It's 2022, still waiting for SMETS 1 meter upgrade, can't switch to EV Tariff

Half a year ago, I got a promising email from Bulb with title “Good news about your smart meter”, telling me “We’ll be able to read your meter soon” and even asking me to submit a meter reading for the transition – which I did, and have been doing every month. Manually.

Since then, nothing.

What is the difficulty with getting the SMETS 1 meter upgraded? My meter model is EDMI ATLAS Mk7B.

I would like to take advantage of the EV Tariff to charge the car battery overnight at lower rates, but can’t do so until this smart meter issue is resolved. The last time I contacted Bulb, I was told that Bulb could not fit a SMETS 2 meter because “you already have a smart meter.” Kafkaesque!

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Hi @sometesque and welcome to the community :tada:

I have had a look into the account and we are currently working on reading your meters automatically. We have enrolled your meters onto the network and are just waiting for the return signal to send us a reading. Once this has been received we can change you to the EV tariff.

I’m sorry that I don’t have a set timeline on this. We are simply waiting for the signal to be strong enough to give us a reading, which we are working on now.

Please let me know if you have any questions about this.

– Robyn :bulb:

Thanks @Robyn_at_Bulb. Do you have more details about what this means exactly? I mean, either a radio signal is strong enough to send readings or it isn’t, right? If the radio signal is not strong enough, how does it help to just wait? If you meant that Bulb is working to strengthen the power of the radio signal, what is the nature of such work that does not require replacing the meter?

I would welcome the meter being replaced with a SMETS 2 model.

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Hey @sometesque

Bulb are working to strengthen the signal and requires us to upgrade the WAN in your area, rather than your meter.

We are currently unable to exchange SMETS1 meters with SMETS2 models without a huge fine from the government, which we would need to then pass onto you. I’d be happy to discuss this further with you via email if you wish and I can give you a quote for removing the meter?

– Robyn :bulb:

@Robyn_at_Bulb, thank you for the additional details. I would prefer not to be passed on the cost of any huge fine that the government imposed on Bulb. :slightly_smiling_face: However, at the end of the day, switching to an EV Tariff is a matter of money :moneybag: (saving money on electricity bills), so a calculation could be made as to whether paying to have a SMETS1 meter replaced with a SMETS2 meter is worth it. To this end, are you able to share a ballpark figure of how much Bulb would charge a customer (on average) to have a SMETS1 meter replaced with a SMETS2 meter? Please share it here if possible (without any personal details), because I think it would be of interest to other Bulb customers as well.

Also, could you confirm whether replacing the SMETS1 meter with a SMETS2 model would solve the radio signal strength issue that is preventing the SMETS1 meter from successfully sending meter readings to Bulb? My earlier point about welcoming a meter replacement was on the assumption that the issue was with the meter, but if the issue is with some WAN tower, then the whole SMETS1 / SMETS2 discussion may be moot.

For what it is worth, I had asked EDF Energy, Octopus Energy and Shell Energy about their policy regarding replacing a SMETS1 meter with a SMETS2 meter in order for a customer to take advantage of an EV tariff with cheaper overnight rates. EDF has a similar stance to Bulb, not willing to replace SMETS1 with SMETS2 free of charge. Octopus Energy and Shell Energy both confirmed, in writing, that they would be happy to replace a SMETS1 meter with a SMETS2 meter free of charge to the customer, but they are not currently taking on new customers (price cap crisis) so switching is not an option for now.

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Hey @sometesque

Each fine is different as it’s based on the age of your SMETS1 meter and who installed the meter originally. This can be upwards of £250.

Changing to a SMETS2 meter could potentially fix the problem of the signal strength as the communications hub would also be upgraded. This cannot be guaranteed however.

I hope this answers your queries, however I can go into more specific detail via email if you wish.

– Robyn :bulb:

I have exactly the same problem in RH12 except that the Bulb checking service appears to show my meter as the wrong type. When is this upgrade (that was promised by last summer) actually going to happen? Telephoning bulb is useless because they have no knowledge.

Why would the government impose a huge fine for an energy supplier to installing a next generation smart meter that has the capabilities to allow an EV charging point to be installed and charge during off peek hours reducing network overloads and paving the way for the future.

Can Bulb detail the huge government fines for the future of EV vehicles and their charging management tariffs please.

Surely if Bulb or any other energy supplier can’t install/upgrade their infrastructure to support the government’s EV Readiness proposal would they be fined?

Why would the government give EV insensitives for home charging point installations and then impose huge fines on energy suppliers that upgrade household meters that support the charging points that they have given insensitives to install.

So again please send accurate details of the fines the government imposes upon Bulb for their own EV Readiness proposal

I bet this won’t get a Bulb detailed reply

This is copied from citizens advice website.

If you decide to get a smart meter

Your supplier is responsible for installing your smart meter and making sure it works properly - they should:

  • explain the process beforehand
  • show you how to use your smart meter
  • give you a copy of the instructions
  • tell you how to use energy efficiently

They should also give you a number to call if anything goes wrong, or if you think your meter isn’t working properly. For example if you can’t see usage details on your in-home display.

Your smart meter can be set up as a prepayment meter. If yours is prepayment, your energy supplier will give you a top-up card or key. You can:

  • top up at a local shop or Post Office using your top-up card or key
  • top up online or through an app on your mobile phone

If you top up online, you should still keep your card or key in case you need to use it - for example, if the app isn’t working.

In my view Bulb are just fobbing you off. They have supplied a product that is not fit for purpose. They supplied it so the redress is with Bulb, They will probably try and fob you off saying it is not there problem. Well it is. You legal redress is with Bulb. If they don’t resolve it within 8 weeks refer t6he issue to the Energy Ombudsman

In mid 2019 when I joined Bulb my smets 1 to 2 upgrade was promised as imminent by Bulb. It is still imminent.
When the smets 1 meter was installed I was advised it was a prototype so very likely software upgrades won’t work.
Personally I see no likelihood of getting an upgrade any time soon as the standard excuses persist.
Sorry I have become very cynical about ever seeing an upgrade.

I’m also trying to move onto the EV tariff.

Having contacted Bulb yesterday, they advised that they have not been able to automatically get a reading from my SMETS1 meter for the last 2 months. That is why the option to move the EV tariff is not available.

How can I fast track the process for a SMETS2 meter? The ultimate goal is to quickly move onto the EV tariff.

Thank you

On reading the Government EV guidelines and vision it’s everyone’s responsibility to transition.
If you’re energy supplier is ignoring or falling behind because of various reasons including bad overpaid management. Then You the end user can take control of electrical kwh usage that when your EV charger is programmed to charge within 02:00&06:00 and give your own usage based on the government directive back to your energy supplier.
Your energy supplier can not argue your proactive engagement to the greener policy while you wait for metering equipment that should of been fitted years ago.
So if you have an EV car just recalculate your bill via your EV App kwh usage.
This might get their arse in gear

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If any end user can prove they are embracing and following the “Taking Charge The Electric Vehicle Strategy” outlined by the government then failure by your energy supplier to fall behind your proactive measures is failure solely on their behalf.
Just supply your EV vehicle charging app data and if charging falls between 02:00-06:00 then KWHs is charged at no more than 9pence per kwh during that period.
They cannot challenge “Green or Carbon footprint” house holds that are deploying a government proposal they should of been leading not you.
Who will you if you are leading ?
Remind them of that when a readjusted bill is sent back to them

Hi @Choughuk - As I’m sure you can appreciate, with the special administration and current energy crisis, our technology upgrades have taken a back seat for the moment. We are hoping to have access to all SMETS1 meters by the end of this year however this cannot be guaranteed.

Hi @zseanz - the fine is to remove the first generation meter that the government paid to install - we then install the second generation meter for free. If the SMETS1 meter is currently working, it’s a case of our technology upgrading to read your meter. If it isn’t working as a meter, then we can request to replace the faulty meter with a SMETS2 meter. However this is only for faulty meters that show no reading.

@jonathan.w.carr - Rather than an upgrade to SMETS2, it would be a case, as mentioned above, of upgrading our networks to communicate with your SMETS1 meter. This is hoping to be complete by the end of the year, however this cannot be guaranteed.

@Al_Essex - I’m afraid you aren’t able to fast track the process for a SMETS2 meter. We will be upgrading our network over the coming months and hopefully will be able to communicate with your SMETS1 meter by the end of the year. As mentioned above, this cannot be guaranteed however as it takes into consideration a lot of factors.

– Robyn :bulb: