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SMETS2 Smart Meter installation

SMETS2 Smart Meter installation

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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 ☺
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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.
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
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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.
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Thanks @Transparent for an excellent explanation. Was this your first SMART meter installation or did you have a SMETS1 first?
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.
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Ah, apologies @Mr Smets ... you are quite correct. I got my Arqiva and Telefonica in a twist in that last posting! You are quite correct, there is no NAN (Mesh network)in the Northern territory.

My Communications Hub Mesh-light is flashing at the 1:50 ratio, the same as the other four LED's. But this would remain the case even if it wasn't actually transmitting SMETS data. The basic 1:50 flash only indicates that the function is of operational status.

I think the range of the transceivers in the Telefonica Comms Hubs is dictated more by the type and positioning of the aerial rather than the raw power. In my area of rural Devon, 2Km wouldn't be adequate. Our population density is very low... and 90% of them are sheep or cattle!

Installation numbers:
As of 10th May there are 905,891 SMETS2 meters on DCC's secure network (SMWAN). Apart from the original 3000 which were installed in the Northern (Arqiva) territory, we must assume that almost all of these will be in Southern/Central regions.

There are about 12 million homes with SMETS1 meters installed. have no idea if anyone thought to register how many of these are in each of the three British territories. The territories weren't assigned when Smart Meters were first being installed.
Many thanks Transparent!

For a matter of interest is the Mesh light flashing on your SUK2?

I don’t believe the Northern region, (Arqiva), uses Mesh. (see https://www.smartdcc.co.uk/products-services/design-and-assurance/communications-hubs/).

With regard to range, I have discovered the SUK2/3 RF module has the same range as the Swedish RF module, (around 2 kilometres depending upon topology).

One further query you may be able to help me with, do you know how may electricity meters there are in the Central & Southern regions?
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These are tricky questions to answer @Mr Smets

There is a document from 2017 with forecasts of how many of each Mesh aerial type were likely to be required for Arqiva's territories. The predictions were then that 10.5% of SMETS2 installations would use the NAN (neighbourhood area network), which uses Mesh technology.

The actual figure will vary according to the chronological order in which meters get installed on sites. This is outside of Arqiva's and DCC's control because it's us customers who agree the meter bookings.

If Arqiva themselves could dictate the roll-out strategy, then around 2% of homes would need to be on a NAN. Telefonica's analysis suggests that they can reach the other 98% using the enhancements they've made to the existing 3G network. After all, the data rate required for Smart Meter communication is miniscule in comparison with voice-calls on mobile phones.

All SKU2 and SKU3 meters still have the communications transceivers for the GSM Wide Area Network (WAN). So if Telefonica find that they can't reach some remote rural valleys, they also have the option to erect a new 3G mast. This prevents them being hamstrung simply because electricity customers on the surrounding hills haven't elected to have SMETS2 meters yet!

There is no way for me to ascertain whether my electricity meter is actually being used to relay data from other homes near me who don't have direct connection to the 3G cell masts. There's no little flashing light to tell me when data is being transmitted for my own meter, let alone others in the vicinity!
Further …

Does the DCC have an estimate for the percentage of meters that will use the Mesh?
Thank you Transparent for this excellent information!

I was excited by the prospect that your meter may have been using the RF Mesh network, now I understand that the SUK2/3 variant may simply be used for its ability to connect to external GSM aerials.

It will be very interesting to see if your meter’s RF Mesh feature is activated to communicate with other meters in your neighbourhood, (your meter would then become a gateway to the DCC). I understand that, to date, only a few hundred meters are using RF Mesh to communicate with the DCC, (it would be great to hear from someone whose meter is on the RF Mesh).

I am now trying to establish the range of the RF module, which I believe will be measured in meters rather than kilometres, (although the same technology, (provided by the same company), is being deployed in Sweden with a range of up to two kilometres).

Thanks for your help.
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Hi @Mr Smets. With a Forum name like that, you'd better be prepared to field tech-support questions nationwide!

Allow me to deal with your question in reverse order. The stats I'm quoting are from DCC, based on the geographical mapping they have used to decide which aerial types will be required in Southern & Central territories.

SKU2s & SKU3s will account for around 12% of total installations, with the following breakdown by aerial type:

SKU2 with T1 (low gain) aerial = 6% of all installations (approximately 57-60% of SKU2s)

SKU2 with T2 (high gain) aerial = 4% of all installations (approximately 37-40% of SKU2s)

SKU2 with T3 aerial = less than 0.5% of all installations (approximately 3-5% of SKU2s)

SKU3, SIMCH, with M1 (low gain) aerial = less than 0.25% of all installations

SKU3, SIMCH, with M2 (high gain) aerial = less than 0.25% of all installations

Note that these categories are not exclusive. SKU3 Communications Hubs may have two aerials fitted: one T-type and one M-type.

As you will have read above, I have a T2 aerial. This is because my house is sited right on the crest of a hill, just outside a town that has good 3G connectivity. Beyond my house are a number of valleys with poor GSM reception. The farms and hamlets in those rural valleys will be able to use my Mesh network connection as a relay to the 3G network in the town.

The range isn't advertised anywhere I can find. The frequency mapping techniques don't have fixed distances but instead show the signal strength in dB like a series of contours. These are affected by terrain, the presence of trees and other local constraints.

In fact Telefonica can reach over 98% of homes using the enhancements they have made to the basic 3G network, as used by O2. However, some of these houses (including mine) require the Mesh network for the benefit of others rather than themselves.

I'll return to answer how the Mesh network operates in a subsequent post.
Hello Transparent,

Thank you for the time you have given for the explanations on this thread regarding SMETS2.

I see you have a Toshiba SUK2 Mesh Network Unit installed and I understand that only a few of these hubs have been installed to date.

Please can you explain (i) how the SUK2 works, (ii) its range and (iii) your estimate as to how many of the SUK2/3 are going to be installed.

Many thanks
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So in my case the My OVO page and my Statements are a messy amalgamation of Smart Meter
data and the original manual readings (which I am still being requested to provide).


I also saw a bit of a stop/start thing cracking off with the automated readings for a while and ended up giving manual readings to make sure. Gas and Electric finally flowing right now though, 28 days after installation (Midlands, so mobile based WAN.)

Curiously, the tariff rate in our Chameleon IHD3-PPMID was right from the first few days of an early successful automated meter reading though (which was within the first few days installation), which doesn't fit with what you're telling people is likely elsewhere in the forum. I assumed it must be wrong due to the barmy calculations, but when I did the maths I realised the issue was just that these units couldn't do those maths*.

Julie
X

*Which is, I strongly suspect,
going to be soooo embarrassing for people involved in the production and approval of these - on the face of it (acknowledging there may be so many relevant parts to this I'm not a party to) it seems like a typical computing issue, complicated bits get thorough reviewed, the "easy to write" code doesn't get a second look, but the impact is significant with the bug in the later!) I'm really curious how this mistake was coded. People have been doing this kind of basic maths without floating point libraries etc since before CPU ICs existed. This is a very well trodden path. I know I'm not going to, but I'd love to see the source code.
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I think it's not just the IHDs have trouble getting data from my new SMETS2 meters. OVO's Billing Dept also seem to be in difficulty.

I've just received an email telling me I have a new Statement, so I had a look online.

There is no billing for gas at all, despite the SMETS2 Gas meter having been here 6 weeks now.

There are readings from my Smart Electricity Meter, but for some strange reason they are marked as an "estimate". The Meter Readings page for electricity looks like this:


The words "You gave" are incorrect. These are in fact the real (Smart) readings from the electricity meter being uploaded to OVO via DCC.

So in my case the My OVO page and my Statements are a messy amalgamation of Smart Meter data and the original manual readings (which I am still being requested to provide).

By now I'm sure the ability for me to be entering manual readings should've been removed from the site.

Once again, I'm not particularly concerned. I have a background in computers, and I appreciate the complexity of OVO getting their Billing Software to accept the incoming data being streamed from DCC. The data formats and protocols are different to those previously used for customers with SMETS1 meters.

I also have more than 6 months to run under my present contract, so I don't really mind how accurate the Statements are at the moment. I'd feel under more pressure if I was needing to evaluate an imminent change to a new contract.
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@Transparent Interesting, I will feed that back and see what the team have to say 🙂

Darran
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Last week I received an email from OVO with a link to a Guide for those of us who have SMETS2 Meters and the matching IHD. I assume others also received this.

I'm unsure why the Guide is a downloadable PDF when it could surely be better as an interactive web-page!

If you think the Guide needs corrections or clarifications, please post here. That way OVO staff will be able to review the feedback and incorporate changes into later versions.

Personally I thought this comment on page-8 lacked essential detail:


As I wrote here earlier, the LEDs also flash at different speeds to alert you of fault conditions! Isn't this precisely the information needed in the Guide?
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For those here who are interested in @Middy's question (above) about switching to OVO when you already have SMETS2 Meters from another Energy Supplier, I responded to that here on another Topic.

If anyone with SMETS2's has practical experience of switching Suppliers, please do post here.

The theory says it works. However I'm sure we'd all like to hear the details, such as
  • were you still asked to provide a manual reading on the appointed day?
  • was the switch process any quicker? (usually about 5 weeks)
  • how quickly did you get the important Final Bill from the old Supplier?
Thanks.
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For the sake of completeness, let me point out on this Topic that one of the Moderators, @Nancy_OVO, stated here on another Topic last week that OVO are aware of bugs in the IHD's recently supplied with SMETS2 meters.

The symptoms are overly-large usage calculations and erroneous costings.

As I wrote in reply to a question elsewhere yesterday (23apr19):

"At this stage I still don't have gas-usage showing on my own IHD, but that's no surprise because my Tariff information hasn't yet been uploaded into the meter anyway. So I have no idea whether the inaccurate costings being displayed on the IHD are solely due to lack of tariff data, or whether I'm seeing symptoms of the "bugs" which Nancy refers to."

Again, I'm not particularly concerned, but that's probably because I have a fair idea of how the technology works. It is undoubtedly going to be worrying for other customers who believe they are suddenly running up huge bills.

I have no idea how the bugs can be fixed if they're actually within the code running in an IHD. Although the specifications for Smart Meters requires them to be capable of upgrade across the National Smart Meter Network, the same is not true for IHD's.

If OVO have to send out physical replacements, then the new ones will also have to be "paired" with the Smart Electricity Meter. So that isn't straight-forward either!

The IHD's are bought in by OVO from a 3rd-party manufacturer, so the bugs are probably affecting customers of other Energy Suppliers too.
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Hi @tom2019 - Your online usage stats are ahead of mine. When I log in to My OVO I can still see the histograms for the months prior to having my SMETS2 meters installed. And on the page for Meter Readings, it has no acknowledgement of me now having Smart Meters. I still have the boxes into which I am asked to put manual readings.

Your installation was 12 days prior to mine, so I'm not concerned at the delays. Moreover, since OVO have continued to take Direct Debits, but can't yet calculate what I've used, I'm building up a healthy credit in my account. That's extra interest payments I'm earning too!
@Transparent Thank you for the very detailed writeup.

Just wondering if your Electric/Gas usage is showing up in your Ovo account yet?

I had both Gas and Electric SMETS2 meter installed on the 28th Feb this year and my online account still shows no usage for both... When I click on Meter Readings it says "No need to give us meter reads as you have a smart meter" for both Electric and Gas.

Does anyone have SMETS2 usage showing up?

Thanks

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Hey @Middy - I've moved your post over here where you can find more information about SMETS2 meters 🙂
Will my SMETS2 non OVO smart meter connect to OVO?
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I do not think it is possible to fit a Smets2 Communications Hub to a Smets1 meter.
Smets1 designs were all manufacturer lead solutions to supplying mobile Communications and a Han network, and therefore all individual.

Smets2 meters were all designed to a common standard and any smets2 Electricity meter should be attachable to any Smet2 Communications Hub

The physical dimensions, connections and mountings on Smets2 meters and their communications hubs are not compatible with any existing Smets1 meter.

Two very common examples

Landis & Gyr E470 (Smets1 model) has no physical connection at all and used the han network in the same wireless way gas meters do and uses a separate detached Communications Hub.

Secure Liberty 100 has a Communications Hub mounted on top like Smets2 meters but the dimensions are different and uses two securing screws on its face as opposed to one on a Smets2 meter.

I think that any need to change a Communications Hub to a Smets2 version, whether to comply with northern area 420MHz or adding a Smets2 gas meter will result in a Smets2 Electricity meter also being fitted.
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You ask some very pertinent questions @g4jnw

As you read below, please remember that I'm a fellow customer, like you. I don't work in the energy sector, and I can't speak on behalf of any companies who do.

The first bit of good news is that received news last week from an industry source (not OVO) that some Energy Suppliers are now fitting SMETS2 meters in the Northern Territory. I don't know whether OVO is one of them, nor whether there are any geographical constraints.

Next... you don't need a new IHD if your existing Electric SMETS1 meter has a firmware upgrade to SMETS2. The Home Area Network (HAN) is unaffected and the two units remain "paired".

I'm not entirely happy with the stance being taken by N-power. It's lacking the vision of where things are heading because they're only considering their existing SMETS1 strategy.

Any SMETS2 meter which gets installed will get joined to the National Smart Meter Grid "owned" by DCC. As such it automatically achieves transferability between Suppliers. There are no SMETS2 meters which have Communications Hubs capable of running on N-Power's existing SMETS1 network.

The issue is actually with your existing electric meter. I'm unsure how a new gas SMETS2 meter could be paired with a SMETS1 electric meter. This would effectively attach the gas meter back onto the proprietary meter network used by OVO, Utilita and others, thus breaking the regulatory framework which underpins SMETS2 !

It would seem to me that you first need your SMETS1 electric meter upgraded to SMETS2. And that's where we need a response from OVO's Meter Engineering Dept.

Whilst the software upgrade to SMETS2 can readily be performed online, it still leaves your meter using its existing Communications Hub which connects to the 3G mobile phone transmitter masts at 900MHz.

But in the Northern Territory, the National Smart Meter Network is to operate at 400MHz via new masts which Arquiva have installed. This suggests to me that all existing SMETS1 meters in the Northern Territory require a site visit at some point in order to exchange the Comms Hub for a new one manufactured by EDMI.

Moreover that site visit to install new hardware must coincide with the firmware upgrade to SMETS2 software because otherwise the Communications Hub couldn't be commissioned.

Let's flag a couple of the Moderators, like @Tim_OVO and @Nancy_OVO, to bounce this message to their Meter Engineering Dept for some answers!

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