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So I think I have trouble coming my way: CTCC wants to replace my Lanys&Gyr meter with a "standard split prepayment meter"


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Hi All,

The CTCC and a company called Elex Khanyisa have left me a note saying that they want to replace the electricity meter in my house where some may remember I have an all signed-off and approved SSEG setup with grid-tied hybrid inverter but with grid feed-in blocked.

Now my inverter is a Infinisolar - branded Renesola.  

My inverter's regulating of feed in is not perfect - inevitably, if a big load goes off in the house - eg the stove thermostat opens and the oven elements go out - then my inverter will be making a couple of kilowatts too much and looking at the data it looks like the inverter takes up to a minute to reduce feed in and during that time power does go out to the grid.

Here's a chart:

image.thumb.png.a5c97a523cd27d80d0018bced773f022.png

You can see that 3.5kw of load disappeared and the inverter took a minute to throttle back and during that time you can see that we did reverse feed power to the grid.

Now I suppose this is inevitable, but this inverter does seem slow to respond.

My existing Landys&Gyr Sabre ED meter seems fine with this - the anti-tamper flag about reverse power is not enabled.

My understanding is that the meter actually bills me for this power as if it was forward flow - so if anyone is losing its me.

But I'm obviously worried that a new meter may not behave the same since I've heard of the meters tripping "permanently" into a tamper mode with reverse power, and I'm just imagine how little the council will understand or care about this, and how tolerant my family won't be with this behaviour.

I already queried sseg.south with a fairly detailed explanation of my concern and they breezily said "since the meter is upstream of your SSEG system it can't affect it", so they didn't even understand my concern.

I had a little exchange with Karel Rautenbach and we thought maybe to bring the issue up here.

Is anyone engaged with this?  They've said I must respond, can't say no or they'll disconnect me, and etc.

Right now it seems like my only short term option is to allow them to do the replacement - try to make it "tamper" while they are here and attempt to refuse them from going until its working properly.  If they can't make it work for me then to put the old meter back in the meantime.

If it is OK then I carry on as is.

If it does cause the new meter to tamper I will have to disable the hybrid mode where power is pushed to the grid side entirely.  This will cost me about 5kwh generation per day or R350 rand or so.

In the long term my options seem to be:

  1. Replace inverter with one proven to work OK behind a Conlog with the tamper mode enabled. R25k cost maybe?
  2. Move the thermostatic loads - geyser, stove, and? so their usage isn't seen by my ET112 smart-meter that regulates the inverter - losing generation
  3. Some complicated design so that when reverse flow is seen I immediately dump it to a waste load, or to the geyser - complicated, touchy
  4. Just switch to the CTCC feed in tariff, pay for the fancy meter and embrace feed-in - R10k for the meter, and the council makes you do the whole approval process again.

Anyway - frustrating since I don't know what the council gets from switching out my meter.

 

 

Edited by Elbow
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I am in the process of doing my SSEG application.

I am not yet at the point where I am allowed to install the panels.

Elex Khanyisa  was here yesterday to replace my prepaid meter. It was a Conlog, now it is an Ontec, which is a split unit. The meter inside was replaced with the keypad part, where the actual meter now sits outside in the box in the street.

The benefit they get is, this meter is able to properly block feed back to the grid without interrupting your supply. The other advantage is, tampering to the meter has to be done to the outside unit. Also, if CoCT wants to inspect it, they dont need you to be at home, they dont need entry to your premises to inspect the outside unit.

It really is a win-win for you and them. Also, it costs you R0 for the new meter. They also transfer your units over.

This is the photo before they transferred my units over:

IMG_20210215_131113_2.thumb.jpg.5db629a88c52993729ed6e35a2f44a7c.jpg

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9 minutes ago, Tinuva said:

The new meter shouldn't trip your supply. Is that your only concern?

That is my main concern.  It seems my inverter does quite a poor job of stepping back its generation when the house load goes down suddenly.  My existing meter doesn't have this "reverse flow = tamper" option enabled so doesn't care that there is some feed-in (its less that 1kwh / day typically but there can be a burst of say 2kw if a heavy load like oven or geyser goes off suddenly.

You don't have your inverter installed yet?  I'd love to see someone who has a grid-tied setup flip their oven on for a minute / off for a minute repeatedly and be sure that it doesn't trip.

Where did you get the info on the benefits of the Ontec unit?

Thanks,
Steve

 

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25 minutes ago, Elbow said:

That is my main concern.  It seems my inverter does quite a poor job of stepping back its generation when the house load goes down suddenly.  My existing meter doesn't have this "reverse flow = tamper" option enabled so doesn't care that there is some feed-in (its less that 1kwh / day typically but there can be a burst of say 2kw if a heavy load like oven or geyser goes off suddenly.

You don't have your inverter installed yet?  I'd love to see someone who has a grid-tied setup flip their oven on for a minute / off for a minute repeatedly and be sure that it doesn't trip.

Where did you get the info on the benefits of the Ontec unit?

Thanks,
Steve

 

Inverter and batteries is installed for loadshedding, but without panels its not going to push back any power to the non-essentials in backup mode.

The info is all just hearsay talking to the guy installing the unit on the day. I will have more experience with the meter once my panels are installed. With the meter installed my SSEG application should soon hit the "ok, go head, to install" step.

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1 minute ago, Tinuva said:

Inverter and batteries is installed for loadshedding, but without panels its not going to push back any power to the non-essentials in backup mode.

The info is all just hearsay talking to the guy installing the unit on the day. I will have more experience with the meter once my panels are installed. With the meter installed my SSEG application should soon hit the "ok, go head, to install" step.

Good luck with the fun project.

I think I was among the first 10 people to get a DIY system all signed off and approved by council thanks for fantastic help here on Powerforum and from some fantastic help from others.

 

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2 hours ago, Tinuva said:

I am in the process of doing my SSEG application.

I am not yet at the point where I am allowed to install the panels.

Elex Khanyisa  was here yesterday to replace my prepaid meter. It was a Conlog, now it is an Ontec, which is a split unit. The meter inside was replaced with the keypad part, where the actual meter now sits outside in the box in the street.

The benefit they get is, this meter is able to properly block feed back to the grid without interrupting your supply. The other advantage is, tampering to the meter has to be done to the outside unit. Also, if CoCT wants to inspect it, they dont need you to be at home, they dont need entry to your premises to inspect the outside unit.

It really is a win-win for you and them. Also, it costs you R0 for the new meter. They also transfer your units over.

This is the photo before they transferred my units over:

 

I am due to go through this process soon and am busy doing major renovations with a new DB board etc; could you please tell me what are the dimensions of this pre paid key pad as need to make a facility for it.

Thanks

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12 hours ago, Pumba said:

 

I am due to go through this process soon and am busy doing major renovations with a new DB board etc; could you please tell me what are the dimensions of this pre paid key pad as need to make a facility for it.

Thanks

Couldn't find my normal measuring tape, but hopefully these will work. It is the standard sized prepaid box. In fact, the back part against the wall wasn't replaced at all, just the front cover part. You will see in the photos the back part the plastic looks old and yellowy.

 

IMG_20210217_084947.thumb.jpg.ad42ac1cad1443530475b597e121a56d.jpg

 

IMG_20210217_085012.thumb.png.e2d14f82517a087357eb4ab0f9e23337.png

 

IMG_20210217_085024.thumb.jpg.b878a8d85108789d244022b3ede13422.jpg

 

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25 minutes ago, Tinuva said:

Couldn't find my normal measuring tape, but hopefully these will work. It is the standard sized prepaid box. In fact, the back part against the wall wasn't replaced at all, just the front cover part. You will see in the photos the back part the plastic looks old and yellowy.

 

Quote

 

 

 

Edited by Pumba
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Thanks for the measurements; it sure looks huge compared to the small keypads used in the split systems in Jhb and Pretoria. Looks like they did a poor job leaving parts of the old meter there.

But then Elex Khanyisa has poor reviews on their installations and cutting people off etc.

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The old part, is just the back plastic with some form of surge protector and the connectors on which the old meter and new keypad clip in on. It saves them a whole lot of work actually. Like the physical part inside took less than 2 minutes. So yeah its huge, but it means I also don't have to repaint and fill up empty concrete and stuff. So good and bad.

Yeah I was scared of the reviews, but the guys were chilled when over here so it was ok and I am more relaxed now that this is out of my way.

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On 2021/02/16 at 4:24 PM, Elbow said:

.

Anyway - frustrating since I don't know what the council gets from switching out my meter.

 

 

Why don't you push back into the grid get the "AMI" meter.  Works very well and more than worth it.

I think the reason why the council replacing the meter could be they don't know how to test it while "working"  That flashing Led references the Kw currently consumed.  There is an instrument you can put over the LED and it will give you the current Kw.

They replaced my and my neighbors water meter when we used our own water and they came to check my house every 2/3 week that I did not steel electricity when switching to solar. It seems that the COCT data base is not "linked" to solar users and therefore  they replace "faulty" meters.

 

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7 hours ago, Erastus said:

Why don't you push back into the grid get the "AMI" meter.  Works very well and more than worth it.

 

I did ask Daniel at SSEG South about switching to a full grid-tied install.  Sadly it seems they treat it like a new application and my inverter - which was on the 2019 list - is no longer on the current list so they won't accept the application.  So I'm stuck as I am except if I buy a new inverter

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49 minutes ago, Tinuva said:

@Elbow

I just received my SSEG installation approval letter. There is the following part in that might be of interest to you:

822715537_ScreenShot2021-02-18at1_00_28PM.png.031fb30de06e004bfe857ef3b1240ec6.png

 

Yes - my commissioning letter contained the same info - I discussed it with @Rautenk at the time.  It seems they took a year and a bit to get around to it in my case.

Steve

 

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Also got a notice in the post-box yesterday that Elex Khanyisa were here and could not get access to inspect/install the new meter.  When I phoned them to schedule a time they told me my meter number is not on the list so they'll have to check with CoCT and get back to me.  This tells me it's a letter dropped by CoCT threatening me to get my meter changed; subcontractor was never here!!

My system has been in since early October (and fully paid for then) and still awaiting approval to commission.  But I have exactly the same concern about tripping this "new-technology split-prepayment meter" when I do eventually "go live".  My setup is the same whereas the inverter will (hopefully some day soon) push back to non essential loads when there is capacity to do so.  If your battery is still charging it will pick up that excess power, but if it is fully charged then even the Victron Multiplus takes a good couple of seconds to reduce the feedback to the grid.  At any rate this is what the guys that installed my system told me.  

Just got a reply from the installer to say their engineering team will investigate these new meters tomorrow and get back to me.

 

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Did your approval to install not say that you can only commission the system with CoCT approval?  I had an "independent inspector" come around last Tuesday. He checked everything against the submitted documents and took plenty photos.  He told me that he then produces a report for CoCT which is then considered for approval.  I asked him if he had an idea of time frame.  Apparently it could still take months!!

Not sure where you are in this process.

 

 

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On 2021/02/18 at 4:17 PM, GordonH said:

Also got a notice in the post-box yesterday that Elex Khanyisa were here and could not get access to inspect/install the new meter.  When I phoned them to schedule a time they told me my meter number is not on the list so they'll have to check with CoCT and get back to me.  This tells me it's a letter dropped by CoCT threatening me to get my meter changed; subcontractor was never here!!

My system has been in since early October (and fully paid for then) and still awaiting approval to commission.  But I have exactly the same concern about tripping this "new-technology split-prepayment meter" when I do eventually "go live".  My setup is the same whereas the inverter will (hopefully some day soon) push back to non essential loads when there is capacity to do so.  If your battery is still charging it will pick up that excess power, but if it is fully charged then even the Victron Multiplus takes a good couple of seconds to reduce the feedback to the grid.  At any rate this is what the guys that installed my system told me.  

Just got a reply from the installer to say their engineering team will investigate these new meters tomorrow and get back to me.

 

Had the same experience with them - daughter was standing outside the gate and a Elex Khanyisa bloke in a vehicle just hands her a bundle of papers and drives off. On reading one page says they could not gain access to the property to inspect what needs to be done - how pathetic and the city pays for these useless contractors.

I still see fun and games with them coming up. Will keep posted.

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On 2021/02/18 at 6:41 PM, GordonH said:

Did your approval to install not say that you can only commission the system with CoCT approval?  I had an "independent inspector" come around last Tuesday. He checked everything against the submitted documents and took plenty photos.  He told me that he then produces a report for CoCT which is then considered for approval.  I asked him if he had an idea of time frame.  Apparently it could still take months!!

Not sure where you are in this process.

 

 

 

My install was DIY.

At the time I did mine in 2019 it was my responsibility to prepare circuit diagram, to provide info on the equipment, a COC from an electrician and also a test / signoff report from a Professional Electrical Engineer.  I did all that and sent in with the forms and got the commission approval in return.  Nobody from the electricity department has ever been here to look.

Steve

 

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Same here my approval to install came thru in May last year, finished the install in August,sent in the CoC, sign off by a professional engineer and the contract and by some miracle got approval to commission in exactly one week and also no inspector.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So! They arrived today to install my new meter.  I ask the chap doing the installation whether this new meter will trip when sensing feedback.  Answer: "No Sir, this one works perfectly with solar."  So, there you go then. Nothing to worry about.  Can only let you know either way once CoCT give me permission to commission unfortunately.  Of course the installer's engineering team don't have an answer for me yet.  I guess they may have legal implications to consider before they answer me.

Anybody else have real world data to share?

 

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14 minutes ago, GordonH said:

So! They arrived today to install my new meter.  I ask the chap doing the installation whether this new meter will trip when sensing feedback.  Answer: "No Sir, this one works perfectly with solar."  So, there you go then. Nothing to worry about.  Can only let you know either way once CoCT give me permission to commission unfortunately.  Of course the installer's engineering team don't have an answer for me yet.  I guess they may have legal implications to consider before they answer me.

Anybody else have real world data to share?

 

They are coming tomorrow to install mine.

What I will do is turn the oven and and off at one minute interval and see if there is an issue - that big swing in load will be enough to trigger a bit of feed-in while the inverter tries to follow the load swing.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

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