Good news! Pure Planet can now install SMETS2 smart meters for members who have solar panels

  • 7 February 2020
  • 30 replies
  • 1472 views

Hi everyone,

Good news! We’re now opening our second generation Smart meter (SMETS2) installations to Members with solar panels (or any other type of renewable generation) installed at their home.

What’s driven this change?
To explain why we’re only opening this up now, we want to give a bit of a background on why we haven’t been installing SMETS2 alongside solar panels.

Most people who generate electricity at their home, with either solar panels, a wind turbine, or some other renewable generation technology, feed some amount of that electricity back onto the National Grid.

In the past, they were offered a government backed scheme called a Feed-in-Tariff (FiT). This scheme guaranteed to pay them for some or all of their generation - and ended on 31 March 2019 for new installations. Anyone signed up for FiT before that date will keep receiving payments for many years to come.

It’s fair to say there’s been a lot of uncertainty in the energy industry as a whole around FiT and how the SMETS2 rollout affects existing FiT customers.

For those of you who aren’t FiT generators, we’d like to explain the intricate regulations around FiT.
Under Feed-in-Tariff, a generator receives two types of payments from their FiT supplier:


  1. Generation payment — this equals the value of everything that the solar installation has generated. It doesn’t matter whether some, or all of the electricity was used by the property, or put back into the grid. Generation has its own meter and a FiT supplier would ask for a quarterly or yearly reading.
  2. Export payments— this payment is for excess electricity that the property hasn’t used. Instead, this excess is put back into the grid. These payments are, by default, paid on a deemed basis which is based on, typically, 50% of the total generation.

To give an example, imagine your solar panels generated 1,500 kWh of electricity in three months. Your FiT contract pays you 3p/kWh for generation and 5p/kWh for deemed export. You’d receive:

1,500 kWh (actual generation) * 3p/kWh (generation payment unit rate) + 750 kWh/2 (50% generation) * 5p (deemed export unit rate) = £82.5

(phew!😅)

The trick here is: not many UK households export as much as 50% of their generation. The actual figures are much lower (even lower if you’ve got a battery) so FiT generators are receiving a significant benefit with the deemed export payments.

Here’s where Smart meters make the difference: FiT policy says that when a meter capable of measuring export is installed at the property, deemed export should end and measured export should be introduced. Any Smart meter, including first generation (SMETS1) or second generation (SMETS2), is capable of precisely measuring export, whereas older meters aren’t. So deemed export should end, and measured export should begin, when a FiT customer has a Smart meter installed.

Ready for another conundrum? In most cases, FiT customers have different energy suppliers and FiT suppliers. 😫

So, when a Smart meter is installed, the FiT supplier may not know there’s now a meter installed in the house that can measure the exact electricity export to the grid, so they continue making generation and deemed export payments. In theory, FiT generators should always notify their FiT suppliers about a meter exchange. In real life, not many generators know that’s the case.

This has been a broadly recognised problem in the electricity industry. To avoid contributing to it, we’d suppressed SMETS2 installations to FiT generators while we asked for guidance from the regulator on how to move forward - we’ve got this guidance now.

If you’re a FiT generator…
We’ve been advised by the regulator that the principles of SMETS2 rollout should always stand above our concerns around FiT policy. There’s work being done to enable information about a meter exchange reaching the FiT supplier shortly after installation.
For now, we need to highlight that if you’re receiving FiT payments, you'll need to inform your FiT supplier once the Smart meter has been installed. Magnum will confirm this with you when booking your installation.

If you’re not a FiT generator…
If you installed your solar panels after 31 March 2019, then Feed-in-Tariff isn’t available for you. Once your SMETS2 has been installed, you can sign up for measured export payments under the new Smart Export Guarantee (SEG).
A number of larger suppliers launched their SEG tariffs on 1 January. You don’t need to be on supply with them to sign up for their export - just look around and find the best solution for you! We’ll be joining the group of SEG suppliers in 2021.👍

Thanks for your patience.🙂 If you have any questions let’s chat about them in the replies below!

30 replies

Please can you confirm that the payments made after installation of a SMETS 2 meter will comprise a/. Generation payment and 2/. Measured Export payment? Thank you.
Userlevel 7
Badge +8
Steviewardy;48040:
Please can you confirm that the payments made after installation of a SMETS 2 meter will comprise a/. Generation payment and 2/. Measured Export payment? Thank you.


Hi,
​​​​​​​The post above explains that PP will not be offering SEG payments until 2021. Other suppliers do, as explained above
I have had my panels for over 4 years now so should not be involved with SEG payments, I think?
Userlevel 7
Badge +8
Steviewardy;48057:
I have had my panels for over 4 years now so should not be involved with SEG payments, I think?


​​​​​​​If you are part of the FIT scheme, that will continue as normal ( for now), but if you do get FITs payment you should inform the supplier when you get a smart meter fitted
Thanks for that info. I look forward to booking in my SMETS2 installation from PP.
I have 2 lots of solar panels, the original 4Kwh from 7 years ago which is part of the FIT scheme and a further 8KwH which are not part of FIT. During the summer months both these intallations export to the grid.. will the SMETS2 be able to differentiate between these 2 sources of export to calculate the FIT related export to replace the deemed export payment of the FIT panels generation??
Is it correct that not many household export as much as 50% of their generation? I thought that for residential PV the average used was about 30% with 70% exported. That's close to my own experience too.
If I'm correct then most people, especially if they don't have a battery would be better off having an export meter.
So how can those with new solar panels request a smart meter?
Gemmac;48227:
So how can those with new solar panels request a smart meter?

Welcome to the community @Gemmac
Check out this FAQ 👍
Tesla boy;48090:
I have 2 lots of solar panels, the original 4Kwh from 7 years ago which is part of the FIT scheme and a further 8KwH which are not part of FIT. During the summer months both these intallations export to the grid.. will the SMETS2 be able to differentiate between these 2 sources of export to calculate the FIT related export to replace the deemed export payment of the FIT panels generation??


Hey @Tesla boy

This is a really good question...

There's no way for a meter to tell what export comes from which solar panels - all the export will be measured together as one figure.

FIT guidance requires that a supplier uses the capacity of both installations to work out what percentage of the export is paid, and what isn't - for example

Installation 1 = 4kw
Installation 2 = 2kw
Installation 1 = 66.6%
Installation 2 = 33.3%

So, if only 'Installation 1' gets FIT export payments you'd be paid for 66.6% of your total export each quarter.

We're seeking guidance on how this relates to SEG, too.

Does that help answer your question?👍
Thanks for the reply - the answer is yes. I have a Powerwall 2 so my export is approximately 750kWh per annum. My FIT generation is approximately 3000kWh so current deemed export is 1500kWh. I don't think losing 3p * 750kWh is a big issue 😁. £22 per year for the benefit of having a SMETS2 meter is worth it.....
Thanks for pointing me to the FAQs. If I'm reading that right, I can't request a smartmeter and you're not planning to roll these out in my area soon (as no moon in my app) or pay export tariffs before 2021. Please contact me directly if I've misunderstood something. Otherwise, that's a shame, I have newly installed panels and need a smartmeter to export.
Just to say, please think carefully about your future options regarding installing a SMETS2 smart meter as against the current deemed export payments IF you intend to purchase a PHEV vehicle, or export diverter to heat your hot water tank, or install batteries. If you install a SMETS2 meter and you also install any or all of those options you will no longer be paid your Deemed 50% export of your generation as you will be obliged under the new Regulations to inform the FIT supplier of your change of meter whereupon your deemed 50% payment will be recalculated, in almost all circumstances resulting in a much reduced export payment
Thank you for this. I was aware that this would be the case but decided that it is cheaper to use my energy myself rather than get paid an export payment then buy the electricity back for 3 times the price.

Please ignore the original message if you’ve already read it. I contacted Magnum Utilities directly and have booked an installation date for a Smart Meter. I’m disappointing with Pure Planet as I’ve been asking since October 2019 for a smart meter. I’ve been given a whole range of excuses why we can’t have one fitted; as recently as a few weeks ago I was told because of COVID there aren’t any installation dates. Magnum Utilities had free installation slots in my area - any weekday from 10th August to 7th September!

Thanks Sita for this info about Magnum Utilities. I too am getting irritated by Pure Planet’s lack of urgency with SMETS2 installations. I have a 5.1kWp PV system, bought a second-hand Nissan Leaf in February and had a Zappi V2 charger installed in March. From the Zappi app, I know that I export much more than 50% of my generated electricity, even after charging my car almost exclusively from home-generated power. I have been patiently waiting for the Pure Planet app to tell me I can apply for SMETS2, but, so far, no dice!

 

Also, still no action has resulted from the much-publicised Pure Planet EV trial, which has surely been running long enough to inform the PP policy makers! Time to switch to Octopus, methinks! @Nataly & @Marc can we please have some updates on both of these issues?

Also, still no action has resulted from the much-publicised Pure Planet EV trial, which has surely been running long enough to inform the PP policy makers! Time to switch to Octopus, methinks! @Nataly & @Marc can we please have some updates on both of these issues?

Hi @Surpo 

We’re currently working on an EV tariff - thanks to Members who’ve been helping us out in the EVs pillot.

I don’t yet have an exact date but I know the team are working v hard on getting something we can offer soon. 

As soon as there’s more news, the community will be the first to know! :relaxed:

 

Hello

All this is very confusing to me. I lost my husband 2 years ago. So I don’t know technical details. I have 8 solar panels installed in my house but had nothing concerning it yet. Since 2016 he has been ill. When I asked about it in 2018 I was told the company has gone into liquidation. After months of chasing it up the company that took it over contacted me ASE energy. They suggested me to contact Octopus Energy. I was going to switch to Pure Planet but I want to know if I will benefit or not??

Hope this makes sense?.

Hi @juicybee 

Ok - hopefully we can help here! 

It depends if your solar panels had already been signed up for what’s known as a ‘Feed In Tariff’. It sounds like if you get in touch with Octopus they should be able to advise you about this. 

The Feed In Tariff scheme was stopped, and then replaced, in 2020. It’s been replaced with the ‘Smart Export Guarantee’ tariff. You can read all about that here. We’re introducing our Smart Export Guarantee in April this year - so you could switch to us and, from April, sign up to our Smart Export Guarantee too. 

It’s worth noting you don’t have to have your Smart Export Guarantee with the same company that supplies your energy. So you could absolutely switch your home’s gas and electricity supply to Pure Planet no matter what, and have your Smart Export Guarantee with another company if you’d like. 

It can definitely be confusing - hopefully that’s helped but let us know if you have any other questions! :slight_smile:

Userlevel 7
Badge +9

Hello

All this is very confusing to me. I lost my husband 2 years ago. So I don’t know technical details. I have 8 solar panels installed in my house but had nothing concerning it yet. Since 2016 he has been ill. When I asked about it in 2018 I was told the company has gone into liquidation. After months of chasing it up the company that took it over contacted me ASE energy. They suggested me to contact Octopus Energy. I was going to switch to Pure Planet but I want to know if I will benefit or not??

Hope this makes sense?.

Hello @juicybee 

I’m taking a big risk here, because @Nataly is a wonderfully helpful Pure Planet employee, and I’m just an old guy who occasionally tries to be helpful on the basis of what I know - which is not a great deal.

When I read your post, my first thought was that I was talking to my wife the other day about the things that she knows and doesn’t know about how ‘things’ work - finance, bills etc - as I’ve always looked after that. So it must have been really hard to lose your husband for all the obvious reasons - and then there comes along all the little bits of ‘stuff’ that he knew about and you were aware of but didn’t think about much because that was what he did.

And because I’m very careful about money, the second thing I thought was whether you have been getting your FIT payments for the energy your solar panels have been generating. You don’t say how long you have had them, but I’ve inferred that it may well be for several years. I’ve also inferred that it is the company that installed them that has gone into liquidation.

If I’ve guessed right, then your husband may have been submitting a quarterly meter reading from your solar panels to an energy company and getting a payment back - I have 8 panels on my house, and I get around £700 a year. The amount largely depends on when the panels were installed, the longer they’ve been up (before 2019) then the more you get.

I’ll stop there - if my assumptions are correct AND you have not been supplying readings from your solar panels and getting your FIT payments, do post back, and I , and others, will do what we can to help. 

If I’ve misunderstood your post, I’m really sorry.

Sincerely

Stephen

@stephenrand this is a really useful reply! Thank you for adding your knowledge on the subject and on Feed in Tariffs (FIT) :smiley:

I think between us we’ve covered both solar payment options - hopefully @juicybee this gives you somewhere to start, or ask more questions of course :thumbsup:

So… having been contacted by Magnum previously, arranged an appointment, and then had it immediately cancelled when they asked the question about solar panels, should all previously-rejected customers now be “back on the list”? Or do we actively have to contact PP or Magnum directly to make this happen?

Other threads seem a little uncertain as to whether we should nag you into submission or sit back and hope that, one day, Magnum will get back to us again...

I’ve been a customer long enough to be thoroughly fed up of monthly manual readings, so I’m more than happy to make the move…

 

Thanks!

Userlevel 7
Badge +9

So… having been contacted by Magnum previously, arranged an appointment, and then had it immediately cancelled when they asked the question about solar panels, should all previously-rejected customers now be “back on the list”? Or do we actively have to contact PP or Magnum directly to make this happen?

Other threads seem a little uncertain as to whether we should nag you into submission or sit back and hope that, one day, Magnum will get back to us again...

I’ve been a customer long enough to be thoroughly fed up of monthly manual readings, so I’m more than happy to make the move…

 

Thanks!

Hi @Prof Yaffle 

Probably worth explaining that when you post here you are not talking directly to Pure Planet, but to your fellow customers.

This FAQ gives some relevant information, but it doesn't entirely answer your question

So if you are anxious enough to have a smart meter, you will probably need to follow up with the Pure Planet team by going to help and support and using Wattbot. Start by entering message the team and persevere until you are told that you have succeeded. 

Stephen

Userlevel 7
Badge +8

@Prof Yaffle 

Just to add, you don't have to submit readings every month, although it helps to keep your account accurate, any estimated readings will be corrected next time you submit

@Duppy Yeah, when I see an estimate that’s even vaguely correct, I’ll go with that. I struggle with even the winter/summer split calculations, I’m afraid - my credit/debit goes all over the place. I’d like to keep it directionally accurate, which is what the smart meters promised. Moving the furniture every few weeks (plus doing it for the quarterly FiT and annual readings, of course) grows thin after the first few years, though.

@stephenrand  Thanks - yes, I understand how the forum works - however, the OP is an employee, and is active on this thread, so (perhaps naively) I thought I’d ask for something definitive from the company. After all, it was their supplier that panicked originally *after* having made appointments, and so they should have a definitive record of all the SMETS1/microgeneration customers they arranged and then aborted. It’s not too much to expect them to now mop those customers up - not “whenever we’re in the area, perhaps, maybe, one day”, but “when we’re going to be in the area, because we’ve done the calculations”. I suspect we’ve simply been dumped to the bottom of the list, and community recommendations to nag via WattBot until we get to a human aren’t really a replacement for a statement of “this happened… now do this”.

Reply