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  • FIRST POST
    • r8chill91
    • By r8chill91 14th Mar 18, 9:04 AM
    • 16Posts
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    r8chill91
    Something is not adding up...
    • #1
    • 14th Mar 18, 9:04 AM
    Something is not adding up... 14th Mar 18 at 9:04 AM
    So we completed on a new house in December, it has solar panels but we thought these were decommissioned. We have switched to Bulb energy and send them meter readings every month, since we started the electricity meter keeps going backwards every now and again. It has gone up a couple of times but the last couple of readings have been getting less and less?! Itís also flashing ĎrEdí on the display every few seconds - Bulb havenít questioned this - what do we do?!
Page 1
    • Hengus
    • By Hengus 14th Mar 18, 9:25 AM
    • 5,752 Posts
    • 3,529 Thanks
    Hengus
    • #2
    • 14th Mar 18, 9:25 AM
    • #2
    • 14th Mar 18, 9:25 AM
    Hi - welcome to the forum. It would seem that your solar panels are working. Have you looked at the inverter? There is usually a green light or something similar on the inverter panel when your system is generating electricity. Why did your solicitor think that the panels had been de-commissioned? As far as rEd is concerned, this usually indicates that you are exporting energy and the meter has detected reverse flow. The said, the meter readings should not be falling as a result of a reverse flow.

    As all meter readings are validated by the suppliers before they are used, it is likely, as PV export increases in the coming weeks, that your supplier will know that something is amiss before too long. The responsible thing to do is to call them and discuss what needs to be done to address the problem. That said, I have seen opposing views suggesting that if your supplier does not raise the matter then the consumer is under no obligation to say anything as it is the supplier's responsibility to ensure that the meter is fit for purpose.
    • House Martin
    • By House Martin 14th Mar 18, 9:44 AM
    • 1,353 Posts
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    House Martin
    • #3
    • 14th Mar 18, 9:44 AM
    • #3
    • 14th Mar 18, 9:44 AM
    You will have an old Sangamo Weston electric meter. These meters will run backwards when your electricity usage is low, in the day when the sun shines a bit and you only have low usage appliances on..
    Its illegal to have a backwards running meter. Its faulty ,not fit for purpose, so under the terms and conditions of every supplier you are obliged to inform them. Not only does the meter run backwards, taking off last nights usage, but it also credits the F.I.T. meter..A double whammy !
    In my view it is theft of electricity and anyone who is honest should not be allowing this to carry on.
    As a meter reader for 20 years I ve found hundreds of these meters in operation running backwards. As soon as solar panels are fitted then these meters should be changed for a digital meter. The solar panel fitters know this but they do not inform the occupier.
    Suppliers are too stupid to spot it, Npower are the worst IMO. I have a friend who s meter has been running backwards for years. He makes sure not to send in a reading which is lower then the previous reading. That is the only way the dippy suppliers will ever spot it with their auto billing systems
    Last edited by House Martin; 14-03-2018 at 9:53 AM.
    • ProDave
    • By ProDave 14th Mar 18, 10:36 AM
    • 848 Posts
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    ProDave
    • #4
    • 14th Mar 18, 10:36 AM
    • #4
    • 14th Mar 18, 10:36 AM
    On a more important note, has your seller fleeced you re the solar panels?

    There would have been a Feed In Tariff contract which would pay the owner for the electricity generated. Normally if selling a house, that gets transferred to the new owner.

    Unless it is a "rent a roof" scheme where someone else gets the FIT (that company would have originally paid for the installation of the panels) Your solicitor should have advised you if that is the case.

    Or has your vendor been sneaky and kept the FIT in his name so he still gets the payments? but to do that he would need your cooperation to supply quarterly readings from the generation meter.

    Your solicitor should have sorted all this so exactly what has happened to the FIT?

    Agree with everyone else you should inform your supplier and get the meter changed to a digital one.
    • r8chill91
    • By r8chill91 14th Mar 18, 10:38 AM
    • 16 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    r8chill91
    • #5
    • 14th Mar 18, 10:38 AM
    • #5
    • 14th Mar 18, 10:38 AM
    Thank you for your replies! Iíve had a look at the inverter outside and there is nothing on the screen, itís completely off, the wires look to have been disconnected too so I canít see how it could possibly be the solar panels. The estate agent told us that they had been decommissioned but we never questioned why, we were actually just going to get rid of them because we thought if we had to buy a new inverter then it would only cost a load with not a huge amount of money back and we couldnít really afford it (weíre renovating the property so other priorities)

    Weíve given Bulb 3 meter readings now and each time it flags up and says itís lower than the previous reading so someone will be in contact but nobody ever has. Itís a digital meter we have - a ďmulti rate watt hour meterĒ.
    • ProDave
    • By ProDave 14th Mar 18, 10:47 AM
    • 848 Posts
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    ProDave
    • #6
    • 14th Mar 18, 10:47 AM
    • #6
    • 14th Mar 18, 10:47 AM
    Are the panels still on the roof? Why have they been disconnected?

    I am looking for some solar panels myself so if they really have been disconnected and you want them removed send me a PM and we may be able to do something.
    • ProDave
    • By ProDave 14th Mar 18, 10:48 AM
    • 848 Posts
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    ProDave
    • #7
    • 14th Mar 18, 10:48 AM
    • #7
    • 14th Mar 18, 10:48 AM
    Can you post a picture of your meter? (using any service other than photobucket who have crippled their service)
    • r8chill91
    • By r8chill91 14th Mar 18, 10:48 AM
    • 16 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    r8chill91
    • #8
    • 14th Mar 18, 10:48 AM
    • #8
    • 14th Mar 18, 10:48 AM
    I will add, the vendor was power of attorney for the owner of the property so doesn!!!8217;t know anything about it. We also have got water solar panels and I know these are definitely disconnected because we!!!8217;ve taken away the tank but previously they had also been decommissioned because they leaked (there was a home insurance claim years ago)
    • r8chill91
    • By r8chill91 14th Mar 18, 10:50 AM
    • 16 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    r8chill91
    • #9
    • 14th Mar 18, 10:50 AM
    • #9
    • 14th Mar 18, 10:50 AM
    The panels are still on the roof, everything is there but just doesn!!!8217;t seem to be working.
    • House Martin
    • By House Martin 14th Mar 18, 10:50 AM
    • 1,353 Posts
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    House Martin
    Ok , so its not an old meter but a digital meter with an lcd screen. Its odd that the solar panels have been disconnected . I m suspicious of the meter itself.
    There should be a small wire seal in place at the bottom of the meter which stops a small screw from being removed to access the 4 wires which enter the bottom of the meter..
    Is that seal in place and does it look as if the screw has been undone ? It should look pristine and unmarked, not chewed in any way . Any slight blackening or scorching of the meter tails near the meter ?
    Anyone fiddling the meter would nt need solar panels working. They would have free electricity anyway
    • r8chill91
    • By r8chill91 14th Mar 18, 10:58 AM
    • 16 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    r8chill91
    I have tried to post a link but it!!!8217;s not allowing me as I!!!8217;m a new member. The meter itself looks fine and unmarked.
    • r8chill91
    • By r8chill91 14th Mar 18, 11:01 AM
    • 16 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    r8chill91
    Pro Dave - I have sent you a PM for the Dropbox image,.

    House Martin - I canít send it to you because Iím a new member and itíll only allow me to send 1 message every hour!
    • zeupater
    • By zeupater 14th Mar 18, 12:36 PM
    • 4,150 Posts
    • 5,364 Thanks
    zeupater
    Hi

    Combining disconnected solar PV & solar thermal with power-of-attorney, is this simply a case of the previous owner being elderly and not knowing/understanding what to do when confronted by maintenance issues and concerns related to correspondence related to meter readings ??

    If the PV is disconnected then both AC & DC isolation switches as well as the circuit breaker should have been switched off ... this is pretty easy to check and should be the first place to start ... if it is definitely off, then it looks like there's a meter, supply, or wiring issue ...

    HTH
    Z
    "We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, but a habit. " ...... Aristotle
    • ProDave
    • By ProDave 14th Mar 18, 12:43 PM
    • 848 Posts
    • 962 Thanks
    ProDave
    This should be a link to the picture of the meter https://www.dropbox.com/s/2amt7oqmf2jtc24/Photo%2014-03-2018%2C%2010%2052%2050%20am.jpg?dl=0

    That should not go backwards under any circumstances so it must be a faulty meter.
    • r8chill91
    • By r8chill91 14th Mar 18, 2:30 PM
    • 16 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    r8chill91
    Thank you all, I!!!8217;ll get in touch with the supplier and see if they can replace the meter to see where that takes us. Pro Dave, I will PM you regarding the panels too!
    • Carrot007
    • By Carrot007 14th Mar 18, 2:58 PM
    • 1,143 Posts
    • 985 Thanks
    Carrot007
    You are on E7, are you sure you are always giving the same readings. There will be at least rate 1, rate 2 (or 4) and a total.
    • r8chill91
    • By r8chill91 14th Mar 18, 3:12 PM
    • 16 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    r8chill91
    Yes, Iíve got 2 readings and the daytime reading is the one going backwards (which would make sense if it was the solar panels doing it but the solar panels are disconnected)
    • zeupater
    • By zeupater 14th Mar 18, 3:41 PM
    • 4,150 Posts
    • 5,364 Thanks
    zeupater
    Thank you all, I!!!8217;ll get in touch with the supplier and see if they can replace the meter to see where that takes us. Pro Dave, I will PM you regarding the panels too!
    Originally posted by r8chill91
    Hi

    Before you make a decision you need to check some things out and then have a think.

    As has been mentioned earlier in the thread, you may own the panels - but they could also be owned by someone else on a roof-lease arrangement ... it doesn't matter what the estate agent told you, it should have been covered in the conveyancing process when contracts were signed ... you must ensure that you own the panels, else it could cost you £tens-of-thousands to compensate a rent-a-roof organisation for lost income!

    If you do own the panels you must check whether they have been issued an MCS certificate and qualify for FiT payments ... simply making a rash decision based on a gut feeling that the inverter doesn't work could mean that you're not only not receiving the benefit of self-generation (thus reducing your energy bills) but potentially depriving yourselves of £tens-of-thousands of feed-in-tariff and export payments ...

    Considering the size of the potential financial implications, it would be wise to take a while and do some research before going any further.

    Regarding decommissioning ... If the property was sold using power-of-attorney, is it possible that it was unoccupied for a while? - if so the Solar PV system could simply have been 'decommissioned' by someone simply on safety grounds because the power to the property had been switched off ?

    What make inverter is it? ... what cables are disconnected? ... are there rotary isolation switches ? ... has the inverter circuit breaker been switched off? ... when was the system installed? ... how many panels ? .... do you have an MCS certificate ? ... if not have you checked whether it's on the MCS database ? ... Just a few questions, but the few minutes it would take to look into these may save you £thousands ...

    HTH
    Z
    "We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, but a habit. " ...... Aristotle
    • House Martin
    • By House Martin 14th Mar 18, 3:45 PM
    • 1,353 Posts
    • 1,142 Thanks
    House Martin
    Yes, I!!!8217;ve got 2 readings and the daytime reading is the one going backwards (which would make sense if it was the solar panels doing it but the solar panels are disconnected)
    Originally posted by r8chill91
    You have a standard Ampy type meter, with R1 (day), R2 night and a small t which= total.
    They do not go backwards at any time with solar panels.
    Some of the early ones in my area ( S. Yorks ) are set at R1=night rate ) . The rate which advances in the daytime is the day rate.
    Last edited by House Martin; 14-03-2018 at 3:47 PM.
    • r8chill91
    • By r8chill91 14th Mar 18, 6:07 PM
    • 16 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    r8chill91
    Hi House Martin- yes thats correct its an R1 and R2 - 1 is nighttime and 2 is daytime. I have absolutely no idea whats going on then, either the previous owner has been fiddling with it or its broken (they had fiddled with the water meter - its an internal meter and they had a pipe coming off below the meter which you could switch over to for Ď free Ď water - naughty!) so its quite possible theyve rigged the electric meter too!

    Hi Zeupater - I havent got the foggiest idea where to start in finding out about the panels.

    All we know is its a sunny boy inverter and all the cables look to be disconnected outside and there is no display on the inverter. The panels will have to come off over the next couple of years anyway as were doing a 2 storey extension once weve saved the pennies - if it was a simple job to get them up and running for the time being I would give it a go but by the looks of things we re going to end up with someone having to come round and fix it all up and the start up costs probably wo;t be worth while if we re only going to get rid.

    I presume the panels are ours. There was absolutely nothing mentioned by the vendor/estate agents/solicitors about any sort of rent a roof scheme, it was purely sold as Ď solar panels on the roof but not in operation Ď
    Last edited by r8chill91; 14-03-2018 at 6:10 PM.
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