Smart meters update - latest on IHD energy usage needle

  • 11 February 2020
  • 13 replies
  • 144 views

Hi everyone,

We want to give Members an update about energy usage needle displays on IHDs, as shown in this picture:




Thanks everyone for continuing to share your IHD feedback in the Community - we have an update for the IHD needle displaying red ‘high’ usage when you’re using a normal amount of energy.

We’ve been working hard behind the scenes to figure out what was going wrong, and how to fix it moving forward.

Firstly, we’d like to say sorry! We initially programmed IHDs so that ‘normal’ usage would fall into the amber zone. We now believe that ‘normal’ usage should display in the green zone, with higher usage pushing the needle into amber or red.

Sadly there aren’t industry-wide agreed thresholds, meaning while with one supplier your usage could display as green, with another supplier that same usage could display as amber.

We’d like to ensure the most consistent approach as possible for Members’ IHDs, to allow for ease and flexibility if Members switch between suppliers. Having now discussed this with other suppliers, we’ve reached an agreed rationale behind how the IHD should display usage, though each supplier has their own calculation methods.

We’ve been testing new settings for the IHD needle display on Pure Planet team members’ IHDs and are now confident the new calculations are accurate. Here’s a breakdown of how it works:

Step 1: we calculate each property’s average hourly usage, based on its historical annual usage data
Step 2: we set multipliers that define what usage pushes the needle into amber, and then into red.

We hadn’t previously taken into account that most peoples’ usage occurs within a concentrated few hours of the day (e.g. an hour in morning and 3-4 hours at night when everyone is home!) - our initial calculations meant usage always seemed high as soon as people were home and using more energy.

We’ve therefore decided to set the multipliers at 5 and 10 times the average hourly usage as this allows for the concentrated periods of usage at peak times of the day.

Here’s an example of how the calculation works, based on Ofgem-calculated average annual usage of 3100kWh:
3100kWh annually = roughly 350 Watts (so, 0.35kW) per hour.
With the multiplier of 5, if your usage exceeds 1.75kWh you’ll see the needle move from the green into the amber zone of your IHD.
With the multiplier of 10, if your usage exceeds 3.5kWh you’ll see the needle move into the red zone.

We recognise that everyone’s usage is different - 3100kWh annual usage for one property may not be enough for another. That’s why we’re adjusting the calculation depending on historical usage data for the property.

For example: if your annual usage is higher than the average, e.g. 6200kWh annually, your usage would need to exceed 3.5kWh (rather than 1.75) to move the needle in the amber zone, and exceed 7kWh (rather than 3.5) to move the needle into the red zone.

We’re now confident these new calculations give an accurate indication of usage. We’re going to remotely apply this setting for all members who’ve previously had a smart meter and IHD fitted by us. We’ll be doing this in batches starting 12 February, and expect everyone’s IHDs to be updated within a month.

Once your IHD has been updated you’ll see a message saying ‘Your meters setup and connected successfully’.

The new calculations have also been applied going forward for new installations, and members who switch to us with previously-installed SMETS2 meters.

Thanks again to everyone who’s provided feedback on this issue, if you have any questions or further feedback let us know in the replies below!👍

13 replies

Sounds very sensible @Nat.

I’m feeling very noob asking, but does the gas have a similar process? I assume it would need a longer averaging time to get insightful/meaningful figures as boilers cycled on/off.

PS What’s the update rate for the electric needle? Do you apply any (potentially misleading) averaging to that?
Hey @25 quid, good questions!

does the gas have a similar process? I assume it would need a longer averaging time to get insightful/meaningful figures as boilers cycled on/off.


The gas shows an average over the past 30 minutes (that's how frequently it updates).

For more accurate measuring it'd probably be best to get a gas reading from the IHD before the boiler comes on, then take another once it's off, to better understand how much gas is used during a normal cycle👍

What’s the update rate for the electric needle? Do you apply any (potentially misleading) averaging to that?


The electricity information is updated roughly every 6-10 seconds, and gives an actual snapshot of the usage at that point. It doesn't apply any averaging.

Does that help answer your questions?🙂
It does @Nataly! Seems sensible to me. Thank you.
(still don’t fancy a smart meter though 🤓)

Perhaps I’m the only person who thinks this, but I’d have expected:


Low = Green
Normal = Amber
High = Red.

I guess it depends what you classify as ‘normal.’

 

Not sure I agree sorry @Gwyndy. Green seems nice and comforting, with the other colours suggesting something exceptional is happening and it might be worth checking around the house...

Mind you, what do I know!? I don’t have one of these gadgets! 😉  

Not sure I agree sorry @Gwyndy. Green seems nice and comforting😉  

Which is exactly the way I look at it, ‘nice and comforting’ should be for when your energy usage is ‘lower’ and therefore more ‘eco-friendly’ not when your usage is ‘normal’ - people aren’t going to be encouraged to improve energy usage if ‘normal’ usage appears to be ‘green.’

Many moons ago I had a car which had green/amber/red to indicate if you were in the ‘right’ gears, green was for ‘most fuel efficient choice’ not ‘normal.’
 

Fair point… ✅

Userlevel 7
Badge +11

@25 quid @Gwyndy 

If you dumb down the IHD this is what inevitably happens.

The user should be able to select what’s “normal” better still input their own numbers.

It won’t happen because the project started by assuming everyone would be too stupid to understand, and it will only lead to more trouble if we don’t keep it dumbed down. (is my opinion)

But I approve the update as it’s a step in the right direction.

 

 

You say tomato I say tomato 😉 

Userlevel 7
Badge +9

Without moving too far away from the point, my Libre2 🤣🤣🤣🤣allows the red amber green to be set to your own targets if you so wish. For now, I’ve left the factory set targets and works well, but for others, if their diabetes is less controlled say, they may adjust to suit them, so the colour ranges could differ immensely 👍👍👍👍

Userlevel 7
Badge +11

Without moving too far away from the point, my Libre2 🤣🤣🤣🤣allows the red amber green to be set to your own targets if you so wish. For now, I’ve left the factory set targets and works well, but for others, if their diabetes is less controlled say, they may adjust to suit them, so the colour ranges could differ immensely 👍👍👍👍

@Bev I didn’t know IHDs measure blood sugar level...

Keep up @woz it’s the future! 😉 

Userlevel 7
Badge +9

🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣I’m proper larfing and that’s no lie, really tickled me, but trust you two buggers 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

Reply