Solved

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


In your discussion on SMETS1 vs SMETS2 you indicate that SMETS1 meters will be made DCC compliant by end 2019 but you do not make it clear if this will be a hardware fix done by an engineer at the house or a remotely activated software download. (I mean in respect of the meters you are currently installing).

icon

Best answer by Nancy_OVO 22 August 2018, 16:10

Updated 03/06/2020 We are currently installing SMETS2 meters in most areas.

Hey @taffy - we've had an update about this recently! If you've got a SMETS1 meter, when SMETS2 is rolled out, you won't need a meter change or engineer visit. They are going to be linked up to the DCC remotely.

Hope this helps!

 

 

View original

55 replies

Thanks to all the people who have replied - I have been away and have only just read them.

Re the 2019 date for SMETS2 updates, I took it from this:

https://www.ovoenergy.com/smart-meters and specifically:

"At OVO, we think SMETS1 are the best choice right now. Although SMETS2 will work with all suppliers from the get-go, lots of people don’t realise that SMETS1 will have that functionality too – as of the end of 2019. So if you’re not planning on switching suppliers within the next 12 months, SMETS1 is the obvious choice"

so I may have over-interpreted the words.

In passing, as an former electronics design engineer, I experienced quite a lot of disastrous technical decisions made by technically incompetent managers but the SMETS fiasco exceeds them all. I only hope some academic person records and analyses this as a classic example of how the interface between politics and technology is nearly always dysfunctional. In this case I suspect the fact that the cost is being borne by customers and doesn't impinge on the Treasury may be relevant.

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.

Userlevel 7
Badge +2
If the upgraded meter is going to be certified SMETS2, @GT3911, then there shouldn't be any difference!

There are minimum requirements for SMETS2 to labeled as such. These include having the capability to record the maximum demand in any 30 minute (HH) period and during a configurable ‘peak’ period. SMETS2 systems must also have a minimum of five channels of Auxiliary Load Control Switches (ALCS), but can offer more.

I suppose it's possible that there are some early SMETS1 meters which haven't enough memory or processing power to run the SMETS2 software, but this will be company-confidential. I don't know of any manufacturer who has divulged the hardware spec of their embedded computer!
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.

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

Thanks for the clarifications @Apial

Nancy is still correct in asserting that these issues can be readily resolved. However many Energy Suppliers are involved, there is still only one central database which holds your meter data. For electricity, that database is ECOES

 

For the sake of others who come across this Topic at a later date, may I just explain the way in which the strategy has evolved for handling differing tariffs at the same site:-

We used to require two separate meters, where one registered the standard electricity usage. The other one was attached to a time-clock and fed devices like storage-radiators on an Economy-7 tariff.

That progressed to a situation where a single digital meter could record both standard and E-7 uses. Those still required manual reading however.

The current Smart Meters (both SMETS1 and SMETS2) have software control for 4 or 5 different tariffs which can be recorded separately. In addition they have an Export Tariff register for electricity sent back to the National Grid.

Currently we don’t use much of the multi-tariff capability of Smart Meters, but that’s about to change.

Another Supplier, Octopus, already offer a variable tariff at different times of the day. Soon this will become possible through all UK-based Suppliers.

The regional Distributed Network Operators have put together a DUoS tariff (Distributed Use of System) which has three bands of charges labelled Red, Amber and Green. This will enable customers to choose when to use electricity with all three pricing structures held within the Smart Meter.

 

 

Userlevel 6
Will my existing smart meter be replaced with a new 2nd generation meter


No it won't, @Skinny, read through this topic to see what will happen. If you've got any questions, post them here - we'll all be happy to help.
Userlevel 6

does this mean that any Smart Meters installed now will be able to switch supplier just as soon as SMETS-2 is rolled out? Or will there be a delay to upgrading the software? I'm not looking to switch from Ovo but having that ability is the one thing that keeps me from accepting a smart meter install right now.

 


Hi @afcone,

We'll be starting to insall small batches of SMETS 2 meters soon, but upgrading SMETS1 meters onto the DCC won't be immediate. Rest assured if you have a SMETS1 meter, it'll be able to communicate universally very soon.

That's not to say that you can't switch providers in the meantime. Our SMETS1 meters are currently compatible with the following suppiers:

Utilita Energy Limited
OVO Energy
Co-operative Energy Ltd
First Utility Ltd
Electricity Plus Supply Ltd t/a The Utility Warehouse
Toto Energy Limited
E (Gas & Electricity)
Spark Energy Supply Limited
Eversmart Energy Ltd
EON Energy
Robin Hood Energy Limited
Ecotricity

You can also switch to any other company not listed above, but your meter will function as a traditional one where you provide readings manually.

Hope this helps!

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +2
Just before you consider anything about switching Energy Suppliers, @afcone, can I just point out that the inter-compatibility between those suppliers is only a small part of what the SMETS2 protocols deliver.

There are new features which could allow Customers to cap the amount of energy they buy within certain price-bands or time-slots. There are four separate elements to this:

* Time Of Use Tariffs: An extension to the existing Economy-7 concept

* Block tariffs: Maintaining a count of how much of the consumption during a time band was consumed at different block rates

* Load limiting: Capability to switch supply off when an ‘instantaneous use’ threshold is crossed.

* Max demand registers: Capability to record the maximum demand in any 30 min (HH) period and during a configurable ‘peak’ period

The days when we visit a comparison website and commit to a contract of 12-months (or more) are coming to an end. Instead we will choose Energy Suppliers who can offer variable-tariff deals which allow us to configure/instruct the SMETS2 meter to suit our lifestyle.

The overall title for this concept is called Demand Side Response and Ofgem has been busy enshrining it within the regulations over the past four years.
Userlevel 7
Badge +2
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 🙂
Userlevel 7
Badge +2
Hi @taffy. You make an interesting comment, comparing your Owl meter with usage readings supplied from your new Smart Meter.

However, can I just point out that a recently-installed meter still requires communications testing, followed by remote software configuration and then the tariff information to be uploaded. This can take a week or two.

Once this is done, you may no longer see the same level of discrepancy with your Owl monitor.

Even if you had a house full of fluorescent lights with old ballasts, and poor-quality switched-mode power supplies, I'd be surprised if power-factor discrepancies could account for mis-reporting as much as you suggest.

Wait a month and then tell us if you are still seeing this amount of disparity between the electricity readings of the two systems.
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 7
Badge +2
Hi @johnnib. I have written more about Smart Meters being upgraded to SMETS2 software on another Topic here.

Yes, SMETS2 meters allow full interchangeability between Energy Suppliers, which is also covered in that other Topic.

At the moment OVO are only polling Smart Meters once each day. So your My OVO page and the OVO App will display yesterday's data, but not the current day.

At some stage this will need to change because the whole country is to be offered Time-Of-Use Tariffs (TOU). This is a variable half-hour rate which enables consumers to choose when they wish to use electricity. It is an alternative to the coarse arrangement of Economy-7, which provides cheaper electricity at night (mainly from Nuclear Stations).

Please ask if you'd like further clarification.
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. 😀

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.

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 6

Hey @TWSaab, sorry about the radio silence, there is no further update currently, as soon as there is we’ll update here! 

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.

When I moved to my new house I had smart gas and electricity meters installed by BT. Why can't OVO use these existing meters, with a software update, rather than try to install new ones?

The last time I asked OVO to replace them, they wanted me to pay to have the gas pipework changed to install the OVO meter, I refused. Has anything changed?

Reply