Economy 7 problem

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Julie A

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Hi, just signed up having searched online for help. I'm going slowly mad trying to sort this problem as I am getting different info from different people and I need a level of expertise that I am struggling to find. I'm hoping someone here can help. I had a smart meter (2nd gen) installed 18mths ago. I was with EDF and all was good. Then I swopped to Bulb and months later discovered (because I was away and was still running up sizeable day rate bills) that I was being charged for E7 between 00.30-07.30 GMT but my storage heaters were still coming on at the EDF times of 22.30-00.30 and 02.30-07.30. So they were charging primarily during that first EDF time whilst, as far as Bulb were concerned, that was Rate 1 or Day rate. My housing association have an energy advice department and I have been working with one of their advisors. I have provided Bulb with all the evidence that this what is happening. At first they just said, sorry can't help, those are the times we offer. The advisor and the electrician I consulted both said it should be automatic, although no one seems too certain exactly how, these days, the timer/meter knows the times. I don't think it is a radio signal anymore, not with smart meters anyway. When I went back to Bulb and said it should be automatic so it must be the timer or the meter (which is what the advisor and electrian told me) they said, no, you have to sort that in your home. I repeated back to Bulb the advise I had had that is was a meter/timer problem and then they said, we'll need a report from an electrican to that effect. It's as though Bulb don't know anything about how it works! Or I am being giving duff info. I am concerned that if I get a report from the electrician and they send an engineer and it doesn't solve the problem, that Bulb will send me the bill. The electrician is very busy and not it seems very interested and can't do me a report for at least a couple of weeks. I am going on his information and I find myself wondering if his info is fully up to date. The advisor doesn't really know what to say next. According to everything he knows this is a meter or timer issue. He has checked with colleagues who agree but he says himself he has never come across this problem before. So what I really need is for someone who really knows how these things work and is up-to-date with the effect of second gen smart meters on E7 wiring to tell me for sure firstly, how the instruction to turn on at the right time gets to the E7 switch? Secondly, and if it's not working where is the problem going to be?  The electrician checked all the general wiring a few weeks back and said it is fine. I reckon Bulb owe me about £100 in overpayment but if push comes to shove I will just change to a company that offer the same times as my system is set to. That would not solve the problem but it would circumvent it.  Can I politely ask that people only answer if they are very certain of their facts as I have heard every theory going, what I need is solid knowledge. Many thanks in advance.

 

Julie A

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Just to say, if I shouldn't even be on this forum because it is just for electricians, I am sorry. But if anyone can advise on where to take my issue for help I would be extremely grateful.

 

Julie A

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Yes, I definitely have. I have collected vast amounts of data from the meter and the home monitor over the last few months and can show, beyond any doubt that, in accordance with the hours set by Bulb, that is when I am getting cheaper electricity but that the storage heaters are turning on at 22.30GMT as though I am still with EDF. I can show clearly that from 22.30-00.30 I am being charged Day rate and that is when the heaters are doing the bulk of the charging. When I started getting up in the middle of the night to turn the heaters on to make them charge at E7, my bills halved.

 
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Have you got an older mechanical type timer next to your main service fuse?

sounds a bit odd tbh.

how many fuseboards do you have ?

also as it sounds like this problem starter when the meter was changed, shouldn’t the meter company come back and investigate it?

 
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What makes you think the heaters are still coming on at the "old" times (which sound like E10 timing not E7)?

e.g do the heaters have lights on them so you can see when they are on?

 

Julie A

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Hi Murdoch, the problem didn't start until I changed company who had different hours for E7.  Attaching photos of what I have. I can't get one picture of the meter as there is a wood in the way. The first photo is the SMETS2 obviously, the second the timer and a black box (mine is the left hand one but I no idea of its purpose). The third photo is a forum I found today where someone states that some additional wiring is needed for E7 to work correctly with a smart meter. I am wondering if the timer works fine while you are with the company who installed it and their E7 times but if you switch to another company with different times, without the additional wiring, the meter/timer is unable to receive the new info. The installation company would have zero incentive to add the additional wiring.

Meter.jpg

Timer and box.jpg

MSEforum.png

 

Julie A

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Hi ProDave, I have taken readings at every conceiveable time through the night. No, the heaters are old and don't have lights however, my immersion heater does. So I can  see that the devices have been triggered to turn on by checking when the light comes on and I can confirm that the info is correct by comparing to the inhome monitor usage and cost. The light on the immersion and the inhome monitor both confirm that the equipment is charging at EDF times. So in order to make sure they are charging on night rate, I have to get up and turn them on when the EDF times correspond with the Bulb times - ie 02.30-07.30GMT. It is definitely E7 on E10 as 00.30-02.30 nothing will turn on as EDF times exclude that period.

Hi Murdoch, old non singing or dancing storage heaters.

 
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I would expect the meter to control the E7 times unless you have a contractor controlling the input to the E7 circuits

how many fuse boards do you have ?

your E7 should be 7 hours, not 5 that you suggest

 
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Julie A

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Hi again Murdoch, 2 fuse boards, one for Day rate and one for E7. I've had the site electrician out and he says all is good wiring wise.  The EDF times are 22.30-00.30 and 02.30-07.30 as I said in my earlier post. In the last post I was referring to the safe time to put the heating on to charge as the crossover period between Bulb and EDF ie the second EDF period. Thanks

 
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Hi again Murdoch, 2 fuse boards, one for Day rate and one for E7. I've had the site electrician out and he says all is good wiring wise.  The EDF times are 22.30-00.30 and 02.30-07.30 as I said in my earlier post. In the last post I was referring to the safe time to put the heating on to charge as the crossover period between Bulb and EDF ie the second EDF period. Thanks
ok.

sounds like a mistake by bulb then when they fitted the new meter .. or did they fit a new meter? SMETS2 are the ones that are supposed to talk to different suppliers so we’re the E7 times actually changed? And from what you describe they weren’t and that points the finger at the meter. 
 

shame is that the help desks for these companies are lacking in skills ....

do you have an in home display unit ?

 
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Julie A

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sounds like a mistake by bulb then when they fitted the new meter .. or did they fit a new meter? SMETS2 are the ones that are supposed to talk to different suppliers so we’re the E7 times actually changed? And from what you describe they weren’t and that points the finger at the meter. 
Thanks for the link but nothing I am not already aware of  though. I'm definitely suffering from a lack of skills at Bulb's end it seems, despite the fact that the smart meter team have been consulted numerous times and the supervisor. They are acting as though this can't be anything to do with them/the meter or timer although all the evidence is to the contrary which is why they are insisting on an electricians report before they will come out. No Bulb didn't fit it, as I explained in my first post, EDF did. The problem only began when I signed up to Bulb and unwittingly then had different E7 times which both the meter and I were blissfully ignorant of. I am now wised up but the meter is still in the dark. When you say were the times changed, do you mean physically at the meter? This is one of the big questions which I have been unable to get a catagorical answer for anywhere, how do you re-educated the meter to the new times? Is it a physical adjustment at the meter or something that is done remotely. Certainly no-one came out. That aside, my understanding is that the meter and timer are your energy provider's responsibility even if they didn't install it, so if it is down to the meter or timer Bulb need to sort it.  Re inhome display, yes I do. That is how I was able to really pin the issue down, between that and copious meter readings at a bunch of different times in the night. Although to the best of my knowledge they can't flag up rate 1 or E7, I can tell by comparing the price/kWh just before the E7 kicks in and just after. Thanks

 
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Thanks for the link but nothing I am not already aware of  though. I'm definitely suffering from a lack of skills at Bulb's end it seems, despite the fact that the smart meter team have been consulted numerous times and the supervisor. They are acting as though this can't be anything to do with them/the meter or timer although all the evidence is to the contrary which is why they are insisting on an electricians report before they will come out. No Bulb didn't fit it, as I explained in my first post, EDF did. The problem only began when I signed up to Bulb and unwittingly then had different E7 times which both the meter and I were blissfully ignorant of. I am now wised up but the meter is still in the dark. When you say were the times changed, do you mean physically at the meter? This is one of the big questions which I have been unable to get a catagorical answer for anywhere, how do you re-educated the meter to the new times? Is it a physical adjustment at the meter or something that is done remotely. Certainly no-one came out. That aside, my understanding is that the meter and timer are your energy provider's responsibility even if they didn't install it, so if it is down to the meter or timer Bulb need to sort it.  Re inhome display, yes I do. That is how I was able to really pin the issue down, between that and copious meter readings at a bunch of different times in the night. Although to the best of my knowledge they can't flag up rate 1 or E7, I can tell by comparing the price/kWh just before the E7 kicks in and just after. Thanks


OK. Its just it does say your E7 may be at 2 different times .......

I would say you should write to the CEO of Bulb, and politely outline your issues, the lack of understanding of your issues / lack of empathy of the Bulb help desk staff and let their complaints procedure kick in!

 

Julie A

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OK. Its just it does say your E7 may be at 2 different times .......

I would say you should write to the CEO of Bulb, and politely outline your issues, the lack of understanding of your issues / lack of empathy of the Bulb help desk staff and let their complaints procedure kick in! 
Hi Murdoch, that for that. It is weird that they say in the article that your E7 can be broken up into two periods as I have spoken to a very experienced customer services person at Bulb who assured me that it is 00.30-07.30GMT and always has been. I have proved with all my recording of data that the E7 rate is kicking in during those periods so that at least tallys. I just do have the sense that they don't really know what they are doing. I am already in the complaints procedure and have been for 8 wks now so they say I can go to the ombudsman if I wish. I will pursue this course of getting an electricians report and see what happens. I appreciate your efforts to help as after I signed up here I realised this wasn't really what the forum was intended for. Thank you.

 

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