Smart meter status update: A note on TMA outages
We’re big fans of smart meters (read all about the benefits of smart meters, including cutting-edge tariffs, here) but it's still a complex area.
I've written previously about some of the challenges of the national smart roll out, from Covid-19 setbacks to issues connecting smart new software to old hardware in our smart meter blog.
We as your energy supplier put your meter in, and are responsible for collecting meter readings from it to make sure your bills are accurate, but we have to work with two different third party organisations to actually get hold of that data.
The DCC (Data Communications Company) is the government body responsible for the connectivity of all smart meters (i.e. making sure they all communicate safely as they should do). We then have to use a different company, TMA, to connect between the DCC and our smart meters – it’s the only way we can send or receive data with our meters.
TMA have been experiencing a number of technical issues recently which mean that sometimes they stop being able to connect with some of our smart meters - practically, on occasion this means we stop receiving meter readings, or being able to send messages (like updating tariffs).
Generally these issues are fixed by TMA within a day or so of us reporting them but it can take a couple of days for the system to ‘catch up’ the data missed. Their system does always ‘catch up’ in the end, so this won’t affect your billing or what you are paying in any way over time but can mean in the short term, our visibility of your meter readings is affected – so, you might notice your usage or meter reading section hasn't updated on your online account.
The innovator's challenge
The truth is, these issues crop up for every supplier, but the vast majority of energy customers don't notice the odd day of missing meter readings, because their readings are only really important roughly once per month (or sometimes, less!) when they're being billed.
We wanted to write this note because we're very lucky to have especially engaged customers on smart tariffs like AgileOctopus who play close attention to their readings half-hourly because of the unique way they pay for power. This kind of enthusiastic interest in energy consumption is brilliant – unheard of in energy previously – but it does mean these beta customers might get exposed a little more to the occasional outages of third parties like TMA. We do everything we can to minimise this as much as possible, and generally, they're pretty rare.
Please bear with us in the short term. TMA have a clear process for managing their outages, and we will always make sure that you are not negatively impacted in any way.
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