Water Smart Meter Fitted - but bill estimated - over estimated x4 actual dial reading

Scot_39
Scot_39 Posts: 1,823 Forumite
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I had a supposedly Smart Water meter fitted late last Nov - not by request - and neighbors were upgraded a while back (I was told I was being skipped as I already had a recent new dumb meter cf others).
Have just had my first full 6 month bill issued - by Severn Trent - which came with a large estimated usage.

I am a low user - and rather than bill me on historic usage - they have - judging by the mechanism the customer service rep went through today - changing occupancy, and to low consumption - seems now appears to be ignoring the last 15+ years of much lower use history here in this property - versus their default model.

Their new measurement estimate was slightly over four times the actual meter reading I took myself - the rate estimate - also shown on the bill for last 3 billing periods - m3/day etc - was similarly around c4 times what it was with the old "manual" meter - which they used to read every 6 months before billing.

The customer service person I spoke to couldn't reduce my DD billing below their estimating tool minimum - still about 2.5x my old monthly billing - given the details they have for property.
I obviously had given my manual reading verbally (and offered to send a couple of photos) - but when she plugged it in and did the usage calcs -  the customer service rep agreed it was far more in line with past billing - but as I say - couldn't get the proposed bill down to match actual usage. 
She said something about not having had a first reading - but it isn't a new account.
She said she would escalate the new reading and I should get a new bill next week sometime - hopefully with a realistic DD plan too - I will wait and see.

Has anyone experienced a similar problem after being switched to a Smart Water meter - switched to estimated not actual billing etc ?
Do Smart water meters work - and if so how ?
Are they or should they be read remotely - or is it more walk by / drive by style using a hand held or some such - just no bending down etc ?



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Comments

  • Robin9
    Robin9 Posts: 12,098 Forumite
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    Just wait until you get the new bill.

    My ST Smart is 4/5 years old - presume its read remotely and there have been no problems - certainly no meter reader as the meter is inside my garage. 
    Never pay on an estimated bill
  • Scot_39
    Scot_39 Posts: 1,823 Forumite
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    Thanks - pretty sure from the conversation it will be at a lower rate.

    But still don't understand the switch to estimated - on a long standing account.
  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,036 Forumite
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    You, a mere human, mustn't argue with a computer!!

    I suspect for the convenience of the water company(not you of course!) they have changed all accounts with a newly fitted meter to estimated readings rather than looking at individual  accounts.

    You could always stop your DD and pay on receipt of bill if they refuse to lower your DD. 

    There are two types of smart meter. The older type are 'interrogated' by the meter reader as he walks by the house. The newer type are similar to the gas/electricity meters in that they transmit data back to the company.  I have had the older type for years and have had no problems. Mine is read mid May & Mid November but a reading is estimated on 01 April when there is a price rise.
  • Scot_39
    Scot_39 Posts: 1,823 Forumite
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    edited 7 June 2023 at 4:04PM
    It was clear from the glossy A5 leaflet they sent with the letter informing me it was going to be changed (no permission requested) it was of no immediate benefit to me (in terms of telling me usage) - we plan to make data available via on line account etc was promised for future.

    The comms module a Cyble 5 - apparently it supports both modes - AMR (drive / walk by) or AMI (networked) comms.  So none the wiser how it should have been read.

    Also the module doesn't leave much room to read the dials - given the location and mounting of my WM.


  • Sterlingtimes
    Sterlingtimes Posts: 2,395 Forumite
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    Also the module doesn't leave much room to read the dials - given the location and mounting of my WM.
    The Severn Trent Smart Water meter has turned out to be a damp squib. I had understood thirteen months ago that I would be able to see my smart usage numbers online. But recently, I have been assured that a drive past is required to collect meter readings.

    Only this month I have read that in some areas transceivers are being installed on lamp posts to collect data.

    I think that Severn Trent oversold the benefits of this new infrastructure.
    I have osteoarthritis in my hands so I speak my messages into a microphone using Dragon. Some people make "typos" but I often make "speakos".
  • Sterlingtimes
    Sterlingtimes Posts: 2,395 Forumite
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    Scot_39 said:

    Also the module doesn't leave much room to read the dials - given the location and mounting of my WM.


    The meter is very difficult to read. I have to carry a bottle of soapy water to the meter to wash away the dirt. I have found that I can just read the numbers if the sunlight is good and I look at the meter from a single direction. The radio electronic module almost hides the numbers. This is poor design for a smart meter that is unsmart.
    I have osteoarthritis in my hands so I speak my messages into a microphone using Dragon. Some people make "typos" but I often make "speakos".
  • Scot_39
    Scot_39 Posts: 1,823 Forumite
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    Well true to form customer service call only made things worse.

    2nd bill arrived.

    Rather than amending DD - turns out they cancelled it.

    And despite entering my manual reading - then deleted it from billing system according to second call.

    So this second bill - this time to Apr not end of May- still using a similarly stupidly high estimate cf actual far lower reading - still on my notes.

    So now second bill cancelled, new bill to be issued and new DD to be setup - which I cannot do until new bill accepting new reading issued.

    I would have been a couple of hundred in credit if let DD go ahead by end of year.

    So a real lose lose so far. 

    Think at one stage second operator said the meter isn't due to be read until Nov.

    Given prices iirc change April - seems silly.

    At least Smart electric etc meters have a user benefit for many.

    In terms of usually  accurate billing.

  • Swipe
    Swipe Posts: 5,085 Forumite
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    Scot_39 said:

    Also the module doesn't leave much room to read the dials - given the location and mounting of my WM.


    The meter is very difficult to read. I have to carry a bottle of soapy water to the meter to wash away the dirt. I have found that I can just read the numbers if the sunlight is good and I look at the meter from a single direction. The radio electronic module almost hides the numbers. This is poor design for a smart meter that is unsmart.
    It sounds like I have the same one as you. Waste of time when you can only see the first of the red numbers and you have to round it up to the nearest 100 litres.
  • Sterlingtimes
    Sterlingtimes Posts: 2,395 Forumite
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    Swipe said:
    It sounds like I have the same one as you. Waste of time when you can only see the first of the red numbers and you have to round it up to the nearest 100 litres.
    Yes, we appear to be in the same boat. I can read the numbers with a bit of mobile phone camera gymnastics. I am taking a reading at the end of each month and submitting that to Severn Trent. 
    I have osteoarthritis in my hands so I speak my messages into a microphone using Dragon. Some people make "typos" but I often make "speakos".
  • Scot_39
    Scot_39 Posts: 1,823 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Name Dropper
    Swipe said:
    Scot_39 said:

    Also the module doesn't leave much room to read the dials - given the location and mounting of my WM.


    The meter is very difficult to read. I have to carry a bottle of soapy water to the meter to wash away the dirt. I have found that I can just read the numbers if the sunlight is good and I look at the meter from a single direction. The radio electronic module almost hides the numbers. This is poor design for a smart meter that is unsmart.
    It sounds like I have the same one as you. Waste of time when you can only see the first of the red numbers and you have to round it up to the nearest 100 litres.
    Severn trent only bill me to nearest m3.

    Like electric etc they ignore red digits.
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