SMETS2 Smart Meter installation



Show first post

115 replies

I see on the DCC website they're reporting that as of today (21/05/19) the 1 millionth SMETS2 meter has been added to the network:
One millionth smart meter connects to Britain’s secure network

Still no news I can find about when the Arqiva DCC network will be ready for more SMETS2 in the north and Scotland.
Userlevel 6
Badge +1
Thanks @Transparent for an excellent explanation. Was this your first SMART meter installation or did you have a SMETS1 first?
Userlevel 7
Badge +3
Hi @PeterR1947 - this was indeed a first-time installation for me.

I've actually learned a lot more about the process because things haven't gone smoothly. There are two outstanding faults, both of which others are experiencing:
  • erroneous/high costings displayed on the Chameleon IHD
  • gas readings not being received by OVO, although the meter and the Communications hub both report that they are connected ok.
I've reported the faults a couple of times by email, and also received standard email notifications that they are estimating my gas due to lack of readings.

In the last 24 hours I've received two incoming phone calls from an OVO Customer Support base in Newcastle, including that wonderful lilting accent! I understand that this is a new/expanded CS operation formed as a result of the new customers that have migrated from Economy Energy.

The CS Assistant didn't know what the Forum was, and was the more perplexed when I told her I was a Ninja, which she assumed must be some sort of OVO employee! 😃

However, she diligently checked through the symptoms and passed the case back up the line to the SMETS2 Team based at Bristol. This morning's call, shortly after 8am, was to inform me to expect a site visit to change the gas meter.

I will be interested to learn if this "fault" really is due to something within the meter itself. After all, the Gas Zigbee LED indicator on the Comms Hub isn't in any of the possible error states.

It could, of course, be a failure in the process of commissioning the gas meter. It may indeed be transmitting data to DCC, but if the serial number or other details aren't 100% correct, then it won't have been identified as belonging to this site and/or not registered as data to which OVO is entitled.

We need to remember that it is perfectly legitimate for a customer to choose two different suppliers for gas and electricity, and yet DCC receive the usage data from the same Communications Hub, bolted to the top of the electricity meter.

I'm not surprised there are such teething problems with the initial batch of SMETS2 meters. It's really important for DCC's internal processes to "play safe" and only permit an Energy Supplier access to a meter if all the protocols check out.
Hi
I had a new SMETS2 smart meter installed about 4 weeks ago. In the first week the electric was saying that I had used something stupid like £150 but the gas was fine. Since then the electric part isn’t showing any readings at all and the app is only showing the first reading (0000) and asking for a meter reading, which I have done. Any ideas to why it’s not working?
Thanks
Andy
Userlevel 7
Badge +3
Here's an update on what's wrong with SMETS2 gas meters not operating in Smart Mode.

I've heard from OVO's Smart Meter Team in Bristol, who are going to send an engineer in the week beginning 10th June.

I pointed out (again) that the LED indicators on my Communications Hub show that it has an operational link to the gas meter across the HAN.

Moreover, my gas meter also reports that the Zigbee link to the Comms Hub is OK:



The OVO SMETS Team member stated that there was still something which didn't complete correctly during the commissioning process, and that's why it requires an on-site visit to re-initialise the pairing of the gas meter.

That's fine. I understand.

But I must still observe that the Communications Hub and the SMETS2 gas meter are giving a false positive. The inbuilt firmware shouldn't be reporting that the link is operational, when in fact it isn't working!

I put that down to a lack of adequate field testing by
  • Telefonica, who manufacture the Comms Hub
  • DCC who undertake the commissioning sequence
  • Ofgem, who set the standards and approve the system
OK... so it's not a particularly serious fault, and there's certainly no safety issue involved. But there was an extra 9 months delay in the roll-out of SMETS2 meters nationally because the technology wasn't deemed to be ready.

Now we find that many of the first batch of SMETS2 installations will require a second engineer's visit. I hope OVO don't have to bear the cost.
Userlevel 1
Badge
Hey @andyt2007

I've just popped your question here, this is a great topic shared by @Transparent

You can find everything you'll need to know and what you can expect for the first 6-8 weeks of you having your SMETS2 meters installed!

Thanks ☺
I believe it’s estimated that the standard 2.4GHz ZigBee, (used for connecting the In House Display and Gas Meter), only works in about 70% of premises and that there is a 868MHz ZigBee alternative, which appears to require an engineer’s visit to configure.

Incidentally the communications hub is made by Toshiba.

Hope this helps!
Userlevel 7
Badge +3
Thanks again @Mr Smets for picking me up of having mentioned the wrong company. Yes, indeed, it's Toshiba who make the Communications Hub for the southern and central territories... which are managed by Telefonica (O2).

I'd be very surprised if the issue with a lack of data from the gas meter is related to Zigbee running at 2.4GHz. It was OVO who contacted me to further explain the commissioning process which continues under the auspices of DCC over several hours. Inevitably the installation engineer has left site by then.

I also have several other devices running at 2.4MHz without problems. It would only be problematic if walls were unusually thick or there was a large distance between the gas meter and the Comms Hub on top of the electricity meter.
I two weeks ago had a smart meter installed. For the first week it showed that I had used a months worth of electricity in three days. The gas usage details seemed to be ok. From the second week onwards the electricity screen went blank and could not be activated. Can anyone who has had a similar experience advise me on the action I need to take to remedy the above. I have tried pressing the buttons on the electricity meter. Thank you David W.
Userlevel 7
Badge +3
Hi @johnwin1

Welcome to the Forum.

Yes, we are aware of the issues and they are being discussed on several Topis here. You are best starting by reading the thread I wrote here in March when my own SMETS2 meters were installed.

There are two outstanding problems with my installation, both of which you will see reflected in comments from others. You may have both issues at your home too.

A. The Chameleon IHD units supplied by OVO are giving erroneous (high) figures for the cost of energy used. The actual usage figures in kWh will be correct once the commissioning process has completed. This takes about a month.

B. Sometimes one of the two meters on a site loses the ability to transfer data to the Communications Hub, which sits on top of the SMETS2 Electricity Meter.

I have an engineer's visit booked in on Monday 10th to investigate this second issue. I will keep the Forum updated on what we find out.

Please do not panic in the meantime. Your actual energy bills are calculated from figures sent to OVO directly from the Communications Hub. They are unaffected by the software bug on the IHD.

I suggest you email hello@ovoenergy.com and inform Customer Services that you have the IHD problem. It isn't yet clear what %age of those installed are showing the erroneous costings. So you need to get your name added to the list of those who will require a new IHD once the software issue is remedied.

I will be meeting the Customer Services Manager later this month, and you can be sure that this issue will come up in conversation!

I'm just going to tag a couple of Moderators here:
@Eva_OVO or @Ed_OVO can you please move this Topic started by johnwin1 and attach it to my SMETS2 Installation Topic? Thanks.
Userlevel 7
Badge +3
Hi @johnwin1

Welcome to the Forum.

Yes, we are aware of the issues and they are being discussed on several Topis here. You are best starting by reading the thread I wrote here in March when my own SMETS2 meters were installed.

There are two outstanding problems with my installation, both of which you will see reflected in comments from others. You may have both issues at your home too.

A. The Chameleon IHD units supplied by OVO are giving erroneous (high) figures for the cost of energy used. The actual usage figures in kWh will be correct once the commissioning process has completed. This takes about a month.

B. Sometimes one of the two meters on a site loses the ability to transfer data to the Communications Hub, which sits on top of the SMETS2 Electricity Meter.

I have an engineer's visit booked in on Monday 10th to investigate this second issue. I will keep the Forum updated on what we find out.

Please do not panic in the meantime. Your actual energy bills are calculated from figures sent to OVO directly from the Communications Hub. They are unaffected by the software bug on the IHD.

I suggest you email hello@ovoenergy.com and inform Customer Services that you have the IHD problem. It isn't yet clear what %age of those installed are showing the erroneous costings. So you need to get your name added to the list of those who will require a new IHD once the software issue is remedied.

I will be meeting the Customer Services Manager later this month, and you can be sure that this issue will come up in conversation!

I'm just going to tag a couple of Moderators here:
@Eva_OVO or @Ed_OVO can you please move this Topic started by johnwin1 and attach it to my SMETS2 Installation Topic? Thanks.
Userlevel 6
Badge
Hey @Transparent and @johnwin1 - posts moved! Hope this helps 🙂
Hi Transparent,

Thank you very much for your comprehensive explanation it has helped me much more to understand the situation regarding the problem I am experiencing with the smart meter.

Johnwin1
Userlevel 7
Badge +3
It's Monday 10th June, and this morning I had a visit from a different OVO Installation Engineer to solve the outstanding problem of my SMETS2 gas meter readings not being picked up. In case you haven't read my earlier posts here, the original gas meter was reporting that it was connected to the HAN (Home Area Network), and the Communications Hub lights reported that all was well too. (They lied!)

Just before The Installer arrived I noticed that the "Gas" LED on my Communications Hub was now extinguished. This had apparently been done remotely by OVO in preparation for today's visit.

The "Job Spec" was that I should be fitted with a new SMETS2 Gas Meter... and, for reasons I don't understand, a new SMETS2 Electricity Meter. The existing Communications Hub was to be retained and fitted back on top of the new ESME (Electricity Smart Meter Equipment).

So let's first see the new Gas Meter being fitted:


Nothing unusual here. The red clips are to connect a safety earth so that no potential difference can build up whilst the meter isn't in place. The manometer (u-tube) is checking that there's no leaks. And the arrangement of ferns is typical of that found in rural Devon, grown so that the fronds casually overhang the closed lid of the semi-concealed box. 😉

I also got a good picture of the replacement ESME before its Communications Hub was re-installed:


The two electrical connectors together form the Intimate Communications Hub Interface (ICHI). The 20-pin connector on the right delivers +12v DC and the Smart readings from the electric meter. The AC connector is not for providing power, but instead to permit Power Line Communications instead of wireless signals across the HAN.

I'm unsure if that means mains-powered appliances, like Smart Washing machines, would pick up their control signals (ALCS) from this rather than through the air using Zigbee. When I find out, I'll post again here.

So... did this visit today solve the original problem and allow the gas meter to communicate?

erm... embarrassingly not!

It was OK whilst the engineer was here. He was having difficulty getting the new Gas Meter to find the Communications Hub, but it suddenly paired itself whilst he was kneeling beside it. Do we assume that the training course now includes fervent prayer!

After he was gone, my IHD suddenly decided that it was no longer going to display anything about gas usage so I went and had a look at the meter display.

I tracked my way through the menu using the three red buttons until I found HAN Status and saw this:


Although this looks discouraging in comparison with the first meter which had just been swapped out, I'm pretty sure this is what I should've been seeing if it had been telling the truth!

I moved right by pressing Button B, and then selected the option to Force a reconnection. Here's as far as it got:


Bizarrely, the Communications Hub has still been slow-flashing the Gas-HAN LED for the past few hours as if everything's ok. That shouldn't be so. If it can't receive data when it polls the gas meter (every half-hour) then the Spec says it should enter the Medium-flash mode, which means "searching".

I checked one other menu item on the gas meter to have a look at the Status pages. This one was interesting:



The date has been correctly picked up from the Communications Hub when they briefly paired. And I'm quite happy to see that the inbuilt (Lithium Ion) battery has a further 5475 days before the meter needs replacing again. 🙂

But the Uptime figure of 63 days is the give-away. My original gas meter had been installed 91 days ago. This new meter appears to have been used elsewhere for a couple of months before finding its way to me.

I've learned quite a bit more about SMETS2 today... and the Installer, Tom, was excellent about explaining things as he went along.

I now have a hunch as to what's going wrong with the Zigbee link to/fro the gas meter. But I'll sleep on it and post another update here tomorrow!
Userlevel 7
Badge +3
Today I've done some more tests on my SMETS2 Gas Meter connection. And I've found a possible reason for the apparent loss of connection to the Communications Hub.

I recalled that on both occasions I've had an OVO Installer here, the Gas Meter correctly paired with the Comms Hub at the point when the IHD was being unpacked and paired. Some minutes later, the IHD was moved to a suitable position inside.

Zigbee is a Mesh-network. All devices seek out other Zigbee units and retain a database of their ID numbers. This means that any Zigbee device can also at as a repeater passing data-packets across the Mesh until they reach the intended destination address.

Since the IHD is a Zigbee device, it occurred to me that the Gas Meter network connection had been made only because the IHD was in the vicinity and relayed the signal for it.

I therefore moved my IHD to a position still within the house, close to the external gas meter but about 1m higher up. Here's what I then saw on the Gas Meter's HAN-Status display:


So we're now back to the situation that was evident on the original meter which was replaced just yesterday morning. The Gas Meter believes it has a valid connection across Zigbee.

Channel 25 runs at runs at 2.475GHz, which is marginally beyond the range of the UK frequencies used by WiFi. (See my earlier post about frequency interference.)

Just to be sure that there wasn't also any interference issue, I logged in to my WiFi router and turned off the 2.4GHz transceiver on the nearest WiFi frequency - Channel 11. This had no effect on the Zigbee signal strength being reported by the Gas Meter.

Since a SMETS2 Gas Meter only sends data to the Communications Hub at intervals up to 30-minutes apart, I waited another two hours before testing the connections again. Unfortunately the data transfers still hadn't occurred.

I wish there was a way I could provoke the Communications Hub to attempt a reconnection with the Gas Meter, but alas it has no buttons. It stubbornly sits there slow-flashing the LED for the Gas Zigbee to tell me that the connection is good, whether it is or not.

So on balance I would suggest that there is a problem within the Toshiba Comms Hubs. Once they believe they have successfully paired with a Smart Gas Meter, there is no error-detection occuring should the link subsequently fail.

Whether this is just my Comms Hub at fault or not, I don't know. But there are certainly others reporting similar problems here on the Forum.
I seem to be in a similar "boat" to johnwin1, in that I had my 2 smart meters fitted yesterday and yet today despite only pulling around 80w (electricity) my IHD is telling me on its home screen that I've used nearly £5:00 today alone.
In delving a bit deeper through the menu on my IHD I did actually find the correct costs under "Account details" (I think it is), which was a bit weird given the bold shiny WRONG figure on the front screen
In addition, a bit of maths showed me that the electricity costs on the front screen are 10x (that is ten times) what they actually (hopefully) are, and the gas costs are amazingly a tenth of what they actually are or should be.
Transparent, I am hoping this settles down as you have suggested and rights itself.

(BTW, fantastic amount of detail, thank you )
Userlevel 7
Badge +3
Thanks @AdrianG

I've just posted more on the IHD Costs problem as an answer on another Topic. I was about to signpost you to read it there. However, as this is the Topic where most customers will arrive after having a SMETS2 installation, I'm going to break the usual convention and repeat the news here:

**Edited** The issue here is with the Aclara meter firmware that is part of the comms unit on your SMET2 meter. We are currently testing this and aiming to roll out a fix soon. See below.

I've had no feedback from OVO about the nature of this software bug since it was first highlighted around the end of March. I don't know if it affects all customers who have had a SMETS2 meter installation, or just a proportion. Therefore I don't know if OVO are already aware that you require a software upgrade, or if you need to get yourself put on a list.

**Edited** No need to get in touch with us about this, we are aware of the issue and in the process of fixing this, see below. OVO are committed to providing more updates on this, so keep an eye on this thread for more information as and when we have it.

**Edited** There will be no need to replace the IHD.
If it is indeed true that the bug resides in the IHD itself, then it's going to be difficult to fix it. There is no SMETS command to update the IHD remotely. So I assume we will all receive replacement units by post (which will require initialising to work with our own Communications Hubs).

I've looked at a number of similar online Forums hosted by OVO's rival Energy Suppliers. I am unable to find any reports of similar issues from those who have had SMETS2 meter installations in the past 3 months, despite those customers confirming that they too have Chameleon IHDs. I conclude that this bug is unique to OVO.
Once again many thanks @Transparent , I will send an e-mail asap as you suggested, and also check out the other post you mentioned ☺
Userlevel 7
Badge +2
@AdrianG and @Transparent have had some information from the SMET2 team about this, so have updated Transparents comments above to make sure they are correct so as not to mislead anyone that might search for this topic. I've marked where I have edited.

The issue here is with the comms unit, the Aclara meter firmware, on top of the SMET2, not the IHD, which explains why no-one else outside of OVO is reporting issues with it. We are running some very specific testing with this as we speak and looking to implement a fix within the next 2-3 months. All SMET2 customers will receive an email shortly to explain what's going on and what we are doing about it.

So no need to email @AdrianG we are already aware of the issues, and are in the process of fixing it.

Hopefully positive news, SMET2 is new to everyone and we want to continue to improve the tech, hence spending a lot of time testing.

Thanks

Darran
Userlevel 7
Badge +3
Many thanks @Darran_OVO

So for the sake of @AdrianG and others reading this, the Communications Hub sits above the Aclara SMETS2 electricity meter. It can be updated remotely, and therefore will be fixed without any intervention from us customers. That's a great relief.

It's quite possible that the other "bug" we've been discussing here on this Topic is also one within the Communications Hub (manufactured by Toshiba). That's the problem where SMETS2 Gas Meters seem to pass the on-site commissioning process, but subsequently fail to send readings to DCC.

I've discussed this further with OVO's SMETS2 Team on Monday, and I'm going to be doing some more technical checks on my own installation, which has failed for the second time around. I will then pass the details of those checks back to the SMETS2 Team via @Darran_OVO or Customer Services.

Please note... I'm doing checks or tests on the gas meter Zigbee communications.
I am not devising a DIY workaround which others could implement, so please don't ask me for details!

It's very important that all SMETS2 meter installations are done to the prescribed strategy from DCC without individual variations. The meters will become the foundation on which a raft of other energy-control mechanisms will be built in the next few years. So any fixes created by OVO alone are an absolute no-no!
Userlevel 1
@Transparent interesting point you make about individual variations given SMETS2 is supposed to be a universal standard for all suppliers. Are we looking at an issue with OVOs implementation of the standard? Normally I would just let this pan out to conclusion without much more thought, but being on the 2 year fix that ends in September, I’m rather hoping that this issue doesn’t mean I have problems trying leave Ovo for another supplier if come renewal time they’re as uncompetitive as they appear to be at the moment 😬
Userlevel 1
Not trying to be negative, but it does seem quite amazing that such fundamental issues have only come to light quite a while after roll out of SMETS2 began, raised by customers who were relentlessly encouraged to have the install, but have still not been proactively informed. Are there specific reasons things gone this way?
Userlevel 7
Badge +3
Erm @Mja SMETS2 is indeed meant to be standard. That's why OVO can't just implement their own workaround if they find a problem. They have to notify the Data Communications Company and agree a common fix for everyone. That's why these issues take time to resolve.

What is currently puzzling me is why the issue of Erroneous IHD readings is only evident on Communications Hubs installed by OVO. I've just re-checked DCC's large archive of documents, and the regulations state that all Comms Hubs have to be ordered directly from DCC themselves.

I can understand that Tariff-data gets uploaded to Comms Hubs for each customer from their own Energy Supplier. But I wouldn't expect the software itself to differ.
Userlevel 1
Hi @Transparent, Erroneous IHD readings are not just an OVO issue.

Bulb is having a nightmare of a time with Smets2 installations, in large part with non working IHD units. While their main issues appears to be mainly IHD units displaying Gas only and no Electric info at all or just constantly showing "waiting for data" they also have had issues with incorrect pricing data.

They have admitted to about 30% of their 24000 installations having issues and the areas north and south are affected so not just down to one type of comms unit.

The main IHD issue appears to be made worse by their inability to update Chameleon IHD firmware over the air and are reinitialising IHDs individually or in blocks.

They also have the added problem that a good portion of the readings they are receiving cannot be integrated into their billing system for whatever internal reason.
Userlevel 7
Badge +3
Thanks for that news update @Somerpark.

To some extent I'm relieved at what you've written. It means I can probably cross off my list two possible causes of faults within SMETS2 installations!

However, if what you say is correct, then it appears that Bulb have concluded that the fault lies with the Chameleon IHDs. On the other hand OVO's SMETS2 Team informed @Darran_OVO just yesterday that the apparently identical fault they're investigating lies within the Communications Hub. See what he wrote above here.

I'm also becoming aware in some other functionality which appears to be absent from the Communications Hubs which are currently being installed. However, since there is currently no hardware available which requires that functionality, it hasn't yet been noticed by members of the public.

Please continue to post here any further snippets of similar faults being reported by customers of other energy suppliers.

I've got my hands full trying to work through the specifications and contracts for SMETS2 equipment, and checking how such issues are only emerging at this stage.

Reply