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Why have I not had any usage statistics on My OVO for two days

  • 17 February 2018
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64 replies

Hello,

I haven't received any email from OVO regarding this issue.

Steven
I haven't received an email re this either until the following.

My last Electricity update was 16 May but my Gas usage seems to have deleted completely. Just emailed OVO and got this reply

"Thank you for taking the time to email us today

I am sorry to inform you but if you are referring to the live usage graph this is something we have as a business decided to discontinue, these live graphs as they are not communicating the way they should, and while we are unsure to the permanent fix to them we have decided to remove them.

If its not the live usage graph then please let us know so we can arrajge for a tech team to take a look at this.

I hope this has been of some assistance to you. "


Unsure what is deemed the "Live Usage Graph" However I feel it is essential to have some form of graph to compare historical usage or else what is the point of having a smart meter.
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Thanks for posting that @benny.

That wording from OVO is clearly derived from the email text I'm referring to.

1. The issue of your gas-readings disappearing is different, and you should reply to OVO to explain that. Their response is useful for the rest of us (!), but hasn't answered your exact question. (Copy this message if you wish, or give the URL of this discussion).

2. The "Live Usage Graph" is a feature used by those with Smart Meters to view the kWh or cost of energy as they use it throughout the day. This is a different mechanism to the displays showing previous day(s) use, which are obtained by an overnight download from your Smart Meter.

The daily polling of Smart Meters is handled on behalf of Suppliers by DCC using an encrypted pathway on the mobile-phone network.

The Live Data is obtained from your Smart Meter(s) by the IHD, which in turn is connected to OVO via your WiFi router and the internet. This is less secure and is not therefore used to send commands to the Smart Meters.

Let me know if the difference isn't clear and I'll try to produce a diagram showing the different data paths.
So the live usage graph is gone permanently then?
@Transparent, the statement:
"The Live Data is obtained from your Smart Meter(s) by the IHD, which in turn is connected to OVO via your WiFi router and the internet. This is less secure and is not therefore used to send commands to the Smart Meters."
is wrong.

The IHD has no wifi network connection at all. It connects to the SM via a ZigBee XBee module, but does not pick up an IP address, does not connect to your wifi and therefore does not communicate with OVO. No one has put the wifi password into the IHD and it cannot somehow pick it up.

I do not even use my IHD any more.

The SM sends a txt message at 0:01 in the morning with all the data. There is also no polling, as that would be totally pointless. It just sends it and lets the mobile phone companies handle the queue.
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As you say, @Stuartw, there appears to be commitment from OVO to turn on the Live Usage Data again.

Of course, at some stage OVO will want to have a live feed of some sort if they intend releasing tariffs that have HH TOU (Half-Hour Time-Of-Use) options at different price points. But this may not look anything like what we have seen previously.


Thanks for those clarifications @bib.

The extract of the email text from OVO which I have before me says:

You'll need to disconnect your In Home Display (IHD) from your Wi-Fi and turn off your Smart Gateway (if you have one). 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.

You'll need to disconnect your Wi-Fi connected IHD or Smart Gateway from the internet to stop it from sending data needlessly.


This is followed by detailed steps of how to achieve the disconnection!

Please remember, I don't yet have a Smart Meter. I'm trying to make sense of how all these data-paths work, and how they will change in the future (SMETS2, V2G, HH TOU etc)

I also understand what you're saying about your SM sending a txt message at 0:01 in the morning.

I'm puzzled by what you say. The SMETS1 protocols have no Command to Send Data.

There are however several Commands such as
- Retrieve Import Daily Read Log
- Retrieve Export Daily Read Log
which permit DCC to obtain the meter data when they request it.

How do you know that the message leaving your meter(s) at 0.01 contain all the previous day's data?


Even before you posted here this morning, I have already written to OVO Staff seeking clarification of what data they send via the Home WiFi.

I am aware of OVO using WiFi on Test Sites, during Trials, but had expected this was only until SMETS2 meters were available. So their circular email text was a surprise to me. I've merely posted here the news that was made available to me.

I think we need a Moderator to clarify this: @Emily_OVO, @Tim_OVO? Please?!
I was told by someone from OVO that it sends a TXT at that time.

As for the wifi, I think people oversimplifying things. The IHD makes a connection to the SM in the same 2.4GHz frequency as wifi, but uses different protocols. I think it is just easier to tell people it's wifi rather than ZigBee protocols.

Those 2 commands are used by an embedded controller unit inside the SM. That controller unit handles the connection to the WAN & HAN. The IHD does poll the SM over the HAN, but only so it can display the data.

The suppliers systems, can and do send a TXT to the SM, but only to update it with new costs, or it usage period. But those things are rarely changed. And TXT is the only way the supplier can communicate with the SM, except by on-site visit.

The embedded controller gets it time from the mobile network and sends the data to the supplier at the defined interval, which is normally daily.
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Thanks @bib,

I understand how ZigBee works, in that it shares the 2.4GHz frequency but has a much slower data-rate than WiFi.

However, if OVO's email was suggesting customers should disable ZigBee, then they wouldn't have written Your IHD will continue to work as a display unit but won't send us data anymore...

That's the point I asked them to clarify. The email only makes sense if the IHDs are currently sending data to OVO on the internet, and yet picking up usage data from the Smart Meter(s) via ZigBee. After disconnecting the WiFi link, ZigBee continues to operate.


BTW I also work with embedded controllers in my "day job". However I think it's important we continue to discuss here how they're linked together. It's going to get a lot more complex during the next 12 months as we see the roll-out of Storage Batteries, Smart EV Chargers and Smart Washing Machines.

It would be really helpful if this Forum could serve as a repository of useful information about how these link together. And that's another reason why we need OVO to clarify their email.
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@Transparent
@bib
Thanks for providing interesting background to the mechanisms being used.

I also abandoned my HD long ago as it would not maintain the kWh screen, kept reverting to £s.

I maintain a detailed spreadsheet covering supply usage, solar energy production and electric vehicle charging so accurate data is very important. In the longer term I hope to integrate my detailed meteorological recordings to produce a really smart home. (I already have HIVE heating and am very interested to see OVOs battery offerings).
I agree OVO are to be applauded for their open approach.

BTW going to the "Fully Charged Live" show next month where I believe OVO Energy are exhibiting?
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No email from OVO about this, which is really disappointing.

As a geeky type (and indeed a programmer by day), I signed up to OVO and smart meters because I wanted to monitor my usage and be "smart" about it. I returned the IHD because it was a pile of dated pants, with software designed by people who never had to use the torturous device. 😃 And now, by pulling the plug on the web stats, we are left with mostly dumb meters that merely send data back to base. Or at least we hope they do.

I guess it saves us having to manually read the meters (my smart gas meter is in the ground and virtually impossible to read with my eyesight -- at least my old meters were legible). And even the electric meter isn't exactly intuitive.

So:
o no viable IHD.
o no daily usage stats
o hard to read meters manually.

Brilliant, Ovo. Bravo.

I write all the above as someone who is an advocate of OVO, its staff and its ethics as a company. But as a user.... :?
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I hear your pain @Rooty :(

I haven't yet received any clarification from OVO as to the email asking customers to disconnect their IHD's and Smart Gateways from WiFi. However, the responses here have been useful in helping me to get my head around this.

I think it's most likely that there have been different models of IHD and SG's supplied by OVO, only some of which used WiFi connections to perform some part of their functionality. It's likely that OVO have kept a database of those customers and it is only they who have been sent the email last week.

However, the effect of OVO's decision to discontinue live-usage updates affects everyone with a Smart Meter, even if their IHD wasn't one which connected via the internet. These users appear to have first heard of OVO's decision through my posting here over the weekend, which hadn't been my intention.

There's some conjecture in there, but that explanation fits the facts as I currently understand them from what others are posting on The Forum.

Customers with SM's will still see daily usage stats, but not live.
The same data will simply be displayed (as now) a day later on your My OVO page.

Do others agree with my analysis?
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@Transparent I think we can agree that OVO's implementation of smart meters and associated hardware has been ... less than ideal.

Having worked for large companies it usually comes down to cost. I.e. cheap stuff that "gets the job done" is preferable to "quality gear" that does the same, only smarter, easier and more reliably.

Having delved further into this, I think you are spot on about the different IHDs and approaches. It seems that initially OVO went with an IHD that could be connected to your home network and monitor it that way - The Home Gateway, offered between 23rd April and 7th September 2015. This was dumped (yet supported till now) and was replaced by my aforementioned IHD the "dated pants, with software designed by people who never had to use the torturous device" (aka Secure Pipit 500) I mentioned above. The Pipet synced directly with your electricity meter, which in turn acts as the hub for your gas meter (if you have one). It has nothing to do with home WiFi.

The Pipit has been replaced with another IHD, which only the privileged few have been allowed to use. It's my understanding that testers and then new customers get them. Us old lags don't.

It's the original, discontinued Home Gateway that is no longer being supported. And, as you say, the live stats are being retired, for now at least.

I assumed that our general daily stats were being removed for everyone for two simple reasons.

Firstly, my daily stats stopped working (16th May) under the "My Smart Usage" area of my OVO online account. This is the second time this month they've stopped updating for a period of days.

(These stats have magically updated again today by the way.)

Secondly, clarity offered by OVO has been in the form of silence. I've aired my opinions previously about OVO favouring contact with customers via portals offered by third-party data mining companies -- i.e. Twitter and Facebook. They want us to talk amongst ourselves here, but we've no idea what OVO are doing unless they tell us. Many great announcements may well have been made or matters clarified on Twitter and Facebook, but if you don't use them, and follow OVO on these platforms, we wouldn't know about it.

Is there something awry with OVO's implementation of smart meter technology and customers' ability to monitor usage? Certainly. But once again, I offer the suggestion to OVO to put what they know, what they are doing, where customers can see it: Linked from the home page of this forum would be a good place. (No, OVO, I didn't attend the London Motor Show.) Or more ideally yet: on every customers' account home page where we get nagged to take out a boiler servicing contract with Corgi.

I've no idea if syncing customers with their energy usage data is rocket science. It quite likely is! But I do know that communication has never, ever been more accessible between companies and their customers and OVO successfully fail (sic) at this time and again.
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Hi all,

Our Head of Product has just left a comment on this topic explaining in a bit more detail our decision to remove the real time usage data. Have a read for more information about this.

Cheers,
Nancy
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Only electricity usage this morning. Where has the gas usage gone?

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