Solved

How will SMETS1 meters be updated when SMETS2 is rolled out?



Show first post

55 replies

Userlevel 6
Hi @dcoles31,

Our engineers aren't insured to carry out work on the electrics of your property (only the meter itself), of which the earth bonding would be part. Find out more about this here.

While we have been installing SMETS2 meters in some areas, the 'universal platform' (the DCC) to which all generations of smart meter will be connected, is not fully operational, and SMETS1 meters haven't been connected. This means that for now, some first generation meters will still be incompatible with other suppliers that don't use the same meter type. Eventually, they will all be connected to the DCC, but we can't advise when this might happen just yet.

Hope this helps!
Will there be any difference between an upgraded SMETS1 smart meter's capabilities compared to a SMETS2 one?

Because the "Smart Metering Equipment Technical Specifications" (SMETS) is a specification, I assume this is not the case - but I wouldn't be too surprised if some.. "concessions" were allowed to save some millions somewhere.

If it helps, I'm specifically interested in whether an upgraded Ovo energy SMETS1 meter can support >=4 Type 2 devices (consumer access devices) on the HAN, as per SMETS2:

5.4.2.2 Communications Links with Type 2 Devices via its HAN Interface
ESME shall be capable of establishing Communications Links via its HAN Interface with a minimum of four Type 2 Devices.


source: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/68898/smart_meters_equipment_technical_spec_version_2.pdf

[edit]: fixed quote formatting
I understood from this smartdcc link from this post that (some?) Secure SMETS1 meters may be upgraded from September 2019 onwards (i.e. now).
Is there a way to find out whether a meter has already been upgraded?
If not, is there a way to find out when it will happen?
Userlevel 6
I've moved your query here, @m01, we haven't started the upgrades yet and there isn't a date for this to be done just yet.

We'll post new information as and when we get it on the forum, and I'm sure the team will also be in touch too! :)

As far as I'm aware all SMETS1 meters will have the same functionality as a SMETS2 meter once they've been upgraded.
Userlevel 7
Badge +2
Thanks for the interesting questions, @m01.

I think you're encroaching onto ground that is still Company-confidential as regards devices that hang off the HAN. But I'll tag @BenS_OVO just to make he reads your last two posts here!

The first document you referred to is dated 2013, marked "Draft" and for consideration by the EU. A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then!

I believe the HAN specification has been extended to being dual frequency, having 868MHz added to the 2.4GHz band. Bizarrely, this doesn't seem to have found its way into the SMETS2 specification for gas meters.

As most Forum members are genuinely interested in this subject, but not necessarily au fait with the terminology, perhaps you could help by posting here a less technical definition of Type-1 and Type-2 Devices?

Many thanks.
Userlevel 3
Hey @m01

Having a quick word with someone in the Adoption and Enrolment team, they have informed me that they are indeed looking to start switching a selection of S1 customers onto the DCC systems quite soon (this will be exclusive to PayM customers). Initially this won't be huge numbers and we will not be informing these individuals straight away as their experience will not change in anyway (this is due to it being a test of the systems). The theory is they don't want to inform and potentially confuse customers as they will see no change.
Once the customer benefits start to be developed, like better more accurate consumption data, better security, then we will start to inform those that have been integrated.

Really good question regarding consumer access devices. We are currently pairing these CAD's at customers properties so we can have a good infrastructure in place for our S2 customers. These CAD devises are part of the IHD which are specifically mean to be paired with S2 comms hubs.
Now OVO did do some testing for S1 CAD devises a few years back and it never got off the ground, so there is defiantly scope for us to have these for our S1 customers going forward.
I guess a lot will depend of now our S2 customers take to the new devices and the benefits they offer. Personally I would like to see it and I'll be pushing for it.

Cheers,
B.
Userlevel 3
Oh and just so I'm clear regarding CAD's; we are just in the process of pairing the CAD IHD's to customers WiFi currently. We have yet to turn on the reads portion of this tech, that comes soon.
Thank you all for your replies.
Thanks for the interesting questions, @m01.
...
As most Forum members are genuinely interested in this subject, but not necessarily au fait with the terminology, perhaps you could help by posting here a less technical definition of Type-1 and Type-2 Devices?
...


Sure.. In the SMETS1 I saw the term "Consumer Device" to be used.

From the linked SMETS 2 I understood that Type-2 devices were the "Consumer Access Devices", i.e. ones that provide consumers access to the data. Type 1 devices can interact with the smart meter but don't necessarily provide the consumer with information. I'm not sure what Type 1 devices equate to in SMETS1.

My interest here is largely in one or more USB-stick like device(s) that would let me receive the same data as the in home display, just in digital format (and without needing to go via the cloud). I think this falls under the Type 2 or Consumer Access Device (CAD) section.

If an upgraded SMETS1 smart meter only supported 1 Type-2 device/Consumer Access Device rather than the SMETS2-specified 4, and the In-Home Display cannot be replaced with a device like the one I described, then that would be a bummer and I'd be stuck, potentially for many years. Consumers don't own the meters, and even if I'd be happy to pay for an upgrade I'm not sure if the processes exist to allow for that to happen.

Thanks for the interesting questions, @m01.

I think you're encroaching onto ground that is still Company-confidential as regards devices that hang off the HAN


I didn't mean to ask about company-confidential information.

The first document you referred to is dated 2013, marked "Draft" and for consideration by the EU. A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then!


You're right - I think this might be a better document:
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/299395/smets.pdf - but I'm not sure if v1.1 is the latest SMETS1 either. Sadly it's not easy to find the latest version of these specifications, although I assumed they were intended to be publicly available.

I believe the HAN



specification has been extended to being dual frequency, having 868MHz added to the 2.4GHz band. Bizarrely, this doesn't seem to have found its way into the SMETS2



specification for gas meters.


Indeed, so it's not clear to me how this for example can be supported by a software upgrade to an existing SMETS1-compliant meter... (but it may also not always be required)

@BenS_OVO Thank you for your replies, that's useful information. Additionally to the Home Area Network (HAN) stuff, I would've thought that there are some customer benefits in being part of the DCC network. In theory switching energy suppliers should mean you keep the smartness of the meter, you know where your data is going, and you're no longer in a situation where your meter may send data to a party that you're no longer in contract with (I'm not sure what happens in practice here, it probably depends on the energy supplier). I appreciate these may not be the most mainstream interests. I guess there may be ways to get other services via the DCC network, too, but I'm not sure how developed this area is yet.

If you've not already guessed, I'm often an early adopter. 😀

Is there any update on when the change to SMETS2 standard for a SMETS1 meter will be done?   I understand that this is OTA so cannot understand the delay.   

I have an OVO SMETS1 meter fitted about 3 years ago but am now looking to change supplier.  Most cannot make use of SMETS1 meters and one of my meters is difficult for me to access so I would rather not go back to submitting monthly readings

I asked the question on the OVO FB page and just got a ‘no information available’ reply.   Surely a firm the size of OVO must have a plan for the updates and be getting on with it now.  How many need updating, how many are updated per month, what is the programme for the updates - 6 months, 1 year, 5 years?   Does anybody know anything there?

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

Hi @TWSaab - the update schedule to SMETS2 is mainly in the hands of the central Data Communications Company rather than individual Energy Suppliers, like OVO.

It is a 3-stage process. The first two have been undertaken.

I, and several others, have written to Ofgem requesting that Stage-3 should not occur in the winter months. If the upgrade fails there is a possibility that the Meter may stall in a position where no energy flows. An on-site visit will be required to change the software. This would clearly be best scheduled to occur when we are not so dependent on heating, and the day-lengths are longer.

Thanks for the information.  

A post in one of the threads on the OVO forum said that no engineers visit was necessary for the update?   

How unreliable is the update?  I would have thought that there had been thorough testing of it so it should not fail.  

I am still surprised there is no overall programme even if they agree not to start in winter, which we are now halfway through.   Sounds like by the time they decide (if they have not yet started) it will be spring anyway!

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

Correct @TWSaab - the software upgrade should be possible without any need for an engineer to visit. @Nancy_OVO announced this on the OVO Forum.

I can’t tell how reliable the upgrade process is, but the software itself (once installed) will be extremely robust. It gets lots of testing under all sorts of fault-conditions.

I already have SMETS2 meters, but I have been involved a several tests where OVO themselves sent software upgrades without a site visit. This was a very interesting experience, providing OVO’s Engineers and myself with useful background experience.

One of those upgrades did fail in such a way that an on-site visit was required. That was fine with me. I was at no time without electricity and gas and I wasn’t concerned at having several months of “incorrect bills”. That’s all part of the test process.

I am sure that there already exists a timetable for rolling out the third and final stage of SMETS software upgrades. However, it will always remain subject to adjustment depending on fresh feedback from test-sites like mine. That’s exactly as it should be.

The actual process of implementing the upgrade is confidential and uses encrypted pathways. This is a fundamental part of the overall SMETS system. There is a core requirement to prevent it ever being possible for a third-party to send code updates to our domestic energy meters. This prevents hostile activists from being able to threaten UK Energy Supplies.

 

Userlevel 6

I think you’re referring to the automatic software roll out that is due, @dcoles31, you won’t need to have our meters installed, once that the upgrade has happened we will be able to communicate with your British Gas smart meters. 

I hope this helps! 

Thanks for clarifying the quotation, @taffy. It was the "DCC compliant" bit which threw me. But I understand now I can see it in context.

And it's good to hear from @Nancy_OVO that the upgrade from SMETS1 will be undertaken remotely. The timescale of the end of 2019 sounds about right for that too.

I tend to agree with you that the original roll out of Smart Meters wasn't actually particularly smart. The Government seems to have trusted the Energy Suppliers to agree compatibility, based on a common set of commands. But they, of course, took the opportunity to lock customers into themselves by implementing the commands in different ways!

By contrast the SMETS2 protocols are far more of an open standard. Any design engineer can develop an Auxiliary Load Control Switch, and have it run from a SMETS2 meter. So if you fancy returning to your profession and designing a low-voltage storage unit to run all your house lights on electricity bought at the lowest price-point, then you're free to do so 🙂


Hi @Transparent 

Just wondering if there’s any update on when and who will be completing these updates. My meters were fitted by OVO, although I’m no longer a customer and so far don’t seem to have regained their smart features despite the “end of 2019” deadline having passed.

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

I would expect the software upgrades to SMETS2 functionality to be primarily the responsibility of the meter manufacturers. They will have been collating errors and fixes over the past several months and incorporating the necessary software changes within the SMETS1 upgrade code.

However, they don’t a force of field engineers to respond if something goes awry. So I hope that a common sense approach is taken, such that each Energy Supplier can ensure that they have enough engineers in each geographical area as the upgrade is undertaken.

I also hope that any upgrades will be delayed until Spring. We really don’t want the possibility of homes being left without energy in the middle of winter!

Whilst I agree that failures in winter would not be good failures at any time are not good if it affects the power supply.  However, I don’t think there are too many meter suppliers (and as far as Ovo are concerned they are all Secure?) so it should not have been difficult to have rigorously tested the update long ago and be carrying it out by now.  

It would be good to have firm information as to who is carrying out the upgrade - is it the original supplier/installer or the manufacturer etc?  They must know by now.   If the update is OTA it is difficult to understand what the delay is, after all Samsung manage it on millions of phones regularly.   They seemed to have enough engineers when they convinced you to fit the meters and, assuming the update is fully trialled, they should need less to correct the occasional problem.

What is the situation if you change supplier, who is responsible for the update then?   For something which should already be happening things seem very vague at the moment, or maybe I have missed any information on the subject from suppliers.

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

Firstly, @TWSaab I don’t expect there to be a great deal of information made available to end-users about the 3rd and final stage of upgrading meters to SMETS2 functionality. There are security aspects to consider and it is important not to provide information to potentially hostile 3rd-parties who may wish to disrupt our UK domestic energy supplies.

Secondly, there are some fairly substantial technical hurdles to overcome. For example, in the Northern Territory, SMETS2 Communication Hubs are to communicate with the data network operated by Arqiva. This functions at a frequency of 400MHz which was released from the old ITV analogue transmitters.

However, I don’t believe that any of the SMETS1 meters from Secure contain a transceiver operating at that frequency. As far as I know they all used the same wavebands as mobile-phone GSM signals.

Whilst I have a technical interest in knowing how this anomaly is to be overcome, I don’t really want that information to be freely available on an open public forum!

Thanks, but I was not after any information which might jeopardise security, just basic stuff like who will be carrying out the upgrade.  

As it was supposed to have been started last year and should already be underway the ‘substantial technical hurdles’ should already have been overcome.  Otherwise it would be good just to be told that there was a problem and what a new target date might be.   Surely the communication network frequency was decided long ago and if the Secure units do not have a transceiver operating at the right frequency why would Ovo say it was to be an OTA upgrade?

For something which should be in progress it seems to be a mess with no updates to customers from those who should be doing it.   Basic information on a delay would have changed decisions on supplier I have just made.

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

I’m really not sure I should be saying much more on an open Forum @TWSaab. Knowing which party is effecting an upgrade is itself a weakening of the security, and I can’t see what advantage is to be gained by there being a more detailed explanation provided to end-users.

I’ve received a number of remote software upgrades to my meters and Comms Hubs over the past 10 months. But although I know roughly how the process works, I would hold OVO’s engineers in low regard were they to be explaining my upgrades on this open Forum.

Worse still would be to provide advance notice of when such transmissions were to be anticipated!

You can check the dates at which proposals and decisions were made about the SMETS specifications by looking at DCC’s and Ofgem’s online archives. There is some additional data on the BEIS site. Most of the SMETS2 system we are now implementing was enacted through Parliament in 2013/14 when Sir Ed Davey MP was Energy Minister in the coalition government.

Hi @Transparent 

I really don’t think anyone would want to jepodise security but I do share @TWSaab’s frustration re the lack of communication about this.

I got a smart meter fitted in Nov 2016, noone explained before it was fitted that it would become dumb as soon as I switched, or that they weren’t compatable with other devices in the way my old one was (e.g. the loop system), or that the gas meter would have a display on the side - so taking a meter reading would involve feeling for the number 9 button, sliding your phone in the small gap quickly and taking a picture, hopefully before it switches to the next display. Had I know all these things I personally would never have got one so I’m feeling quite conned. My “Smart meters” have been dumb since around July 2017, and since then I’ve been told there will be a magical upgrade which will fix it, but  despite keeping asking as many people as possible, the total lack of communication as to when this may actually appear is frustrating. The only information I have had is from internet searches which provide various “deadlines” that have all been missed. As someone who has since left the company that fitted the meter concerns include will anyone actually be responsible for upgrading mine. The current company I’m with say they can’t read it so it’s unlikely to be them and why would the past company care.. I’ve just arranged to switch again and despite the comments on other posts on here saying EON use the same meters that I have so will be able to read mine they’re still saying that they won’t until it gets upgraded which will take “some time”.

I’m not blaming you for any of this, and I understand you’re just trying to help without causing any issues. I’m just trying to explain why I’m desparate for someone to give us some information.

Userlevel 1

https://www.smartme.co.uk/technical.html

There is some information concerning expected dates in the link above

SMETS1 meters will be migrated to DCC in five batches over three capability phases. Once the capability is made ready on the dates below, the migration will happen within the following months.

  • Middle Operating Capability (MOC)
    • 15 Mar 2020 - Elster Honeywell meters currently operated by MDS (Morrison Data Services)
    • 28 Jun 2020 - Secure meters operated by the Secure Meters group

So for OVO from the end of June onwards.

https://www.smartme.co.uk/technical.html

There is some information concerning expected dates in the link above

SMETS1 meters will be migrated to DCC in five batches over three capability phases. Once the capability is made ready on the dates below, the migration will happen within the following months.

  • Middle Operating Capability (MOC)
    • 15 Mar 2020 - Elster Honeywell meters currently operated by MDS (Morrison Data Services)
    • 28 Jun 2020 - Secure meters operated by the Secure Meters group

So for OVO from the end of June onwards.

Thank you for that information.   It is more than I have ever been able to get out of OVO despite some of it being quite old.  

It will be interesting to see if they keep to the programme and start in June this year.  It would also be interesting to have some sort of estimate of the time the update will take

.

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

Erm @Russell these dates are not what you might at first suppose.

The announcement states that there are three capability phases, and then gives timings for the Middle one. There is no indication here of how long is required from the time of the MOC to the dates when customers’ readings will be handled by DCC within the Final Operating Capability.

I would expect there to be a period of testing first.

Not doubting you but has there not already been a period of testing?   The organisation (or lack of) of this project is becoming more unbelievable.  

The article gives the proposed timings of all three capability phases with the MOC being when they are planning to update the Secure meters and migrate to DCC?   That is what it appears to be following the consultation which closed last November.   Is this not correct?  Did the IOC not start last November?

The total lack of information from the suppliers leaves one grasping at any other information available.   

This thread seems to have gone very quiet. 

Any chance of a response from Ovo on the MOC dates?   The June date would certainly avoid any cold weather interruptions if that was still a concern.   One assumes Ovo must be involved and informed even if the update is carried out by the manufacturers.

Reply