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  • FIRST POST
    • wizardofosmium
    • By wizardofosmium 15th May 19, 8:58 AM
    • 2Posts
    • 1Thanks
    wizardofosmium
    backwards running meter
    • #1
    • 15th May 19, 8:58 AM
    backwards running meter 15th May 19 at 8:58 AM
    Hi,
    I'm a new forum member and I have a question.

    I'm looking to install solar panels and had an engineer out to discuss it. One thing he said was that I might find my electricity meter starts running backwards when the energy I haven't used is exported back to the grid. He said that this was good but the MSE page (sorry, I can't post links yet) "Solar panels are they worth it?" states:

    Will solar panels make my meter run backwards?

    After having panels installed, you might find that your electricity meter starts running backwards when the energy you haven't used is exported back to the grid. This is because some analogue meters don't have backstop built in to stop them winding the wrong way.
    If you notice this happening, the best thing to do is to get in touch with your energy supplier so it can exchange the meter for one which is suitable. For more information, see this Which? guide to meters clocking backwards.

    The Which guide link doesn't seem to work for me.

    Is the engineer correct or should I be wary about having his company do the work?

    Mark
Page 1
    • Martyn1981
    • By Martyn1981 15th May 19, 9:07 AM
    • 8,391 Posts
    • 13,247 Thanks
    Martyn1981
    • #2
    • 15th May 19, 9:07 AM
    • #2
    • 15th May 19, 9:07 AM
    Hiya and welcome.

    Please section 4 of the FAQ's (link in my autosig). These FAQs were compiled by PV'ers, and whilst hopefully fact filled, will also reflect opinion.

    You will need to notify your leccy supplier, so that they can change the meter if it does spin backwards (it might not). They may change it quickly, or take years, but you need to make sure there are no comebacks on you.

    Regarding the engineer, perhaps it was an off the cuff comment, or meant to encourage you to go with PV. I'd agree with you being slightly concerned, but not the end of the world, but if in doubt, check other thoughts, concerns, claims etc with us on here, and we can share advice and actual experience.

    All the best.
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
    • wizardofosmium
    • By wizardofosmium 15th May 19, 11:44 AM
    • 2 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    wizardofosmium
    • #3
    • 15th May 19, 11:44 AM
    • #3
    • 15th May 19, 11:44 AM
    It definitely wasn't an off the cuff comment. He specifically raised it as a benefit to us.


    Mark
    • Carrot007
    • By Carrot007 15th May 19, 11:49 AM
    • 2,259 Posts
    • 1,899 Thanks
    Carrot007
    • #4
    • 15th May 19, 11:49 AM
    • #4
    • 15th May 19, 11:49 AM
    It definitely wasn't an off the cuff comment. He specifically raised it as a benefit to us.


    Mark
    Originally posted by wizardofosmium

    So someone tells you to commit a crime and you think why not?


    He knows far well it is a crime.



    You are unlikely to get caught unless your subsequent meter reads do not go up. And even if you are stupid enough to do it and let it go down they will only change the meter as it would cost too much to do anything else.
    • Hexane
    • By Hexane 15th May 19, 12:11 PM
    • 14 Posts
    • 14 Thanks
    Hexane
    • #5
    • 15th May 19, 12:11 PM
    • #5
    • 15th May 19, 12:11 PM
    It definitely wasn't an off the cuff comment. He specifically raised it as a benefit to us.
    Originally posted by wizardofosmium
    If that is definitely the case and not even possibly a misunderstanding, then yes you should be wary of this installer, because they either (1) are encouraging you to break the law in an attempt to entice you to purchase their product/service, or (2) have no clue what they are doing.

    I believe MCS installers are supposed to check that the meter is suitable for the installation, but I imagine many don't. (Maybe this is one of the reasons why there is now an "audit scheme" starting up as mentioned in another thread.)

    It's also possible that the "engineer" who came to see you was actually a salesperson, which makes it possible that the actual installer (from the same company) will be someone who genuinely does know what they are doing and/or won't try to mislead you.
    7.25 kWp PV system (4.1kW WSW & 3.15kW ENE), Solis inverter, myenergi eddi & harvi for energy diversion to immersion heater.
    • es5595
    • By es5595 15th May 19, 12:18 PM
    • 123 Posts
    • 135 Thanks
    es5595
    • #6
    • 15th May 19, 12:18 PM
    • #6
    • 15th May 19, 12:18 PM
    My great-uncle passed away last year, and his electric meter had been running backwards ever since his panels were installed.
    He used a little notebook and used to diligently fudge the readings throughout the year so it was all back and matched the meter reading by the end of the winter.
    When he was very ill his greatest worry was we might report the meter readings to the electricity board, and we must must must use the readings from his notebook instead!
    • joefizz
    • By joefizz 15th May 19, 12:32 PM
    • 175 Posts
    • 155 Thanks
    joefizz
    • #7
    • 15th May 19, 12:32 PM
    • #7
    • 15th May 19, 12:32 PM
    My old meter ran backwards for about week until they came out and changed the meter.
    They were supposed to change the meter the day the panels were installed but didnt.


    Im in NI and it was my responsibility to let the network operator know in advance and although the installer did this for me, ultimately it was my responsibility. It was then their responsibility to install the meter on time.


    It should really all be in the pre installation paperwork submitted to the network operator.... if theres no paperwork I would walk away...
    • Hexane
    • By Hexane 15th May 19, 12:56 PM
    • 14 Posts
    • 14 Thanks
    Hexane
    • #8
    • 15th May 19, 12:56 PM
    • #8
    • 15th May 19, 12:56 PM
    It should really all be in the pre installation paperwork submitted to the network operator.... if theres no paperwork I would walk away...
    Originally posted by joefizz
    Even where such paperwork is required (less common in mainland UK?) the installer might not provide it to the end customer in advance. My installer forwarded some of their pre-install correspondence with the DNO to me, but only to show where they were up to in discussions (which were subsequently successful but it took a few weeks).
    7.25 kWp PV system (4.1kW WSW & 3.15kW ENE), Solis inverter, myenergi eddi & harvi for energy diversion to immersion heater.
    • KevinG
    • By KevinG 16th May 19, 9:49 AM
    • 1,469 Posts
    • 4,110 Thanks
    KevinG
    • #9
    • 16th May 19, 9:49 AM
    • #9
    • 16th May 19, 9:49 AM
    Mine ran backwards for four years until they finally changed it (declared at installation time), but I had to hassle them to get it done. I doubt very much that it counts as a crime, as suggested earlier, and I strongly suspect that a large percentage of meters do run backwards with the owners being oblivious to the fact that this shouldn't happen (as I was at first). Someone I know has a backwards running meter and he certainly sees this as a benefit and doesn't seem to be in a hurry to do anything about it.
    Baxi Ecogen 24/1.0 Micro-CHP boiler installed Oct-2010; 2kWp Solar PV - 10*200W Kioto, SMA Sunny Boy 2000HF, SSE facing, some shading in winter, 37 pitch, installed Jun-2011, inverter replaced Sep-2017.
    • Merlin139
    • By Merlin139 16th May 19, 10:56 AM
    • 5,572 Posts
    • 21,467 Thanks
    Merlin139
    My salesman told me about his backwards running meter and used it as a selling point. He looked a my meter and said it would go backwards. I saw it as a possible bonus. He stated that I would just need to tell my electricity supplier in writing about the meter and then it was up to them to change it.

    After install we discovered that it only stops and does not go backwards. My meter was installed new when the house was built 17 years ago.

    I have a 2nd cousin who has had panels on his roof for the last 6 years and his meter has been going backwards all that time. He sent a letter as soon as he discovered it and 1 on the anniversary for 3 more years.

    3 times a year he gets a rebate from his supplier as his meter goes backwards and pays his electric bill once a year in the spring for the winter. Its not a FIT payment as his panels are on a rent a roof scheme. The system is 5 kWp and his roof faces nearly south and he lives near Basingstoke.

    Sometime this year he may have a problem as the meter will reach 0 and if it goes further he could get a massive bill as it will get into the 99 thousands!

    That maybe the time when the Electric Company sort the problem out.
    3.975 kWp PV SolarEdge System South Facing 10% Shading Installed 21 May 2014 Located in Mid East Yorkshire.
    • JKenH
    • By JKenH 16th May 19, 7:11 PM
    • 359 Posts
    • 1,638 Thanks
    JKenH
    My meter also ran backwards. Anorak that I am, I was frustrated that it was messing up my figures so I notified my leccy supplier. Just before it was due to be changed I realised that I would have a negative reading compared to my last declared meter reading and that might trigger the supplier to back charge me. (I had read stories of suppliers issuing estimated bills in this situation). I therefore switched the panels off for 2 days so I had a very low positive reading and didn’t hear any more about it.
    Northern Lincolnshire. 7.8 kWp system, (4.2 kw west facing panels , 3.6 kw east facing), Solis inverters, Solar IBoost water heater, Mitsubishi SRK35ZS-S and SRK20ZS-S Wall Mounted Inverter Heat Pumps
    • Mnd
    • By Mnd 17th May 19, 6:30 AM
    • 1,213 Posts
    • 1,812 Thanks
    Mnd
    When I registered my panels we had to declare if the meter ran backwards, I did and never worried about it after that. It only ran back to the last digit being zero, so if it said 54578 in the morning then the lowest it ever would go was down to54570. Then in the evenings it would climb but very seldom would we use 10 in a night so with care we virtually had zero consumption for 4 years.
    Eventually the supplier phoned me to discuss my extremely low usage, I said my meter runs backwards, she said it shouldn't and did I declare that on installation. I said yes and she said it was their fault then and forget it. She said had I not declared it then they could have charged me based on estimates.

    3 months later they changed my meter..
    • KevinG
    • By KevinG 17th May 19, 7:45 AM
    • 1,469 Posts
    • 4,110 Thanks
    KevinG
    She said had I not declared it then they could have charged me based on estimates
    Originally posted by Mnd
    That is an interesting point and one I have not seen discussed before. I did declare mine at installation as was not back-charged, but no-one seemed interested in the fact I had declared it.
    Baxi Ecogen 24/1.0 Micro-CHP boiler installed Oct-2010; 2kWp Solar PV - 10*200W Kioto, SMA Sunny Boy 2000HF, SSE facing, some shading in winter, 37 pitch, installed Jun-2011, inverter replaced Sep-2017.
    • zeupater
    • By zeupater 17th May 19, 5:25 PM
    • 4,692 Posts
    • 6,298 Thanks
    zeupater
    That is an interesting point and one I have not seen discussed before. I did declare mine at installation as was not back-charged, but no-one seemed interested in the fact I had declared it.
    Originally posted by KevinG
    Hi

    It used to be one of the most discussed topics on these boards in the early days & it's still raised from time to time ....

    One of the easiest ways to check analogue units is to look whether there's a ratchet symbol (circle with four non return teeth & a pawl) printed on the front of the meter ... if it's there the meter shouldn't return more than the back rotation required for the ratchet to catch ...

    When we had our system the installer mentioned that the meter would probably run backwards, but had no idea that a quick glance at the meter itself may actually provide a clue ... he did when he left though! ...

    HTH
    Z
    "We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, but a habit. " ...... Aristotle
    • KevinG
    • By KevinG 17th May 19, 5:54 PM
    • 1,469 Posts
    • 4,110 Thanks
    KevinG
    It used to be one of the most discussed topics on these boards in the early days & it's still raised from time to time ....
    Originally posted by zeupater
    Yes, I know the subject has been discussed, I was referring specifically to the suggestion that back-charging was dependent on whether the backwards running had been declared at installation.
    Baxi Ecogen 24/1.0 Micro-CHP boiler installed Oct-2010; 2kWp Solar PV - 10*200W Kioto, SMA Sunny Boy 2000HF, SSE facing, some shading in winter, 37 pitch, installed Jun-2011, inverter replaced Sep-2017.
    • zeupater
    • By zeupater 17th May 19, 6:33 PM
    • 4,692 Posts
    • 6,298 Thanks
    zeupater
    Yes, I know the subject has been discussed, I was referring specifically to the suggestion that back-charging was dependent on whether the backwards running had been declared at installation.
    Originally posted by KevinG
    Hi

    That's what I was referring to before mentioning the ratchet ...

    Some initially believed that the suppliers wouldn't be able to back-charge unmetered usage on undeclared reversing meters .... until others received estimated usage bills that is!

    Before the FiT scheme was launched all manufacturers were supposed to describe & declare the reverse operation of each model so that suppliers could cross-reference to installation sites when microgeneration was installed .... there's an authoritative published list somewhere (Ofgem/DECC ~2010?), so either the manufacturers supplied wrong information, the list was incomplete or the suppliers don't have/follow appropriate processes and procedures ....

    HTH
    Z
    "We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, but a habit. " ...... Aristotle
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