The smart meter rollout will reduce the number of incidents of PV owners being incorrectly billed for their electricity, Ofgem has said.
A story published by The Daily Telegraph highlighted how some homeowners who have installed solar and do not have a compatible meter can end up being billed for the power they export to the grid. On other occasions, the electricity they generate can wind their meter backwards giving them artificially low bills.
The concerns surround old analogue meters and some digital ones.
Older rotary meters without a backstop function can wind backwards when PV panels have been generating electricity. Less fortunate customers with certain digital meters have seen the power they generate added to the meter’s running total.
Ofgem warned about the problem in February and issued advice to consumers.
“The rollout of smart meters will provide consumers with greater information regarding their consumption of electricity. The technical specification for these meters includes the ability to measure exported electricity,” an Ofgem spokesperson told Solar Power Portal. “As older meters are replaced we expect fewer consumers to be affected by this issue.”
The smart meter rollout begins in earnest in 2015 with a targeted end date of 2020.
Ofgem said it was not possible to identify one party that was responsible for ensuring their were no problems for PV customers.
“We have been working together with industry parties to try to understand this issue better and to develop solutions to protect consumers with onsite renewable electricity generating equipment, by ensuring accurate meter readings,” Ofgem said.
“If a consumer is concerned their meter is running backwards they should tell their energy supplier, who might be different from their FiT supplier, as soon as possible. If a consumer is not seeing the savings they were expecting from the onsite generation, they need to speak to their installer about the savings estimates they predicted. Once the installer has checked the system, if they are still concerned then they should contact their energy supplier,” they added.
Consumers with any concerns can refer to a dedicated page on the Ofgem website.
A list of approved meters for the FiT can be found on the website of the National Measurement Office.