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Can I connect a CAD to my smart meters if OVO open the Home Area Network (HAN)?

  • 15 December 2017
  • 49 replies
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Userlevel 3
Hi,

Will Ovo "open the HAN" to allow use of a CAD (consumer access device) such that I can access the data from the Liberty electricity /gas meters?

Specifically this CAD:
https://shop.energyhive.com/products/energyhive-cad

Alternatively is there any other means to retrieve "live" meter data in a less useless way than screen-scraping the Ovo website or a webcam on the IHD?

It's an R&D project on combi boiler efficiency. "Real time" heat use is easy using heat / electricity sub-meters with open M-Bs protocols. "Real time" gas use is tricksy.

Thanks,

--
M
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Best answer by Anonymous 19 December 2017, 12:44

Hi,

Will Ovo "open the HAN" to allow use of a CAD (consumer access device) such that I can access the data from the Liberty electricity /gas meters?

Specifically this CAD:
https://shop.energyhive.com/products/energyhive-cad

Alternatively is there any other means to retrieve "live" meter data in a less useless way than screen-scraping the Ovo website or a webcam on the IHD?

It's an R&D project on combi boiler efficiency. "Real time" heat use is easy using heat / electricity sub-meters with open M-Bs protocols. "Real time" gas use is tricksy.

Thanks,

--
M


Hey @markocosic

I've edited the title of your query slightly so other users can find the same information.

I've spoken to our Smart team and it's not something we're able to do at the moment. This is because we can only pair devices that we've authorised e.g. our In Home Displays (IHDs).

Thanks,
Emma

**Updated 17/07/2019**

Check this post for updated info.
View original

49 replies

Hi,

Will Ovo "open the HAN" to allow use of a CAD (consumer access device) such that I can access the data from the Liberty electricity /gas meters?

Specifically this CAD:
https://shop.energyhive.com/products/energyhive-cad

Alternatively is there any other means to retrieve "live" meter data in a less useless way than screen-scraping the Ovo website or a webcam on the IHD?

It's an R&D project on combi boiler efficiency. "Real time" heat use is easy using heat / electricity sub-meters with open M-Bs protocols. "Real time" gas use is tricksy.

Thanks,

--
M


Hey @markocosic

I've edited the title of your query slightly so other users can find the same information.

I've spoken to our Smart team and it's not something we're able to do at the moment. This is because we can only pair devices that we've authorised e.g. our In Home Displays (IHDs).

Thanks,
Emma

**Updated 17/07/2019**

Check this post for updated info.
Userlevel 3
Dead easy - cheers!

Waiting on the change to propagate to the meter (24 hrs) then will see if we can get the Energyhive CAD to play ball. 🙂
Dead easy - cheers!

Waiting on the change to propagate to the meter (24 hrs) then will see if we can get the Energyhive CAD to play ball. :-)


Hey @markocosic

Just had an update from the team and I've amended my original response (sorry for any confusion) - please see above for more info.

Thanks,
Emma
Userlevel 3
Indeed. When actual device arrived and it came to pair up the smart team refused to comply.

I've just been on the phone for the best part of an hour.

The true situation is more complex.

Legally (and technically) your first answer was actually correct.

However the smart team are currently refusing to play ball and are lying in order to justify their position.

The smart team refused to have an adult conversation about this and are punting the customer care team out to take all the punches. (unsporting)

Customer care are going to have words with them this evening and provide an answer by morning. If the smart team wish to lie again in writing I'll be taking this up with the Ombudsman. (the failure to comply and the lie)

Just because Ovo haven't been able to connect to the HAN and pull back the 1-minute interval data that the smart meters provide yet doesn't mean that they should prevent the consumer from connecting a consumer access device to the home area network to do this themselves. (as BEIS intended)

We'll see what the morning brings. Having waited this long for the meters to be installed in the first place it would be frustrating to have to switch supplier and have them switched again just to access the data.
Hi,

The ability to connect a CAD to the HAN is something I would also like to be able to do.

As a new OVO customer, this is my first investigation into this.

The response from OVO so far would seem to be in direct opposition to the UK Gov position on the subject, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/591322/09022017_-_Smart_Meters__Data__Growth_DR_-_updated.pdf (page 3 refers).

Looking forward to a positive response from OVO early in the new year...
Userlevel 3
Unfortunately it looks like Ovo have dug their heels in on this one.


Their last response on 22/12/17:

"Good afternoon Mr Cosic,

Following on from our conversation yesterday I have tried to call this afternoon but unfortunately I was not able to get through. [no record of any missed call - MC]

I am currently in discussion with our Smart team and as previously advised it is not our policy to pair unknown CAD devices with our Smart meters as we do not know the impact of the device or the security of the data. The Smart team have however advised that they are liaising directly with Secure to get further clarification and as soon as I have had a response from them I will be in touch.

My apologies that I have not been able to provide a more solid resolution today."


i.e. Ovo have pushed the reason for the delay onto Secure.


My response:


"Hi,


Thank you for the update. I'm sorry to hear that the smart team continue to make your life difficult by continuing to lie to you.

My (non defamatory) accusation - that Ovo are LYING about this CAD not having been tested with the SECURE meter and posing a potential security risk even though it is not a PPMID - stands.


You have until 31/12/2017 to:

1) Open up the HAN and connect this CAD using the details provided
2) Apologise for making statements and accusations that you did not in fact know to be true without the appropriate caveats
3) Apologise for dismissive and combative manner in which you have handled my simple request

Should you fail to do so I shall:

1) Make this a formal complaint. (start the clock ticking)
2) Ask the Ombudsman to review Ovo's potential failure comply with the terms of their supply licence. (this is a separate matter from a consumer complaint)
3) Ask the Competition and Markets Authority to review what I consider to be Ovo's anti-competitive behaviour in seeking to restrict access to the HAN to only the CADs that suit their commercial interests. (escalate to your in house counsel please)


This isn't how this process should work. Here's how is should work: (pp3, courtesy of 'redwood' on the Ovo forum)

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/591322/09022017_-_Smart_Meters__Data__Growth_DR_-_updated.pdf

Please get on with your job.


Thanks,"


I'm not impressed.


Should Ovo modify or otherwise suppress this posting I'll add this action to the file for the Ombudsman and the CMA.
Userlevel 5
Badge +2
I’m afraid it’s a lot more complex than just opening the HAN to try and pair the CAD. If we opened the HAN, it’s very likely that it wouldn’t pair. It needs to be whitelisted by secure as it can affect other functionalities we offer.

The team have also advised that each CAD type and firmware version has to be tested for stability on our system before whitelist requests can be accepted. Without this, we cannot be sure that the CAD device will not disturb the operation of the rest of the Secure system.

I imagine this isn’t the answer you were hoping for and you mentioned that you’d like to raise a complaint if we weren’t able to open the HAN. Please feel free to raise a complaint via our complaints webform here: https://www.ovoenergy.com/help/feedback.

Lucy
Userlevel 3
Has Ovo's Smart team finished choosing which hoops we need to go through to make this happen Lucy?

You have been given:
- The exact make/model of CAD (the Hildebrand unit in the link in my initial post)
- The EUI and the Install Code required to pair the exact unit (via email)

Ovo are now saying that the device *needs* to be given permission (whitelisted) in order to connect.

- That's what I'm asking you to do. Go ahead please.

Ovo are *also* saying that the CAD type and firmware version *need* to be tested for stability on their system. That's not true in the strict sense. *Ovo* choose to require this but it is not needed in order to open the HAN and pair the device.

I'll play your game though. Here are the details that you need:

- Hildebrand model CAD (per link above)
- EUI and Install Code (per email)
- Firmware version 0.8.6

Ovo's last position appears to be "Ovo states that this has never been tested"

Or is Ovo back-tracking on their original written statement; stalling on asking Secure meters the question and hoping that I will be satisfied with making a complaint in the same way that Ovo was hoping that waiving the exit fees would encourage me to leave before the contracted end date and you'd get away without having to give an answer or answer to the Ombudsman or the CMA?
Userlevel 7
Badge +2

Ovo are now saying that the device *needs* to be given permission (whitelisted) in order to connect - That's what I'm asking you to do. Go ahead please.


So if we haven't tried to get your CAD model whitelisted and testing to be done (all we can do is try out best), let's get the ball rolling with this @markocosic

Usually we'd ask you to send us some account info via more direct customer service channels (like a Facebook PM, Twitter DM or email) but if you'd prefer, feel free to PM me directly. I'll need your account number, name and DoB.

Tim
Userlevel 3
Whitelisting means taking the EUI / Install Code for the CAD that the consumer has given you and applying them to the meter - as you do with your own IHDs.


Testing? The excuse for saying "no" wheeled out by a man in the smart team by the name of Ken; who made the mistake of *refusing* to whitelist this CAD when given all the details needed (account number, name and security details, exact CAD make/model/firmware details, and the EUI / Install Code for the CAD) 8 days ago and used a lack of testing as his sole justification.


Ovo aren't allowed to do this (to my eye it's against the conditions of their supply licence and it's anti competitive behaviour) but I'll play the game because if that sole justification for saying no were to evaporate it's going to be difficult to say no twice.


Saying yes is hard because:

- It'll be a complete pain in the backside if hundreds or thousands of enthusiasts start asking you to pair their own devices with the smart meters. (wohoo - another department and set of processes...)
- You're working on your own version of what I'm asking for (collecting 'live' data from the meter using a CAD and the internet instead of 'batch' data the GPRS unit in the meter) that will be much easier for you to administer and means that you control a consumer's access to their own data

Understandable. But the smart metering game has rules.


I'm too impatient to wait for Ovo to built their thing to suit themselves. That particular CAD comes with an API that let's me get on with it now:
https://www.energyhive.com/content/about/develop

Also the whole point of the architecture that DECC / BEIS created is to avoid the vendor lock-in (supplier lock-in) that will happens if the only way to access your meter data is via one particular energy supplier.

That's less of a concern for the R&D project I have in mind than missing *all* of this winter's data due to delays installing the meter and delays pairing the CAD with it. (though imagine many others would object to their APIs and smart devices not working if they switch supplier)
Userlevel 7
Badge +2
Have you managed to email in about this or did you want to PM me your details instead @markocosic?

Tim
Userlevel 3
We've had three emails that weren't helpful followed by three calls of > 30 minutes each where we started to get somewhere.

I'm keeping the thread up to date so that others don't have to ask the same questions or go through the same arguments again. 🙂
Userlevel 3
Hi,

January 5th has come...and passed...with none of the promised response from Ovo or the CAD being paired with the smart meter.

Ovo: you are in breach of the terms of your electricity supply licence:

(condition 49 for starters)

https://epr.ofgem.gov.uk//Content/Documents/Electricity%20Supply%20Standard%20Licence%20Conditions%20Consolidated%20-%20Current%20Version.pdf

I'm no longer prepared to tolerate your delaying tactics and am therefore starting the clock by escalating this into a formal complaint so that the regulator can breath encouraging words down your neck.

Do you have an explanation for your actions that you'd like to share?

--
M
Userlevel 5
Badge +2
Sorry you've not had a response yet @markocosic. I'd encourage you to keep contacting the team via email if this is how you'd prefer to communicate with us. As we don't have any of your details on here, we're unable to chase this up via the Forum. If you change your mind and would like us too, just pop one of us a PM with your details so we can help.

As for the license agreement you've stated, the most relevant section indicates that the licensee must take all reasonable steps. As far as I understand the situation, OVO are looking into white listing your CAD as requested, so I wouldn't say OVO are in breach of their electricity supply licence at present.

Either way I really hope this gets sorted and we can get things back on track!

Lucy
Userlevel 1
Badge
**Edit** - Why is this thread marked as solved, when it is not as it gives a totally different impression at the top of the thread than the reality (which is it is ongoing)

I am also interested in this and closely tracking what happens with markocosic. I hope you can get this sorted and we don't all have to open cases with the regulators to get CAD's added. I appreciate the process is likely onerous for OVO, but if your in the smart meter game its part of the territory. Possibly you could nip this all in the bud by developing (if you are not already) an open API for customers to interrogate the data themselves.
Not wishing to muddy the water!

But in this thread https://forum.ovoenergy.com/smart-meters-smart-products-33/when-is-the-new-chameleon-in-home-display-ihd-being-made-available-558 OVO state they are trialling the Chameleon IHD.

Chameleon also make a CAD so could this provide a route to achieving the desired goal. Both Secure and Chameleon are involved in the preparation of this paper http://www.beama.org.uk/asset/EBA9BBB9-756E-48A0-B6C38EBFBC3EEEAB/ (download) so one would hope for a degree of compatibility.
Userlevel 3
Posting a reply on this forum prods Ovo into action @Lucy_OVO - they're reading and reacting to this discussion...and paying more attention to it than they do to emails or phone calls because it's embarrassing.


With regards to Ovo's interpretation of their compliance with the terms of their supply license:

"As for the license agreement you've stated, the most relevant section indicates that the licensee must take all reasonable steps. As far as I understand the situation, OVO are looking into white listing your CAD as requested, so I wouldn't say OVO are in breach of their electricity supply licence at present."


Ovo's response has been:

"Sure, no poblem."
"Actually, no, sorry."
"No, we don't have to do this for you."
"Can we bribe you to switch supplier please?"
"We'll ask our meter supplier to say no on our behalf."
"Oh, and we've marked the issue as resolved."

Ovo has demonstrably tried to shirk their obligations. Ofgem will see through this.


"Either way I really hope this gets sorted and we can get things back on track!"

Indeed.

Having refused your money in lieu of a failure to deliver your only option is to deliver, and the longer it takes for Ovo to stop refusing to pair the SP1.1b compliant Consumer Access Device that is already in operation with this model of Smart Meter, the more hypocritical Ovo are going to look.


It took >3 months and several missed visits to install the meter. (Aug 9th>14th Dec) This happens. Ovo use the same contractors as every other utility company and they're not spectacular. Fair enough. We'd like the data before winter is over please and it's really not as complicated an ask as Ovo are making out.
Userlevel 3
I don't have any faith in an (Open and not crippled by rate limits) Ovo API via Chameleon IHD appearing before winter is over.

(this was suggested this as a solution before being offered the bung go switch supplier and become somebody else's problem)


Would Ovo refuse the use of 3rd party gas meters in place of their supplied meters?

Something like a Diehl Aerius is available with non-proprietary, non vendor-locked, European standard protocols that facilitate remote reads:

http://www.diehl.com/pl/diehl-metering/produkty-i-rozwiazania/pdb-details.html?tx_diehlproducts_pi1%5Bproduct%5D=69794451566&tx_diehlproducts_pi1%5BbackPid%5D=522&tx_diehlproducts_pi1%5Baction%5D=show&tx_diehlproducts_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=MeteringProduct

It would have to *replace* the utility meter rather than sit downstream due to pressure drop limitations though.
Userlevel 3
This has now been referred to the enforcement team at Ofgem and delegated to the Deputy Head of Smart Meter Delivery at BEIS.

The latter are not responsible for enforcement but have taken an interest in Ovo's refusal to pair the (non-Ovo) CAD (that could send data to non-Ovo controlled destinations) with the smart meter.

We await the results of your next internal meeting to discuss Ovo's policy in this area.
Userlevel 3
Update:

The Consumer Access Device has now been paired. (EnergyHive firmware version 0.8.6 with the Secure Meters smart meters)

This was indeed easy: all Ovo need is the exact make/model of CAD, the EUI, and the Install Code, and the CAD to be powered up and in range of the smart meter.

That exact make/model/firmware version of CAD had indeed been tested with the Secure Meters smart meter too.

The smart meter team at Ovo, once you're permitted to speak with them, know how to do this.


A formal complaint was raised, and it was requested that Ovo acknowledge:

"1) Their obligations under the terms of their supply licence. Admit, in writing, that you're obligated to make a reasonable effort at pairing a consumer access device with a smart meter.

2) That it is possible to pair this particular consumer access device (EnergyHive, can also be branded Hildebrand or Labrador), firmware version 0.8.6, with the Sscure Meters.

3) That I as a customer actually asked for something perfectly achieveable

4) That Ovo, shall we say, consistently made it more difficult than it could have been to communicate with the appropriate individuals within Ovo who could resolve the issues, and indeed communicated a number of what transpired to be false statements in the process

5) That Ovo have learned from this and promise not to do it again

and that Ovo would:

A) Turn over all internal meeting minutes, internal and externals correspondence, and call recordings to XXX at BEIS (not myself) such that they make take a view on changes that may be needed to expedite the delivery of useful smart metering in the UK

😎 Commit to enacting a formal process by which consumers may request that an "pre-approved [by Ovo] consumer access device" is paired with their smart meter within 2 weeks of first requesting this; and having this process documented online and in operation by 31/08/2018"



Ovo replied with:

"Good morning Mr Cosic

Thank you for your patience whilst your complaint was investigated.

Following your conversation with XXX on LinkedIn, I can confirm that your Consumer Access Device (CAD) has been paired, and your complaint has been closed.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch. You can contact us by replying to this email, or emailing feedback@ovoenergy.com directly. You can also call the Complaints team on 0800 408 6699, our lines are open 9am-7.30pm Monday to Thursday and 9am-6pm on Friday.

Kind regards

Stacey Seeley​
Complaint Resolution Agent"



Thus ignoring every reasonable request in the complaint and attempting to brush it under the carpet on their systems.


The smart metering folk there are ok. The front line consumer facing folks are good sports too. The upper echelons appear have adopted the kind of comfortable "treat the consumer with total contempt" approach that the media would have you believe was exclusive to the Big Six. If you refuse to be bullied by them a consumer can pair their own consumer access device though.


PDF this whilst it still exists here. 😉
Excellent news, thank you for all your hard work and persistence in bringing this to a satisfactory conclusion.

I've just placed an order with Energyhive for the same CAD, so lets hope I can get a speedy connection.
Userlevel 1
Badge
Saved, just incase they remove this post, it is a shame they did not fully respond and formally clarify their position. Still upshot is that the device can be paired. I shall look into grabbing one a repeating your process (hopefully with less aggravation).
Just sent an email to OVO requesting connection of my CAD to the HAN.

Same make, model and firmware as the one successfully paired for markocosic

I'll report progress as it happens.
Userlevel 1
Badge
Nice one redwood, keep us up to date. Hopefully the process is more streamlined for you and we can start ordering more CAD's
Progress (or lack of it) so far...

All via email unless otherwise stated.

Me to OVO 10:32 Can you please pair this CAD, here are all my account details and an .xml file with all the zigbee connection details

OVO to me 10:39 We have opened the HAN for 30 minutes

CAD failed to pair, so I contacted Energyhive and they could see the open HAN and suspected the .xml file had not been uploaded

Me to OVO 11:25 Can you please confirm the .xml file had been uploaded.

OVO to me 11:47 We have opened the HAN for 24 hours. No confirmation of successful .xml upload.

CAD failed to pair, Energyhive still suspect the .xml file had not been uploaded

Me to OVO 13:31 I asked them to confirm receipt of the .xml file and it's error free upload

OVO to me 13:46 Replied to say the Smart Metering Team now had the files and
would be in touch within 3-5 working days. still no confirmation of error free upload.

Me to OVO by phone 13:56 Spent 21 minute mainly on hold to be told someone would phone me back later today.

OVO to me by phone 16:02 Told it would take up to 2 to 4 weeks to get the CAD connected. Various "reasons" given for the delay. "we need to carry out security checks", "we can only upload .xml files in bulk", none of which appeared in the followup email.

OVO to me 16:18 Email confirmation of the above phone conversation.

===================== quote ========================

Thank you for your time today.

As discussed, after speaking with our smart metering team they have
advised that they can pair the CAD device you have purchased, however it
will take some time to get everything ready.

They have requested that the device is left plugged into the mains and
turned on, once necessary activity has been carried out on the network and
with Secure then we will remotely pair the device, this will be completed
within the next 2-4 weeks.


======================== end quote =====================

So questions:

Why was the HAN opened if the .xml file had not been uploaded?
Why was the HAN opened if OVO had "necessary activity" to engage in prior to pairing?
Why did it take so long to backtrack?

I also received a spurious email from OVO saying they could not pair a customers own IHD but happily supply me an OVO one!

Using email to communicate with OVO is frustrating. Each exchange is answered by a different person and no audit trail is maintained (at least not from the customer perspective).

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