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Do smart gas meters not give a warning when their batteries are low, before the supply is off?

  • 18 October 2020
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Userlevel 4
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I just read  this article and if true I wish I never asked to have a gas smart meter fitted.

Knowing my luck the battery will die in the winter months when I really need the central heating !

I would have thought that there would be a battery low warning so you have time to contact your energy supplier to replace the battery ?

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Best answer by Tim_OVO 21 October 2020, 11:58

All gas meters (smart or traditional, SMETS1 or SMETS2) have batteries with a shelf life. This is designed to last for up to 20 years, with a meter recertification (exchanging the meter to replace it with a new one) scheduled every 10 years. 

 

What should happen is the gas meter should make an electronic ‘beeping’ sound when the battery is starting to get low (voltage goes below 3.3 volts). It could therefore fail in 2 hours, or 2 years. There’s no way of telling, so I’m told. But a meter exchange is required, and can be arranged via our Support team.

 

@Transparent - you’re good at this stuff aren’t you!

 

I’ve just been ploughing through the Flonidan user manual. It is possible to view the ‘Calculated days left’ of battery life, in the sub menu. 

 

@MikeE can you help me to simply these instructions and get a good how to made on how to check this battery for a Flonidan gas meter owner?

 

 

The “normal” and default display is the Vc i.e. Total Volume in m3 
 
The display can be switched between Vc (m3) & Meter balance £ using the left hand button which is marked “A” shown on the display as “BAL” or “VOL”  
 
While in the “normal” display the meter can be switched into the Menu structure below using the *page icon*  Key - @MikeE what is this, can you see it? 

 

 

 

The sub section we want to try and get to is named Status > Actual values. 

 

 

 

Bat. use = Shows the battery use in uAh/day 
  

Bat. Left =  Shows the calculated days left for the battery  

 

 

One more thing to point out, when the battery needs to be exchanged within 30 days, a ‘Low battery’ symbol will appear at the top right of the display when looking at Volume or Balance screens. 
 
 

 

 

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Userlevel 4

I just thought, the article refers to SMETS1 meters so perhaps my SMETS2 meter really will signal that the battery is dying ?

Anyone know ?

Userlevel 7

Thanks for posting, @MikeE :blush:

 

All gas meters (smart or traditional, SMETS1 or SMETS2) have batteries with a shelf life. This is designed to last for up to 20 years, with a meter recertification (exchanging the meter to replace it with a new one) scheduled every 10 years. 

 

What should happen is the gas meter should make an electronic ‘beeping’ sound when the battery is starting to get low (voltage goes below 3.3 volts). It could therefore fail in 2 hours, or 2 years. There’s no way of telling, so I’m told. But a meter exchange is required, and can be arranged via our Support team.

 

We have 4 topics based on smart gas meters going off supply: 

 

 

 

 

 

Userlevel 7

@SalamancaRhodes @GasAndGaiters @Jenny1 @Amandaagar @Yorick - can you remember if your gas meters made a beeping sound to indicate their low battery?

 

Userlevel 4

@Tim_OVO thanks for the info 👍 

 

I will check out the forum links you posted.

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

1: There is a SMETS Command Read_Event-log which might retrieve information about a gas meter battery.

If so, then an Energy Supplier could notify the customer that they wish to make a site visit within the next month.

@Tim_OVO Are you able to ask the S2 team what information is held in the event-log?

 

2: Most SMETS2 Gas Meters have a calculation of battery life in a sub-menu of the display. Here’s the relevant status screen on my Uniflow:

 

3: I hope the audible beep isn’t monophonic. Otherwise I can foresee my over-friendly crows will learn to mimic it and drive everyone crazy.

 

Userlevel 7

All gas meters (smart or traditional, SMETS1 or SMETS2) have batteries with a shelf life. This is designed to last for up to 20 years, with a meter recertification (exchanging the meter to replace it with a new one) scheduled every 10 years. 

 

What should happen is the gas meter should make an electronic ‘beeping’ sound when the battery is starting to get low (voltage goes below 3.3 volts). It could therefore fail in 2 hours, or 2 years. There’s no way of telling, so I’m told. But a meter exchange is required, and can be arranged via our Support team.

 

@Transparent - you’re good at this stuff aren’t you!

 

I’ve just been ploughing through the Flonidan user manual. It is possible to view the ‘Calculated days left’ of battery life, in the sub menu. 

 

@MikeE can you help me to simply these instructions and get a good how to made on how to check this battery for a Flonidan gas meter owner?

 

 

The “normal” and default display is the Vc i.e. Total Volume in m3 
 
The display can be switched between Vc (m3) & Meter balance £ using the left hand button which is marked “A” shown on the display as “BAL” or “VOL”  
 
While in the “normal” display the meter can be switched into the Menu structure below using the *page icon*  Key - @MikeE what is this, can you see it? 

 

 

 

The sub section we want to try and get to is named Status > Actual values. 

 

 

 

Bat. use = Shows the battery use in uAh/day 
  

Bat. Left =  Shows the calculated days left for the battery  

 

 

One more thing to point out, when the battery needs to be exchanged within 30 days, a ‘Low battery’ symbol will appear at the top right of the display when looking at Volume or Balance screens. 
 
 

 

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

Thanks @Tim_OVO … more clarifications please:

 

1: “...a ‘Low battery’ symbol will appear at the top right of the display...” Which display? On the gas meter itself, or on the IHD?

Few customers would ever look at their gas meter display, especially if it’s beeping in an external enclosure!

The IHD has a Messages system. Can you please check with the S2 Team if that is used to give a low-battery notification?

 

2: Would OVO receive a low-battery notification via DCC  when it does an overnight data collection?

If not, can the SMETS_command to request such a status notification be added to the nightly command-set as standard?

 

3: Not directly relevant on this part of the Forum, but what happens with a pre-payment gas meter if the battery dies? Does it close the valve and leave the property without gas?

Is the action programmed differently if the householder is on the PSR, where the removal of energy supplies is prohibited?

 

It would be best if we got this sorted and checked well in advance of the 10-year meter lifetime specified in the DCC specifications.

 

… you’re good at this stuff aren’t you!

I think I have a knack of asking awkward questions. It’s probably the most useful outcome of my education :wink:

Userlevel 7

1: “...a ‘Low battery’ symbol will appear at the top right of the display...” Which display? On the gas meter itself, or on the IHD?

Few customers would ever look at their gas meter display, especially if it’s beeping in an external enclosure!

 

 

This is on the actual gas meter display. But it’s tricky to interpret the guide (sent to you via email, @Transparent) without actually having the smart meter to test it on. 

 

@MikeE would you be able to follow those steps to see if it displays your battery life estimate? 

 

e.g

 

The “normal” and default display is the Vc i.e. Total Volume in m3 
 
The display can be switched between Vc (m3) & Meter balance £ using the left hand button which is marked “A” shown on the display as “BAL” or “VOL”  
 
While in the “normal” display the meter can be switched into the Menu structure below using the *page icon*  Key

 

The sub section we want to try and get to is named Status > Actual values. 

 

Bat. use = Shows the battery use in uAh/day 
  

Bat. Left =  Shows the calculated days left for the batter

 

2: Would OVO receive a low-battery notification via DCC  when it does an overnight data collection?

 

 

Yes there is a way for us to get this remotely. 

 

3: Not directly relevant on this part of the Forum, but what happens with a pre-payment gas meter if the battery dies? Does it close the valve and leave the property without gas?

Is the action programmed differently if the householder is on the PSR, where the removal of energy supplies is prohibited?

 

If the battery dies when the meter is in an ‘off supply’ (valve closed) position, the supply will remain off until the meter is replaced and an emergency appointment. 

Userlevel 4

@Tim_OVO "would you be able to follow those steps to see if it displays your battery life estimate?"

 

I couldn't see anything.

 

When I started this topic, I had no idea that in the event of a battery coming to the end of it's life that the meter itself gets replaced !

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

@MikeE- the SMETS meter certification has been given for a 10-year period. This is not directly related to the expected life of the battery in the gas meter.

It remains to be seen what will happen once meters have been in use for a decade. If it transpires that the design was very good and there are no safety issues, then the certificate could be extended.

But for new equipment like this it makes sense to give it a certificate which requires an inspection (at the very least!) once it has seen 10 years active life.

This does not mean that all Smart meters get chucked out once they’re 10 years old.

But it does mean that the more observant of us should post on the Forum if we perceive that there is an issue which could be due to aging. Feeding such information into a discussion group will enable it to be poured over and referred upwards to the manufacturer and Ofgem if there appears to be a matter of concern.

That’s heaps better than the system deployed for older/traditional meters. I’ve seen some that have been in-situ for almost 50 years. Yes, they still work OK. But I really have doubts about the effectiveness of the insulation which forms the case of such old devices.

Userlevel 4

@MikeE

That’s heaps better than the system deployed for older/traditional meters. I’ve seen some that have been in-situ for almost 50 years. Yes, they still work OK. But I really have doubts about the effectiveness of the insulation which forms the case of such old devices.

I know what you mean as the last 'traditional' meter I had (before I had my first SMETS1 meter fitted around 4 years ago) was a reconditioned electric meter and it had a label on the front stating this although I have forgotten the exact wording !

Userlevel 4

@MikeE- the SMETS meter certification has been given for a 10-year period. This is not directly related to the expected life of the battery in the gas meter.

It remains to be seen what will happen once meters have been in use for a decade. If it transpires that the design was very good and there are no safety issues, then the certificate could be extended.

But for new equipment like this it makes sense to give it a certificate which requires an inspection (at the very least!) once it has seen 10 years active life.

This does not mean that all Smart meters get chucked out once they’re 10 years old.

 

@Transparent I assume a national database is used so that energy companies can keep an eye on when smart meters are approaching 10 years old ?

 

Is this policy down to energy companies to carry out these inspections or perhaps the DCC on safety grounds ?

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

I don’t know whether Energy Suppliers use their own records or the Xoserve database, @MikeE .

Meters remain the responsibility of the Suppliers, and I assume it is they who must bear the cost of replacements when the batteries start to fail. We must remember that this task is no less onerous than the current installation phase, for which they are subsidised.

Who knows what will have happened to the gas strategy by that time? Both methane and hydrogen are being seriously evaluated as alternatives. Each has eco-credentials. But such a change requires the entire National Gas Grid to be changed over simultaneously.

Fortuitously I have enough room at the back of my orchard to install a micro-Tokamak Nuclear Fusion plant, so I may just ditch gas altogether. :wink:

Userlevel 4

Who knows what will have happened to the gas strategy by that time? Both methane and hydrogen are being seriously evaluated as alternatives. Each has eco-credentials. But such a change requires the entire National Gas Grid to be changed over simultaneously.

 

I forgot about the Government's green strategy of phasing out natural gas in fact I read an article on this saying that all new builds will be banned from having gas boilers installed from 2025 onwards.

 

Heat pumps were mentioned as a possible replacement and my girlfriend has one of them Nibe heat pumps.

Her flat is too hot with not much control of the room temperature although I am not sure if this has anything to do with her underfloor heating !?

 

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