Gas Meter Upgrade

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We have had a granny annexe built which has it's own central heating boiler and gas fire. Our builders advised that our gas meter may need to be upgraded as a result of the modest additional demand. We approached our gas/electricity provider who quoted £800 to do this - an element of this was for the meter and an element for a new housing which would also be required. This sounds like rather a lot - especially as they will still (presumably) own the meter. Anyone else had experience of this? Any help/advice appreciated.
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  • spiro
    spiro Posts: 6,403 Forumite
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    It sounds like one of two things has happened hear; (1) they thing you want a new seperate supply for the annex or (2) they think your existing supply (pipe&meter) need upgrading. Suggest you, speak to them again and make it clear you dont want a new supply but you CH engineer thinks you may need an upgraded meter to cope with 2 boilers/gas fires.
    IT Consultant in the utilities industry specialising in the retail electricity market.

    4 Credit Card and 1 Loan PPI claims settled for £26k, 1 rejected (Opus).
  • SailorSam
    SailorSam Posts: 22,754 Forumite
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    This is going back some years now so may be things have changed and it's not allowed now, i had a friend who had a flat above a shop, the woman who owned the shop use to empty the gas meter, it was hers, it was 'wired up' some how as an extension of her own system.
    Maybe you could buy a meter, a 50p in the slot type and whoever fits the central heating could fit that.
    Liverpool is one of the wonders of Britain,
    What it may grow to in time, I know not what.

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  • Rieslingnut
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    My utility provider is in no doubt that what I'm after is a bigger meter that will permit an increased flow of gas. Before I accepted their quote I asked if I could obtain alternative quotes elsewhere (just to see if their price was fair) but apparently this isn't possible. This made me suspicious that I might be paying way over the odds - especially as their quote was £500 MORE than my builder reckoned it cost for a new gas installation.
  • spiro
    spiro Posts: 6,403 Forumite
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    Bigger meter probably equals bigger pipe and it is not the supplier by the gas transported who does the pipe work and they have flat fees based on distance from main with a minimum cost. Suspect that is were most of the £800 is going.
    IT Consultant in the utilities industry specialising in the retail electricity market.

    4 Credit Card and 1 Loan PPI claims settled for £26k, 1 rejected (Opus).
  • Rieslingnut
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    Thanks Spiro, but my energy company have made it clear that the £800 quote is just for the meter and housing and that the pipework from the main to the meter is not their concern. In fact, they seem happy to put a bigger meter in regardless of whether the supply pipework is man enough for the job. The fact that all appliances are working well tempts me to leave well alone and just make sure that we use either the gas fires OR the central heating so as to keep the flow within the limits of the existing meter.
  • Gman0365
    Gman0365 Posts: 119 Forumite
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    I would think that the size of meter you are being quoted for is a U16. Price from www.bes.co.uk is £220.25 + VAT. You will also need an appropriate housing for the meter. Model GC2 at www.meterboxes.co.uk is suitable for a U16, priced at £248 + VAT + delivery. Brings you to nearly £500 and you can certainly expect the remaing £300 to go towards labour for the installation and testing by a qualified engineer.

    The thing I can't understand is why the gas supplier has not made contact with the gas transporter for the area to ensure that the gas service has sufficient capacity to feed the larger meter. I'm pretty certain that they must contact the local gas transporter to ensure adequate network capacity. You could spend all that money having the meter upgraded only to find that the service pipe is too small. At that point you then need to have a new service pipe installed.

    It's not a good idea to reply upon the balancing of usage within your house. A gas engineer should never of connected appliances to an installation that would not have the capacity to supply those appliances. I have seen the flame disappear from a gas hob / gas fire when the central heating / hot water comes on. This is very dangerous.

    If you're not happy with the quote from you're gas supplier you are free to contact another gas supplier for a quote and explain that if the price is good then you will move your supply over to them.

    Hope this helps
  • Vestra
    Vestra Posts: 856 Forumite
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    Yup sounds like a u16 meter, the work will not be done until the pipe upgrade if necessary is done.
  • Rieslingnut
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    Thanks - very useful comments. Just to be clear on the cost of meter and housing.... am I right in thinking that I would be paying for the new U16 meter, housing and installation charge? Sounds strange to have to pay for the hardware if it remains the property of the transporter and/or utility company. I understand that I have to pay the installation charge, but I didn't pay for the current meter and it's not my property, so how come I have to pay for the upgrade when all it will do is enable me to buy more gas?

    I too am astonished that my gas supplier would consider doing the upgrade to a U16 irrespective of whether the supply pipe is man enough for the job. I will take this up with them.

    The annoying thing about all this is that the total maximum consumption of all the gas appliances is only just more than the capacity of the existing U6 meter. How can I find out who the local transporter is so that I can check the supply pipe capacity?
  • Vestra
    Vestra Posts: 856 Forumite
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    Thanks - very useful comments. Just to be clear on the cost of meter and housing.... am I right in thinking that I would be paying for the new U16 meter, housing and installation charge? Sounds strange to have to pay for the hardware if it remains the property of the transporter and/or utility company. I understand that I have to pay the installation charge, but I didn't pay for the current meter and it's not my property, so how come I have to pay for the upgrade when all it will do is enable me to buy more gas?

    I too am astonished that my gas supplier would consider doing the upgrade to a U16 irrespective of whether the supply pipe is man enough for the job. I will take this up with them.

    The annoying thing about all this is that the total maximum consumption of all the gas appliances is only just more than the capacity of the existing U6 meter. How can I find out who the local transporter is so that I can check the supply pipe capacity?

    1) The builder will have paid for it when the house was built or when a gas supply was fitted.

    2)Good question, if it's not your property why are you paying to upgrade somebody else's property? Who's property is this?
  • Gman0365
    Gman0365 Posts: 119 Forumite
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    The new meter will remain the property fo the gas supplier and will be looked after by the Meter Asset Manager. JUst the same as the meter that you have in your home currently, you don't own it and likewise are not responsible for the general maintainance of of it. The U16 will probably have a lifespan of 15 years so would you fancy paying another £600 ish in 15 years time! A new domestic (U6/G4) sized meter will usually be installed for free by a gas supplier as they are happy to have your business. Now that they have your business you will have to pay for the upgrade!

    Where in the country do you live and I can tell you who the gas transporter is? The site survey that is performed by the gas transporter for the purpous of determining adequate network capacity it usually done at the request of the gas supplier, not the consumer.

    I did a site survey last week for a lady who had built a new garage and was having a games room above it in the attic space of the garage. She was told by the local authority planners that she wad to install gas central heating in the garage just incase they ever decided to convert the whole garage into living accomodation. She stated that this would never be the case but they said any new owner may wish to do this and there should be heating installed for this purpose. She was also having a new boiler installed in her house while the garage was being built and it was decided that a U16 meter would be required to satisfy the total load. My visit discovered that the existing gas service was too small to supply the larger meter. So she needed a new service, meter and housing. Similar situation to yourself. I advised her to have electric panel heaters installed in the games room.
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