export tariffs pay a much lower rate 4-5p or so.
Yeah I realise they massage the balance of cost between the standing charge and the unit cost to position themselves relative to other vendors in the market. There is an underlying notional "infrastructure" cost that only they know, and the rest is power delivery on top.
 

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With your set up you would be better off on "Octopus Go" and they will fit you a SMETS 2 meter and pay for export at the rate of 5.5p/kwh. You keep your FITS payment but your deemed export is lost. However your real export will be greater than your deemed and so you will be better off.

In the meantime just send in an increased reading from the one they have/are using and you will see the computer rectify the error without communicating with anybody. Dont bother rocking boats its not worth the effort. You have done as much as legally required in notifying of the meter problem so now say nothing.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Looks like Octopus are the way to go from everything I have read. Was not aware I could have the FIT and SEG at the same time. Was under the impression I needed a smart meter with Octopus to get the good tariffs but with Covid there was a huge backlog earlier this year when looking to change, and unfortunately looks like that is about to continue. Again. As lockdowns increase. With 2 EVs by the end of the year (Pug e-208 coming in November or so we hope) we would not expect to export much or indeed not WANT to export much as ideally a lot of the excess will be going in to either EV, although it won't always work out that easily. So depending on the tariff offers, may just stick with my original FIT.
Would only agree to a Smart Meter from Avro once they confirm what readings they will use for these first 4-5 months and not their Estimated values. The Tesla app shows I used 83.4kWh of grid electricity for the whole month of July (my first full month with the 2nd solar install and Tesla battery) but Avro have used an Estimated reading of 481 kWh!:cry:
 
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