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Meridian meter stealing from me??

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Meridian meter stealing from me??

Posted 25 Oct '17 07:51 AM

Hi, I have a solar system connected to meridian using one of vectors smart meter.

the old meter would stop when my solar generation exceeded the usage, making a credit on the second meter that was connected for exporting.

However the new meter still counts what I'm using even if I'm generating more.

So at this very moment 7.50am i'm generating 950 watts and using less than I'm generating but still both import and export are ticking over???

So it seems to me (not an expert) that i'm selling all my generated power to them @8 cents a unit and buying all my power that I need at the retail meridian rate 29.75 cents a unit.

RE: Meridian meter stealing from me??

Posted 07 Nov '17 03:39 PM

Hi, I'm a Meridian customer, although it doesn't feel like a customer - supplier relationship. I generate up to 6 KwH in solar, grid tied obviously. About four months ago Meridian decided to install a smart meter. The smart meter didn't and doesn't manage to transmit any data. After three months they rocked up, did a manual read and sent me a massive bill (20% higher than for same three months last year). The only thing that had happened during that three months was that I'd had Genesis install a Panasonic battery system in line with the inverters - so this should have reduced the power cost. Things are complicated though. When our house was built the sparky put in three phase. It was only during the three months that I discovered this and also that Meridian bill all consumption at the same time as they "buy" surplus electricity from us, there is no netting out. So effectively they are as I understand it, charging a massive price differential for my electricity to turn round at my gate and come back to me to be consumed on the other phases. The nice people at Genesis are investigating this as I have had monitoring of usage installed by them too. So what does Meridian say when I challenge the massive bill? That my usage is "in line with" previous years. I say, OK then I propose to pay you in line with the same three months last year, which taking into account the effect of the battery system is AFAICT a good deal for Meridian. Their response is to ignore my proposal and repeat that I should pay it because it is "in line with" same months of previous years and to tell me I have two months to go to the Ombudsman if I wish...

I really like the attitude of the Genesis crew I've been dealing with and would dearly love to take my business to them but don't know how that would work. I care more about attitude than cost at this point and may have another chat with them.

I'm also considering, subject to advice from Genesis' analysis when I get it back, whether I can stack all my power consumption onto the same phase as my generation connects to. Of course the ideal solution would be for the shiny new government to legislate one for one billing. Fix the other 15% of non renewable generation without further intervention, help save the world, help meet climate goals and watch me crack open a bottle to celebrate.

Don't know if this helps but if you're fed up with the rapacious attitude of Meridian and know of a better supplier I'd love to know.

I'd love any advice if anyone can help me understand all this better, thanks

RE: Meridian meter stealing from me??

Posted 08 Dec '17 10:44 PM

Hi Maxim,

If you read my post here, you will find that I have the same problem with living in a house that is wired on 3 phase.

NZ doesn't do 'net metering' and it's wishful thinking the NZ gov't would look into changing that. It seems the relationship between the electricity providers and the NZ gov't are hand in hand. With the NZ gov't having a 50% stake in the electricity generation of most power suppliers and these same power suppliers wanting to maximise profits, it seems anyone on solar PV are simply put on the other side of the coin.

Going back to 3 phase, I did some investigation with many local solar PV installers and the only solution is to prioritise wiring devices most likely to be used in the daytime and devices not likely to be used in the day will go on the other phase. Yet this is still not ideal. For eg: you could wire the solar PV to dump equal 1/3rd generation to each phase. But then items that like an oven would easily use well more than the single 1/3 PV would generate, that excess would be drawn from the grid. While at the same time your other 2 phases could be exporting to the grid when you could of used for the oven.

Another way of wiring is have all the solar PV on 1 phase. But then it's not possible to stack ALL of your devices on to 1 of the 3 phases - this arrangement will leave an 'unbalanced load'. By rights, the 3 phases must be balanced config. But when you have a balanced load, 2 of the 3 phases will miss out on using any of the solar PV generated.

Our only hope is when the Tesla Powerwall batteries become cheap enough.

RE: Meridian meter stealing from me??

Posted 09 Dec '17 06:54 AM

SBQ - great post thanks. That's a good explanation and really helps. I've been groping through the subject and slowly headed towards it but you nailed it for me. I've recently installed a Panasonic battery - taking advantage of a a wonderful scheme Genesis have been running her in the Wairarapa. The Genesis people and their contractor Hoskins Energy have been good to deal with. Where my head is at with the three phase is to leave the hi-fi on it's own phase (it's a naim and they don't like sharing power - class B amps but it's always on). Then pile up the daytime stuff on one phase, along with the P.V. (which is 6KWh peak) and battery - freezer, car charging, water pumps, irrigation pumps and machinery. I've set the car and freezer to only draw power in daylight. The oven, lighting and general household stuff on the other phase, as these, along with the underfloor are mostly used at night. All water is solar (we get far too much hot water - so no power required). I'm achieving this with the judicious use of a few heavy duty extension cords and when the bill settles down will look at permanent changes to implement this properly. If I could find a decent power supplier I'd switch from Meridian too, just on principle of the way they deal with customers.

I'm still optimistic that things will get a little better for micro generators under the new government. Is there any organised lobbying I can support out there?

With thanks

RE: Meridian meter stealing from me??

Posted 09 Dec '17 09:54 AM

With solar PV, choosing a grid tied provider wouldn't make much difference as none do net metering. Sure some may have different payback rates but the differences are small. A more likely solution is to have gross amounts of battery storage and go off grid. That way you eliminate the daily line use service charge which often costs more than the amount of electricity you put back into the grid.

You could lobby with the Green Party. But it seems hard to find consensus in our current 3 way coalition.

RE: Meridian meter stealing from me??

Posted 10 Dec '17 12:43 PM

Omg. having a single phase generation on a three phase connection sounds like a bit of a problem ...
I have a 3 phase Fronius inverter with a 'smartmeter' that allows me to see generation and consumption
both on my computer and on my phone -- and that works a treat. No issues like you describe;
we'll have to see what happens when our 10 kW induction hob comes online though.

So going to a 3 phase inverter might be a solution for you. Maybe you should talk to your friendly
Genesis people about what they make of that. (I am not with Genesis or Meridian b.t.w. so I have
no interest in any of the companies mentioned).

RE: Meridian meter stealing from me??

Posted 10 Dec '17 10:01 PM


Can you share some more information about your 3 phase power inverter? From my research some months ago that 3 phase inverters splits the PV generation EQUALLY to each phase. A solar PV installer insisted that there is no way the 3 phase inverter can re-allocation PV generation to the phase that draws more on demand (they must be configured for balanced load). This was also confirmed by Harrisons when the salesman checked with his technical advisers.

RE: Meridian meter stealing from me??

Posted 11 Dec '17 08:47 AM

I expect that it is correct that the 3 phase inverter splits the generated power equally on all 3 phases.

So, after that, it's a matter of balancing the load in you house (or in my case also my woodworkshop) so
that your load is more or less evenly drawn from the 3 phases ... we will be putting a 3 phase cooktop in
the kitchen for instance, and using a 3 phase califont for hot water. Also a grunty heatpump for the
indoor pool and underfloor heating.
In my opinion this beats having the whole house running on one phase and practically leaving the other
two phases on idle.
What may or may not be a concern to you is, for instance, that we have 3x67A cables running from the
transformer to the main switchboard (just over 200m line) so having a distributed load is much better
than having everything running on a single wire.

We would also have had trouble getting our 8 kW array permitted by Northpower for a single phase
install. They don't really like to see generation of more than 4 kW per phase. Again, a matter of load
balancing and, apparently, voltage drop being inside some tolerances (so I was told). I've not followed
up on the latter.

RE: Meridian meter stealing from me??

Posted 11 Dec '17 09:47 AM

Assuming a person has a 3kW solar PV array, with a 3 phase inverter each phase would see 1kW. High draw devices like your oven or kettle will exceed over 2kW draw and they're single phase devices. This could be the likely scenario of the original post where he would draw the extra 1kW required from the grid, while his OTHER 2 PHASES are exporting 2kW. Hence the lack of 'net metering'.

Not to say 3 phase is bad but it's suited more for commercial installs and out of the norm for residential use. From an efficiency aspect, 3 phase motors are better than single phase. But in application, small powered 3 phase devices in the area of say heat pumps are rare. What's the smallest kW rated hot water or air sourced heatpump you can buy? Your induction cooktop can draw big power but we're talking sporadic use (ie once your water is boiling or the frypan is to temperature, you don't need +3kW of electricity anymore).

You can be sure as power retailers get difficult with solar PV users, more and more customers will simply go off the grid with battery storage.

RE: Meridian meter stealing from me??

Posted 11 Dec '17 01:43 PM

Clearly it's a question of horses for courses. We will have 3 substantial power drawing devices in the house once it's finished in a month's time (or two, or three). You are totally right about 3x1kW generation being silly, due to the reasons you give. You'd need to generate at least 2-3 kW per phase for it to begin to make sense.

What really riles me is, on National Radio this morning they were talking about things shaping up for power shortages this summer, possible shut-downs. And yet, the power companies insist on paying us a pittance for what we're generating surplus to our own needs instead of supporting us.

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