Yes, unfortunately, there are a few things beyond our control which may prevent a successful smart meter installation.
As someone over the age of 18 needs to be home for the entire installation and we know this can be a hassle, we run some checks before we invite you to make a booking.
But you can help to ensure things go smoothly too.
We'll check before you sign up for an installation
We're installing smart meters across the country throughout 2019 and 2020. There's a smart meter waiting list, if you'd like to be one of the first in your area to be invited for an installation. Right now, we're inviting people we think are most likely to have a successful installation, but in addition to that, we run some checks when you log in to your Bulb Account. If we find any reasons that could mean your installation won't work, we’ll remove the option to book an appointment, and explain why.
A common example is poor network coverage in your area. Smart meters send readings to your Bulb Account via a dedicated nationwide radio network (the ‘Wide Area Network’, or WAN). If you have poor coverage in your area, we’ll explain that we can’t install it yet, and we’ll let you know as soon as that’s been fixed so you can make an appointment in the future.
You can check before you sign up for an installation
To make the installation a success you can check the following list before you even make an appointment. If any one of these is a problem, the engineer will have trouble installing your smart meter.
- Check your meters are accessible. This means they’re not behind a panel, wall or cupboard, they’re not more than 8ft (2.5m) above the ground, and they have about 2ft (60cm) of space around them. If we can’t get to your existing meters, we won't be able to install a smart meter just yet. We also ask where your gas meter is, to make sure that we have the right equipment available to complete the installation.
- Check your electricity meter isn't in a metal box. Some meters are stored inside a metal box. This disrupts the signal that enables meters to send readings back to Bulb. If your meter is in a metal box, we won't be able to install a smart meter.
- Check your gas and electricity meters are less than 32ft (10m) apart. Smart gas meters can only send their signal a short distance, and they need to be able to talk to your electricity meter to send readings to your Bulb Account. If they’re further apart, we won't be able to install smart meters yet.
- Check you can get to your gas boiler easily. The engineer will check your gas supply by turning your gas back on, and re-lighting any pilot lights. If they can’t get to your boiler for the final safety check, they won't be able to install your smart meters.
- Check that you have access to the main fuse switch for electricity. This is where you can turn off the electricity supply for your home. If you live in a flat, it could be behind a locked door, so you might need to contact the building manager in advance to ensure you have access on the day.
- Check that someone over the age of 18 will be available to stay home for the whole appointment. And that the engineer, who will have heavy equipment, will be able to park close by. The installation itself can take up to 3 hours.
Find out what else you can do to prepare for your smart meter installation.
The engineer will check on the day
The engineers have experience fitting smart meters in a wide range of homes and situations. They’ll do everything they can to make the installation a success. Occasionally, they’ll identify a situation we couldn’t predict, where it’s just not possible to complete the installation safely, or successfully.
For example, some homes have extremely thick walls. This can prevent your smart meters sending readings to your Bulb Account. If that happens, the engineer may stop the installation or your new smart meters will stay in ‘dumb’ mode while we work on a solution.
Sometimes there will be issues that can’t be fixed by our engineers. For example, if there’s a problem with your main supply fuse, or your meter is mounted on an asbestos backboard, we’ll need to talk to the local Distribution Network Operator (DNO) to arrange for one of their engineers to visit you.
We’re happy to say that the majority of cases go smoothly, but we hope you’ll bear with us when things are beyond our control.