SMETS2 Smart Meter installation

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Having a new Smart Meter installed is something which most customers only experience once. This topic shows what the process involves and highlights particular issues with the newer SMETS2 meters which OVO started installing widely in March 2019.

You must be present for a Smart Meter installation. The Engineer needs access to the house, even if both gas and electricity meters are in external enclosures. There is an initial survey of the state of gas appliances and your electric consumer unit. Photographs are taken and any gas boiler is turned off.

The electricity meter is usually changed first. The Installer is permitted to snip the seal on the main fuse and can reseal it without needing to call your Distributed Network Operator (DNO).

Here my SMETS2 meter is indicated with a red arrow. This one is made by a US Company called Aclara. It has two buttons marked A & B rather than the keypad of the earlier SMETS1 meters, which were manufactured by Secure.

Above the meter itself there is a communications module (blue arrow) which allows data transfer via the mobile phone network. There are several versions. As I'm in a rural area of Devon with relatively poor signals, this Toshiba unit is a Mesh Network device. It connects to an external aerial via the wire marked with a green arrow.

The aerial is the tall rectangular box which is literally stuck onto the outside of the door.

Your gas meter may be in a wall mounted enclosure, or buried in a "semi-concealed" box as is mine.

The Installer first removes the old meter including the round regulator (orange arrow), and then screws a steel mounting frame in place, shown here with a green arrow.

The meter may seem a relatively large device, but it's actually two items. The actual SMETS2 Smart Meter is indicated with the red arrow, and slots into the larger outer body.

My new gas meter is manufactured by Uniflo. Because there is no electricity available, it contains an inbuilt Lithium battery which should last around 10 years. A Gas Smart Meter spends most of its time in sleep-mode to conserve power, waking up every few seconds to send a signal to the SMETS2 electricity meter.

OVO have designed and fabricated right-angled steel pipes marked here with purple arrows. These minimise the height required and allow the enclosure lid to properly close.

During the commissioning process, the installer connects a manometer to the test point identified with the blue arrow. The gas pressure pushes the fluid up one side of the u-shaped tube. If it remains steady over a two-minute timed period, then there are no leaks.

The Installation Engineer will now take another set of photographs which get inserted into relevant places in the electronic "form" on his mobile phone. There is a minimum set of 23 pictures which must accompany any installation.

As the exact installation process may evolve over time, please note that these SMETS2 meters were installed on 11th March 2019.

115 replies

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.
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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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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.
So - when will my Mk1 meter be swapped with an industry compatible MkII meter?
Userlevel 2
Part 2 of our SMETS2 installation.

on the day of the installation I went and provided a meter reading via the app and also took photos of the meters so I have an easy reference of the previous installation, meter numbers (shown on the meter casing) and the meter readings themselves. Can’t see I would need that with Ovo but with our previous energy supplier E.On there is no way I would trust in either their app or their admin.

Our installation engineer called just after the start of the period we had booked for and said he was 15 mins out. He arrived on time, in an Ovo vehicle and Ovo uniform and identified himself. Everything you would expect. He warned us that the power would interrupted, asked to see the boiler, meters and consumer unit. He asked us to turn any appliances that might be sensitive to power interrupt off and asked us to turn the boiler off as well.

Then he cracked on. This is worth noting if you interested in seeing what they do and monitoring the installation as it was done in less than 30 mins. Literally blink and you’ll miss it.

Between us and the installer we fired everything back up, he showed us the meter installation. He had done all his checks and taken all his photos and then he talked us through the IHD.

Just so he gets the credit, he said that working for Ovo was great and that they are a fantastic employer 😉.

The installer was polite and professional throughout, explained what he was going to do and what he had done at each stage. Basically a great ambassador for the company.

i would observe that, as @Transparent has said, they arrive with the job detailed and will only do that job, so more complex scenarios requiring on the job initiative where other variants of the SMETS2 are required are not going to happen. You will get what they planned.

also his knowledge of the wider technology, the behind the scenes network steps and comms standards was not to the same level you get on this thread from @Transparent.

think of the installation engineer we had as a well trained and competent Kwik Fit fitter. He knew how to do his job quickly and safely and well but isn’t going to run an investigation on that tricky engine management problem that is intermittently causing weird behaviour.

as soon as he was gone I got some photos of the two meter panels and used the menu functions as described to get a screenshot of the data and status immediately after installation.

More on that in part 3.....

(spoiler alert.... looks like we may share our gas meter connectivity problem with @Transparent )
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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.
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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.


Userlevel 2
Hi @Transparent ,

great posts, love the deep tech geekery. I’ve read the lot so hopefully not making you repeat yourself and staying on thread topic.

We only switched to Ovo a couple of months back.

We have just had solar panels fitted last week (initial joy and green smugness wiped out by your post about how I’m contributing to global warming by killing the substation efficiency, as we couldn’t afford a battery just yet 😔)

We are due to have our old school dumb meters upgraded to SMETS2 at the end of August.

my questions for you are:

  1. whether our panels (only 2.73kwp), and the 70% of which we throw back to the grid on an average day, will further complicate our installation/subsequent operation?
  2. Is their anything we or ovo can do to better prep for this - for example selection of a particular hardware variant of SMETS2 or pre-plan firmware download?
  3. any top tips of stuff to mention to the installation engineer to ensure the general problems you have encountered and or the specific problems our micro generation might add, can be avoided?
whats going to be really interesting is that the panel installation comes with consumption tracker that - from some basic but pretty reliable calibration testing (kettle, microwave on different power settings, oven) seems super accurate on a minute to minute basis. This should allow us to do comparison with the IHD.

Our end game is V2G with a battery so I can contribute to fixing that substation efficiency for you😉.


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.

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About 15 days ago my Communications Hub indicators changed to have no flashes at all from the WAN or MESH indicators. With no link to the outside world, it wasn't possible for OVO in Bristol to continue downloading code updates whilst we tried to resolve problems.

Following discussions with @BenS_OVO I was hopeful that all we'd need was for the Communications Hub to be re-booted. (A reboot of a Toshiba Comms Hub is done by removing its power for 3 minutes) But alas, it transpired that it required much more than that to re-establish communications with DCC.

So... I've now had another visit from an OVO Engineer, and a complete change of all four SMETS2 devices on Weds 18th Sept.

It took about 5 hours before the Gas Meter eventually started sending readings which could be displayed on the new Chameleon. I now know that this is quite normal, albeit disconcerting for customers because they can't be shown the full functionality of their IHD.

It will take another month before I get to see usage graphs and Smart readings appear on the My OVO page.

And if that is successful, it will be a laborious task for someone in OVO's Billing Dept to work out what I really owe for the last six months since the first SMETS2 installation on 11th March.

To be continued.... 😐
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Communications Hub - Toshiba

The Communications Hub is a box of electronics which sits on top of the Electricity SMETS2 Meter (ESME). It is secured in place with an M4 bolt at the front, which has an anti-tamper seal.

The Intimate Communications Hub Interface (ICHI) connects internally between the meter itself and the Comms Hub. It is a 20-pin connector which transfers data and provides 12v DC power for the Hub.

This Forum Post describes the various Toshiba Comms Hubs which are paired with an ESME manufactured by Aclara. This combination is installed in the Southern and Central Territories of the GB Smart Meter Network, owned by DCC.

The Toshiba Comms Hub contains at least two radio-frequency transmission systems and maybe more:-

A. The Home Area Network (HAN) connects to the SMETS2 gas meter and the IHD. It operates at 2.4GHz using a protocol called Zigbee.

B. The Wide Area Network connects to the cellular masts and thence to the Data Communications Company (DCC). This utilises the O2 network 3G signals at 900MHz. There can also be a MESH network at 869MHz, which may or may not use an external aerial.

There are five green LED lights.

In normal operating conditions they flash at a low-frequency rate of 1:50

SW = software status
WAN = Wide Area Network
MESH = status of Mesh network connection (if present)
HAN = status of Home Area Network
GAS = status of gas (proxy) function

Under fault conditions, or during power-up or testing, these lights will remain on (Solid) or flash at a High- (1:5) or Medium- (1:20) frequency

In general, a High-frequency flash is indicative of an error.

A Medium-frequency flash indicates that attempts are being made to (re-)connect to the relevant network.

The Toshiba Communications Hub contains an internal battery. This allows it to remain live for 3 minutes in the event of a power cut.

If power has been lost for a period greater than 3 minutes, the Communications Hub will perform a Restart Sequence which can take several minutes. The green LEDs will flash in sequences which show the network connections being re-established.

There is another mode of operation of these five LEDS when an external aerial is connected. This allows an engineer to check the signal strength across the local Mesh network. End-users won't normally see this mode.
Userlevel 5
The software update is across industry, @jewelie.

If you switch before it occurs, you can opt to change your meter to your new suppliers smart meter if they can not communicate with ours or wait a little while for the update and then all meters will be uniform across industry.

You can find more details here.

Userlevel 1
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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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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Once your new SMETS2 meters are physically installed, the commissioning process can start.

The Engineer will use a proprietary App to connect the electricity meter to DCC, the government-owned Data Communications Company. Theoretically this should simply involve taking a photo of the bar codes on the meter. However, the two installations I've seen thus far both involved entering the meter numbers into the App manually.

There are different serial numbers for the electricity Smart Meter and its communications system. And there is plenty of room for error, such as confusing an 8 with a B. The App is clearly not yet fit for purpose and needs additional features to be added.

Once the Engineer receives confirmation that the electricity meter and DCC are communicating correctly, the new SMETS2 Gas Meter is paired with it. This uses a wireless signal running at 2.4GHz called Zigbee.

The electricity meter is the master unit. It is the only item with a connection to the outside world, shown as a red wireless signal in the above diagram.

Finally, the In Home Device is unpacked and paired with the electricity meter. The Installer will run through the basic features, which are described more fully in a small instruction book.

OVO are currently installing an IHD called a Chameleon. It also uses the Zigbee wireless protocols. This local Zigbee system can in future be extended to control other smart devices such as washing machines or storage radiators. It's called the HAN (Home Area Network).

Initially, the IHD may not show any data at all.

You can be assured it is communicating with the electricity meter, however, because there is a white signal-strength meter at top-left of the display.

After three days, my IHD suddenly started displaying real data

... but the figures bore little resemblance to the actual energy used.

This is all quite normal. There is a lot of work which continues in the background once the on-site installation is complete.

Not only will DCC be testing and tuning the encrypted communication links, but OVO will be installing your actual tariff data. This is held in the master electricity meter and is only required for you to view readings on the IHD. The actual usage figures are calculated separately by OVO as part of their billing process.

It can take several weeks before the entire process is completed. Only then will your IHD reflect the same information visible on your My OVO page online.

If there are any discrepancies in billed usage in the meantime, these will get automatically corrected because the actual meter readings are cumulative.
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One issue which might occur when you have a Smart Meter installed is poor WiFi performance. Sometimes it can fail altogether.

WiFi can operate in two frequency bands. The earlier standard, still most commonly used, is called IEEE 802.11b and runs at 2.4GHz. The same frequency is used for other wireless domestic products such as door-bells and some remote controls. However, the software protocols for all these devices is different, which is why there is little perceptible interference when two or more are operating simultaneously.

The Zigbee network which connects your Smart Meters and your IHD is another 2.4GHz standard, properly referred to as IEEE 802.15.4.

Unlike doorbells and remote control units, both WiFi and Zigbee are continuously live. Whether they clash or not depends on the channel number which each one uses.

In the UK, WiFi is assigned 11 overlapping channels. In order to avoid degradation of the signal, we normally employ one of channels 1, 6 or 11 because these have no overlap. You can select this manually by logging into your router.

Zigbee has 16 channels, which carry much less data and can therefore be non-overlapping.

In the USA there is a convention that any new Zigbee device will be configured to use either channel 15 or 20. These have frequencies which neatly sit in-between the commonly-used WiFi channels.

In the UK there is no such convention, and it's possible that a Zigbee device could use any of the allocated channels. So if your router happens to be sited close to your new SMETS Meter, there is the opportunity for interference to occur.

All is not lost however. Firstly, you could login to your WiFi router and change the channel it uses.

Failing that, Zigbee itself has an inbuilt Channel Agility. Once it recognises that its frequency has a sufficient level of interference that data is being lost or corrupted, then it will switch to an alternative channel.

This process isn't immediate. Both of your SMETS Meters and the IHD will all be using the Channel Agility protocol to find a common channel which suffers least interference. It might take an hour or so before everything gets sorted. In the meantime, don't switch off your WiFi router because this will halt the automatic Agility process. When the router is next re-powered, the interference will start all over again!

Note that there is nothing which OVO's Installation Engineer can do about such problems beyond noting on the job-sheet that WiFi was lost when the Smart Meters were powered up. Zigbee self-allocates channels (eventually) and the Installation App doesn't have a facility for manual channel selection.

Nor are Installers trained or permitted to start logging into your router and manually changing its channel. And you should have it password protected anyway!
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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.
Userlevel 1

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.

Out of curiosity, I've turned our IHD back on to see if anything has changed here.

Looks like the costs are about right now here too, so I can only conclude that I must've received an update too. 🙂
Userlevel 1

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*.


*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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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.
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.
Userlevel 2
We has our SMETS2 gas and electricity meters fitted on Friday.

Making the decision to get the upgrade and preparing for it was the original reason I joined this Ovo forum and what led me to @Transparent‘s excellent thread.

Having just re-read all 5 pages (!!) I think we have something to add to the knowledge base to help others thinking about making the switch and even to help @Transparent with the issues he is (still?) experiencing with his smart gas meter.

However, I’m going to split this over a few posts, as I wrote the whole thing up last night in one long post - complete with photos - and (irony of ironies) the battery on my phone died just before I hit send and I lost the lot.

so, in between Sunday admin tasks, I will walk through our installation experience and the first 48 hours.

for background, we had fully dumb meters on a house that was built in 2008, we live in a small rural village but do have good mobile signal on most networks. Our house has solar panels but we don’t have a battery (yet). Whilst researching batteries (which I will post about on another thread soon) I have discovered that, despite being a family with normal to above average levels of tech, we are light users: 5-7kWh a day without solar.

More to follow........
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No worries @jewelie. You just keep making the comments. On this Forum, we're not going to be worried if they turn out to be irrelevant! 😘

Yes, I was trying to take into account the battery drain for downloading fresh firmware into the gas meter... which is why I stated that I don't believe this is technically possible at the moment.

In any case, it doesn't actually happen like this.

Within the Comms Hub there is a "Gas Mirror". This is a virtual device which mimics the presence of the real SMETS2 gas meter. Any firmware intended to be sent to the gas meter is first stored in the Mirror. There is then a second phase where the code is transferred to the real gas meter in such a way as to minimise battery use.

If all goes to plan, OVO then receive an acknowledgement to notify them that the transfer has completed.
Userlevel 2
Part 4 of our SMETS2 installation experience.

When I first checked our new electricity and gas meters this is what I found:

We had a bog standard Toshiba SKU 1 cellular (entirely appropriate given our location) on top of the Aclara unit as our electricity meter.

For the gas smart meter we have exactly the same unit as @Transparent.

Electricity meter

The 4 network lights on the SKU1 were flashing at the faster rate indicating that the unit was either attempting connection or doing some kind of upload/download. Mesh light isn’t active for our system as we have good mobile data.

later on the flash rate slowed to the normal 1:50. As I said in the previous post, the IHD for electricity came on line almost straight away with accurate usage in Watts. The cost figures were slightly wrong as the default loaded into the meter is slightly more expensive than our rate. 48 hours later these still haven’t updated on either the meter or the IHD.

However our app has replaced the old meter ID with the new one and has automatically taken the first reading.

basically, apart from the update of the daily and unit rate information, the electricity smart meter is working!


As you can see from the last picture, if only the same were true of the gas meter.

more on that in part 5!
Userlevel 7
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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!