Smart Meter Installation

We had our smart meters installed today and I have a few comments and questions as a result.

Communication was excellent and everything was fine except that the engineer turned up a good 40 minutes early, for an 8am slot. As a result we hadn’t made a space available on the drive (live on a main road with double yellows). It was lucky someone was up and able to make space at the time, but thought this was bad form - the engineer phoned the previous evening to confirm 8am. Being late is often the subject of people’s ire, but equally, being too early can also cause unnecessary issues.

The installation was efficient and the engineer (other then the earlier arrival) professional.

BUT it appears are smart meters are not so smart. Apparently, according the engineer, the meters could not be commissioned as there was insufficient network availability in our area (Stockport, Gtr Manchester). To quote “there are not enough meters in the area to get a signal”. Apparently we are to await a call where further action will be taken?

AND I was expecting a display for our meters - I have always taken this as a big “selling point” of the smart meter and this is what helps us a household drive down our energy usage. It appears we have a manual for the display, but no actual physical hardware. The engineer never mentioned anything about the display other than handing over the leaflet as he left. My wife wasn’t aware that a display was expected so never questioned it. I’d be interested to know what was expected here as the leaflet appears to suggest that there should have been some sort of handover/explanation of the display as part of the installation.

I appreciate that it is early days for the whole Bulb roll out at the moment so I hope that these comments are taken positively and help feed in to better experiences for other customers.

I await your feedback on the questions above.


For my installation the engineers were also early, but they phoned beforehand to check it would be OK.

Regarding signal issues - there have been quite a lot and Bulb have said very little about it publically so far. Aquiva (who have the contract for the long range radio DCC network up here in the north) seem to have somewhat overestimated their network coverage. Yes, it should get connected up eventually, but for now you unfortunately (like myself), will have to continue to read the meters manually.

Regarding the IHD, they’re sometimes not being left when the meters have not connected to the network, but also I heard something about a shortage of stock a week or two back. They wouldn’t have thought that they should have given you the booklet without it though, and this should have been explained to you.

It’s a breath of fresh air to hear someone actually being understanding about this whole situation. So many people seem to be going off the rails just because their IHD isn’t showing one of their fuels or because their IHD hasn’t connected up yet.
Bulb will sort these issues out, but as you say it is very early days and it will take time, and as a company they’ve also (quite quietly) just moved buildings which can’t be making things any easier!