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Why are OVO disabling the real-time smart usage features!?


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I have had an email today to tell me that OVO are now discontinuing the real time usage data collected by the smart gateway. I have been using this (via the api) to feed into OpenHAB and allow my smart-home to make decisions based on the current usage so am extremely disappointed at this decision.

However, i'm hoping that there is a way forward using the smart gateway. Looking more closely at the device it seems to be a fairly standard telegesis zigbee data collector. It has a web based management interface but I do not have the username/password for this. Does anyone know what it is? If I can get into the config then the sever that it posts to could be changed to my own one and then OVO can switch off whatever they like!

TLDR; Does anyone know the username/password for the smart gateway management interface?
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Best answer by Anonymous 15 May 2018, 16:16

Hey everyone,

I thought I'd jump in here!

As you've all heard, unfortunately we've made the difficult decision to remove this feature as we're aware that there's been ongoing issues with it.

Rather than provide a poor service which results in a poor customer experience and customer contact - we’re going to stop providing the features to focus on other technology that will provide a better customer experience.

This doesn't stop you from being able to see any usage information as you can still access this on your In Home Displays (IHDs).

You'll need to disconnect your Chameleon IHD from your Wi-Fi and (if you have one) turn off your Smart Gateway. Your IHD will continue to work as a display unit but won't send us data anymore - we'll get this directly from your smart meter.

If you have a Smart Gateway, it can simply be unplugged and recycled as an electrical device. If you have a Wi-Fi connected IHD, it can continue as an In-Home Display by following these steps:

1. Tap 'OK' once to enter the menu.
2. Navigate to 'Adjust settings'; then tap 'OK' to enter the submenu.
3. Navigate to 'Wi-Fi options'; then tap 'OK' to enter the submenu.
4. The device will say 'Leave network'; tap 'OK' to leave the Wi-Fi network.
5. Your device will now function as a normal IHD.

If you have a Smart Gateway and don't have a Pipit or Chameleon IHD, send us a PM on Facebook with your full name, DoB and account number so we can get one posted out to you.

https://www.facebook.com/ovoenergy

Cheers,
Emma

**Updated 16/07/2019**
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Userlevel 6
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Hi @AlanN51,

Sorry I should have pointed you in the direction of this topic ☝🏼

The live usage feature has been disabled, so it won't be possible to display it on your In Home Display device anymore. Unfortunately I don't have an update on whether or not we're making it available again any time soon.
Hi Nancy

Thanks for moving my enquiry over to this location but this area seems to be dominated by API's and the like and remote monitoring from other devices.
I don't need this, I just need the real time data to be available back on the monitoring screen supplied with the smart meter.
I still don't understand why it was switched off?
Is this only OVO who have done this, have other suppliers done the same?

thanks
Alan
Userlevel 1
Your observations are still valued, @Sterling.

If you feel able to, would you please stay as a Forum Member and comment on
  • whatever OVO are rolling out by way of a new usage product
  • third-party usage metering alternatives
  • what gets released as SMETS2 becomes available
Thanks


I was invited to return here to post on this matter. In the end, I replaced my Smart Gateway functionality on a like-for-like basis. I bought a Smart Gateway type box from Hildebrand and Octopus Energy connected me within minutes of request for API access. It is a great shame that OVO was in the lead and lost interest in this project.
Userlevel 7
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Hi @Maxjonz Sorry I've only just spotted your comment.

As far as I know, DCC only poll your Smart Meters once each day to collect the usage data. Someone else posted on the Forum a few months ago to say that this was just after midnight, but I can't remember how they had calculated that!

So you'll only be able to view yesterday's data on OVO's website. The current day's data is visible only on your IHD.

At some point this will probably change. Most of us will be moving to Demand Side Response, which is a half-hour variable tariff (also known as Time-Of-Use tariff). That means we can take advantage of electricity at lower price-points throughout the day.

Since DCC will need to send such day at intervals during the day, I see no reason why they wouldn't import the latest set of usage data at the same time.

Let me know if you'd like further clarification of the above.
Userlevel 1
OVO had been taking the lead in smart metering but removed the very successful Smart Gateway functionality with little notice to its customers. Hopefully, an OVO competitor will move into this space.
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Hey @Maxjonz - I've moved your post over here where you can find more information about the issue you've mentioned.
For quite a while now, I have not been able to see today's data as it is being used. I can see data for any day/week/month before today but not today (both Gas and Electric) I thought that the idea of a smart meter was so that we could see what is happening and make changes if needed, but obviously I cannot do this. Does anyone know if there a fault somewhere ?
When depends on how well these early trials go. I'm sorry I can't be more specific. As for live API access, your best bet is to sign up to take part in future trials for this: https://forum.ovoenergy.com/understanding-your-smart-meter-65/smart-meter-live-usage-api-58

Already done that and sent you a DM / PM (depending on how you look at them) 😉
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But when? and does "great new features" include API access to our usage data?

When depends on how well these early trials go. I'm sorry I can't be more specific. As for live API access, your best bet is to sign up to take part in future trials for this: https://forum.ovoenergy.com/understanding-your-smart-meter-65/smart-meter-live-usage-api-58
But just watch this space. If you've got a smart meter fitted, there's some great new features heading your way! 🆒

But when? and does "great new features" include API access to our usage data?
Userlevel 7
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There won't be much change to these online services since that update, @BazPraz - we've got a small number of customers trialing our new platform, and the greater roll out is taking longer then expected. But just watch this space. If you've got a smart meter fitted, there's some great new features heading your way! 🆒
Userlevel 1
Nearly three months ago - following the demise of the Smart Usage facility - OVO made the following statement:-

"Rather than provide a poor service which results in a poor customer experience and customer contact - we’re going to stop providing the features to focus on other technology that will provide a better customer experience."

Has anybody seen (or heard of) any sign of a "better customer experience"?
Userlevel 3
Luckily I can work around the issue by having an awesome firewall (Ubiquity USG) which will allow me to override the dns and talk to my own servers but others aren't so fortunate i'm sure.

I really hope there is some solution to allowing smart meters to talk to smart homes soon


This is true, it appears that the Chameleon IHD doesn't work with self-signed SSL certs, and doesn't fall back to HTTP to send data, so I'm unable to pull anything from this as yet...
Looking at the Usage information under My Ovo on the website I get the raw usage in kWh, but not the price information. Why is this?
Userlevel 1
Your observations are still valued, @Sterling.

If you feel able to, would you please stay as a Forum Member and comment on
  • whatever OVO are rolling out by way of a new usage product
  • third-party usage metering alternatives
  • what gets released as SMETS2 becomes available

Thanks


Thank you, Transparent. I am sure that there is far more that can be done with smart metering and automation to achieve energy efficiencies. I will continue to look in with interest. For now, Ovo appears to have made a cost decision not to invest in Smart Gateway. Perhaps another energy supplier will take over where Ovo left off. Apart from customer service, there is little to differentiate energy suppliers and I really thought that Ovo was doing something special.
Userlevel 7
Badge +3
Your observations are still valued, @Sterling.

If you feel able to, would you please stay as a Forum Member and comment on
  • whatever OVO are rolling out by way of a new usage product
  • third-party usage metering alternatives
  • what gets released as SMETS2 becomes available

Thanks
Userlevel 1
Please do not answer my questions above since it is no longer necessary. Without the Smart Gateway service, Ovo has lost its competitive advantage and I have made an application to switch to a much cheaper supplier. Such a shame because I was a great supporter of Ovo and how it was adding value to smart metering. Anyway, it was very very good while it lasted.
Userlevel 1
QUESTIONS FOR OVO: Is there a competitor that you can recommend that provides a service similar to Smart Gateway, or a competitor who allows access to Smart Meter data?

I notice that devices are available online that will allow access to Smart Meters. Can Ovo recommend a third-party solution?

Can you replace the Pippit with something better? I threw the Pippit into my employer's WEEE waste bin.
Userlevel 1
I am very unhappy with OVO. I have remained with OVO even when prices have been higher because of the provision of this excellent feature. This is a step backwards. Please, can anyone tell me whether there is a supplier who provides similar high granularity reports? Are there any alternatives?
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Times have indeed changed, haven't they @chrissfoot?

The SMETS protocols were devised almost a decade ago. Ofgem's site has technical briefing papers describing the enhanced SMETS2 capabilities dating from 2013/14. It takes a long time to conduct the consultations and pass the necessary legislation.

The world has changed so much in those years, and the security of our Energy Supplies is increasingly threatened by foreign operatives with malign intent.

Only yesterday I had an email exchange with a UK organisation which will shortly oversee Community Trials of new Electricity-Grid monitoring equipment. I thought I had spotted a couple of weak points in the strategy. Fortunately, it seems I was wrong... but I'm still glad I raised it.

As OVO works towards a new platform to handle Live-Usage data compatible with both SMETS1 & SMETS2, and Cassie is asking for volunteers to help "shape the product", I hope those with technical software knowledge, like yourself, can be selected.

It's going to be a tricky balance to maintain flexibility for us customers, whilst simultaneously ensuring there is no back-door for cyber attack.

This time we're also having to test control connections to 3rd-party devices which are themselves prone to hacking. They will have both their own App-interfaces and dedicated remote-controls. Smart washing-machines, deep freezers, storage radiators, home-batteries and EV chargers are all going to hanging off our SMETS2 meters.
Userlevel 3
Hi @chrissfoot,

Yes, I’ve investigated and unfortunately we can’t provide you access to your smart gateway. I’m assuming you have good tech knowledge if you’re interested in doing this, so I won’t hold back on the technical detail!

Before a CAD can be connected to our smart metering network, the hardware-firmware combination of the device has to be tested and approved by our smart meter manufacturer, Secure. This is because any device paired to the smart metering network can pose a potential security risk and may affect the functionality of the smart meter.

Changing the endpoint to which your CAD sends data to an endpoint of your own would require an update to the firmware image installed on the CAD. The problem is, once you update the firmware on the device, it would no longer be recognised as an approved CAD by Secure and they would therefore remove it from the smart metering network.

Sorry for the disappointing answer,

Cassie


That is indeed a shame. Most devices like these have settings like this customisable by end users but I can see why this would have been hardcoded into the firmware for security reasons. I actually thought that the HAN was isolated to each smart meter so that security wasn't a major issue but i'm obviously wrong in that interpretation!

Luckily I can work around the issue by having an awesome firewall (Ubiquity USG) which will allow me to override the dns and talk to my own servers but others aren't so fortunate i'm sure.

I really hope there is some solution to allowing smart meters to talk to smart homes soon
Userlevel 2
Hi @chrissfoot,

Yes, I’ve investigated and unfortunately we can’t provide you access to your smart gateway. I’m assuming you have good tech knowledge if you’re interested in doing this, so I won’t hold back on the technical detail!

Before a CAD can be connected to our smart metering network, the hardware-firmware combination of the device has to be tested and approved by our smart meter manufacturer, Secure. This is because any device paired to the smart metering network can pose a potential security risk and may affect the functionality of the smart meter.

Changing the endpoint to which your CAD sends data to an endpoint of your own would require an update to the firmware image installed on the CAD. The problem is, once you update the firmware on the device, it would no longer be recognised as an approved CAD by Secure and they would therefore remove it from the smart metering network.

Sorry for the disappointing answer,

Cassie
Userlevel 3
Hi @chrissfoot,

Your question about re-using the smart gateways is an interesting one. I'm investigating - I'll respond here when I have a definitive answer.

Thanks

Cassie


Hi @Cassie_OVO, any news on repurposing our smart gateways?
Received from OVO complaints Department 23rd May 2018.
I didn't formally complain, but this was escalated from their smart metering support team who at the time were poorly informed of the rationale behind the decision making process.
My contact with the company has been professional, responsive and readily acknowledges the anger and frustration that I expressed with the withdrawal of the live usage and Smart Gateway HUB. This is the response I received. I am pleased to see that they will waive early exit penalties. This loss of functionality is particularly galling as I re-signed up less than a month ago, so I was very annoyed at the short notice. As others have said the data is particularly useful in conjunction with open source smart home set ups like Open HAB and Samsung SmartThings. Without access to the Home Area Network, a login and password it is difficult to see how the Home Gateway Hub can be re-purposed and is a shocking waste of scarce rare minerals that it contains to simply end up as electrical scrap. Shame on OVO.
-----------------------------------------------------
Good morning Mr **********,



My name is David and I work in the complaints team at OVO Energy. Ryan is currently helping with another department today so I working your complaint in his absence.

I have tried to call you to discuss your complaint but unfortunately you were not available. I have left a voicemail message.

Ryan was in discussions with our Head of Product for some answers to why we have removed our OVO Live services. On the back of your complaint we have released a statement on our online forum. I have included the information below, but you can also visit our forum here.

“We’ve been getting complaints about the service being incorrect or unreliable for a while now. In the normal course of events we’d fix it rather than turning it off. However, there are other factors that influenced our decision. We’re in the process of building a new online experience for customers to manage their energy, and our aim is to roll this out to all smart meter customers before the end of the year. The existing OVO Live data service is incompatible with this, and it has built up what’s known in software development as technical debt. Additionally, it would have needed considerable extra work to be compatible with both SMETS1 and the new SMETS2 meters that are going to be installed starting later this year.

We appreciate that it is frustrating to receive the message that we’re turning this off “to bring you something better”, when we’re removing a service that you find useful and not immediately replacing it with anything else. Although OVO Live customers make up fewer than 1% of our users, you are some of our most engaged customers, and we did not take the decision to turn off this service lightly.“

This information has also been given to all our customer service agents so they have more information to be able to answer questions similarly to yours.

From your complaint notes I can see that you are looking to switch providers as a result of these services being removed. I am sorry this is how you feel. If this is still the case we will waive your exit fees to allow you to change provider without these charges as a resolution to your complaint.

If you are happy with this information and offer as a resolution to your complaint you do not have to do anything, we will close your complaint in 5 working days.

-----------------------------------
Hope this helps other forum users
Userlevel 7
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Looking around the responses to this issue on other Forum Threads, I think there was an email sent out giving 2 weeks notice of the intention to remove Live Usage Updates.

However, the email was sent to those Customers who OVO believed had Smart Gateways and IHD's with WiFi connections (in addition to the Zigbee link to the meter).

Those who had other IHD's weren't sent the email, even though they might have a particular need for that Live Usage stream.

That might be an over-simplification, but it largely fits the responses I've seen.

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