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Will OVO be able to read my Smart meters installed by another supplier?


Will Ovo be able to take meter readings from my already installed smart meter from my previous supplier .

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Best answer by Transparent 2 March 2018, 21:45

Hi @L.houltby,

It depends on who manufactured your existing Smart Meter.
OVO's meters are made by Secure, and are the same type used by E.on, First Utility and Utilita.

If it's not one of those, then you'll still receive energy, but the meter will fall back to a dumb-mode and you will have to take manual readings.

However, this situation may not last for long. Smart Meter technology is being upgraded to the new SMETS2 standard which is compatible across all suppliers.

I suggest you read what others are saying about SMETS2 on this Forum and start finding out about the other facilities it will offer. It's a big step forward in the way we handle energy, and comes under the Government strategy for Demand-side Response.

Hope that helps.

**Update 16/07/2019**

More info on this here.
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Hi @L.houltby,

It depends on who manufactured your existing Smart Meter.
OVO's meters are made by Secure, and are the same type used by E.on, First Utility and Utilita.

If it's not one of those, then you'll still receive energy, but the meter will fall back to a dumb-mode and you will have to take manual readings.

However, this situation may not last for long. Smart Meter technology is being upgraded to the new SMETS2 standard which is compatible across all suppliers.

I suggest you read what others are saying about SMETS2 on this Forum and start finding out about the other facilities it will offer. It's a big step forward in the way we handle energy, and comes under the Government strategy for Demand-side Response.

Hope that helps.

**Update 16/07/2019**

More info on this here.
Thank you . My smart meter is a first utility one so it should be compatable.
I have recently had a smart meter installed - a Liberty 100. I am wondering whether this will be SMETS 2 compliant - or will it need a further upgrade?
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There are no Smart Meters running SMETS2 yet deployed. One major reason for this is because GCHQ are investigating how secure they are. Not only must they be sure that rogue software cannot be uploaded into them, but also that they cannot be hijacked with commands from an unauthorised operator.

It is likely that changes will have to be made to the SMETS2 code that has already been tested for functionality, in order than it can have security features added.

It remains to be seen whether the existing meters running SMETS1 and ADM protocols can be upgraded to operate under SMETS2. Since there are a number of different hardware manufacturers, each will have to implement the code once the encryption stuff is added, and then check whether the meter operates correctly.

Some manufacturers may be able to write a piece of software to permit the SMETS2 upgrade to be uploaded remotely. Others may need to do this via site visits. It is too early to say.

So your Liberty 100 will need either a software upgrade, or a site visit, or even (possibly) exchanging for a new version. But it certainly isn't SMETS2 compliant as it stands.

Hope that helps.
i have just had to cancel my booking for a smart meter,i have asked ovo, if i was to switch surpliers would my s/m be compatable.in other words is it universal,all i got was it is a smits1.so now i shall wait until they come in to effect,sometime this year,on a lighter note,i have just joined this forum,all i needed was an e.mail to confirm my details,I GOT 15
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i have just had to cancel my booking for a smart meter,i have asked ovo, if i was to switch surpliers would my s/m be compatable.in other words is it universal,all i got was it is a smits1.so now i shall wait until they come in to effect,sometime this year,on a lighter note,i have just joined this forum,all i needed was an e.mail to confirm my details,I GOT 15

Added your comment here as, although this is about other suppliers Smart Meters, Transparent has provided some useful information which should answer your question.

In regards to the 15 emails, I will report that, as you should have only received one!

Darran
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Hi @rstocker48,

Now that @Darran_OVO's moved your post here, perhaps I can help by adding a bit more detail.

All Energy Suppliers are currently installing meters which operate with the SMETS1 protocols. I wrote more technically about this on another thread a few days ago.

Although all SMETS1 meters must implement the same basic set of 124 software commands, the different companies have not all kept the same "languages" to issue those commands.

So, for example, if a SMETS command existed which told your Smart-meter to shut-off the valve feeding gas into your house, the different Suppliers might have implemented it thus:
  • British Gas: "Valve = Close"
  • OVO: "Shut-off"
  • EDF: "Fermez porte deux"

This is being rationalised within the forthcoming SMETS2 protocols, but those meters aren't yet available.

SMETS2 should be available as a software upgrade for most existing meters. However, there are security implications in allowing this to happen and no-one has yet announced how they intend to implement an upgrade path.

Please ask here if you'd like me to expand on anything I've written.
I recently moved suppliers to OVO Energy, the smart meter that I had previously installed does not seem seem to be being used by OVO to collect meters readings. Do I have to register it some where or book a new installation?
I've moved your query over this already existing topic, @tuxblue - check out the best answer at the top!

Cheers,
Emma
I'm probably not qualified to use this forum as I'm not an OVO customer, although that may change. My current supplier, when encouraging me to go for 'smart', told me the meter would be SMETS2. Now I've had them installed and able to see the manufacturer's details and do a bit of googling I find this is clearly not the case so I'll probably lose smart functionality when I switch supplier. However having looked at the electricity meter I see that not only is it capable of recording Kwh it also seems capable of recording, and presumably transmitting to the supplier KVA. In an ideal world KW and KVA are simply arrived at by multiplying Volts times Amps, but where there is an inductive load Power Factor comes into consideration which will be less than unity so KW will be a lower figure than KVA. Might we suspect that in the future, power companies will get together and agree to charge us for KVA instead of KW now that they have the means of recording KVA?
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Hi @Jacklx; you are admirably qualified to use this Forum. Although it is moderated by OVO staff, it is completely open for members who are not OVO customers. I wish there were more! :)

I have just looked at the layout of the Forum Profile (please fill yours out!), and there are two questions which do seem to assume that members are also customers. Perhaps we need to have an alternative here, which optionally allows a member to state who their Energy Supplier is. I'm just tagging Moderator @Darran_OVO to ask his opinion on this.

Returning to the points you've made:

1. I'm not surprised your new smart meters turned out to use the SMETS1 protocols. I've actually just posted an update and explanation of why this is yesterday.

Whether you'd lose functionality if you switched to OVO depends on who you're with now. E.on, First Utility and Utilita all use the same meters, made by Secure.

At some point, we expect SMETS1 meters will be upgraded to SMETS2 software. However, there are security issues still being assessed before anyone announces how this could be done.


2. Yes, the SMETS protocols do calculate power (kW). This information can be used by National Grid to provide better control over electricity supply. Rather like weather-forecasting, this isn't an exact science, and we're still at the stages of building mathematical models on which to base predictions.

The two major issues are the amount of renewable energy being pumped back into substations (which causes an increase in both losses and imbalance), and the fact that there isn't (yet) any Smart Metering of those sub-stations. This is expected to change shortly, and you can read more about OpenLV here.


3. Commercial customers are already billed an extra levy for their inductive-load Power Factor, and have been for many years. This is highly unlikely to be extended to domestic users. There are more significant factors to consider in calculating the grid-loading and losses at sub-stations feeding houses.
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Hi @Transparent We assume the majority of customers here are OVO customers, and do have a box to fill in your previous supplier if you have just switched, but we will definitely look at adding an additional box for current supplier if we think it's needed.

We haven't had many users sign up that are not current customers as yet, so it's not something we've needed previously!
Hi Darren,
thanks for the welcome. I'm encouraged to see that should I change supplier my meters, also manufactured by Secure, the Liberty 100, might be upgradeable. My current supplier is Bristol Energy but of course I'm always on the lookout for a better deal.
As for my power factor worries I'm still not convinced that changes will not be introduced for domestic users. I have a little gadget which I bought from Lidl several years ago. It plugs into a 13Amp socket and shows the consumption figures of whatever is plugged into it, this includes Power Factor as the cosine of the lag angle. I was surprised to see how many, albeit low consumption devices, exhibit a 'low' PF, mainly, it seems those using a switching power supply such as a PC. One example is a low energy light bulb rated at 11 Watts, it displays 11W usage, but the current multiplied by the voltage comes out as 18, i.e 18Watts, which when multiplied by the displayed PF does come down to 11W. Now our metering is effectively 'computer controlled' I'm sure the energy companies are quite likely to grasp the opportunity to make changes as I've previously mentioned which will increase bills, but give no indication of which of their devices are causing these increases. Perhaps I've been alive too long and developed a certain amount of cynicism. I'll now endeavour to find out where I can update my profile, as requested.
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Thanks @Jacklx; I understand where you're coming from.

For Domestic Electricity Suppliers to charge an extra levy for Power Factor, there would need to be a change of the regulations. Ofgen stipulates the permissable tariffs, and each company is currently restricted to four.

Given that most people (incl MP's) are still trying to understand the benefits of Smart Meters, I think the chance of the regulations being changed is extremely small. There would be a public outcry.

That's an interesting little gadget from Lidl. Any possibility of you uploading a photo here? How much was it?

I've found the quality of gadgets from Lidl is unpredictable/variable. I've bought an amazingly accurate ultrasonic distance measurer, and a next to useless radio-controlled clock. The latter overrides my settings twice a year when the clocks change, and reverts to the German timezone. Aagh!

I'm assuming that the "low energy light bulb" you refer to is a folded fluorescent? Since these are progressively being replaced by LEDs, the problem will diminish without further intervention.

As for Switched-Mode Power-Supply Units (SMPSU's), there have been EU regulations to minimise Power-Factor problems since 2001, which are referred to here on Wikipedia. Unless your PC is extremely old, it should be a Class-D SMPSU incorporating a power factor correction (PFC) stage.

I'm gradually changing over to using a 24v DC power-bus within my house (fed from renewable-energy sources). This drives LED lighting directly, and I can use DC-DC Converters to connect other equipment such as a PC. Off-the-shelf DC supplies for PC motherboards are readily available, such as this one from AliExpress at £13


They are amazingly efficient, and since they can run from a 24v battery, you don't need a UPS to cope with power-outs either!

Here's a full-spec PC I built a few months ago which uses three stages of DC-DC converter to feed the motherboard and an external LG monitor. The input-range is 12-32vDC.


Although this PC has a 65w AMD processor, for the sort of work I do, I'm only drawing around 50W total (incl monitor) in normal use.

The concept of using a 24v DC bus within the home is something I picked up in a symposium at Bath University over 15-years ago. Although I'm still experimenting, it has major benefits, and would of course largely eradicate the Power Factor problems you raise.
You asked for a photo of my gadget. To save cluttering up this forum I sent an email with photos and info which I guess you didn't get so I'll try this way.
The gadget cost about £7.00 from Lidl a few years ago. There is a reference in the user manual telling me the model number is 9149 and the importer is Paget Trading. If you google Paget Trading there are lots of entries from which you can download a user manual but I can't see anything about buying one.
I'll now have a go at uploading an image, whether or not that will then allow me to add more is anyone's guess. Success I think, I'll try another, which didn't work as it's a .pdf scan of the relevant page of the user manual.
referring to the image, the 'bulb' is rated at 11Watts, the voltage is shown as 223V, current 0.08 Amps PF as 0.62. Multiply V times A we get 18 Watts, multiply by 0.62 we're back to 11Watts.
I dare say Parliament would have to approve any changes, but lets face it few honorable members would understand what this is all about and they are unlikely to pay their own energy bills anyway, charge it to expenses. It'll go through 'On the Nod'.
OK so we will be gradually switching to LED lighting which seems to exhibit PF much nearer unity, but we will still be using inductive stuff and of course we will not be able to see any indication on our 'smart' metering of VA compared with Watts being consumed.
HTH
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Thanks @Jacklx.

Well I've had a look at the Paget 9149 specs & manual. It claims 5% accuracy on measuring watts. The differences you quote between watts and VA for your compact fluorescent bulb do seem pretty significant, and should surely have been addressed in the design of the electronics.

LED lighting only provides us with the opportunity to alleviate the problem. If we drive those LED's through cheap & nasty SMPSU's from Far-East Manufacturers whose specs are being self-regulated, then the only benefits will be due to the LED lights taking less energy that a fluorescent.

However, I've found that the quality of switched-mode LED drivers is getting better over the years, and I suspect that the EU tightening of Regulations has been gradually doing what was intended.

I'm discussing other matters with a Chinese PSU Manufacturer next week, so I'll see what they have to say about power-factor correction.
Hi Transparent,
It's not just lighting. I've moved my Lidl monitor to my Indesit 'totally frost free fridge freezer'. With the motor running the readings are
226Volts
0.66 Amps
96 Watts
PF = 0.66

So VA = 149, Let us hope that they don't start charging for VA instead of Watts.

Earlier to day I did a bit of googling, I discovered the 'smart' meter itself registers several different items which are selected by pushing a button. Kwh consumed KVARH which comes up with a figure slightly above Kwh when divided by my 'usual' voltage. Actual readings were:-
Kwh = 113.2
KVARH = 27
27000 divided by 230 = 117.4. i.e. wattage corrected for unity PF

The meter also registers EXKVARH but I haven't been able to find out what this means, however it's now 14.8 whereas earlier today it was 14.7.

I also came across this, which I think refers to our friends over the pond, but might give an indication of our future. https://www.quora.com/What-do-we-pay-in-electrical-utility-bill-KWH-or-KVAH.

I had my 'smart' meter fitted on July 3rd. My bills are usually calculated near the end of the month, I'm looking forward to seeing what's been cooked up.

I guess the email I sent didn't get to you, it included this:-
I've just used the gadget to monitor consumption of our TV + Bose sound box+ two Humax PVR.
Volts 224
Current 0.48Amp
Watts 92
PF 0.82

224 X 0.48 = 107VA
Our TV is on for many hours.
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Wow - lots of useful info here, @Jacklx.

My little bit of research has revealed that KVARH is included within Secure's software for calculating import/export power per hour. So on your iteration of the meter software I'm assuming they've designated the label KVARH for import, and EXKVARH for Export.

The only matching SMETS1 commands which I can see might be able to read these variables are
  • Read Maximum Demand Import Registers
  • Read Maximum Demand Export Registers


Have a look at the SMETS1 commands for yourself. I can't see any command(s) to interrogate VA rather than Watts. Unless it's there, then there can't be legislation passed to alter the domestic charging regime.


How did you try to send me an email?
What address did you post to?
Hi Transparent,
In answer to your email question; I receive an email from OVO Community suggesting I look at the website. I directed the email as a reply to sender and hoping someone might forward it to you. Why? I should imagine that other users of this forum are probably fed up with seeing my name pop up banging on about Power Factor when the 'string', 'thread' or whatever it's called is only about whether or not a so-called smart meter will be any use when switching suppliers. Perhaps a PF string might be introduced as I feel that there is confusion, or it might just be me, recalling something I was told during my apprenticeship.
I've had a glance at your latest which I'll get into tomorrow. At least I now realise what IMP and
EXP mean. It must be my age, I immediately associated IMP with 'Imperial' measure.
What's this 'Ninja' ?
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Oh; well that's a very logical response @Jacklx. But I'm just a fellow Forum Member like you. I have no idea what happens if you press reply on an incoming email from the Community email account. You might be the first to have tried that!

As it happens, the Forum Moderators probably do know one of my personal email accounts. I had to use it a few months ago to send them diagrams outside of a Forum discussion. But normally the Forum is run separately from OVO's customer database where personal info is held.

If we need to have a discussion outside of the public Forum, there's a Private Message system. I'm going to send you one in a moment so you can try it. Unfortunately it doesn't (yet) support attachments or embedded graphics.

I think the discussion about Power Factors is far more relevant than a lot of other stuff which get's posted on the Forum. We should definitely keep it public.

It might be the case that VA/Watts is a new command supported within the SMETS2 protocols which are just being rolled out now. I'll check this.

I agree that others probably won't think to look for a discussion on meter functionality within a Topic entitled "Will OVO be able to read my Smart meters installed by another supplier?". So I'm just tagging a couple of Moderators, @Darran_OVO and @Emma_OVO to ask their advice.

If they feel it right to do so, they could create a new Topic for us and move into it all our discussion following your first post here 11 days ago. They'll choose an appropriate title, something like "Smart Meter commands and functions".

The Ninja attribute is nothing sinister. I don't wear the uniform! Each Forum member gets assigned levels of prowess according the extent of their involvement and depth of their knowledge. Yours is currently Savvy **.

There are currently seven Ninjas, which is the top level. We have a range of different skills. For example one is a qualified electrical engineer.

Hope that helps.
Stand by for a Private Message (PM)
SMETS1 commands a useful website, the list of commands seems endless but I assume that these are not for use by mere consumers. The Qs and As are helpful. Now I know why there's a delay between switching on the gas oven and it registering on the IHD. I now know the gas meter has a battery in it. It hadn't occurred to me before but I'm not too fussed about gas consumption indications.
I'm still puzzled about the stuff displayed on the Liberty 100 electricity meter. The user manual doesn't say much but I have discovered one can read what's available by pushing button 9. I've no idea what all the other buttons do, I'm confused enough with this Import/Export business. OK so the IMPKWH tells me how much power I've used in KWatts. EXPKVA registers Zero for me which is understandable as I'm not in the electricity exporting business, however when it comes to IMPKVARH I get a figure of 29.2, which divided by my 'usual' voltage of 230 = 127 which I guess is equivalent to the KWH figure ignoring PF. This could be a wrong guess. I also have a figure for EXPKVARH, 15.7 which doesn't seem to relate to anything. I've used a website listing abbreviations and discovered that KVARH stands for 'Kilovolt Maps Reactive Hours (Electricity metering in Ireland)'. I've tried adding IMP and EXP prior to KVARH but get no results.
I used my Lidl gadget to see what my Lenovo PC and Dell monitor uses. Running FULL Windows Defender scan:-
Volts 230
Amps 0.34
Watts 54
PF 0.7

VA would be 78
Crumbs, I'm having problems keeping up here. I was in the midst of creating a document, my take on Power Factor which I was planning to put in my Dropbox and add the link. Now I'll await my Private Message. Not sure where I'll see it, I'll wait and see if I get another notification via email. Ah, it's arrived. I'll conclude the document and paste it into the PM reply. Still have a few sentences to add.
Hey guys,

We don't encourage users to reply to auto notification emails as the inbox it would fall to is not monitored. Any questions and comments should be published on the forum so others can try and offer help.

Cheers,
Emma
OK Emma, I promise I won't do it again. It's just that I felt that I, not even an OVO user, was steering things away from the original question.
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Thank @Emma_OVO. So what about my other point where I wrote

If [the Moderators] feel it right to do so, they could create a new Topic for us and move into it all our discussion following your first post here 11 days ago. They'll choose an appropriate title, something like "Smart Meter commands and functions".
?

 @Jacklx. I've got your PM, which I'll respond to when I have a spare moment. I still feel that you're raising relevant information for the public Forum... but try to make your point using fewer words!

Quite a lot of what you're writing is because you're new to the subject of Smart Meters, and haven't yet grasped the way they operate. You're plunging in at a very deep technical level. (To drive a car, you don't have to understand how the engine works!)

I'd suggest you read more of what others have already discussed on the Forum first.


I'll deal with your opening point by way of illustration:

SMETS1 commands a useful website, the list of commands seems endless but I assume that these are not for use by mere consumers.


Smart Meter commands are sent to/fro your Energy Supply Company via DCC. I've already posted a diagram showing the overall set-up here. The commands and the data returned are encrypted.

Separately to the Commands, each meter manufacturer decides which Display-features they will make available to consumers and engineers via the front-panel buttons. That's what you've been investigating. It's an entirely different concept from the Commands being transmitted via the Mobile-phone network from DCC.

Just because a manufacturer writes meter software to calculate Import-kVA, doesn't mean that this feature is supported via the SMETS commands.

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