Why do I get estimated readings in my bill when I have a smart meter?

  • 13 February 2017
  • 84 replies

Userlevel 1



I have a smart meter why do I get estimated readings on my Bill? I thought a smart meter would know my correct readings.




Best answer by Darran_OVO 14 February 2017, 10:55

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84 replies

Userlevel 7

Updated on 31/08/23 by Abby_OVO


Got a smart meter installed but noticed we’ve estimated your usage on your latest monthly summary? There’s a chance we could be experiencing communication issues with your meters.


The first place to check what’s going on with those smart meters is your online account or OVO app (download for Android or iOS). You’ll know something’s up if you see this message on the Homepage:


Exact wording may vary


This message will appear if we haven’t received a reading from your meter as expected for at least 5 days. Hopefully this is just an intermittent issue and the meters will get back in touch with us soon. In the meantime it’s worth submitting a meter reading a few days before your next monthly summary is due. 


To take a reading you’ll need to go to the meters themselves (this won’t be viewable on the In Home Display unfortunately).


For SMETS1 ‘Secure’ smart meters:


There’s a slight difference between the the S1 meters we installed. To take a dual (day/night) reading for Secure Liberty 110 S1 smart meters (which are designed to work best with storage heaters), press 9 on the meter’s keypad. If you’ve got a Secure Liberty 100 S1 smart meter, press 6 to confirm the Day and Night meter readings (pressing 9 will show the reading if you’re a single rate member with this meter).

For SMETS2 Aclara, Flonidan, Honeywell or Elster smart meters:


  Aclara (Elec) / Flonidan (Gas) Elster (Elec) / Honeywell (Gas)
Reading the meter
  • Elec: Press A three times until TOU Rate 1 appears.
  • Gas: Press C to wake up, then C to access the menu. Use B to scroll and C to select the reading option.
  • Elec: Press the top button once or twice
  • Gas: Press the circle button once or twice


You can then enter this reading by clicking ‘Send a meter reading’ on the Homepage message or by clicking on the ‘Meter Readings’ menu option:



Exact appearance may vary


Here you’ll be able to see the last reading we received and the date this was sent to us. Unless you’ve sent a manually reading already, this will be a good indication of when your smart meter lost communication with us. Click ‘Send electricity reading’ and you’ll be taken here:



Exact appearance may vary


It’s worth checking the reading you’ve taken against the last reading (it shouldn’t be a lower number - unless your meter’s faulty!) You can then type today’s reading into the box or boxes (for an Economy 7 meter) provided:



Exact appearance may vary


Click ‘Next, send a gas reading’ to send the reading from your other meter (if this applies to you!). If you refresh your Homepage you’ll notice your balance will update to include the up-to-date usage costs. 


Hopefully this will be a temporary communication blip and we’ll be able to recover the communication without any further action. If it’s been a few weeks and you’re still noticing the smart meter message on your Homepage it’s worth carrying out a smart meter health check for your meter type below and forwarding the results on to our Support Team for further investigation:


SMETS1 Secure Smart Meter Health Check

SMETS2 Smart Meter Health Check


It could also be that the smart meter doesn’t send half hourly or daily readings and only sends a reading once a month. It’s worth checking your meter reading schedule with the Support Team, and get it updated if it’s set to a monthly reading. This will help prevent estimated bills as well as giving you a better view of your usage too.


Fingers crossed those smart meters will be back in touch soon and you can continue enjoying all the great benefits of going smart:slight_smile:


OVO member but not got a smart meter yet? - Book today!


Interested but not yet an OVO member? - Check out our plans!


Hi All,

I previously had a standard Economy 7 which worked perfect but was asked to switch to a smart meter just over a year ago. since then every month OVO are only charging me for the standard rate tariff and no energy usage.  So I am paying my standard £137 a month DD but only being charged ~£15 a month Electricity. The Meter and Smart device are connected and OVO have confirmed they can see the readings.

I have called OVO on many occasions because of this, not only to be honest but I do not want a huge stonking bill to come through the door one day. 

I suffer from Asperger's syndrome and unfortunately it comes with some unwanted mental health issues for free including Anxiety. I really struggle to keep on top of everything in life and have spreadsheets for the smallest things as its the only way I can manage. 

I have called OVO 3 times over the past 3 months to which they have replied that there is an accounting issue. Now the main problem is, I do not know if what I am paying or have been paying is enough. I am in credit by a huge amount but only because they have not been taking money off my monthly payments. 

Some of my friends are on nearly triple their original DD cost. But I am so in the dark and even though I do not have people knocking at my door or OVO requesting Money its causing me more problems as I am getting little sleep and have had to take time off work because of it in the past few months. I try to forget but I get so hyper focused onto the subject that its all I can think about for days.

I am currently ~£1500 in credit. but what if OVO send a bill for £5k. I do not have that as a lump sum and I cant afford to be adding that to already rising costs, I needed to know months ago. But they just won’t do anything about it. Is there some recourse I can take as this is completely OVO’s fault that I do not know how much I am spending and its really affecting my already fragile health.

Thanks for any help.

Userlevel 7

Hi @staygold and welcome to the OVO online community,


Firstly I’m so sorry to hear of the billing issues you’ve been having since your smart meter was installed. I appreciate the worry this is causing without a clear picture of your up-to date energy charges. Just to clarify, we’d usually expect your billing to be back on track within 6 weeks of the meters being fitted so it sounds like there’s a technical issue which has caused a delay in your case.


As you mention, you’ve already been in touch with the Support Team and are yet to see the issue resolved I’ve arranged for us to collect some details from you via a Private Message here. You can read and respond to this message by heading to the top right-hand corner of any forum page.


I hope we can help get things sorted for you here.



Since May 2022 I have been in dispute over a bill. I have called Ovo many times and every person I have spoken to has told me the issue will be looked into.  I have emailed Ovo many times and receive either no helpful advice, if I get any reply at all. I have raised a complaint via Ovo app. No response. Not been offered DeadLock. I have written to Ovo Bristol HO. No response. 

I am now receiving debt collection letters.

What can I do ?  




Userlevel 7

Hi @ottocarius


Thanks for sharing this experience. I’m very surprised to hear of the lack of response to your complaint, if it was raised any time since the last month. I wonder if there’s an issue with your email address. 


I’ve asked the Forum_Support team to reach out to you via a private message. Keep a look out!

Hi Tim

I have been sent emails titled 

Please Call Us about your Debt Today. 

3 weeks ago I received an email about a Debt of £ 191.57 ?!  

No other details provided. 

Last week I received an email about a Debt of £ 275.51. ?! 

No other details provided. 

The figures above come to Total £ 467.18 

(My initial complaint was about an invoice for 396.15 sent in May) 

So there is no issue with my email address. 




Hello Tim

I have just downloaded my Electricity bill. 

Why is there an Estimated figure of 817 units for 30 Sept? 


My Smart Readings show 807 units used by 30th Sept . 


Regards Otto 


Userlevel 7
Badge +3

Hope you don’t mind me butting in.. we’ve noticed that smart meter readings for 1st Oct haven’t been recorded, similarly neither has yours. 817 is the average of the 30 sept and 2nd oct readings. Assuming the readings are taken first thing in the morning that number would equate to the reading for the end of 30th sept when the tariff changed. So nothing suspicious.

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

Hi @ottocarius 

You may also find a missing reading on 1st April. 

It is quite common. 

1st October and 1st April are the dates the ofgem price cap changes. 

Do I need WiFi to keep my smart meter as smart meter is crap and customer service no good

Userlevel 7
Badge +1

Hi @Bridgette ,

Nope, Wi-Fi isn’t required. Can you show me what you’re seeing please?

I'm on my phone so can't show you but on my account it keeps asking me to send a meter reading I've had to do this since July then I've not used my boiler since the 28th of Dec but on my on line account keeps taking different amounts of me daily more than the 32p standing charge daily 

Userlevel 7
Badge +1

You’ll need to talk to Support next week about that. I think we’ve already given you that advice.

Yes you did I've tried no joy but thanks 

have a smart meter but my ovo on line acount asked me to send a manual reading l dont no how to do it when i   check      the info on the moniter one says meters---- gas and electric andthe meter numbers is there   is        that the actual meters

Userlevel 7

Hi @jackrussell and thanks for asking this. 


If your smart meters don’t send OVO your readings for 5 days or more, the option to manually submit a reading becomes available. You can submit them here:


We’ve made a guide to help you work out smart meter communication issues here:



Userlevel 7
Badge +5

Hi @jackrussell , there is a guide to look at readings manually if that’s what you need right now

It’s fairly simple - just a button press usually and read the digits

Userlevel 6
Badge +1

I know estimated readings have to be used when no actual reading can be obtained, 

 But to quote ovo

”Sending a meter reading in the next 5 days will make sure your bill is as accurate as possible. Then you’ll only be paying for the energy your home has used – no more and no less.”


So you would have thought, if I supplied my meter reading 5 days later than ovo suggested, on the end day of my billing period, I would have a 100% accurate bill? 
paying no more or no less than than the actual energy used.


* Every 9th of the month (my billing period end date) I supply a manual meter reading for my traditional gas meter,

*then every month ovo use an estimated meter reading for the 9th of every month.

*every time ovo always over estimate by 1 or 2 units.


This month however takes some beating 🤭🤭🤭

A whopping 537 kWh’s 

I only submitted my actual reading at 😳

Do I now need to wake up & submit my reading @23.59 to get an accurate bill 🤭

Deep breath’s Tom deep breaths 😳



Userlevel 7

That looks very weird. What was the actual reading for 9 May? 

Userlevel 6
Badge +1


The actual reading taken & submitted on the 9th May was indeed 4031..

Given that my meter has a not so normal usage pattern, I’m not surprised that any estimated reading are either hit or miss,

my actual usage Vs actual billing will even out eventually, 

but I do love the ovo tag line of  Send us a meter reading…….   Then you’ll only be paying for the energy your home has used – no more and no less. 





Userlevel 7
Badge +2


The actual reading taken & submitted on the 9th May was indeed 4031..

Given that my meter has a not so normal usage pattern, I’m not surprised that any estimated reading are either hit or miss,

my actual usage Vs actual billing will even out eventually, 

but I do love the ovo tag line of  Send us a meter reading…….   Then you’ll only be paying for the energy your home has used – no more and no less. 




When i didn't have a smart meter the best way i found of stopping or limiting this happening was to enter a reading on several days leading up to a bill date. You could try that. My meter is easy to get to so wasn't a big issue. 

Shame the algorithm can't cope.


Userlevel 7


The actual reading taken & submitted on the 9th May was indeed 4031..


Thanks. Your screenshot shows that the actual reading for 9 June was exactly the same as you say it was for 9 May, indicating consumption for the whole month of less than 0.5m³. I can’t say whether that is reasonable or not, although it’s obviously not impossible. However, zero usage will probably raise an ‘erroneous reading’ flag at OVO, in which case the system will make an estimate based on historic usage. If the gas was in fact turned off at the meter for the whole of that period, you have the option of calling OVO support to explain why the readings were the same and asking for the recorded reading to be corrected. If the meter has simply stopped working, that needs fixing urgently.

You had a problem with your smart meter a couple of months ago; did that never sort itself out? At the time, you were using about 5m³ of gas each day, so it’s not surprising that the system does a double-take when this apparently drops to zero. 

Userlevel 6
Badge +1


It wasn’t a mistake, zero usage is the mainly norm for that particular traditional gas meter,

A high draw in the summer & zero usage during the colder months,

That in itself throws up an anomaly of estimated Vs predicted usage,


Having recently regained my smart connectivity back on my main elec & gas meters.,

this 3rd meter of mine has in the past caused many issues that seem to vary with the change of energy supplier, even the very fact of having 3 meters instead of the normal 2 to migrate over to a new supplier has it’s own problems 🤭


On the whole my account & billing has been ticking along nicely, but something has thrown a spanner in the works 🤭

I know my bills Vs usage will fall inline eventually, but that’s not half as much fun as the bit in between. 😁


Userlevel 7
Badge +1

I can vouch for Tom. His setup is extremely rare and chokes just about every supplier out there. OVO managed to get it working with some hacks, but he’s basically never going to be able to switch away. This isn’t OVO’s fault - other suppliers like Scottish Power have completely rejected him because of this setup.

Userlevel 6
Badge +1

@Blastoise186  So right, 

I have had a new response alongside my account tho,

On submitting my meter reads I do normally get,

“this reading is the same reading as you have previously submitted” 

 please go & check you have submitted the correct reading.


but the new response, “ this reading is way above what we were expecting” please check before before submitting” 

 The unusual bit being,

ovo will need to validate this meter reading before being applied to my account, ovo will be in touch.


So I had been expecting a call from customer services just to verify things,

but no call & reading has now been applied, 


Ovo do get there in the end, but it makes me chuckle on how they get there.🤭