RTS switch off Economy 7

I read an Ofgem article over the weekend about the switch off of RTS. We have Economy 7 as our house is all electric (no gas in the village and it was all electric when we bought it). We installed new Dimplex Quantum heaters a couple of years ago. With careful use and timers on virtually everything we use 85% on the night rate. So I called Scottish Power to find out what happens when RTS is switched off, because there is no mobile signal in the village, they tried installing a smart meter a while ago and it won't work. Scottish Power have no idea what we can do about it. Anyone else in the same position? 
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  • TheElectricCow
    TheElectricCow Posts: 452
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    Might be stating the obvious here, but as your post only mentions being on E7 it’s worth double checking- do you have any RTS reliant equipment in your metering set up?

    It’s not a huge proportion of electric meters that use RTS (although they are more common in some areas than others), and being on Economy 7 doesn’t necessarily mean yours is one of them.

    For many meters that do make use of RTS it may just be a case that they only need the signal to synchronise their clocks, and it’s generally thought these will continue to function normally after the switch off but the time of day/night rates may drift. 

    Worst case for a typical E7 set up (no RTS controlled heating/hot water or other complex metering systems) is they should just be able to put a standard smart meter in anyway. It will still function fine if it can’t get a signal but it won’t automatically send any readings so you’d need to continue reading it yourself.
    Moo…
  • Thank you. It's definitely RTS. Just seems to be a bit of a stalemate, because their response is that we have to have a smart meter, but in the next breath they say that we can't have one! 
  • matelodave
    matelodave Posts: 8,575
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    You dont need a smart meter for E7, neither do you need RTS all you need is an electricity meter, either with a built in timer or or an external time switch (which is how they used to do it before RTS or smart meters)

    Our original E7 set up had an electricity meter with an inbuilt timer which did the switch and had both an E7 and Peak rate output, one for the heaters and the other for the rest of the house. A "smart" meter doesn't have to communicate with the supplier to have its own timer and contactor to provide E7 outputs. It just has to be programmed to do the switch at the appropriate times.

    I'm sure that the doom mongers who think that when RTS gets shut off or reckon that smart meters are the spawn of the devil will be sorely upset when they find that the world doesn't actually stop rotating and that there are actually solutions to some of the difficulties that they enjoy highlighting.
    Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large numbers
  • inspectorperez
    inspectorperez Posts: 816
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    You dont need a smart meter for E7, neither do you need RTS all you need is an electricity meter, either with a built in timer or or an external time switch (which is how they used to do it before RTS or smart meters)

    Our original E7 set up had an electricity meter with an inbuilt timer which did the switch and had both an E7 and Peak rate output, one for the heaters and the other for the rest of the house. A "smart" meter doesn't have to communicate with the supplier to have its own timer and contactor to provide E7 outputs. It just has to be programmed to do the switch at the appropriate times.

    I'm sure that the doom mongers who think that when RTS gets shut off or reckon that smart meters are the spawn of the devil will be sorely upset when they find that the world doesn't actually stop rotating and that there are actually solutions to some of the difficulties that they enjoy highlighting.

    Hope you don't mind me asking a question arising from your post.

    Going back to your original E7 set up, if someone wished to revert to that older form of solution, would you expect to engage a third party electrician, or would you expect your E7 provider to make the necessary changes?

    The context of my question is really based on the scenario where the possible absence of a suitable WAN network might be an issue for a residence such as my own which relies on the RTS switch to turn on power to heat the water tank and charge up the night storage heaters. The old fashioned analogue meter is located under a concrete stairwell about 30 feet away from the property itself which is on an upper level.
  • QrizB
    QrizB Posts: 13,668
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    edited 15 January at 9:09PM
    You dont need a smart meter for E7, neither do you need RTS all you need is an electricity meter, either with a built in timer or or an external time switch (which is how they used to do it before RTS or smart meters)

    Our original E7 set up had an electricity meter with an inbuilt timer which did the switch and had both an E7 and Peak rate output, one for the heaters and the other for the rest of the house. A "smart" meter doesn't have to communicate with the supplier to have its own timer and contactor to provide E7 outputs. It just has to be programmed to do the switch at the appropriate times.

    I'm sure that the doom mongers who think that when RTS gets shut off or reckon that smart meters are the spawn of the devil will be sorely upset when they find that the world doesn't actually stop rotating and that there are actually solutions to some of the difficulties that they enjoy highlighting.
    Hope you don't mind me asking a question arising from your post.
    Going back to your original E7 set up, if someone wished to revert to that older form of solution, would you expect to engage a third party electrician, or would you expect your E7 provider to make the necessary changes?
    The context of my question is really based on the scenario where the possible absence of a suitable WAN network might be an issue for a residence such as my own which relies on the RTS switch to turn on power to heat the water tank and charge up the night storage heaters. The old fashioned analogue meter is located under a concrete stairwell about 30 feet away from the property itself which is on an upper level.
    I'm going to answer, hope that neither you nor matelodave minds.
    If your meter needs replacing, I would expect your electricity supplier to arrange for it to be replaced with one that supports E7 without RTS. This would either be a smart meter or (potentially, if there was no other option) an E7-configured dumb meter.
    This replacement will, by default, follow the same pattern as your current meter. If you currently have a five-terminal meter with an internal E7 contactor, I'd expect your supplier to fit a 5-terminal replacement. If you have a 4-terminal meter with an external contactor, it's likely the external contactor will stay.
    However, if (due to eg. availability of 5-teminal meters) they have to change from one to the other, I'd expect your supplier to make this change.
    Where you might need an electrician is if your current system is "complex metering" uses two (or more) separate meters to deliver your E7 service. In this case it's possible, but not certain, that there will need to be some work outside the scope of the smart meter tech's remit.
    A photo of your current meter(s), RTS, contactor (if present) and any associated gubbins would let the board regulars offer an opinion on this.
    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.
  • Scot_39
    Scot_39 Posts: 1,689
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    edited 15 January at 8:34PM
    You shouldn't need the WAN to tell the meter to switch - it can simply rely on local stored preset switching.

    Which should therefore be fine for normal "fixed" hours basic E7.

    The problem is far more acute on more complex RTS or metering arrangements / tariffs - some RTS meters have off peak timings that are varied seasonally - some meters deal with more than two seperate "wiring zones" in the home(*)

    c10% - about 3m in the 33m currently installed smart meters are by choice or location (mix?) - operating in dumb mode.  Some of those could be E7.

    My old digital meter worked fine off of it's presets.  AFAIK they have never updated the presets in my newer smart meter - or at least they don't appear to have changed significantly if at all.

    When both were fitted - initial digital and then when it was replaced with smart - my fitter (same guy about 2 years apart) had preconfigured for E7 and E10 in my case - both fixed time of use off peak tariffs - in his van.

    That first digital meter was a replacement for a 2 meter set-up - the RTS meter drove off peak circuits only - the standard meter drove the rest of the house.

    The new digital meter controlled both circuits - as had on board load control switching for the off peak timed zone only supply.

    The off peak rates then applied to both circuits - not just HW and NSH.

    And all changes were internal to meter cabinet - by the meter fitter.

    (*) My install a little more complex - and did lose in my case unused functionality - a HW only daytime boost.  As my 2 meter system drove 3 seperate live wiring "zones" in the home - normal, NSH, hot water - the new meter only 2 - normal, NSH and hot water combined.  The two seperate feeds for HW and NSH - to isolators in my split consumer unit simply "tied" together by block in meter cabinet.


  • inspectorperez
    inspectorperez Posts: 816
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    QrizB said:
    You dont need a smart meter for E7, neither do you need RTS all you need is an electricity meter, either with a built in timer or or an external time switch (which is how they used to do it before RTS or smart meters)

    Our original E7 set up had an electricity meter with an inbuilt timer which did the switch and had both an E7 and Peak rate output, one for the heaters and the other for the rest of the house. A "smart" meter doesn't have to communicate with the supplier to have its own timer and contactor to provide E7 outputs. It just has to be programmed to do the switch at the appropriate times.

    I'm sure that the doom mongers who think that when RTS gets shut off or reckon that smart meters are the spawn of the devil will be sorely upset when they find that the world doesn't actually stop rotating and that there are actually solutions to some of the difficulties that they enjoy highlighting.
    Hope you don't mind me asking a question arising from your post.
    Going back to your original E7 set up, if someone wished to revert to that older form of solution, would you expect to engage a third party electrician, or would you expect your E7 provider to make the necessary changes?
    The context of my question is really based on the scenario where the possible absence of a suitable WAN network might be an issue for a residence such as my own which relies on the RTS switch to turn on power to heat the water tank and charge up the night storage heaters. The old fashioned analogue meter is located under a concrete stairwell about 30 feet away from the property itself which is on an upper level.
    I'm going to answer, hope that neither you nor matelodave minds.
    If your meter needs replacing, I would expect your electricity supplier to arrange for it to be replaced with one that supports E7 without RTS. This would either be a smart meter or (potentially, if there was no other option) an E7-configured dumb meter.
    This replacement will, by default, follow the same pattern as your current meter. If you currently have a five-terminal meter with an internal E7 contactor, I'd expect your supplier to fit a 5-terminal replacement. If you have a 4-terminal meter with an external contactor, it's likely the external contactor will stay.
    However, if (due to eg. availability of 5-teminal meters) they have to change from one to the other, I'd expect your supplier to make this change.
    Where you might need an electrician is if your current system is "complex metering" uses two (or more) separate meters to deliver your E7 service. In this case it's possible, but not certain, that there will need to be some work outside the scope of the smart meter tech's remit.
    A photo of your current meter(s), RTS, contactor (if present) and any associated gubbins would let the board regulars offer an opinion on this.


    Many thanks for taking the trouble to reply.

    This is the existing setup with RTS located above the old analogue meter. I think this fits your description of a 5 terminal meter. Inside the property there are 2 separate fuse boxes, one of which I believe is solely for the water tank and night storage heaters. The provider is EDF.

    From what you say, the provider could supply and fit an alternative which would not be dependant on the RTS nor the possible absence of a WAN?



  • QrizB
    QrizB Posts: 13,668
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    I think you've got a four-terminal meter. The bottom of the meter has four thick cables (and two thin ones). The two thin ones connect to the RTS. The live output (the right-most cable) goes to a terminal block where it's split into two. One of those live cables goes direct to your 24h consumer unit, and the other goes via the RTS. The RTS then switches that live to feed your E7 circuits in the same way that an external contactor would.
    Yes, it could all be replaced by a five-terminal meter (smart or dumb), or a four-terminal meter (smart or dumb) plus an external contactor.
    You'll see an example of a five-terminal meter here, and a four-terminal plus external contactor here. Both of those are smart meters but there are dumb equivalents (here's a five-terminal dumb meter; your neighbours at no. 23 appear to have a four-terminal dumb meter, so I'm not going to look for a link).
    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.
  • inspectorperez
    inspectorperez Posts: 816
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    QrizB said:
    I think you've got a four-terminal meter. The bottom of the meter has four thick cables (and two thin ones). The two thin ones connect to the RTS. The live output (the right-most cable) goes to a terminal block where it's split into two. One of those live cables goes direct to your 24h consumer unit, and the other goes via the RTS. The RTS then switches that live to feed your E7 circuits in the same way that an external contactor would.
    Yes, it could all be replaced by a five-terminal meter (smart or dumb), or a four-terminal meter (smart or dumb) plus an external contactor.
    You'll see an example of a five-terminal meter here, and a four-terminal plus external contactor here. Both of those are smart meters but there are dumb equivalents (here's a five-terminal dumb meter; your neighbours at no. 23 appear to have a four-terminal dumb meter, so I'm not going to look for a link).

    Thank you so much.

    With your comments and @Gerry1 on another thread, I now feel confident that I have a good source of informed reference material for when the time comes to modify my existing arrangements.
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