Tuesday, 21 June 2011

rEd = reverse energy detected


Prior to our PV panel installation my only interest in the electricity meter was based on how much electricity I’d used annually. What I did recall was there were digital numbers which advanced at an alarming rate.

After the installation I noticed I had an digital readout alternating with the letters “rEd”….We had our meter read today and took the opportunity to ask the guy what the letters meant.
“Dunno, I never seen anything like that before. Have you been fiddling with it?”

Eventually, the man thought it related to multiple tariff rates, which was news to me as we only have a standard tariff and as yet haven’t had ‘Feed in Tariff’ approval.



After searching online I discovered rEd = reverse energy detected. It indicates that power is being exported and the meter sees this as tampering. I may mention it to our energy provider when they send our FIT details.

Has anyone had a reaction regarding “reverse energy detected” from their suppliers?







Icarus

40 comments:

  1. My system was installed 14 October. On 17 October I noticed 'rED' and reported it. Today I was contacted by meters people and informed that 'as long as the meter is not going backwards' this is 'Quite normal' and the meter is 'operating within normal parameters'. So no smart meter installation on the horizon.

    ReplyDelete
  2. @Chrisso
    Hi Chrisso. It is very worrying when the meter is flashing RED....I think installers and the power companies should provide better information to "newbies" like us.

    I'd be interested in your thoughts on smart meters (I assume you mean export meter?) and why you've decided not to proceed yet.
    Best regards.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You need to check your electricty bills - i had an installation on the 16th Nov and my electricity usage (according to the meter readings)has gone UP by over 71%. It appears that the electricity i am generating and exporting back to the grid is being recorded on my electricity meter hence the very high increase in apparent usage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have had the same problem - electricity usage has doubled instead of reduced since having solar panels fitted. Electrician from installation company came out last week and said the electricity meter thinks it has been tampered with (light is flashing green instead of red). Our electricity supplier (Ovo) is coming out to replace meter next week.

      Delete
  4. @Anonymous
    I think you need to get your installer back in to explain this meter thing to you, and check your installation is correctly connected.
    My system, and I suspect most people's flashes red when energy is being fed back into the grid.

    Good luck, keep us informed on your findings.

    ReplyDelete
  5. MY DIGITAL ALARM CLOCKS ARE GAINING TIME SINCE HAVING SOLAR PANELS FITTED?
    any ideas out there?
    cheers

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Neil. Because the solar power generated during the Winter is weaker than during the Summer your alarm clock is compensating. You need to adjust the knob on the back of the device marked "Magic Fixing Button". You should now find that not only will the clock tell the correct time you will also sleep better and stop snoring.

      Good luck and thank you for an interesting enquiry. If anyone has a practical answer to Neil's problem please comment.

      Delete
  6. Does anyone know why the flashing red light in the digital meter is permanent even when everything is switched off even the main switch? any idea?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was told by my meter reader that it gave a "Permanent" indication that the meter has been tampered with. The output from your panels alters the normal operation of the meter and it flashes red to warn the supplier that the customer is fiddling!

      Delete
  7. We had panels installed in Nov 2011. The old type meter (with a rotating disc) went backwards until Eon put in a new one in April 2012.
    Now we see rED flashing alternately with the reading, even when it's dark!!
    There is a street light across the street. Is it possible that the panels are picking up light from the street?????

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi.
      Sorry to hear about your problems with the old type meter rotating backwards, at least Eon sorted it out for you. The red light flashing is entirely normal. The meter is configured to flash the red light to indicate that the electricity usage isn't normal. Because (sometimes) you are sending electricity into the grid, rather than taking it in, the meter indicates it has been tampered with.
      Don't worry, mine has done that since my system was installed in June 2011.

      Good luck and many sunny days...

      Delete
  8. My panic over, I just googled and found this page......thank you all soooo much :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. When the light stays on permanently it means your not importing any power, when it flashes it shows you are buying in, the quicker it flashes the more you are buying in. Just like the light on an invertor. Quite handy if its located in a good position, its great to see it on constantly, meaning the meter has stopped : )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Tim.
      I've just tried this and you seem to be right. It's cloudy and grey outside and we're only generating .268 kW, but with the exception of the fridge/freezer and a few LED's we're not using any electricity. The red light is on all the time, if I turn on the electric oven the red light starts to flash. Perhaps we should all have our electricity meter on display to warn us if we're spending money!
      Well done. Thank you for the information.

      Delete
  10. Hi, Ive just had my PV's fitted, and ive noticed the red LED is constantly on, however the meter is still incrementing albeit at a slower rate, do i have a fault?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi Dom. Welcome to PV world!
    Your system is working fine. If the red light is on it means you're generating more power than you're using. A VERY good sign.
    Alternatively, a flashing light means you're importing electricity from the grid.
    Good luck. Why not tell us more about you're system?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi,
    Im still a little confused though,If i have a solid RED LED and I'm generating more power than I'm using, why does the meter still increment? this seems strange. My system... I had a couple of company's quote me, and they were quite expensive, around £8000 and would take me up to 10years to painfully claw the capital back. so in the end I opted for a leased system from A Shade Greener, they install and maintain, take the feed tariff, I just get cheap clean electric. I would like to think I'm greener now a days, so it was a no brainer really. I very happy with the system so far.Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Dom.
      My neighbours had the same company install panels on their roof. I wrote about the process last year. http://www.solarpowerdiary.co.uk/2012/11/free-solar-panel-installation.html They seem to be a good company offering a fair deal.

      I suppose the "degree" of red light intensity might have something to do with your problem. Presumably, if you were using slightly more than you were generating the light would flash so slowly it might appear to be on constantly. I suggest you check if the light flashes under heavy usage. Alternatively, ask the installers to check out the system, they have returned to my neighbours when requested. Good luck. Keep me posted.

      Delete
  13. I Just checked my meter, Ive been generating around 1400KW in this low winter sun for the last few hours, and the RED LED is static and not incrementing, Coolio! I must now invest in a emersion heater device to send all unused power to that instead of giving it away, seems a waste if you get me..Any tips on the best value etc?.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Dom. Pleased to hear you're happier with your installation.
      I'm not entirely sure that investing money in a immersion heater device will save you money in the long term, unless you run a bath every day. You need to see how much you're generating (average hourly rate) on a monthly basis and then see what your existing appliances are using. You may find that the "free" electricity is all used up and you've bought a piece of kit that will require a 20 year payback period because it's little used.
      In fairness, every household is different and you need to check on what's best for you. Don't do anything before looking at your hourly average generation rates. Particularly during the winter months.
      Good luck.

      Delete
  14. Just had a meter change after old meter running backwards , bloke said meter will flash RRD when solar is putting power back into the grid , so nothing to worry about :-)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Reverse Energy Detection
    A configurable option within the meter will alternate a warning message on
    the display should a fraud attempt be made by running current backwards
    through the meter. The reverse energy warning message is triggered when
    the reverse power exceeds a programmable threshold level of between 1-
    10 Amps for a period of 10Wh. Once this level is reached the message
    below will be displayed which can only be reset via the IEC 1107 port.
    Whilst in this mode the LED will remain lit whilst there is reverse energy display should a fraud attempt be made by running current backwards.

    Obviously it's not fraud if you have solar panels

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi I have just had Solar PV installed, I now look at my import single unit meter with great interest! I get 'rED' on my display when running my tumble drier. I made a pulse counter to fit over the blinking light on the export meter. It seems I trigger rED when producing over 2500 watts.
    So will Npower be knocking on my door anytime soon because of this reverse energy detection?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies

    1. Hi Carl.
      I admire your ability to create something to read the output from your panels. It makes mere mortals like myself using a Sunny Beam monitor look very low tech. You have an interesting blog. http://www.retrotext.blogspot.co.uk

      The LED ON your meter will glow red if your system is generating more electricity than you're using. The red light will flash intermittently to indicate the ratio of "imported" electricity from the grid in comparison to your freebie PV panel output.

      Obviously, different households have different "constant" usage from appliances and equally some people are high users based on their lifestyle. What all of us should be looking for is a red light on constantly, that means we're not paying for any electricity and we're generating FiT income.

      I would be very interested in writing a piece on how you're using your programming ability to tell you more about your system. Let me know if you're interested.

      Delete
    2. Thank you for your comments, I am a mere mortal too, believe me! I would be very happy to help you with your next article.

      Delete
  17. Also I have now found a list of meters that have issues, and if they need replacing or not, my L+G 5235A is known to give rED but no action is required. What a relief!

    http://www.meteroperators.org.uk/assets/documents/Reverse%20meters%20Schedule%204%2020130820.pdf

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Carl.
      I have exactly the same meter as you. Delighted that I don't need to worry. Thank you for the link.

      Delete
  18. Hi There. I had a panic too when I saw that the red light on my meter was constantly on, but after reading the comments on here I can now breath easy. Thank you all so much for your help. I have an immersion heater fitted too, which I always check up on if its generating energy, warming my water. I must say that its been working brilliantly and have hardly used my boiler to heat water for about 1 and a half months!!!! Come on summer, save me loads more! Thank you guys, your help has been greatly appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Since having our solar panels fitted over 6 months ago my bill has nearly doubled...british gas sent an engineer to change meter but my recent bill is also a lot more than we used to pay.i had the solar company out he said it was a faulty meter but he never checked the inverter is it possible it's wired up wrong?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Can I add aswell that my meter still flashes rEd even at night even on new meter...????

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hi, We have had rental system solar panels for about two years now. Something unusual has happened but to our advantage.
    We are all electric in our home with night storage heaters. We normally pay £70 per month which was £80 before we had solar.
    Now the odd thing is....we had our meter changed two months ago as the heaters were coming on at the wrong time. Have just had notification from Scottish Power that our payments are going down to LESS than £17 per month!!!! I have phoned them, double checked but they are insistent it is correct but not giving an explanation as to why it has dropped to such low payment. Any ideas as I am a little worried.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi.
      Well I don't think it's anything to do with the solar panels!!!

      You need to check the Scottish Power tariff rate for the cost of the electricity you're using. Divide the £17 monthly charge by the kWh rate (I pay 15.53p for each kWh including VAT) That means for £17 I get 109 kWh, that's around 1,300 kWh a year.
      Doesn't seem likely to me.
      Perhaps they just like you????

      I'd love to hear the end of the story. I suspect it won't end happily.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for reply will let you know what happens LOL. am keeping money aside for when the CRUNCH comes, x.

      Delete
  22. We had solar pannels fitted on monday no problem, tuesday morning came and the meter an Actaris ace9000 started to show a permanent green light , and since tuesday morning this green light has not gone off at all. At first i thought its because the pannels are working but when its still on at 2am i have realised that this might not be the case.It is still using credit as when you put the dryer or cooker on it flashes red but still stays permanently on green. Its a pay as you go meter by the way. If anyone knows anything about this please help thanks josh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Josh. Looking at the video for your meter http://youtu.be/orXwaNfaP-M it looks like the readings window is permanently green. Did you notice this before your solar panel installation?
      I suggest you contact your supplier to check that the meter is performing correctly.

      Good luck, please let us know how the story ends.

      Delete
  23. I'm a different Anonymous, but with the same Actaris pre-payment meter as the above poster, and also just had solar panels fitted.

    The green light being referred to isn't the green backlight on the LCD panel but the LED, which in the video is flashing red....now with the solar input the LED stays green instead of flashing red (it never had green in it at all before).

    I haven't looked at it at 2 am, but I have looked after dusk and before dawn, when my eyes say it's dark out, no blue tinge to the sky at all, and the LED is green, which surprised me as I was told it means the panels are generating, and the little information I can find online about the meter simply says the steady green LED is the indicator for reverse energy (this meter's equivalent of rED on your LCD).

    Obviously you can't look at your meter display 24 hours a day to see what's going on. I've looked a few times as it's a novelty and the only way to see what benefit I'm getting from the panels and how to use them more effectively. The light has been green during the daytime, before the sun comes up and after it goes down. I have drawn a small amount of grid electricity, but it was hardly any while the panels were in full sunlight. But I don't know yet if the green light will flash red still when it's drawing from the grid, or why it's green at night time!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi.Pre-payment meters have the same facility as mine to show "reverse energy detected." On my meter the display alternates with the meter reading and the letters rED.
    On pre-payment meters a LED bulb shows green all the time. When the meter reader calls they will note that the meter has had reverse energy passed through it and unless you have solar panels fitted you're in trouble!
    The green LED will also show red at the same time giving a orange/ brown tone as per this video link. http://youtu.be/IpxAKeGD4J8

    ReplyDelete
  25. Yes, having read this thread and thought about it a bit more, I don't think that what I was told was correct (that the green LED indicates solar generation). I think it is just an indicator that there is an inverter circuit present, which would explain why the LED is still green during the hours of darkness. Would this be likely to be a correct assessment?

    ReplyDelete
  26. Or, as you point out, that green LED is an indication to the meter reader that there's been reverse flow, so if you don't have solar panels...you're in trouble!

    More social housing is now providing solar panels to householders every year. The installers are not providing *any* useful information. There is no information panel to show when you're generating or how much you're generating vs using. The green LED is the only indicator we were told to watch for (along with the position of the sun in the sky and whether or not it's cloudy). My installation is such that I can't (and wouldn't pay for, anyway) any proper monitoring on the solar panels circuit as the placement for that would be in a neighbouring property. The only option I can find would be a clip-on monitor to go in the meter cupboard, for around £40+, then you have to be savvy enough to figure out which wire to clip it onto and what you're reading (total input, grid input or grid+solar).

    I also read that the Smart Meter technology isn't yet available for dual supply! So we're going to have to wait a few years to get the good information to all these properties, the ones who are interested in a few more technical details rather than just let it sit there and hope that it's helping them save electricity and money. I guess at least we will be making savings in the meantime :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd love to think that the companies or councils installing solar panels on their tenants houses are interested in the cost savings for the occupiers, unfortunately that isn't the case.
      The old saying of "he who pays the piper, calls the tune" is relevant here. They are only interested in the income generated by the FiT (feed in tariff). This is true if it is social housing or owner occupiers renting their roof.
      My neighbours have solar panels on their roof which are owned by one of the big rental companies. They never see the meter reading as the details are sent wirelessly and automatically to a central office.
      The meter is in the attic and the only way they can judge if they're getting any "free electricity" is to look out of the window and see if the sun is shining.
      Good luck with your system.

      Delete