Climate change and energy – guidance

Electricity meters used for the feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme

Import supply meters affected by onsite renewable electricity generation.

Renewable electricity generating equipment

Since the introduction of the feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme in 2010, an increasing number of consumers have installed renewable electricity generating equipment, such as solar photovoltaic (PV) at their homes or premises. In some cases the import supply meter, which measures the electricity a consumer uses from the grid, is being affected by this onsite generation. This sometimes results in inaccurate meter readings that can lead to billing issues and affect the accuracy of electricity settlement.

Accuracy of meters

Regulatory Delivery (RD) is responsible for ensuring that the requirements in the Electricity Act 1989, with respect to the accuracy of meters, are met by suppliers and distribution companies.

Accurate meter readings

As the electricity markets regulator, Ofgem has an important role in protecting the interests of existing and future electricity consumers. RD and Ofgem 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.

This is a complex problem which interacts with different parts of the electricity system. Identifying and resolving the faulty meters requires cooperation from different industry parties. We believe this has led to gaps in identifying and then correcting problems. We welcome the proactive steps that have been taken already by industry participants to resolve this issue going forward.

A joint letter issued from RD and Ofgem sets out the issues as we understand it and clarifies the current obligations and expectations on industry parties. Alongside this letter, Ofgem has published a domestic consumer factsheet, to answer their questions and to assist them if they suspect their meter is being affected.

Feed-in tarriff

The FIT scheme is a government backed scheme that pays people for generating their own ‘green electricity’ (ie photovoltaic, wind, or hydro). The scheme is administered by Ofgem.

Approved meters

To apply for the FIT scheme, installations must be in Great Britain and have a meter compliant with the metering legislation in place. This means that the electricity meter must be of an approved pattern or construction in accordance with Schedule 7 of the Electricity Act 1989.

UK nationally approved meters

Prior to October 2006, only an approval issued under UK national legislation would satisfy this requirement and these meters are listed on the statutory list, known as Schedule 4.

MID approved meters

From 30 October 2006, ‘approved’ may also refer to an electricity meter type approved by a notified body under the European Measuring Instruments Directive (MID 2004/22/EC).

Appropriate meter

It is also a requirement of the Electricity Act 1989 that customers of electricity suppliers who are charged by reference to the quantity of electricity supplied to them must have their supply provided through an appropriate meter.

RD does not consider meters affected by onsite generation to be appropriate, as required by the Electricity Act 1989, because of the negative impact on consumer billing and electricity settlement. Those meters that are deemed inappropriate for the purposes of the Electricity Act 1989 should be exchanged. If the supplier is aware the meter is inappropriate and does not take steps to change the meter it will not be meeting the obligations it has under the Electricity Act 1989. A list of meters with known concerns has been produced by the Association of Meter Operators (AMO). This list can be found on its Stakeholder Information page under the heading ‘Reverse Running Meters’. (Please note the caveats as to the accuracy of this information.)

Electricity settlement

Electricity settlement is the process for comparing the amount of energy that an electricity supplier has arranged to be put on to the network with the amount that their customers have consumed.