F.A.Q.

SMETS1 DCC Communication Update FAQ - DIY tutorial series

  • 16 December 2020
  • 21 replies
  • 4759 views
SMETS1 DCC Communication Update FAQ - DIY tutorial series
Userlevel 7

Updated on 05/05/21 by Jess_OVO

 

Getting your S1 smart meter onto DCC - your guide

 

When you switch suppliers with SMETS1 meters, we can't always communicate with your meters. Take a look at SMEST1 meters we can communicate with for more information. 

What is this update?


It's a nationwide update to SMETS1 meters to make them automatically send readings if they had stopped communicating due to a change of supplier. The process it goes through is Enrollment & Adoption (E&A) after which both S1 and S2 meters are controlled/managed by the DCC.


Why do these smart meters need to be updated?


To get the full benefits of smart meters, the government has decided that there should be one new unified smart meter data network. This makes smart meters work more effectively with all energy suppliers, improving the efficiency of the grid and helping us all to cut carbon emissions.

Once your SMETS1 smart meter has been updated to this single network, you’ll also be able to switch suppliers without your meter losing its smart features. Smart meters automatically send meter readings to your energy supplier. This means your bills are more accurate, and you can see how much energy you’re using online – or on your In-Home Display (IHD)

Until your meters have fully gone through the E&A process, they will become dormant. Therefore, you’ll need to provide readings to make sure you receive accurate bills. 

What timescales to expect for my meters to be enrolled?


This table shows the expected delivery date depending on the Meter Manufacturer. 

 

Meter Manufacturer MSN format Fuel Expected migration to Smart

Secure

YYP Electric

Started January 2021. Expected completion March 2022.

  G4P Gas  

Elster

YYK Electric

Already started. Planned completion October 2021

  G4K Gas  

Aclara

YYM Electric

Already started. Planned completion October 2021

  G4F Gas  

Itron

YYS Electric

Already started. Planned completion October 2021

  G4 Gas  

L+G

YYL

Electric

Started May 2021. Expected completion September 2022.

  ZYYQ    
  ZYYN    
  E6S Gas  




How can I easily identify if the meter is Secure?


Secure Electric Meter Serial Numbers will start with XXP (eg 18P) and Gas Meter Serial Numbers will start with G4P. You can find the Meter Serial number on the front of your meters.

Can a S1 Secure meter go through E&A with no signal?


The short answer to this is no. A S1 Secure meter must be in communication with us in order for OVO to migrate the meter. Check to see if your meter has WAN here

Will any communications be sent to advise me on the progress?


The Data Communications Company (DCC) is updating SMETS1 meters in batches, we receive notification of which accounts will be updated 15 days in advance which gives us time to send an email or letter to our members to let them know. This includes a data protection statement for obtaining and using their meter readings and to get a response from our members.

 

If this update is successful then we will send them another email or letter to let them know. If it is unsuccessful we will let them know and the DCC will try and update the account again - we'll let them know if and when the update is successful. We unfortunately have no control over who gets upgraded and who doesn't, this is decided by the DCC.

 

Will I notice any changes to the information shown on my In Home Display (IHD) once my meters have been updated?

 

An issue has been identified with Secure electric meters and Chameleon IHDs where the IHD isn’t displaying the electric tariff correctly. The tariff is correct on the meter and you’ll being charged the correct amount on your monthly summaries. The problem has been fixed for all future migrations and the team are working on a fix for any members experiencing this who have already been migrated.

 

Occasionally you may notice the information for one fuel (ie either the gas or electricity) may be incorrect or not available - this may indicate that one of your meters has gone through the enrolement process but we’re still waiting on updating the other meter. In this case it’s worth checking the ‘meter readings’ page of your online account - you’ll still be able to provide meter readings manually for the meter which is yet to be updated.

 

Who’s responsible for the update?

 

The DCC (Data Communications Company) is a government appointed company who are responsible for maintaining the communications of smart meters for the entire country. Their data network will allow member's smart meters to remain smart if they switch energy suppliers.

 

What happens if the update doesn’t work? 


The DCC will try to fix the issue again. They might try several times, for up to 12 months, until it works – and we'll let you know when that happens. If the DCC can’t complete the update, we'll contact you to get a new (SMETS2) smart meter installed.



Can all meters go through E&A?

 

There'll be some meters that cannot go through E&A and will need replacing such as older EDMI meters. DCC publish their lists on what model combinations will be eligible as they complete their testing. Most testing for Aclara, Elster, Itron and Secure has been completed and we are working our way through the migrations of those meters.

Are there any Exceptions?


There will be many scenarios where the process is not so straightforward. All exceptions are under review currently.

Is the update optional?


This update isn’t optional because all SMETS1 meters need to be updated and connected to the Data Communications Company (DCC) by September 2022. It’s a government initiative so everyone has to do it – not just OVO members.

 

What have we missed? Comment below. 

 

OVO member but not got a smart meter yet? - Book today!

 

Interested but not yet an OVO member? - Check out our plans!

 


21 replies

Userlevel 1

How is this handled if you have moved away from OVO?

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Good morning @Russell ,

I can answer that one for you as someone who moved to OVO while my own meter was still in a completely SMETS1 state. While I moved from SSE to OVO prior to my upgrade starting, the answer should be valid for almost any combination of old and new supplier. It’s also valid across all the brands that offered SMETS1 meters which are being migrated.

In the event that you had SMETS1 meters installed by an old supplier and switched away prior to the upgrade, in most cases the upgrade is still possible. The process is still mostly similar to what it would be if you were still with the original supplier, except that the old supplier will be involved for the early stages by doing some of the work in the background. You won’t need to contact the old supplier - they’ll know what to do.

In my case, I switched from SSE to OVO back in October and my Aclara SGM1311 was still on SMETS1 firmware at the time, meaning it went dormant initially. A couple of weeks later, OVO confirmed that my meter was ready to be upgraded and re-activated, for which I knew this meant it was getting the SMETS2 upgrade. I didn’t need to contact SSE at all to get the ball rolling.

The only task that SSE were involved with, was to basically hand over control to DCC and then withdraw their involvement. Once a particular smart meter has been transferred to DCC and is on the National Smart Meter Network, the rest of the process simply carries on as usual from there.

Userlevel 1

@blastoise186 Thanks for your interesting and helpful reply.

I moved from OVO to Yorkshire Energy who, as far as I can tell, did not support any type of smart meter. Subsequently Yorkshire Energy went bust and I am being moved to Scottish Power. They have informed me that they cannot support my OVO Secure SMETS1 meter so it will remain dumb.

From your reply I understand that the upgrade will be done via the OVO Wide Area Network (WAN).  OVO are effectively a passive caretaker for my Secure SMETS1 meter.

I am wondering how far OVO’s passive role in managing my meter extends.  For instance, if the meter developed a fault that potentially could be fixed remotely via the OVO WAN would Scottish Power contact OVO to do so?

Part of the process, once the meter has been upgraded to SMETS2, is to switch communications from the OVO WAN to the DCC WAN. I wonder if there is a risk that this could go wrong so that the meter could no longer communicate via the OVO WAN or DCC WAN! Effectively the meter would become isolated with no chance of fixing remotely.

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

Hi @Russell - just have a look at the explanations I wrote about the SMETS1 upgrade issue a couple of days ago. Read to the end of that Topic because you’ll notice that the Moderator @Tim_OVO posted a time-scale which I’m disputing(!).

There is a small risk that a site could be left isolated in the upgrade/migration process fails. Two others have posted on the Forum about that. However, in both cases the site was resurrected without a site visit. So I don’t think it’s worthwhile worrying about that possibility.

Userlevel 1

Hi,

Is the SMETS1 meter upgrade on programme?  I note it should now be done by July 2021.   Will I be contacted when they do it?

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Hiya @TWSaab !

Yup, it should be on track. If you’d like me to, I can check to see whether your meter is in the current group. If you could take some snaps of your meters and pop them in your next reply, I’ll be able to check. :)

You should also be contacted when the process is about to start and once it’s done too.

Userlevel 1

Hi,

Thanks for the quick response.   

My meters are ‘Secure’ installed by OVO some years ago.   Gas is difficult to get at as they moved it deep under the stairs when it was renewed, hence the need for smart metering!  (Excuse the grandchildrens toys around it).

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Thanks @TWSaab !

Yup. I can confirm that you’ve got SMETS1 hardware there. Your Secure Liberty 100 electric meter and Secure Liberty Eg4v11 gas meter should be in the current group for migration, and it is indeed expected to be fully migrated to DCC by the end of July this year. You may see it lose comms during the process, but this is to be expected. Don’t worry if that happens, comms will be restored once the migration is done.

Userlevel 1

OK, thank you.

Userlevel 2

Hello - I’ve recently moved to a new house with a Landis &Gyr SMETS 1 meter (which @Blastoise186  may remember from another thread) and have moved my supply to Octopus Energy. From what I’ve read above it seems I may have inadvertently added an extra complication by doing that, but it should all work out OK in the end.

 

I asked Octopus recently about migration and they said they had already adopted some L&G meters and expected the process to be complete “in the coming weeks” but could not give me a firm date. However I see from the table above that L&G adoption is only expected to be complete by the end of 2022 - I had thought it was 2021, and was mentally adjusted to “it will be done by Christmas.”

 

Any insight to offer?

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Heya!

Yes, I do have some updates here. According to the latest updates from SmartMe, it seems the migration plans may have changed slightly in that the original three phases have been switched out and individual brands are being listed instead. If the latest info is correct, initial migration of L+G meters was started in May 2021 and is expected to complete by September 2022. I think Tim either used SmartMe to update the table above or he checked with OVO’s Smart Meter experts. But either way, the data matches up.

I’m afraid plans do change with these things. Sometimes in your favour (like if yours gets bumped up the queue), sometimes not (like if yours gets pushed back). It’s extremely difficult to almost impossible to give an exact estimate for specific meters, but once yours begins to migrate, it usually takes around six weeks from that point. The best I can say for now is to keep an eye on things and see what happens. Even if you move suppliers in the meantime, that shouldn’t cause any problems - the last supplier who had control of the meter will need to help out anyway as they would need to offer the meter up for adoption. If that supplier does so as part of migrating huge groups of meters and any of those groups include former customers, those meters will still get migrated. DCC will simply make sure that whoever the current active supplier gets control of them instead of handing control back to the old one.

My S1 Aclara “Pikachu” that I had at the time did manage to get through the Enrolment & Adoption process but it kinda broke due to some weirdness that happened around the time. I believe it was possibly related to unique circumstances that hardly anyone else is likely to run into, but the vast majority of S1 meters should migrate just fine. You should be contacted by Octopus once your meter begins the migration - I definitely had one from OVO! :)

These days, I have an S2 Aclara that I call Raichu instead. It would have been nice to get Pikachu working, but at least I know the whole process now.

However, if the migration completely fails and cannot be fixed despite all possible efforts, then a MEX to replace the meter with an S2 is an option that will be offered free of charge. I always recommend trying to get the existing S1 meter working first though, since it’s less disruptive for you. But I can safely say that redundancy and failsafe options have been very well considered and an S2 MEX is one of the last-resort options on the table if needed. The safety measures even include stuff like switching S1 Smart Meters from Prepayment Mode to Credit Mode temporarily during the migration process, just in case it fails to reconnect later - which helps to ensure that a PAYG customer doesn’t lose supply during that time since they wouldn’t be able to top-up at all. It’s well thought out. :wink:

Userlevel 2

Thanks, @Blastoise186 .  Wow, 17 months to complete migration of L&G meters seems a very long time!

 

I will have to see what develops…. I had an Octopus-installed SMETS 2 meter at my old house and was on their Go tariff which relies on the 30-minute readings.  They are still showing me as being on Go at the new place, but I have no clue how they are going to bill me correctly without them.  I was keeping quiet, because I had heard that if you move to a property with a meter they can’t connect to, they will initially put you on one of their standard tariffs, which are a lot more than the Go day rate, even without the 5p rate for 4 hours overnight.

 

Since I’m now charging my EV at home, I have a keep interest in such things.

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

@bgreenwood2000- may I point out that the process you call ‘migration’ isn’t a single operation. As you mention having moved Energy Supplier, I assume you’re somewhat aware of this.

There are four broad stages to the migration process:

a: the manufacturer of your meter upgrades it to SMETS2 capability

b: the owner of the network to which your SMETS1 meter is currently connected must ‘release’ it for adoption. That owner is usually (but not always) determined by whichever Energy Supplier you were with when the meter was first installed.

c: The Data Communications Company (DCC) ‘acquire’ your meter by adding it to the National Smart Meter Network. This is not instantaneous because it includes several days/weeks of testing. DCC process the meters in batches which get submitted to them by your current Supplier. This allows them to avoid transferring customers on the Priority Services Register in the middle of winter, for example.

d: Your present Energy Supplier takes over access to your meter using the facilities of DCC, and the two national meter databases - ECOES for electricity, and Xoserve for gas.

You know when this final stage is completed because your IHD will reflect the actual tariff that you are on.

 

If you’ve changed Supplier in the meantime this shouldn’t affect the process unless there is an administrative or technical problem. At that point there might be difficulties in ascertaining who is responsible for resolving the issue. It’s sites in that category which create the ‘tales of woe’ which tend to get reported online.

For obvious reasons you seldom hear of the 99.9% of meter migrations that are successfully completed!

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Well, I have some slightly bad news there for you. If your meter doesn’t get migrated, it’s possible that Octopus might kick you off the Go tariff - and they will know if your meter isn’t communicating. Just like how ECOES will tell them that your current meter is an S1 that’s not been migrated to DCC yet. I don’t know the terms for that tariff though, so you may want to read through the small print again, just in case.

But yeah, I fail to see how they’re going to be able to bill you accurately if the meter isn’t communicating and hasn’t been configured for that tariff. Caveat emptor, as they say.

Userlevel 2

@Blastoise186 well I was surprised to find Octopus still showing me on Go at the new address, as I had expected them to put me on a flat tariff.  I used the link on their website to tell them I was moving house, and this is the result.  My plan is to submit a meter reading at the end of the month and see what happens.

 

@Transparent I wasn’t aware of all that detail, so thank you.  It is a new build house, meters were installed by British Gas, but I was able to switch the electricity from the day we moved in.

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

If it’s a new house @bgreenwood2000 - why has it been fitted with a SMETS1 Meter?

The last date on which Ofgem would pay the subsidy to the installation company was 16th March 2019.

Is this a sole site or part of a larger development?

Can you please complete your Forum Profile page? That’s where I look to find out whereabouts you are geographically, which might be relevant in this case.

Userlevel 2

@Transparent  - it’s a former show home.  We are the first people to live here, but it was completed in 2018.

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

That explains everything then.

British Gas must have been the supplier who initialised the supplies when the house was built. And as we all know too well, they are completely fixated on their terrible proprietary Centrica WAN and the Landis+Gyr E470/G470 meters from the SMETS1 days. You’ve basically fallen right into that very trap. Not only have you got the worst possible Smart Meters ever to exist in the UK - with buttons that are worse than a 1970’s TV Remote Control… But because British Gas installed them, they were hooked up to that most horrible locked down WAN which literally no other supplier could touch.

And yes, I am allowed to mock both of them with these jokes. I’m not the one who made a dogs dinner of it after all! :stuck_out_tongue:

Userlevel 2

Nothing I can do about it, though, is there?

 

On the plus side, it’s a lovely house and it looks like background energy usage is quite low.

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Well, I guess you could borrow a Type 40 TARDIS, time travel through the Time Vortex to October 2028 and request a MEX because your now ancient meter is up for re-certification and a MEX is required… But if you can’t master the universe and you don’t have a Sonic Screwdriver in your hand… Then yeah… You can’t really do anything about it other than enjoy the view.

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

Actually @bgreenwood2000 there is an obvious question you can put to Octopus, your current Supplier. Ask them if Centrica/British Gas have released your SMETS1 meter(s) for adoption.

After all, if the site is still tied to the Centrica communications network then there’s nothing which can yet be done to migrate it to DCC.

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