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Micro generation and smart meters?

  • 06-02-2023 10:08pm
    Registered Users Posts: 319 ✭✭

    A bit confused. I have solar panels, no battery and a day/night meter. Now i have been told that to accuratley measure any energy i put back into the grid i need a smart meter. Otherwise it is estimated instead of measured by Esb Networks? My recent bills show no microgeneration but could that be due to the government credit the last two to three months? So i asked my electricity provider to maybe kickstart the process of installing a smart meter. But they said if i do that i would be on a smart tariff for the rest of my life? I would lose my current fixed rate one year deal of about 40% off my unit rates? There would be no similar deal available once i go on a smart meter? How could that be possible? Alot of smart maters have been installed across the country; does that mean suddenly one cannot avail of cheap one or two year deals with smart meters?

    Post edited by Darith on


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,930 ✭✭✭con747

    Keep your meter for now, you will get deemed export based on the size of your inverter. So basically you can use all your generation but still get paid for it. The smart plans are very restrictive right now so need to be worked on by the supply companies. AFAIK once you activate the smart meter you are tied in. Just don't refuse a smart meter if ESBN want to install one because that will affect your FIT payments. Most suppliers are having issues with paying the FIT but some are paying regularly.

    The likes of B/G only pay once a year in March. Have a look at this thread

    Don't expect anything from life, just be grateful to be alive.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,993 ✭✭✭jkforde

    afaik, they are thinking of rolling out specific Day\Night tarrif-capable smart meters, so hopefully that comes to pass, so for now stay on your D\N meter and avoid ESBN installing a smart meter (don't put on their record that you categorically refused one) until the disfunctional smart meter market is regulated competently.

    🌦️ 6.7kwp, 45°, SSW, mid-Galway 🌦️

  • Registered Users Posts: 220 ✭✭curioustony


    Post edited by curioustony on

    🌞4.55 kWp, azimuth 136°, slope 24°, 5kW, 🛢️10.9kWh, Roscommon

  • Registered Users Posts: 220 ✭✭curioustony

    It's a sad state of affairs. I switched to a smart plan before the price hikes. Smart plans were in my opinion hit much harder. I tried to switch. Here's the end of a conversation between the CRU and myself.

    I talked to Energia. They informed me that as I am an MCC12 subscriber I am only eligible for smart plans, and if I want to change my meter I needed to talk to ESBN (with no indication if that would be successful). 

    I have initiated a conversation with ESBN. 


    I have a follow on question for you. Is it in you opinion legal to exclude MCC12 customers from parts of a competitive market?


    I am assuming here that ESBN will ask to be paid to replace my meter. This is a barrier to free competition. 


    I see no technical reason why the smart meter, or the fact that I currently have a smart plan should exclude me from any tariff from any supplier. 


    Thanks and best regards, Tony


    Thank you for your email.

    Since the electricity market was deregulated in 2011, the CRU do not set suppliers tariffs. It is therefore up to each supplier in the energy market to decide what tariff / Time of Use (ToU) tariff products they offer customers to promote competition.

    Customers with a smart meter can chose a Time of Use product from their energy supplier. The types of products and services available to consumers will increase over time, with additional smart services and functionality becoming available at the end of Phases 2 and 3 of the National Smart Metering Programme.

    When a customer agrees a Time of Use tariff, the meter is configured differently to ensure the customer gets the rates as agreed with their supplier at specific times of the day. Once smart services are turned on, it is not possible to revert to a 24 hour tariff, unless a supplier offers a 24 hour smart tariff.

    All electricity suppliers are currently required to offer the Standard Smart Tariff to customers with a smart meter. Suppliers can also offer additional Time of Use products and services and the product details will vary between suppliers. The CRU would always encourage customers to shop around for the best deals available and the appropriate tariff for them.


    I'm trying to parse your response. 

    I think you are saying that:

    1. By agreeing to a smart plan I effectively moved myself to a different/separate market -- the 'smart' market;

    2. There is no way to return to the larger (more competitive) market;

    3. The basic minimum offering in the 'smart' market is the Standard Smart Tariff.

    4. I should hang in there until for (the unscheduled) phase 2 & 3 in the hope that additional functionally and services will compensate for lost cash now. 


    Am I correct?


    I do shop around, at least once a year. This is very complicated with time of use tariffs. It is much more difficult with solar and battery which I have. I have put considerable effort into shopping around. That is how I know the 'smart' market is not competitive for me, and I suspect for many others. 


    As I started in the original email, for my usage profile with solar and battery, neither this (Standard Smart Tariff) not any other plan in the 'smart' market are as competitive as several D/N plans.


    A simple solution would be for the regulator to mandate that any plan provided by a supplier must have a 'smart' market equivalent. This would not be exclusionary as opposed to the current regulatory approach which clearly is. 


    I'm still struggling to see how the current market segregation is legal. It restricts choice. It inhibits competition. It is not fair. It excludes electricity customers from a larger and (somewhat) competitive market. 


    I get the distinct impression that you (the CRU) are not interested in changing anything in time to help my situation. My next step then is to refer this inequity to the competition authority. 


    Thank you for your email correspondence. I can confirm that we have made a record of your correspondence.

    Your summation in regards to smart tariffs is correct. I have passed your concerns internally for noting. 

    I did not refer to the competition authority. Energia actually offered me a D/N plan, and I accepted. They did not follow through. After many many, sometimes long, conversations I accepted their Smart EV plan with a 40% discount for 24 months.

    That level of discount was necessary to make it competitive with the D/N plan I originally accepted.

    I really do think that what the CRU has done is not legal.

    I do think that the CRU has the power to mandate that every MCC01 & MCC02 plan has a competitive equivalent for those with smart meters. I also think the minister responsible can direct them to do this without new legislation.

    I also chatted with ESBN, they just referred back to the supplier.

    Smart plans can work for some small minority of users. In general they are not very good. I found it very difficult to compare. I wrote a python application to help, and put it on GitHub:

    You really need to know your numbers, and the rules around deemed export(much better than measured for many, esp. if you have high self consumption).

    🌞4.55 kWp, azimuth 136°, slope 24°, 5kW, 🛢️10.9kWh, Roscommon

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,090 ✭✭✭✭KCross

    Thank you for your email correspondence. I can confirm that we have made a record of your correspondence.

    Fair play to you. You articulated the problem quite well and their response above is basically a tacit acceptance that you are right as they were not able to give you a robust answer other than to say they noted your points...thats admission of fault if you ask me!

    The CRU have made a balls of smart meter rollout in this country. Everyone should have got a smart meter and everyone should have been able to keep their existing tariffs and then be free to pick any new tariffs as they became available. The data is granular enough from the meter that that is technically possible but they didn't architect it into the rollout/legislation to make it happen, so now we have a s*it show of a rollout.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 36 D.flynn

    Hi All,

    I'm just curious as to why ye are so concerned with "not refusing a smart meter if ESBN want to install it".

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,090 ✭✭✭✭KCross

    If you refuse a smart meter install you are foregoing your right to be paid a Feed-in-tariff for your excess Solar.

    Luckily some of us are on d/n meters so we are not eligible for a smart meter (yet) so the refusal question doesn't come into play.

  • Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 5,880 Mod ✭✭✭✭graememk

    It's more expensive.

    Edit: Ah I read wrong. Yeah you dont want to refuse it as it stops the CEG, But you can be proactive and switch to a Day/Night for now.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,993 ✭✭✭jkforde

    because ESBN say that if you refuse a smart meter, it will then be noted that your MPRN is not eligible for deemed (estimated) CEG payments.

    then again, some have got ESBN to take out a smart meter and replace it with a D\N (I presume), @ELM327 for instance so you might want to ask how they did that.

    🌦️ 6.7kwp, 45°, SSW, mid-Galway 🌦️

  • Registered Users Posts: 21,581 ✭✭✭✭ELM327

    Don't refuse a smart meter.

    Ask to move to MCC02 Day Night meter. As the current smart meters cannot offer this, you will get a free exchange to day night meter and access to the best tariffs. AAAAnd get deemed export as you havent refused a smart meter. Technically. The best kind of correct.

    Now I did what I did to refuse a smart meter (albeit without formally refusing) as I refuse to have one of those unless it makes monetary sense for me. Which it doesnt. The tariffs are higher, and the night time rates are 2-4 hours instead of 9. I struggle some nights to charge the EV and the house batteries to full from flat in 9 hours. Why woudl I reduce that.

    I also don't export anything to the grid. 54kWh in 6 months, so deemed FIT suits me much better than actual FIT. If I am forced onto a smart meter I'll have to get a fk ton more panels to export enough to meet the amount I'm already deemed to export!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 36 D.flynn

    Thanks Everyone, that explains a lot.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,972 ✭✭✭spaceHopper

    Rumour has it that if you have an old mechanical/electrical meter that when you feed back into the network the meter goes backwards. AKA you get the full unit value off you bill for every unit you feet back in. Is correct?

  • Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 5,880 Mod ✭✭✭✭graememk

    Some can go back but some don't, there's a ratchet symbol on the ones that dont go back.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,414 ✭✭✭DC999

  • Registered Users Posts: 3 Messy5

    I had a smart meter before before I had the panels installed. I left it that way until last September. I didnt active a smart tariff however. Crunching the numbers I reaconed Id be much cheaper with a D/N meter. I presumed it would be a software update as you would expect it could act as a D/N, chatted few electricians rang esbn and they said software, but when they came it meant changing it completely over to the old fashioned D/N meter (newer one no dials). I calculated with our set up even with FIT Id be better off with the new meter. This is definitely the case for us as the night rate is exceptionally low and we have 10kw battery so supply house in the day. I never received any money from provider ENR for FIT either for period of when we had smart meter in or fixed price since getting the new meter. Not sure if entitled to money back. Im happy we are on a cheaper net price as we stand but just curious if we entitled to money back. Its very muddy the whole thing but have to say D/N meter has been brilliant for the pocket.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,930 ✭✭✭con747

    Maybe wait until your next bill and see if any deemed FIT is paid on it but it depends which supplier because Bord Gais only pay twice a year, others pay more frequently. It's hard to know because it is all a mess with suppliers doing different things with some having hoops to jump through and others just paying up. If nothing on your next bill then decide what to do.

    Don't expect anything from life, just be grateful to be alive.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3 Messy5

    Yes Im with energia so not sure story with them.