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SMETS2 Smart Meter installation

SMETS2 Smart Meter installation

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Hi @AdrianG - This issue should be resolved by a software update that we'll be rolling out in the next couple of months :)

Any idea what happens if we're no longer with OVO* before the fix is rolled out?

* I'm hoping that OVO still works out best, or nearly the best value, so we can justify staying. I do love it when utilities have online forums like this with empowered customer support reps actively helping.
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OK... so that's just answered my question @AdrianG !

I've been feeding some detailed information about SMETS2 meters back to OVO. So it's quite possible that one of their techies ran a test on my meter, knowing that if it failed, then I wouldn't be concerned!

Note that I didn't state that my IHD costings were now accurate - just that they appear to be more believable than I was reporting earlier!

Moreover I still have the "failed gas meter communications" issue. So I'd understand if OVO wasn't prepared to issue a widespread release of code that is still deficient in some way.
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Hi @AdrianG - This issue should be resolved by a software update that we'll be rolling out in the next couple of months 🙂
@Transparent

I have just noted on the other related thread that my IHD is still showing incorrect monetary readings, so I don't think that I have received any form of software update (unlike yourself).

I shall continue to monitor, and if nothing changes bring back to OVO's attention.
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OK, so I have some updates to the status of my replacement pair of SMETS2 meters, and I'd be interested to know if other customers are seeing the same:

A. When I first looked at my IHD this morning, it was showing what appeared to be a reasonable set of costings for electricity usage. It has continued like this for most of the day, with one small interruption when it claimed it had no data to display.

Here's what it was showing a few minutes ago:


Since were informed last week that OVO had identified "the fault" as being within the Communications Hub, the obvious conclusion is that they have released an over-the-air software upgrade.


B. Whatever the software upgrade did, as far as I know it's had no effect on my other major fault of the SMETS2 Gas Meter not transmitting across the HAN. The IHD still has the message Waiting for current data.

I'll wait until tomorrow to see if OVO themselves managed to gather any gas usage once they perform the overnight upload from my Comms Hub.


C. My (second) SMETS2 gas meter seems to have used a great deal of battery since it was installed just two weeks ago:


I've had a good look underneath it. There's a lot of electrons there, but none of them admitted to have leaked from the battery. 😉

The gas meter spec from Uniflo indicates a battery life of 10 years. So a reading of 2679 days means it won't last that long, which is disappointing. I hope this isn't indicative of poor contacts inside the unit. I'll keep monitoring it and report here what I find.
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Thank you, @Somerpark and @Transparent input like this on the forum is invaluable for other users, please keep it coming ☺
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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?
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@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 😬
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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!
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@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
Once again many thanks @Transparent , I will send an e-mail asap as you suggested, and also check out the other post you mentioned ☺
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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.
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 )
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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 act 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:
 

c03d37d3-bf3c-4062-b141-153f7df72ad0.jpg


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.

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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!
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
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Hey @Transparent and @johnwin1 - posts moved! Hope this helps 🙂
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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.
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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.
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.
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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 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!

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