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What's the maximum distance between meters to go smart?


My gas meter is just outside my home but the electricity meter is in a communal building about 20 metres away.
I understand that a Smart Meter works by radio, so would it work on my installation?
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Best answer by Tim_OVO 24 May 2017, 17:52

My gas meter is just outside my home but the electricity meter is in a communal building about 20 metres away.
I understand that a Smart Meter works by radio, so would it work on my installation?


Hi @Pedromot

Great question - I want other users to find this easily, so I've edited the title and added some tags to this topic!

The meters communicate with each other via a 'Home Area Network' (HAN) that is similar to Bluetooth. The electricity meter will then send data from both meters to us via the 'Wide Area Network (WAN) using the same 2G signal as some mobile phones.

Your meters are a bit too far apart to communicate with each other. Typically the maximum distance is about 60 feet (18.3 meters) and lots of walls inbetween will shorten this distance even greater. But no fear - if you have a power socket somewhere in-between the meters, we can use a signal 'relay' to fix this. More info on this device here: https://www.ovoenergy.com/ovo-answers/topics/smart-technology/smart-meters/what-is-a-smart-relay.html.

Here's more info on signal issues as well: https://www.ovoenergy.com/ovo-answers/topics/smart-technology/smart-meters/why-arent-my-smart-meters-communicating-with-ovo.html.

Any questions, give us a shout, and to book your smart meter appointment in, use that link that @Mattj3135 provided.

Thanks,
Tim

Updated on 12/07/2019
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It sounds like the engineer hasn’t sent us the information we need to arrange for a relay to be sent out. Send us a message on Facebook or Twitter with your name, DoB and account number.

 

If you don’t use social media, email the team on hello@ovoenergy.com. 

Thank you Tim.  I’ll look forward to receiving the relay.  Apart from the distance between the smart meter and the gas meter there are also a couple of very thick walls so hopefully the relay will fix the problem.  I am still mystified why I have not been charged for gas usage when I have been submitting the readings each month.

Seth.

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I’m a little puzzled by what the Installer told you @sethmthomas.

I would expect that meters supplied in June would be [color=#A00080]SMETS2[/color] variety. The intermediate boosters were only provided as part of [color=#D00070]SMETS1[/color] installations.

With OVO’s agreement, I actually conducted a trial at my house in May where I deployed a [color=#00C0D0]ZigBee relay[/color] on my [color=#A00080]SMETS2[/color]  installation which had lost communication with the Gas Meter.

The relay device made no difference, wherever I placed it, despite me requesting that the Gas Meter retry to make the connection.

The issue was resolved only when OVO’s SMETS2 Team used my [color=#5060b0]Communications Hub[/color] as part of a software upgrade trial about a month later. There were in fact no issues with signal strength itself.

Signal boosters/relays are not an approved part of a [color=#A00080]SMETS2 Smart Meter[/color] installation.

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We can sort out a signal relay @sethmthomas - see above for more info on what this does. 

 

Chase up yours (which will be posted out to you) via email here: hello@ovoenergy.com

A smart meter was installed on 18th June 2019.  The installer said that the distance between the new meter and the gas meter was too far for the gas to be read but I would be contacted when an intermediate relay would be installed. I have not heard anything since then and although I have been submitting gas readings every month I have only been charged for electricity.

Could someone please tell me what’s happening.

 

Hi..i am a new user here. As per my knowledge it really does depend on your individual property and the location of the meter, whether there are obstructions or not so on and so forth. The only way to actually find out would be to schedule your installation of your smart meters for both gas and electric and the engineer will assess whether you would be able to have a smart meter for your electric.
That's right @Transparent it's the electricity meter that sends the readings to OVO. So if @stevep7 's electricity smart meter was able to communicate with us -
but the gas wasn't, only the gas meter would lose it's smart functionality and need to be read manually. ^Emily
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That sounds good, @Emily_OVO.
Since @stevep7's electricity meter is the one in the upstairs flat, if the gas meter below it is unable to communicate via the HAN (Zigbee 2.4GHz), surely it will only be that gas meter which reverts to non-Smart operation, won't it?

In the link provided by @Tim_OVO at the top of this page, your Guidance Notes imply that it is the electricity meter which operates as the Master unit, sending data to OVO via the DCC. The gas meter simply sends it's data to the Smart Electricity Meter to be relayed on.

This makes sense because the gas meter uses an internal battery, whereas the electricity Smart Meter obviously has access to mains power. Thus the electricity meter is better suited to send the higher power signals to/fro the wider GSM network.

If @stevep7's electricity meter can communicate with his nearest mobile phone mast, then won't it still operate in Smart Mode even if it can't listen to the gas meter below it?

Or have I misunderstood those Guidance Notes?
There isn't a policy in place when it comes to fitting smart meters in flats @Transparent

@stevep7 if you wanted to have smart meters installed, we would certainly look into arranging an appointment for you. However, we do want to make you aware that there's a strong possibility that the smart meters won't be able to communicate with us. If this happens the meters would lose their smart functionality, and revert back to operating as traditional meters.

Thanks,
Emily
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Firstly, @stevep7, can I point out that I don't work for OVO. I'm a customer like you. Moreover I don't even have a Smart Meter yet!

The reason @Tim_OVO suggested I respond to this thread was because he knows I'm researching the topic of Smart Metering and the future of the UK Energy Market as we change to Demand-side Response.

Turning back to your situation, the number of floors isn't necessarily relevant. What matters is the radio-frequency absorbency of the material they are made of. That's why I suggested testing them by using the 2.4GHz band using your WiFi.

However, now you mention that you've never had a site evaluation of your present home, I'm also puzzled as to why OVO have rejected your Smart Meter request.

Perhaps one of the Moderators could tell us if there is a policy issue being implemented here rather than a technical constraint as I had first supposed?
I undetstand your point but that still does not explain why you were able to install a smart meter at another flat i own where the flat is on the top floor (2nd floor) and the meter is 2 floors below in a utility cupboard. This insta was never questioned and works fine. The block in question here has 5 floors so i think your response may only be relevant for the higher floors. Is it not possible for one of your engineers to do a test?
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Well, @stevep7, it will still depend on how much of the signal is quenched by the floor(s) through which the signal must pass.

If you have WiFi in your flat running at 2.4GHz, I guess you could get a fair idea by using a mobile phone to try and connect to to the router whilst you're beside the utility cupboard.

You can download an App like WiFi Analyzer from PlayStore which can show you the signal strength from your router.

I should point out, however, that's not a completely fair test because although it's using the relevant frequency, there could still be a disparity in the transmitted signal strength between a Smart Meter using Zigbee and a WiFi router.

If the problem transpires to be signal quenching, then even a free Zigbee Relay from OVO may not resolve it of course.
Our flat is already on the ground floor so i still belive it will work as the utility cupboard is almost directly below.
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I've just realised that @Tim_OVO has already answered the relay question earlier in this thread.
See here

However, this is a mains-powered device. So you'll need to find a way to plug it in to a mains socket in a flat midway between your two meters.
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Hi @stevep7,
The connection between Smart Meters is not implemented using the GSM (Mobile) network. Only the data to/fro OVO (via the DCC) uses GSM.

Within premises the data communication is via a Zigbee Mesh Network using the same 2.4GHz frequency you'd have for a wireless doorbell or WiFi.

The Zigbee standard isn't fast (only 250kbits/sec) and is low-powered. It is therefore suitable for battery devices such as an in-home-display (IHD). It operates at distances up to 100m, but the signal can be significantly quenched by materials it passes through.

It is possible that there is steel reinforcement mesh in the concrete floors between your flats. This acts as a "Faraday Cage", effectively blocking out radio waves. Aluminium-faced insulation boards (Celotex and Kingspan) are also absorbers of radio-waves, which is why those homes with insulated lofts tend to use external TV aerials.

Theoretically it should be possible to mount a battery-powered relay midway between the meter positions. As Zigbee is a Mesh-network, data signals can be bounced from one device to another. I use just such a technique to forward my door-bell signal to a portable sounder which I take with me when I'm working at the far end of my garden. Another sounder on my patio retransmits the signal to me!

What I don't know is whether Secure, who supply OVO with Smart Meters, have actually developed such a Zigbee relay-box. But since this is a public Forum, perhaps someone else can tell us.

HTH
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@Transparent might have a good response for you, @stevep7 :8
Thanks Emily but yhis still does not make sense to me as i have another flat wbere OVO supply the electticity. The meter is 2 floors below the flat and its both peak and off peak power and you were able to fit a Smart meter. The flat in question here has an electtic meter in the flat and a gas meter in a dowstairs utility cupboard. As both are in range of a mobile signal to connect the smart meters i do t understand why you cannot fit them. Please provide a more specfic response based on the technology a waiting a few years is not acceptable. Thanks
I recently switched to OVO and wanted, apart from great price deals and excellent customer service to switch to smart meters. Having applied ive been turned down straight away and told that as the meters are not in the same location you cannot yet complete the upgrade. The electric meter is in the flat and the gas meter is in a downstairs utlity cupboard. Can you advise when this will be fixed so that i can upgrade to smart meters

Hey @stevep7

I've moved your query over to an existing smart meter topic - so it's easier for others to find.

At OVO we’ve already installed smart meters for thousands of our customers, but we’ve been unable to fit them in some properties - including flats.

Luckily, technology is improving and developing all the time, so we hope to have solutions for this soon. If everything continues to move at the same pace, you should be able to have a smart meter within the next few years.

Thanks,
Emily
I recently switched to OVO and wanted, apart from great price deals and excellent customer service to switch to smart meters. Having applied ive been turned down straight away and told that as the meters are not in the same location you cannot yet complete the upgrade. The electric meter is in the flat and the gas meter is in a downstairs utlity cupboard. Can you advise when this will be fixed so that i can upgrade to smart meters
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I would suggest the meters are nowhere near 18.3 metres apart, more like 10-12 absolute tops.

I recon you're all good then, @Markee - get your appointment booked in here: smart.ovoenergy.com/credit

Tim
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I would suggest the meters are nowhere near 18.3 metres apart, more like 10-12 absolute tops.
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I live in a first floor Maisonette. My electricity meter is in a cupboard just inside my front door. My gas meter is on the ground floor outside the building on the same outside wall as my electricity meter.

I was previously with British Gas, who had told me the technology wasn't sufficiently developed yet to have a Smart Meter as my gas and electricity meters were too far apart (they are actually less than 10m apart).

Can Ovo please advise if this is a limitation of their technology as there's no point requesting a smart meter if they are not "smart" enough yet.....


Check out the 'best answer' of this topic @Markee - it's all about the maximum distance possible.

Here's the bit that's relevant:

Your meters are a bit too far apart to communicate with each other. Typically the maximum distance is about 60 feet (18.3 meters) and lots of walls inbetween will shorten this distance even greater. But no fear - if you have a personal power socket somewhere inbetween the meters, we can use a signal 'relay' to fix this. More info on this device here: https://www.ovoenergy.com/ovo-answers/topics/smart-technology/smart-meters/what-is-a-smart-relay.html.

Tim
Userlevel 2
Does anyone from Ovo monitor these forums?

Can someone from Ovo please respond!

Thank you.
Userlevel 2
I live in a first floor Maisonette. My electricity meter is in a cupboard just inside my front door. My gas meter is on the ground floor outside the building on the same outside wall as my electricity meter.

I was previously with British Gas, who had told me the technology wasn't sufficiently developed yet to have a Smart Meter as my gas and electricity meters were too far apart (they are actually less than 10m apart).

Can Ovo please advise if this is a limitation of their technology as there's no point requesting a smart meter if they are not "smart" enough yet.....
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Hi @PalsyP

Thanks for forwarding your postcode to us via PM. As I mentioned in my reply, we've plenty of availability in your area right now and for the next few months, so you should be able to get a smart meter installed pretty soon after you've switched. :)

Any other questions, just post below and we will all try and help.

Thanks

Darran

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