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Smart meters SMETs1 or SMETs2?


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Now that the DCC system is operational, what generation of smart meters are you fitting these days?

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Best answer by Tim_OVO 24 March 2017, 12:54

Updated on 17/09/20: see this SMETS2 smart meter guide for all the info on Honeywell, Aclara and Flonidan SMETS2 smart meters. 

See this SMETS1 smart meter guide for all the info on Secure Liberty 100 and 110 smart SMETS1 smart meters. 

We’re now also fitting SMETS2 meters that require a  5th port connection - more info HERE

Book in your smart meter appointment HERE

 

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Userlevel 2
This raises the question, what happens to those of us who've recently had the old meters installed? Will we eventually be able to get an upgrade to the new generation?

Richard.
Heard today on Moneybox that the experts still haven't agreed any standard for the nationwide smart meter network - does that mean that when they do Ovo's smart meter's will have to be ripped out and replaced because they do not comply? Could be a big waste of time and money and not that smart...
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Firstly, @K1ano, there is a code of practice for installation of Smart Meters called SMICOP. This states that the meter supplier can require you to move your meter to an alternative location if access to it is restricted. So "boxing in" a Smart meter after it's been installed could produce difficulties later if it requires on-site access, for example to change the battery.

Remember too that a Smart Meter uses radio signals for data transfer to/fro the Data Communications Company (DCC). If you box in a meter which has been recently installed, you might find that it suffers from poor/erratic signal strength. In such circumstances it is designed to default to a system akin to you getting "estimated readings". That effectively means you've just lost all the benefits of having a Smart Meter in the first place.

However, on a more positive note, please remember that SMETS is a software/data protocol. It's not the manufacturer of your meter.

There should be no reason your SMETS1 shouldn't have a firmware upgrade and become SMETS2 compliant.

I had originally expected that this would involve the attendance of an engineer, but I now understand most suppliers are expecting to use a software-upgrade system without a site visit. This will need thorough testing before use. There are many risks in allowing Smart Meters to be remotely upgraded. It's not just that poor communication signals or interference could leave a customer with an inoperable meter, but also the security risks of creating such a program in the first place.

Imagine the havoc which would ensue if such a piece of software could be implemented by a malevolent 3rd party! I have no doubt that the meter industry will be consulting GCHQ on this one. There's no way they will approve a remote upgrade system if it were to leave the UK's energy supplies open to cyber-attack.
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Hi @Allan - just to clarify: OVO don't need to replace your existing SMETS1 meter. It's only a software change that's required to enable it to handle SMETS2 protocols. The meter itself stays put.

And OVO have also announced that they will be doing the upgrade remotely via the secure link from DCC. No one should be attending at your location to effect any upgrade. If they do, and you have no prior notification in writing from OVO, report it to the Police, and tell us here!
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OVO have given a timescale of "by the end of 2019", which is pretty loose!

I have a strong preference for it being done during June-August and in stages across geographical regions. There need to be adequate contingencies in case things go wrong during the remote upgrade.

A failed link could leave a meter inoperable and the customer with no gas or electricity. Since the software will then be in a mess, it's unlikely to be able to receive a second attempt at downloading fresh code. A site visit will be required.

Firstly, it would be best if upgrades were done whilst the days are long and central heating isn't in use.

Secondly, since Meter Engineers are as rare as hens teeth, they could be moved into the relevant geographical region and put on standby. By contrast, a nationwide upgrade would mean engineers trying to attend at failed sites from Lands End to John o' Groats!

Let's hope the Moderators can pass this preference on to the relevant in-house team at OVO. @Tim_OVO ?
Userlevel 1
I have got used to giving monthly readings, although the reminder to do so comes a week or so before, so it's easy to forget - would be good if it were say 2 days before needed. Anyway, I live in a flat, and the electric meter is on the ground floor, and the gas meter on the second floor inside my flat. I'm told I can't have a smart meter because of this, and also am dubious about having one fitted as they don't seem to 'talk to each other' if you change energy provider. Is it best to just wait a year or two until the technology gets sorted out nationally?
Do I want a so-called "smart" meter? No, not yet. The technology is not standardised yet, with different operating systems meaning that if you have moved and inherited a British Gas, for example, smart meter, it won't work with Ovo, or vice versa. Hopefully, by 2020 these problems will be sorted out. Until then, don't have a smart meter if you want accurate bills and simply give your meter readings on the same day each month by phone or e-mail.
By the way, it is "licence" not "license", and it is "colour" not "color." Keep to standard English English not Americanised English, or as it is known in the printing industry "bastardised English."
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For the benefit of @102057461, @dikahn and others, may I bring some clarity about the differences between these types of Smart Meter?

We currently have two different "species" in use: Advanced Domestic Meter (ADM) and Smart Metering Equipment Technical Specification (SMETS). It's not so much the physical hardware which differs, but the data communication protocols. That's why you can face incompatibility when switching suppliers.

Both of these current species are being used in a fairly primitive manner. They permit automatic remote readings to occur and we can have an energy monitor within the home. They can actually do much more. For example a meter can be switched from Pay As You Go (PAYG Prepayment meter) to a credit meter by your Utility Supplier. So in theory an elderly invalid in a snowbound house could be permitted to still receive electricity over a weekend whilst someone sorted out how to get a new prepayment card to them.

For obvious reasons, the data communications to/fro Smart Meters are encrypted and heavily protected. We don't want a hacker issuing a "DUIS Disable Supply" command across the whole UK!

The companies behind the Smart Meter technology have learned a lot from the initial roll-out, and have refined their thinking into a single updated protocol, which we know as SMETS2. But until it's certain that it is robust, secure and safe, it won't be installed. That's why @Lucy_OVO is correctly telling us that OVO is still testing.

We need a refined protocol because the energy market is changing. In future users might be offered the capability to decide how and when to use electricity according to a tariff structure which gives different pricing based on the "industry standard" half-hour (HH) slot.

Imagine you have a home with a 4Kw solar PV array (grid connected) and an electrical vehicle which permits bi-directional charge/discharge flow. Normally you'd want to allow your smart meter technology to charge your car overnight whilst it's cheaper. So you buy a tariff from your Utility Supplier which permits you to give that instruction.

However, on a sunny day you can have three more flexible options

a. Prioritise charging my car, then sell remaining energy to the grid

b. I don't need my car today, so prioritise selling my solar-energy to the grid

c. I don't need my car today, so take its stored charge and sell that back to the grid at a premium

This is not only beneficial to the end-user, but it also allows the electricity industry to better balance electricity generation by making best use of power made available to them locally.

So before SMETS2 meters can be installed, it's important that the industry is satisfied that the new protocols allow us the future flexibility that we're likely to need. And that's why we're being asked to wait until at least April.

I hope that helps.
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Yes, @pauljac, I'm pretty sure GCHQ are on the case.
However, much of what the national press has highlighted in the last week lacks a basic understanding of how SMETS works, which obviously leaves me in doubt as to the accuracy of their stories!

It's important to realise that there is no direct link between your Smart Meter and your Energy Supplier. All data communications are handled by DCC who operate under a strict Ofgem licence. DCC is a separately-run organisation comprising telecoms specialists Arqiva and Telefónica, BT (infrastructure), Critical (software) and Capita (management).

Only DCC can talk to/fro your Smart Meter, and they use encryption known only to them. DCC pass meter readings to your Energy Supplier and can send instructions back to your SMETS meter on their behalf.

A rogue Energy Supplier would be quickly prevented because their instructions wouldn't pass DCC's sanity-checks. we can be fairly certain that DCC's software would reject mass-distributed commands like "DUIS: Disable supply" or "DUIS: Disable Privacy PIN" although these have been permissable instructions on SMETS1 meters for over 2 years.

The forthcoming roll-out of SMETS2 technology provides an ideal opportunity to sharpen up the protocols. Any delays invoked by GCHQ requesting further modifications are very much in our favour.
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Welcome to the Forum @0415

This is an interesting question because it doesn’t have a straight yes/no answer!

Smart Meters have a wide range of capabilities inbuilt into them, few of which are currently used. Those that I have investigated all seem to support at least four different preset charge bands.

However it is a function of your chosen tariff which dictates whether these charge bands are used. As far as I know, OVO currently offer just one tariff that makes use of an alternative charge band. Unsurprisingly it’s the one we call Economy-7, which provides a lower price for all use between midnight and 7am.

Contrarywise, those customers who opt for an OVO Economy-7 tariff will pay an increased rate for electricity usage outside of those times (ie higher than customers on a standard tariff). So whether it is viable for you comes down to what proportion of your energy consumption is required outside the Economy-7 slot.

 

All of this strategy for charge bands is currently being superseded by  half-hour variable tariff structures, sometimes called Time Of Use tariff.

This allows customers to draw energy at much reduced rates when it is in plentiful supply, for example from wind turbine arrays, but increases prices for usage when there is peak demand and little renewable generation available.

The Government’s name for this is Demand Side Response.

 

Userlevel 6
As I'm sure you can appreciate, @Ivor Appleyard, people tend to voice issues on a public platforms. You're right not all of the installations have gone perfectly, but the majority have.

We encourage people here on the forum to share experiences, it helps people to share knowledge and manage expectations. Hopefully the members that you've mentioned, with meter issues will be sorted sooner rather than later, we really are doing all we can to get things resolved as quickly as possible.

Thanks!
I understand that the original type of Smart meter - Type 1 - will have to be replaced by a newer model - Type 2.

However some installers are still using up stocks of Type 1.

If I have a smart meter installed, will it be Type 2?


Hi @cardiffjc welcome to the forum and thanks for your post

In short - no, not at this time. There is already a discussion underway on the forum in relation to the next generation of smart meters which you can find here: https://forum.ovoenergy.com/all-about-energy-24/smart-meters-smets1-or-smets2-106

I hope the above helps, please do post any further questions you may have!


Hi @cardiffjc,

I moved your post to this topic, as there's already some information on here which might be helpful.

@Mattj3135 is right, we're still installing SMETS1 meters at the moment but will be rolling out SMETS2 meters before the end of the year.

If you'd prefer to have a SMETS2 meter installed, it may be best to hold off booking an installation for the moment.

Max
OVO

have given a timescale of "by the end of 2019", which is pretty loose!

I have a strong preference for it being done during June-August and in stages across geographical regions. There need to be adequate contingencies in case things go wrong during the remote upgrade.

A failed link could leave a meter inoperable and the customer with no gas or electricity. Since the software will then be in a mess, it's unlikely to be able to receive a second attempt at downloading fresh code. A site visit will be required.

Firstly, it would be best if upgrades were done whilst the days are long and central heating isn't in use.

Secondly, since Meter Engineers are as rare as hens teeth, they could be moved into the relevant geographical region and put on standby. By contrast, a nationwide upgrade would mean engineers trying to attend at failed sites from Lands End to John o' Groats!

Let's hope the Moderators can pass this preference on to the relevant in-house team at OVO
. @Tim_OVO ?

That certainly sounds like a very good plan and I would agree that once a software link was broken loss of communication at least would be an issue. At this time my meter seems to work smoothly and I certainly hope the Beta billing software is improved

Thank you for your time in explaining the possible course Ovo might take

Allan
If I get an OVO Smart Meter now will it be to SMETS2 specifications?

Thanks for your query, @ianb

Just so you know, I've merged your question into this topic to keep all SMETS2 queries together.

Thanks for replying, @Mattj3135 - here's the topic you want to give for SMETS2 queries :)

Thanks,
Emma
Userlevel 5
Heard today on Moneybox that the experts still haven't agreed any standard for the nationwide smart meter network - does that mean that when they do Ovo's smart meter's will have to be ripped out and replaced because they do not comply? Could be a big waste of time and money and not that smart...

Hey mrratcatcher,

Good question and it’s great to hear you’re keeping in the loop with this.

All I really know on this is that we’re currently working on getting newer versions of smart meters out as soon as possible (by the Government deadline of 2020), but there’s no set date for when this will happen.

Our customers will be kept up to date with this though and will know once they’ve been released.

I've also moved your topic onto this current thread surrounding smart meters -hope you don't mind.

Lucy
Userlevel 7

Updated on 17/09/20: see this SMETS2 smart meter guide for all the info on Honeywell, Aclara and Flonidan SMETS2 smart meters. 

See this SMETS1 smart meter guide for all the info on Secure Liberty 100 and 110 smart SMETS1 smart meters. 

We’re now also fitting SMETS2 meters that require a  5th port connection - more info HERE

Book in your smart meter appointment HERE

 

Userlevel 7
@CaroleH here's the topic that I mentioned! 😳
Userlevel 7
Hi @gmarkj1981 and @Gizmo

We were hopeful of other users stepping in to advise about these smart meters. We want the forum to be a place where users help each other - I'm sorry that your queries haven't been answered sooner!

You won't need a SMETS1 meter to be eligible for a SMETS2 exchange. All SMETS1 meters will be upgraded to replicate the later model, so we'd prioritise customers who haven't got a smart meter at all over those with SMETS1.

Both types of smart meter are compatible with Economy 7, although the prices vary for each region. As customers can't generally change between a single rate and an economy 7 rate tariff, we don't make available the opposing tariff to existing customers. Gizmo if you did change to Economy 7 after the smart meters went in, we would put you on the prices that were available at your contract start date. PM me your details if you want these prices confirmed.

As for finding out when your meter switches to the off peak 'night' rate, check out this topic: https://forum.ovoenergy.com/all-about-energy-24/so-your-economy-7-meter-gives-you-off-peak-cheap-electricity-but-when-is-it-cheapest-42.

Hope this helps,
Tim
Userlevel 2
Has OVO considered the health risks of smart meters?

Care to expand? Have you got any documented proof that there are health risks with smart meters?
Userlevel 6
Heard today on Moneybox that the experts still haven't agreed any standard for the nationwide smart meter network - does that mean that when they do Ovo's smart meter's will have to be ripped out and replaced because they do not comply? Could be a big waste of time and money and not that smart...

That's a great point - I can only speculate that whilst the industry decides the national standard OVO will continue with the smart meters they use and should the industry decide to standardise the technology - OVO and other firms will have to do a phased roll out.

Would be great to know what @Darran_OVO @Lucy_OVO @Tim_OVO think!
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As far as I understand the technological and regulatory constraints, @sethmthomas, OVO are already supplying SMETS2 meters in South Wales.

Since 16th March, OVO would no longer be given credit for SMETS1 installations in the south and central regions of GB, where the communications networks are operated and maintained by Telephonica.
Userlevel 6
Given your situation @bournefree and if you're not that desperate for the current smart meters, if I were you I'd wait till the national standardisation negotiations are complete and the new next generation of smart meters are released
Smart meters being installed today, will all have to be replaced to work under SMET2. Why not wait until SMET2 meters have been tested and are available?
Waste of money putting in the present range of smart meters as they will have to be changed as soon as SMET2 comes in. The only reason for installing them is to get the numbers up to please the government. It means customers will have to pay for the upgrade, despite it costing £11bn already. The cost is likely to rise by 50%.
I understand that the original type of Smart meter - Type 1 - will have to be replaced by a newer model - Type 2.

However some installers are still using up stocks of Type 1.

If I have a smart meter installed, will it be Type 2?

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