Reply To: E.On

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#2609
nigelw
Participant

As an existing customer with E.on I thought I would use this forum thread and hope what I write will be helpful to those in a similar position.

I live in a bungalow in Nottingham, NG3 which uses only electricity for all purposes. I do not have a gas supply. I have solar panels installed and receive Feed in Tariff payments from E.on.

At the moment I receive electricity from E.ON. They have sent me a letter explaining that I am on one of their older tariffs which they are no longer able to offer. I am therefore looking to change my supplier of electricity.

The electrical set up at my property uses ‘Heatwise’ which is a particular type of meter only found in the East Midlands.

These meters were designed mainly for all electric properties with storage heaters and electric water immersion heaters. They give 10 hours of cheaper off peak electricity in every 24 hour period for heating and water heating only. This is in three time slots during the afternoon, in the evening and at night.

To work, the meter is wired into the heating/water heating circuits at my property. I have 2 consumer units in the property with 2 MPAN’s (Meter Point Administration Numbers). Unless manually overridden, this lets the meter automatically turn the heating on during the off peak times and off again afterwards. During the off peak times, all electricity used for heating/hot water goes through these dedicated circuits and is recorded on separate meter registers. If the hot water runs out, there’s a one hour boost you can use although, if used outside the off peak times, this will be charged at the higher rate. The heatwise meter is switched on using radio waves which is sent out by masts across the MPAN 11 area.

A few years ago I removed the bath and decided not to use the immersion heater to heat and store water in the water cylinder in the roof. Instead I use a shower. Therefore, it is only the storage heaters which consume electricity using the cheaper off peak rate. I have been happy with this set up and the consequent electricity bill.

My annual consumption of electricity is typically just under 6000 kWh and I currently pay 13.21p per kWh during the 14 hours peak rate and 8.28p per kWh during the 10 hours at the off peak rate. In addition to this there is a daily standing charge of 15.64p per day.

When I made my first call to E.on it was frustrating not to be given any helpful advice at all and I was asked to search through over 300 possible tariffs and then make my choice. The letter E.on sent me did not give any reason why they were no longer able to let me continue using my existing tariff. When speaking to the customer service advisor, I asked if I could speak with a supervisor or manager. I was told that the customer service advisor could talk to their supervisor or manager but it would not be possible for me to speak to them directly.

I then did my own research, including reading everything on this web site to try to understand things better.

The meter used for heatwise is a thing called a dynamically teleswitched meter.

The Central Teleswitch Control Unit (CTCU), owned and operated by the Energy Network Association (ENA), receives, monitors and validates the instructions transmitted by the DNOs(Distribution Network Operators), preparing them for transmission. It is the ENA which actually coordinates the whole RTS service and signs the procurement contract with the BBC. 4. The BBC assembles and encodes the switching instructions sent by the CTCU on its 198 kHz signal. These are transmitted simultaneously to customers’ teleswitched meters via three radio transmitters located at Droitwich, Westerglen and Burghead.

The switching of the meter therefore depends on the radio signal being received in order for it to work. I had read articles that suggested the signal may be discontinued in the near future.

I wrote an email to the ENA asking ‘Hello, I am a domestic consumer of electricity in the MPAN 11 region, living in Nottingham and my meter receives switching instructions sent out by the Central Teleswitch Control Unit (CTCU) which is owned and operated by the Energy Network Association (ENA). The BBC assembles and encodes the switching instructions sent out by the CTCU on its 198 kHz signal. These are transmitted simultaneously to customers’ teleswitched meters via three radio transmitters located at Droitwich, Westerglen and Burghead. For me, I believe the signal comes from Droitwich.

Please could you tell me if there are any plans to discontinue the signals from Droitwich in the future?’

The reply I received was as follows…..

Thank you for your email. We are currently in discussions with the electricity suppliers trade association to continue the use of Radio Teleswitch until smart meters are rolled out.

Regards,
Daniel Simpson
Head of IT and Corporate Events
Energy Networks Association

This didn’t really help me know when or if the signal will be discontinued.

I then made my second call to E.on which was just as frustrating as the first call. Again the customer service person was very unhelpful and simply tried to make me sign up for a tariff which would have meant me paying the same rate per kWh through all 24 hours. Again, when I asked if I could speak with a supervisor or manager, I was told I couldn’t.

It was then that I thought that the only way to overcome this problem would be to ask E.on to instal an Economy 10 meter. I read a bit about Smart Meters and it seems that if you have a solar panel installation then you can’t use a smart meter. Something to do with ‘interference’. I am not bothered if the meter I have installed is not a Smart Meter.

I then made my third, lengthy call to E.on to discuss the meters they could install and what tariff I could have after installation of a new meter. After an hour of talking with a customer service advisor, I pleaded to be able to discuss things with a supervisor or manager. This time I was able to do this, much to my relief. However, I still wasn’t happy that the supervisor really understood my requirements. It wasn’t clear whether the meter they would instal would be Economy 10 or Economy 7.

During the discussions I was being quoted for one supply (one MPAN) a Normal rate of 21.29p per kWh, an off peak rate of 12.95p per kWh and a daily standing charge of 21.966p per day.

A search of all E.on’s tariffs revealed one under the heading ‘E.on Energyplan – Elec only(Econ7+Monthly Direct Debit)’. When looking in more detail under this tariff, the rates given for the figures on the left hand side of the page must be for Economy 7 and on the right hand side those for Economy 10. The figures on the right were exactly the same as those I was given over the phone. There is no labelling to help you understand which is which.

These rates are significantly higher than the tariff I have been on. In fact, more than 50% higher!

What I have decided to do is get an electrician to do an inspection (EICR) first of all. They will know the implications of E.on coming out to replace the meter and then I will need to have the 2 consumer units replaced with one. Then, hopefully when the new meter is installed I will be able to use all appliances using the off peak rate and not just the storage heaters. When the national database has been updated to show just one MPAN at my property, I will then shop around and change supplier to give me the best deal.

If you’ve got to the end of this posting, I hope it may help other people. Thank you Mark for this website!