Switching electricity meter

wheresdave77 Forumite Posts: 3
Seventh Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker
Seeking advice

My mum is 73, lives in her own house and receives pension credit. Her electricity with EON, the current meter is a Next Flex Assist based on economy 7 with a low price boost in the afternoon and the house is heated with storage heaters (old ones).

 When EON read the meter last they said it was broken and they couldn't tell how much electricity she'd used. 6 weeks later a technician has reviewed it and said they need to change the meter to an Economy 7 one but she'll need to pay an electrician to rewire the storage heaters and water heater. The technician said her bills would likely go up as she'd lose the afternoon off peak time. 

Does this sound right? Will her bills increase by much? Is there a more economical way to do things? Would she be better off getting rid of the storage heaters and what grants are available to do so?



  • Gerry1
    Gerry1 Forumite Posts: 9,106
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Presumably there is no mains gas in the area?
  • QrizB
    QrizB Forumite Posts: 11,447
    10,000 Posts Second Anniversary Photogenic Name Dropper
    Does this sound right?
    It's impossible to say.
    If her storage heaters were sized such that they rely on the afternoon boost, but now only get 7 hours overnight on E7, it's possible that she will run out of stored heat before bedtime during the colder months of the year.
    If she finds this happening, she might want supplementary electric heating. This will be at peak rate and more expensive than currently.
    It's impossible to say how much by but, for example, if she finds she needs to use a 1kW electric heater for 3 hours a night for 90 days of the year, that's 270kWh extra at peak rate - which could be an extra £100 a year, depending on her tariff.
    Does this sound right? Will her bills increase by much? Is there a more economical way to do things? Would she be better off getting rid of the storage heaters and what grants are available to do so?
    She might qualify for one (or more) of the energy efficiency grants. Her local council should be able to point her in the right direction. We've seen people be offered free solar panels, insulation and heat pumps (here's an example thread from last year).
    Otherwise, fitting replacement storage heaters with higher capacity (to match her new E7 arrangements) could cost £2-3000 and might never pay for themselves.
    N. Hampshire, he/him. Octopus Go elec & Tracker gas / Shell BB / Lyca mobi. Ripple Kirk Hill member.
    2.72kWp PV facing SSW installed Jan 2012. 11 x 247w panels, 3.6kw inverter. 30MWh generated, long-term average 2.6 Os.
    Ofgem cap table, Ofgem cap explainer. Economy 7 cap explainer. Gas vs E7 vs peak elec heating costs.
  • wheresdave77
    wheresdave77 Forumite Posts: 3
    Seventh Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker
    Gerry1 said:
    Presumably there is no mains gas in the area?
    That's correct, no gas
  • frugalmacdugal
    frugalmacdugal Forumite Posts: 9,780
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    sounds like an E10 set-up with the afternoon boost.
    What is broken with the meter, has it stuck and only recording on one rate?
    Try taking daily readings, maybe 2/3 times a day to check usage.
    Y'all take care now.
  • wheresdave77
    wheresdave77 Forumite Posts: 3
    Seventh Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker
    It's been stuck on the same reading for last 5 months so they're going to estimate the bill 😣
  • Gerry1
    Gerry1 Forumite Posts: 9,106
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Find out exactly which tariff she's on and its hours of operation.  Sounds like E10 or similar.
    Make sure she's on the Priority Services Register.
    Make a fuss that the new meter should follow the same hours, don't accept E7 without a fight for the reasons previously given.  May have no choice as it's a legacy tariff but worth a try.
    Can't see why any rewiring is needed unless it was a weird multi meter set up.  Anyway, challenge any costs because she's not initiating any changes.
    Make sure she's setting the NSHs optimally.https://youtube.com/watch?v=UeB3Xf_qKvA

  • Scot_39
    Scot_39 Forumite Posts: 1,302
    Seventh Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    edited 5 July at 6:49PM
    If she currently relies on the meter switching in the heating and hot water in afternoon boost period then it could well need work and even then still cost more to run.

    You would need to tell us more about current metering and wiring to even guess accurately.

    And it is even unclear what EOn intend to do from your description.  Which is probably second hand anyway via your mum and they don't all fully understand non standard wiring setups(*).

    It certainly isn't a bog standard e7 setup - which in most regions is only 1 7hr period overnight.

    Tried googling next flex assist - no quick description - but sounds like a tariff rather than a meter type - possibly a social /special rate given as on pension credit.

    But there are lots of other legacy systems that are billed at e7 rates - by user choice, by supplier tariff simplification, by forced moves under SoLR in last 24 months.

    The tariff, and the actual wiring / application don't have to match.
    E7 can operate feeding the whole house from one feed (a 4 port meter) - and key devices opearte on timers to match or as per many legacy tariffs - a 5 port meter is used to do the e7 off peak times restriced feed.  

    Some old dual meter systems have multiple circuits internally to house.  And would need compromise / modifications on operation or device wiring / switching regardless (*).

    Does your mum only have 1 meter ? Any chance of a photo of meter cabinets / inc wiring and consumer units (fuse boxes) if your local ?

    Their really should be a like for like replacement path - but from what I have read heare - and so AFAIK Ofgem in their wisdom only insists on a migration path.

    (*) When EOn replaced my heatwise radio dual meter setup needed 3 meter fitter visits.  The first 2 just didn't understand the set-up.  They were not all trained in all systems.  The third looked at and said yes bog standard heatwise, your going to loose seperate boost on hw in afternoon, and got on with the job once I agreed to that change (I never used it anyway).  The one new meter feeding normal circuits and timed switch circuit for hw and 3xnsh.

    Google "alcs meter wiring" and look at the meter piccy from renewable heating hub site explains what a 5 port meter has different - literally that time switched E7 ouptput.

    And yes - the electric company is strictly only responsible for the meters and primary tail connections in the meter cabinet itself.
    But - and this is all assuming the current meter is doing the tariff and the electric device (immersion / NSH etc ) switching - it could be able to adapt a bog standard e7 alcs 5 port meter to some degree to match the required consumer unit outputs and provide reduced functionality.

    So dont know why not offered - but I would have hoped - from an an internal home wiring disruption point of view  - EOn could perhaps fit a 5 port alcs smart meter - so still switching the heaters / immersion.  BUT only over night - so losing afternoon off peak slot.

    Anything else could mean - at your mums expense - rewiring to consumer unit(s) and heaters / hot water or fitting timers.

    And if say meter only produces one 24/7 live feed ( a 4 port non alcs setup - but still perfectly capable and normal in many a modern flat - using e7 tariff) and if say meter fitter parallels up peak and off peak consumer unit feeds etc. Would need a common timed contactor or timer switches to avoid peak rate all day use.
    End Edit qualification.

    A nsh running at e7 peak rate is just as bad for costs as any other heater.  That seems pretty pointless.

    I suspect you need to have an electrician review internal wiring and find out exactly what EOn propose - and you may have to go around in circles to get least worst outcome.

    Try asking to see if EOnNext still have a complex metering team.  And talk to them if still possible.  Or keep going up supervisor chain to get to metering teams.

    And if do end up on night only E7 or live feed - see if mum can get grants for better more suitable heating.

    On E7 HHR Storage heaters will last all day. Many are thermostatically regulated - think radiator trv rather then old input dial setting brick temp etc.
    Although these may need wiring for simplest operation - something like a Dimplex Quantum which gets many recommendations on posts here.

    Digital programmable timer ones inc the Dimplex in single wiring feed mode - will reduce risk of using peak rate or forgetting to switch on off etc.

    Just doing the living room one would probably suffice - but the large ones are c£1000. So contact council and energy firms for contacts.  Pension credit hopefully guarantees financial assistance.  Hopefully before next winter.

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