Reasonable access for customers to read their gas and electricity meters

Ian Wilkinson made this Freedom of Information request to Office of Gas and Electricity Markets

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Dear Office of Gas and Electricity Markets,

Will you please confirm what is Ofgem's interpretation and understanding of giving reasonable access for customers to read their gas and electricity meters.

Yours faithfully,

Ian Wilkinson

FOI, Office of Gas and Electricity Markets

Dear Ian,

You appear to be asking for legal interpretation here, or at least help with a problem which is outside of the scope of FOI. I therefore recommend you ask you question directly of our consumer affairs team. (copied in).

Regards

Paul Kitcher
Head of Information Management
Information Management and Technology
9 Millbank
London
SW1P 3GE
Tel: 020 7901 7011
www.ofgem.gov.uk

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Dear FOI,

Thank you for your quick response and I would advise as follows.

Does Ofgem have any official policy with regard to the location of gas and electric meters that ensures customers have reasonable access to read their meters?

If so please provide an explanation of the policy.

Yours sincerely,

Ian Wilkinson

FOI, Office of Gas and Electricity Markets

Dear Ian,

I have forwarded your question directly to our consumer affairs team who will answer your question directly.

Paul Kitcher
Head of Information Management
Information Management and Technology
9 Millbank
London
SW1P 3GE
Tel: 020 7901 7011
www.ofgem.gov.uk

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Paul Kitcher, Office of Gas and Electricity Markets

1 Attachment

Ian, please see the attached response.    

 

Question : Does Ofgem have any official policy with regard to the location
of gas and electric meters that ensures customers have reasonable access
to read their meters?

 

 

Answer :

I'm not aware that we have a policy, however we do expect meters to be
installed in accordance with the appropriate codes of practice (COP). For
gas the suppliers are obliged to be compliant with the Meter Asset
Management Code of Practice (MAMCoP) and for electricity the suppliers
operate to an industry agreement MOCoPA (Meter Operation Code of Practice
Agreement).

 

From MAMCoP:

 

The location of the meter installation and the location and identification
of the Emergency Control Valve (ECV) shall be determined and agreed with
all interested parties, (i.e. the GT, meter installer, developer, site
occupier). The location must ensure that the ECV is readily accessible for
use by the consumer and the installation must not affect the means of
escape in the event of a fire.

 

The requirements for accessibility for meter reading, maintenance,
operation of the ECV and any ancillary equipment shall be determined.

 

Where an exchange of credit for pre-payment meter is required, it shall be
established that the location is suitable for a pre-payment meter (that
is, it is readily accessible by the consumer for appending credit to the
meter).

 

MaMCop is administered by Lloyds register.

 

[1]http://www.lloydsregister.co.uk/document...

 

 

From MOCoPa.

 

[2]http://www.mocopa.org.uk/

 

 

“The Distribution Business shall agree with the customer or developer the
position and space for the metering, and ensure it remains reserved. The
location must be accessible to the customer so he can read his meter, and
the Meter Operator (via the customer or his agent)”.

 

 

Hope this is helpful

 

 

 

Paul Kitcher

Head of Information Management

Information Management and Technology

9 Millbank

London

SW1P 3GE

Tel: 020 7901 7011

[3]www.ofgem.gov.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dear Paul Kitcher,

Thank you for your quick response.

There must be some confusion as although my question is quite simple you have still not answered it properly.

By reasonable access I mean easy access and with regard to unreasonable access I mean difficult or no access.

An example of reasonable (easy) access would be meters located within external wall box’s (obviously as long as they are not located too high or not too low so as to inconvenience customers). A ridiculous example of unreasonable access would be say within an underground chamber located in a road.

As you are aware with the increasing cost of energy it is prudent for customers to regularly read their gas and electricity meters in order to monitor their usage. In this way they can take appropriate action if necessary to avoid large energy costs or wastage. In order for customers to do this they must have reasonable access (easy access) to read their gas and electric meters.

Therefore will you please confirm the following?

You have indicated that Ofgem may not have a policy for ensuring customers are afforded reasonable access to read their meters and if that is the case please just confirms this.

If the MOCoPA states any kind of criteria or rules for the location of gas and electric meters so as to give customers reasonable (easy) access to read their gas and electric meters then please confirm what this is exactly? If the codes of practice do not cover this please just confirm it?

This is not a trick question and does not relate to a specific gas or electric issue.

Yours sincerely,

Ian Wilkinson

FOI, Office of Gas and Electricity Markets

Ian,

The actual standards you are looking for are not set by Ofgem but by the industry.

For gas the MAMCOP cites British Standard 6400 - (i.e. there is an expectation that meter installations will conform to that standard under the code of practice).

I would not expect you to have access to BS6400, but it says in section 6.9 of the standard ;

"6.9.1.1 the meter installation shall be sited so;

a) as to enable the installation adjustment, servicing and exchange of the regulator and exchange of the meter itself
b) the meter is easily accessible for inspection itself. "

Electricity metering standards are easier to access as MOCOPA have them on line. The document below has the following on electricity meters

`accessible to the customer so that they can reasonably read their meter' (6.3.3 Page 68).

http://www.mocopa.org.uk/assets/document...

Regards

Paul Kitcher
Head of Information Management
Information Management and Technology
9 Millbank
London
SW1P 3GE
Tel: 020 7901 7011
www.ofgem.gov.uk

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