Pylon symbol on Smart meter monitor

hi, we have just had our smart meter installed and we have a pylon symbol with an arrow pointing to it on our in home monitor. I wanted to confirm that this means that we are exporting to the grid as the Siemens installer thought that might be what it would be but wasn’t sure.

thanks in advance,

Jenny

you are correct. it means you are exporting!!! get your dishwasher on quick…

thanks Ashley, I’ve just seen this - that is very helpful. Do you know what the numbers are showing - the ‘Usage Now’ is 3.26 kW and the cost is £0.00/hr - I assumed originally that meant I was exporting 3.26 kW but on speaking to Bulb, they said that 3.26 was what the household was using and presumably the export figure is the small difference between what was showing on the inverter and the 3.26. However, I now have similar figures (and the sun is blazing) and I have turned off everything in the house so I can’t see how that is a household usage figure - very confusing…… also my export meter is showing something completely different and the supplier can’t explain… gaahh!!! I just want to know if I have enough export atm to install a megaflow boiler with iboost to replace my central heating boiler. The experts are not proving very helpful.

thanks Ashley, I've just seen this - that is very helpful. Do you know what the numbers are showing - the 'Usage Now' is 3.26 kW and the cost is £0.00/hr - I assumed originally that meant I was exporting 3.26 kW but on speaking to Bulb, they said that 3.26 was what the household was using and presumably the export figure is the small difference between what was showing on the inverter and the 3.26. However, I now have similar figures (and the sun is blazing) and I have turned off everything in the house so I can't see how that is a household usage figure - very confusing...… also my export meter is showing something completely different and the supplier can't explain.... gaahh!!!

The figure is what you’re exporting.

If you consider the location of the smart meter within your local circuit, what Bulb have said can’t possibly be right (not unexpected). It’s impossible for your import/export meter to know your actual household usage because it just can’t see it. When your import/export meter reads 3kW export, it has no way of knowing whether your solar array is generating 3kW with 0kW local usage, or 5kW with 2kW local usage, because all the generation and local usage happens before the import/export meter. To see your actual local usage, you need to take the value at the inverter minus the value being exported according to your IHD.

To be more mathematically rigorous, it’s better to consider the value shown on the IHD with the pylon symbol to be negative usage. That way you can just add the two number together to get your local usage. i.e.,

2kW (inverter) + 1kW (import) = 3kW household usage.
2kW (inverter) + -1kW (export) = 1kW household usage.

I just want to know if I have enough export atm to install a megaflow boiler with iboost to replace my central heating boiler. The experts are not proving very helpful.

I’m sure I don’t need to say this, but remember that your central heating will be needed in the winter when then sun isn’t blazing, so working out the maths today isn’t going to be representative of the performance you need.

ah ha, thank you Hooloovoo - I think you have answered my question, however, the 3.26 figure I mention is what is on the in-home monitor so I am trying to confirm if that is an export figure (evidence is starting to back that up - I have everything electrical off in the house (apart from my internet) and the figure the monitor is showing is fluctuating with the sunshine (ie. it gets up to about 3.7kW and then a cloud comes over and it drops to 800w)). My import/ export monitor is showing an entirely different figure (cumulative 0.54 exported over 6 weeks - not correct I suspect as we were away for two weeks and turned everything off apart from the fridges) but that is an investigation I will do separately. Thanks for the words of caution re. getting rid of the boiler - our oil fired boiler is on its last legs and the central heating hasn’t worked for years so we are going to continue with our aga (approx. £10 a week in electric) and wood burner :!) and put extra jumpers on when it snows :¬))

what would have been really helpful is if the app promised by our solar supplier actually showed our generation, consumption and export all in one place but unfortunately that is not working atm so I run around the house between the various monitors and check them :¬). The iboost is supposed to take any little spare bits of electricity that we would otherwise export and use it to heat a large water tank so it is starting to look like that will be very feasible at least over the summer months and be an overall saving on the use of heating oil.

Could you just clarify - you’ve said a couple of times “My import/ export monitor is showing an entirely different figure”. What does this mean? Typically with a solar installation you have a total generation meter on the output of the panels, plus the energy supplier meter that measures only total import until you change to a smart meter which then does both import and export.

What is your separate import/export monitor that you mention, and how is it connected up? It’s possibly going to be difficult to answer your question without a circuit diagram! Perhaps they’ve put a current sensing CT clamp on your incoming supply cable somewhere?

You’re right about the export figure fluctuating with the clouds.

I’ve got the inverter which connects to the (sorry I used a misleading name) the Total Generation/Export monitor. This was installed with the solar panels and shows the cumulative total of units generated by the panels and apparently an export figure of 0.54 (but I’m not 100% sure what the unit is). I also have a Bulb smart meter with the In Home Monitor which is what I originally posted about because the Siemens installer wasn’t able to explain the pylon symbol and the usage figures (ie. confirm if the usage figure shown on the monitor with the pylon is the export figure) and it is not included in the manual. I also have an app (Ginlong) that was supplied with the panels which has provision to show Generation/Export/Consumption but because apparently the inverter doesn’t know how to talk to the smart meter (or vice versa) we are only getting a very inaccurate Generation figure. Bulb are currently struggling to answer my question re. usage figure and the solar panel people don’t really know how I can get the full picture. The Bulb smart meter outside appears to be just counting what we take from the grid - is that what you’d expect? thank you so much for your time, it is a relief to speak to someone who knows a bit about it!

Post a pic of your generation meter if you can.

Not sure what the .54 is referring to, though the price paid for exported electricity on FIT is 5.38p, so it’s close to that…

Your smart meter / IHD will be measuring the export correctly. Can you find an cumulative export reading on it?

I've got the inverter which connects to the (sorry I used a misleading name) the Total Generation/Export monitor. This was installed with the solar panels and shows the cumulative total of units generated by the panels and apparently an export figure of 0.54 (but I'm not 100% sure what the unit is).

Not sure how that can do total generation and export. Either it simply can’t and it’s just total generation or there’s more to it than just being connected to the panel output.

I also have an app (Ginlong) that was supplied with the panels which has provision to show Generation/Export/Consumption but because apparently the inverter doesn't know how to talk to the smart meter (or vice versa) we are only getting a very inaccurate Generation figure.

The total generation figure should be accurate. If it needs to connect to the Home Area Network (HAN) generated by the smart meters in order to access import/export data then that’s not going to work for quite possibly years yet. Given the current mess with smart meters and the trouble that several of us have had so far on here in getting access to our data or pairing any devices, it’s going to be a long time before it’s easy to connect up third-party devices.

Bulb are currently struggling to answer my question re. usage figure and the solar panel people don't really know how I can get the full picture. The Bulb smart meter outside appears to be just counting what we take from the grid - is that what you'd expect? thank you so much for your time, it is a relief to speak to someone who knows a bit about it!

The Bulb smart meter will tell you the total amount you take from the grid, and the total you give back. But the cumulative export figure most likely isn’t available from the IHD and you’ll have to access it through the interface on the meter itself. I don’t have the type of meter that Bulb are installing, so I can’t say how you do that. On my Elster smart meter it’s reasonably easy and I just figured it out by pressing buttons to see what they did. Although I understand many people wont be as blasé as me about randomly pressing buttons!

Somewhat shocking that I apparently know more about this than the people installing the system. I don’t even have solar panels! I’m just an energy geek that’s interested in this sort of thing.

Post a pic of your generation meter if you can.

Not sure what the .54 is referring to, though the price paid for exported electricity on FIT is 5.38p, so it’s close to that…

Your smart meter / IHD will be measuring the export correctly. Can you find an cumulative export reading on it?

thanks phproxy - here are pics of my generation meter (and the Bulb monitor) - the solar installation guy told me that the Exp figure on the generation meter is what we are exporting but we had the panels installed late July this year and it has slowly crept up to 0.54 (while the cumulative generation figure is 77554!) I am not receiving much clarification from the solar panel company as yet. I’m hoping that the Bulb ‘export’ figure is accurate as you say because that then means that we have generated electricity to spare which will heat the Megaflow that we want to install without having as much impact on our grid consumption - does that make sense?

Post a pic of your generation meter if you can.

Not sure what the .54 is referring to, though the price paid for exported electricity on FIT is 5.38p, so it’s close to that…

Your smart meter / IHD will be measuring the export correctly. Can you find an cumulative export reading on it?

thanks phproxy - here are pics of my generation meter (and the Bulb monitor) - the solar installation guy told me that the Exp figure on the generation meter is what we are exporting but we had the panels installed late July this year and it has slowly crept up to 0.54 (while the cumulative generation figure is 77554!) I am not receiving much clarification from the solar panel company as yet. I’m hoping that the Bulb ‘export’ figure is accurate as you say because that then means that we have generated electricity to spare which will heat the Megaflow that we want to install without having as much impact on our grid consumption - does that make sense?

I've got the inverter which connects to the (sorry I used a misleading name) the Total Generation/Export monitor. This was installed with the solar panels and shows the cumulative total of units generated by the panels and apparently an export figure of 0.54 (but I'm not 100% sure what the unit is).

Not sure how that can do total generation and export. Either it simply can’t and it’s just total generation or there’s more to it than just being connected to the panel output.

I also have an app (Ginlong) that was supplied with the panels which has provision to show Generation/Export/Consumption but because apparently the inverter doesn't know how to talk to the smart meter (or vice versa) we are only getting a very inaccurate Generation figure.

The total generation figure should be accurate. If it needs to connect to the Home Area Network (HAN) generated by the smart meters in order to access import/export data then that’s not going to work for quite possibly years yet. Given the current mess with smart meters and the trouble that several of us have had so far on here in getting access to our data or pairing any devices, it’s going to be a long time before it’s easy to connect up third-party devices.

Bulb are currently struggling to answer my question re. usage figure and the solar panel people don't really know how I can get the full picture. The Bulb smart meter outside appears to be just counting what we take from the grid - is that what you'd expect? thank you so much for your time, it is a relief to speak to someone who knows a bit about it!

The Bulb smart meter will tell you the total amount you take from the grid, and the total you give back. But the cumulative export figure most likely isn’t available from the IHD and you’ll have to access it through the interface on the meter itself. I don’t have the type of meter that Bulb are installing, so I can’t say how you do that. On my Elster smart meter it’s reasonably easy and I just figured it out by pressing buttons to see what they did. Although I understand many people wont be as blasé as me about randomly pressing buttons!

Somewhat shocking that I apparently know more about this than the people installing the system. I don’t even have solar panels! I’m just an energy geek that’s interested in this sort of thing.

it is crazy - I am getting far more info on here than from the companies involved! I can’t find a total amount that we have exported on the IHD so I guess I will have to check out the smart meter itself - that will be interesting. I have the Bulb in home monitor in a prominent position and the amount of time it says we are exporting means that I think my plan with the Megaflow will be cost effective (a couple of friends locally have this setup and it is working well for them) but I would feel more comfortable if I could confirm exactly what the figures are showing as I have had conflicting info - saying that the figure showing on the monitor is the total consumption of the house but I think I have disproved that by turning off all my appliances and watching it fluctuate with the sunshine as mentioned earlier. Shame I can’t have an actual conversation with someone in the Bulb ‘Smart Team’ because sadly the people who answer the phones don’t know.

Post a pic of your generation meter if you can.

Not sure what the .54 is referring to, though the price paid for exported electricity on FIT is 5.38p, so it’s close to that…

Your smart meter / IHD will be measuring the export correctly. Can you find an cumulative export reading on it?

Post a pic of your generation meter if you can.

Not sure what the .54 is referring to, though the price paid for exported electricity on FIT is 5.38p, so it’s close to that…

Your smart meter / IHD will be measuring the export correctly. Can you find an cumulative export reading on it?

hi phproxy - I have written a response to your comment (thanks for your time btw) and it is awaiting moderation :¬))

interesting update - after pressing random buttons on my main smart meter (thanks Hoovooloo, it appears to be giving a Total export credit figure of £32.29!!

interesting update - after pressing random buttons on my main smart meter (thanks Hoovooloo, it appears to be giving a Total export credit figure of £32.29!!

I would have thought you’d want the cumulative export in kWh rather than price, since it’s unlikely the meter has any valid export tariff information.

Post a pic of your generation meter if you can.

Not sure what the .54 is referring to, though the price paid for exported electricity on FIT is 5.38p, so it’s close to that…

Your smart meter / IHD will be measuring the export correctly. Can you find an cumulative export reading on it?

thanks phproxy - here are pics of my generation meter (and the Bulb monitor) - the solar installation guy told me that the Exp figure on the generation meter is what we are exporting but we had the panels installed late July this year and it has slowly crept up to 0.54 (while the cumulative generation figure is 77554!) I am not receiving much clarification from the solar panel company as yet. I’m hoping that the Bulb ‘export’ figure is accurate as you say because that then means that we have generated electricity to spare which will heat the Megaflow that we want to install without having as much impact on ou

interesting update - after pressing random buttons on my main smart meter (thanks Hoovooloo, it appears to be giving a Total export credit figure of £32.29!!

I would have thought you’d want the cumulative export in kWh rather than price, since it’s unlikely the meter has any valid export tariff information.

yes, that would have been useful but it was the only thing that the meter seemed to show apart from the usual consumption figure. We don’t have an export tariff but I can convert it back I guess if I knew what price figure they used - maybe our usual tariff? This is all quite frustrating - no info from any of the companies - Bulb customer service promised to ask the ‘Smart team’ and email me yesterday with the answer (this is the second time I’ve called Bulb to ask) but nothing as yet!