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Energy websites crash as customers rush to submit their meter readings - DON'T panic, you have time

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  • debitcardmayhem
    debitcardmayhem Posts: 11,865 Forumite
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    Hmmm who mentioned smart meters, I have 2 (Gas and Leccy) but my current provider SSE(part of the OVO family!!) can't read them and they said for the last 7+months I can't get one at this time. How much money is this pathetic government prepared to spend on advertising // promoting  smart meters, bail out companies with no serious idea about wholesale prices and then fail because of OFGEM the chocolate teapot that it is allowed them to do business. I am all for competition but I can't but wonder why the old days of state run utilities was such a bad idea. Just saying......
    OH and 30 mins ago I got a email saying my latest bill, for energy, is now available on line ....yep but I can't get on to see it  
    🍺 😎 Still grumpy, and No, Cloudflare I am NOT a robot 🤖BUT my responses are now out of my control they are posted via ChatGPT or the latest AI
  • Fred2712
    Fred2712 Posts: 100 Forumite
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    So how many of those customers contacting their suppliers are on a fixed tariff that doesn’t end for some time in the future so have no need to provide readings now !
    Well done Martin !  any customers wanting to speak to their supplier for genuine concerns will now have to wait.
  • ayeshaiqbal
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    Anyone having any issues with Bulb? I’ve come home to my mum saying she can’t top up her prepayment meter. It won’t take the money that’s on the key even though she topped up earlier today.  I’m guessing bulb have put a stop to all this for today??? 
  • Ultrasonic
    Ultrasonic Posts: 4,235 Forumite
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    k_man said:
    Don't panic says the website that helped cause the panic in the first place.

    It has highlighted a couple of things though.

    1) The suppliers' websites are woefully under specified for traffic volumes
    2) Customers don't regularly submit end of month meter readings
    Designing a system with enough capacity for the spike of traffic today would be overkill for the rest of the year.

    Especially when the traffic increased again, as a result of the MSM coverage of this, as previously unaware users rush to submit before the perceived deadline.

    The next price cap rise may include a line item for increasing system capacity to cope with the next rise date!

    With hindsight the message from MSE should have been to make a note of the meter reading, just in case, rather than make sure you submit today (which is actually a day early anyway).
    And the power companies should have sent out a message in anticipation.
    A simple queue management system would suffice during peak demand. No need for overkill.
    That in itself would be overkill, and would cost customers more.
  • onomatopoeia99
    onomatopoeia99 Posts: 6,977 Forumite
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    Don't panic says the website that helped cause the panic in the first place.

    It has highlighted a couple of things though.

    1) The suppliers' websites are woefully under specified for traffic volumes
    2) Customers don't regularly submit end of month meter readings
    The sites are fine for normal traffic volumes, they aren't specified for the equivalent of "tickets to Glastonbury going on sale".  If they provisioned for today all the time, your bills would be higher to pay for all that additional infrastructure.
    Proud member of the wokerati, though I don't eat tofu.Home is where my books are.Solar PV 5.2kWp system, SE facing, >1% shading, installed March 2019.Mortgage free July 2023
  • sillyvixen
    sillyvixen Posts: 3,621 Forumite
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     Could see the sites crashing today, so i submitted my gas reading pm last night and paid the bill for gas.. They have set a coupel of texts for updates today and have just sent  text reading now we have eaten and the heating has gone off. We are on a pre payment meter (old style not smart)  for electric and i have topped that up several times this week. The only gas we will use before midnight is handwashing after using the loo that may now be charged at the new  rate.


    Dogs return to eat their vomit, just as fools repeat their foolishness. There is no more hope for a fool than for someone who says, "i am really clever!"
  • Carrot007
    Carrot007 Posts: 4,534 Forumite
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    Carrot007 said:
    Don't panic says the website that helped cause the panic in the first place.

    It has highlighted a couple of things though.

    1) The suppliers' websites are woefully under specified for traffic volumes
    2) Customers don't regularly submit end of month meter readings

    1. Not at all. You do not provision for once in a lifetime panic nonsence. UNness of course you want a further increase ;-)

    2. Surely most bills would be aligned to the day you sign up, not month end. All mine have always been. And seldom monthly. Never been on monthly billing either.

    1. I disagree. A well designed IT system would provision for exceptional events, especially if failure to do so would have an impact on your brand. A simple queue management system would suffice during peak demand plus I doubt this will turn out to be once in a lifetime. Expect further mayhem on 30 September.

    2. ZOG produced a monthly statement based on a month end meter read. Other providers generate a bill at anytime you give them a reading. There is no standard methodology. Personally, I have been taking monthly meter readings for well over a decade so that I can update my energy usage spreadsheet.

    1. AA queue management system still needs a non queue site with the capacity to accept requesst to join the que. It is not a simple thing. And yes I expect further chaos. Still not in the suppliers interest to incest when they are making a loss (on everybody on the SVT) is it?

    2. Sounds a silly idea to me, better off to have different people billed at different times. Maybe bad descisions like that are why they are gone.

    What comapnies could do is ask for reads when such big chages occur and give you a timeslot. I got mine to bgas using the app as the website was worse (they put less effort into the real website nowadays and want you to use the app one (which is still a web site 99.9% of the time)). But of course why should any company pay momney to lose money?
  • Lum
    Lum Posts: 6,460 Forumite
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    In these days of cloud computing, if your system is well designed it's trivial to scale up in anticipation of increased demand, though it does cost money, so either.

    1) They're using some crappy outdated system (likely with the older suppliers)
    2) They had no idea this was coming, or
    3) They knew, but didn't want to spend the money to scale up for a few days

    I suspect it's #3, some poor sod on their IT infrastructure team has probably been raising this in meetings since Martin first warned about it, only to be completely ignored by management who didn't want to spend extra cash with AWS to run more servers for a week. That same management are probably now yelling at their infrastructure team calling them incompetent for doing nothing to prevent this, and insisting the website be fixed while still not allowing any additional spend.
  • Carrot007
    Carrot007 Posts: 4,534 Forumite
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    Lum said:
    In these days of cloud computing, if your system is well designed it's trivial to scale up in anticipation of increased demand, though it does cost money, so either.

    1) They're using some crappy outdated system (likely with the older suppliers)
    2) They had no idea this was coming, or
    3) They knew, but didn't want to spend the money to scale up for a few days

    I suspect it's #3, some poor sod on their IT infrastructure team has probably been raising this in meetings since Martin first warned about it, only to be completely ignored by management who didn't want to spend extra cash with AWS to run more servers for a week. That same management are probably now yelling at their infrastructure team calling them incompetent for doing nothing to prevent this, and insisting the website be fixed while still not allowing any additional spend.

    You suspect wrong.

    It's probably #3 and also the fact all IT is outsourced these days would mean it would cost far more than is reasonable for "ODD THINGS". not to mention the outsourced IT would probvably need 3 years lead time to do anything compentantly. (if not infinity).

  • Thrugelmir
    Thrugelmir Posts: 89,546 Forumite
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    1) The suppliers' websites are woefully under specified for traffic volumes

    Try obtaining tickets for Glastonbury or other major events.......... 
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