Solar PV made my electricity meter run backwards
Posted by Gabby Mallett on 3 February 2017 at 1:50 pm
They found me, I don’t know how, but they found me.
Yes, I know, it’s a quote from Back to the Future and of course I do know how they found me. My energy supplier finally worked out that my meter was running backwards because I have a PV system.
I had a 3.01kWp system installed back in September 2010, just a few months after they were introduced (and yes I did get the maximum rate of 43.3p which is increasing with its index-linking). Like many other people at the time, I didn’t bother looking around for a different energy supplier to provide my Feed in Tariff (FiT), I just went to my current electricity supplier. It seemed to make sense to have one organisation doing both. I assumed they knew what electricity meter I had and I really thought no more about it.
With the electricity tariff that I was on I was supposed to send monthly meter readings. Well, I forgot much of the time even though they sent me an email reminder, but the times I bothered to take the reading they had often already sent me a bill, so I didn’t bother submitting.
Then an interesting thing happened. I tried to put in a meter reading and I got a system message which said ‘oops, that isn’t the reading we were expecting’. Of course my first response was to write a snotty letter to say that ‘no wonder it’s not the reading you were expecting as you always over estimate my usage and I am horrendously in credit, and you do it with my gas too’. Suffice to say it was a pretty strong message. They responded very nicely to say the reason for the message was that the meter reading that I had submitted, in October, was actually less than the reading I had submitted in May!
So, they had finally twigged that my meter was actually running backwards whenever my PV was producing and I wasn’t using. This meant that during the summer I would be producing 10-15kWhs a day which would move the numbers back and I would get home and then use less than this in the evening. My supplier then wrote to me and said that I needed a new meter. They said that they felt my meter was faulty and I may be paying more or less than I needed (clearly less in this case) and very nicely they said that they wouldn’t be trying to reclaim any underpayment from me.
So then we had to arrange installation of a new meter.
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