On E7, on older Teleswitch Meter - Help?

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  • CraigyT's Avatar
    Level 6
    Hi all,

    Firstly, apologies if I'm posting in the wrong thread, those more experienced please point me in the right direction, and many thanks in advance for doing so. I'm on a E7 tariff, have been for 20+ years, most of which has been with NPower then I was moved to Eon Next when they took over in 2019. My E7 meter is tele switch operated, as with that of my neighbours (I live in a small block of flats - 6 in total)

    However, they have, over the past 12 - 24 months been contacted by their supplier and had their meters swapped to newer ones, owing to the Phasing out of RTS signal.

    But me, I've still the original E7 meter since when the flat was built (around 2001), and have not had any contact from Eon, despite neighbours telling me RTS ends in 2 months? My ask of you is, do I sit tight / will I be on an EON contact list somewhere, or do I need to take the lead and contact EON and ask for a new meter?

    And, however I do get a new meter, will it work with E7 - some neighbours have told me that only certain suppliers can now provide E7? Apologies if these are thick questions, I will admit I don't fully understand it all, I'm just very worried over losing my supply when RTS ends and being left in the cold at Winter?

    Many thanks in advance
  • 29 Replies

  • Best Answer

    retrotecchie's Avatar
    Level 92
    Best Answer
    @JoeSoap @meldrewreborn

    Sorry chaps...I've been driving most of the evening and not long arrived at the digs so only just picked this up.

    There are three types of Economy 7 or 10.

    The first type is bog standard day/night rate. Four terminal meter and the only difference is the meter records consumption on two different registers or sets of dials. Nothing is switched and there is no separate output to run heating. All usage on any circuit is charged at the prevailing rate for the time of day.

    The second type is a switched system. This will either use a mechanical time switch (Smiths or Sangamo) which is use to control heating and or hot water, or the Radio Teleswitch System. The meter itself is still a four terminal meter but the timeswitch controls the live feed to the heating/water circuits so they are only powered during off peak hours. Some water tanks are fitted with dual immersion heaters with the lower element wired to the switched off peak supply and the upper one wired to the regular supply so you can boost the heat in the tank during the day if need be, but at on peak prices.

    This can be replaced with a five terminal meter which only energises the heating circuits at off peak times.

    The third type of system uses two separate meters, or two separate switching systems and is only found in regions served by the former regional boards, Southern Electricity and Scottish Electricity. Which is why the current strange combination Scottish And Southern (SSE) exists today.

    They have two meters each with a separate MPAN number, sometimes referred to as a 'black meter' and a 'white meter' because they came in those colours. One meter was the meter for E7 and the other was for heating and hot water. Remember the Heat Electric adverts back in the 70s? These systems, called Flexiheat or Heatsave, worked on a four rate system where you had a day and night rate for regular electricity and an off peak third rate for heating and hot water plus an extra few hours a day of heat on a fourth rate. These so called 'complex sytems' were only installed and supported by Scottish and Southern regional boards and if any still exist in the wild can ONLY be properly managed and supported by SSE or OVO. The reason they were installed in these two board areas was because of the availability of excess power in these regions available from the Magnox nuclear power stations of the time.

    In theory, a modern 5 terminal or even six terminal smart meter is capable of replacing the system...but in practice it rarely works properly unless installed and managed/supplied by SSE or OVO. But since the Magnox fleet have now all been taken off line, the system is obsolete. The systems by default all have two MPAN numbers so you pay two lots of standing charges, and no other companies can offer a complex tariff for different heating on peak and off peak rates.

    If you have the third type of system, your only two choices are to sign up with SSE or OVO, or to convert to a standard E7 system and rip out all the oddball timers and meters and have the heating system modernised. In which case, a bog standard four terminal smart meter will be fine and you can arrange to have the additional MPAN and second set of standing charged removed.

    I did this in a previous property a few years ago so a reasonably savvy electrician can do the job easily enough, but saving on the second set of standing charges more than compensates for the slight loss of the four time periods.

    RTS is scheduled for switch off in April 2024 but my bet is it will be extended until early 2025, so no need to worry just yet.
    Last edited by retrotecchie; 05-10-23 at 22:41.
    Don't shoot me, I'm only the piano player. I DON'T work for or on behalf of EON.Next, but am willing to try and help if I can. Not on mains gas, mobile network or mains drainage. House heated almost entirely by baby dragons.
  • JoeSoap's Avatar
    Level 91

    I'm no expert on E7 but I'll kick off the replies with my take on things garnered from my experience on the forum.

    I would be proactive and contact customer service on this. Smart meters should be switchable to ToU tariffs like E7 but I know there has been issues around replacing meters that have five tails. These type of meters have a fifth (switched live) wire coming from them, for the likes of storage heaters, as well the four other wires (L&N In and L&N Out). Check which type you have before making contact with customer service.

    Armed with as much info as you can, you can contact them by any means listed in Contact Us in the purple section at the bottom of this page.
    I'm an Eon Next dual fuel customer with no particular expertise but have some time on my hands that I am using to try and help out a bit.
  • meldrewreborn's Avatar
    Level 91
    @retrotecchie is the expert on all this, but I think the radio tele-switch essentially powers the storage heaters, so they only heat up on the cheaper rate. So the current meter will not have 5 tails but the replacement smart meter will ideally have 5, including the off peak live.

    We’ve had a number of queries over E7 in recent times and whether some rewiring is necessary after the installation of the smart meter. Some photos showing the current meter and the wiring layout from @CraigyT would allow a more definite response.
    Current Eon Next customer, ex EDF, Zog and Symbio. Don't think dual fuel saves money and don't like smart meters. Chronologically Gifted. If I offend let me know by private message, but I’ll continue to express my opinions nonetheless.
  • JoeSoap's Avatar
    Level 91

    Thanks for that excellent explanation 👍

    So, do you think @CraigyT should contact customer service with some info on their set-up and a request for a smart meter that can do the job to be fitted? Or just hang fire to be contacted by them in due course?
  • retrotecchie's Avatar
    Level 92

    If he has Type 3, then switch immediately to SSE or OVO. Otherwise hold on and wait. If nothing by March then start hassling. No worries this winter.
  • CraigyT's Avatar
    Level 6
    A sincere thanks to those who replied. The breadth and depth of knowledge you all possess is amazing & very technical and detailed.

    Also amazing, is your desire to help others, folks like me who are worried about the situation and who are ignorant when it comes to this topic.

    I will grab some pics of the meter, and in the meantime thank you all again for taking the time and trouble to reply and provide the valuable advice.

    I probably shouldn't say this, however I suspect you all have more knowledge of the topic than Eon themselves!
  • meldrewreborn's Avatar
    Level 91

    Thank you for your kind words. We have lots of life experience and expertise in a variety of spheres and are able to focus on issues that interest us as individuals and ignore those that don’t. But by and large we can only advise as we are not a surrogate customer service. We can though point others in the right direction.