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SMETS2 Smart Meter installation

SMETS2 Smart Meter installation
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Updated on 28/08/20: See below for a great guide on a SMETS2 smart meter installation.

See this SMETS2 smart meter guide for all the info on Honeywell, Aclara and Flonidan SMETS2 smart meters. 

Click here to check availability and book in your smart meter appointment!

 

Having a new Smart Meter installed is something which most customers only experience once. This topic shows what the process involves and highlights particular issues with the newer SMETS2 meters which OVO started installing widely in March 2019.

You must be present for a Smart Meter installation. The Engineer needs access to the house, even if both gas and electricity meters are in external enclosures. There is an initial survey of the state of gas appliances and your electric consumer unit. Photographs are taken and any gas boiler is turned off.

The electricity meter is usually changed first. The Installer is permitted to snip the seal on the main fuse and can reseal it without needing to call your Distributed Network Operator (DNO).

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Here my SMETS2 meter is indicated with a red arrow. This one is made by a US Company called Aclara. It has two buttons marked A & B rather than the keypad of the earlier SMETS1 meters, which were manufactured by Secure.

Above the meter itself there is a communications module (blue arrow) which allows data transfer via the mobile phone network. There are several versions. As I'm in a rural area of Devon with relatively poor signals, this Toshiba unit is a Mesh Network device. It connects to an external aerial via the wire marked with a green arrow.

 

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The aerial is the tall rectangular box which is literally stuck onto the outside of the door.

Your gas meter may be in a wall mounted enclosure, or buried in a "semi-concealed" box as is mine.

The Installer first removes the old meter including the round regulator (orange arrow), and then screws a steel mounting frame in place, shown here with a green arrow.

 

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The meter may seem a relatively large device, but it's actually two items. The actual SMETS2 Smart Meter is indicated with the red arrow, and slots into the larger outer body.

My new gas meter is manufactured by Uniflo. Because there is no electricity available, it contains an inbuilt Lithium battery which should last around 10 years. A Gas Smart Meter spends most of its time in sleep-mode to conserve power, waking up every few seconds to send a signal to the SMETS2 electricity meter.

OVO have designed and fabricated right-angled steel pipes marked here with purple arrows. These minimise the height required and allow the enclosure lid to properly close.

During the commissioning process, the installer connects a manometer to the test point identified with the blue arrow. The gas pressure pushes the fluid up one side of the u-shaped tube. If it remains steady over a two-minute timed period, then there are no leaks.

The Installation Engineer will now take another set of photographs which get inserted into relevant places in the electronic "form" on his mobile phone. There is a minimum set of 23 pictures which must accompany any installation.

As the exact installation process may evolve over time, please note that these SMETS2 meters were installed on 11th March 2019.


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:hugging: Thanks @impala … and I’m impressed that you were awake reading the Forum at 1am !

I receive no incentives from OVO, financial or otherwise. I think there’s a real value in a site like this having independent contributors. Unlike the team of six Moderators, I have no contract of employment and I don’t have to stick to an official company policy on anything.

I know I could get a better energy contract elsewhere, but I like the direction in which OVO are heading. The technologies that they’re building on top of their Kaluza Platform have great potential to help us lower our carbon footprint and combat Climate Change.

Contrarywise, I think they’re being less adventurous than they could be. Although the new Billing System is ideally-suited for genuine Time Of Use tariffs, they don’t offer one.

And the OVO implementation of Smart Meter technology is currently behind that of some rival Energy Suppliers. For example, the Usage statistics we see online don’t incorporate any aspect of the Energy Mix we enjoy, despite the company wanting to push its green credentials.

Most customer comments about Smart Meters are still largely complaints and problems. We need to move beyond that and see positive stories from end-users with innovative energy-savings strategies built above the underlying Smart Meter foundation.

I have to say that the quality and helpfulness of @Transparent ’s replies are superb.  If Ovo isn’t paying you for your contributions here, then I’d be very disappointed.  If they are, then it’s money extremely well spent.  I couldn’t imagine a more helpful and informed set of responses.  Thank you so much, @Transparent.

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Hi @1159skunk and thanks for joining the Forum with a magnificent portfolio of extra hi-resolution photos!

Firstly, if your SMETS2 Smart Meters have recently been installed, then they’ll still be going through the offsite commissioning process. The setting of your tariff is the final part of the process. It has nothing to do with the installation engineer.

Have a read through this topic on Smart Meter Installation where you’ll find most of your questions already answered.

Updated 07/08/2020 - Removed unnecessary high resolution images to help with page loading issue.

So got the smart meters installed, and thought I'd been busgetingnwell, ihd been telling me I was using average 9p in gas per day so clearly wasn't including standing charge. Used to tell me electric usage but that's disappeared from the display totally and can't be accessed. Any way bill day today and Gas bill much higher than what the display has been telling me everyday, what a complete waste of time, and OVO despite claiming to save money has been the most expensive company I've ever been with, faulty equipment just final straw will be leaving at end of contract

 

When the electric was displayed prices matched, looking at photos now can see ovo engineer didn't have a clue and has set wrong tariff completely for gas instead of 3.60 pence kwh he's put 0.36p and same for standing charge instead of 28.7p day has put 2.87p. Absolute complete incompetence and totally unacceptable. Smart meter that don't display electric any more and a not so smart company

So got the smart meters installed, and thought I'd been busgetingnwell, ihd been telling me I was using average 9p in gas per day so clearly wasn't including standing charge. Used to tell me electric usage but that's disappeared from the display totally and can't be accessed. Any way bill day today and Gas bill much higher than what the display has been telling me everyday, what a complete waste of time, and OVO despite claiming to save money has been the most expensive company I've ever been with, faulty equipment just final straw will be leaving at end of contract

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These comments are illuminating and useful, @Blanik . Thanks for taking the trouble to give us these insights.

I think if DCC had “gone live” any earlier it wouldn’t have been as robust as was necessary. In particular the IT personnel needed sufficient time for GCHQ to advise on the encryption systems and verify that the UK Domestic Energy services couldn’t be infiltrated by any 3rd party with hostile intent.

Barring the odd outage, I’d say that DCC has been a success… especially if you compare with many other Government-run projects which have IT systems at their heart!

 

Your observations on the Agile Tariff are essentially correct. The two aims of this tariff are:

a; make it viable for customers to incorporate some forms of energy storage which can be drawn on during peak-usage times

b; make better use of locally available generation

I don’t know whereabouts you are in the country, so I can’t see what proportion of renewable energy resources are available within your local Distribution Grid. But if you’d care to fill out your Forum Profile, I might be able to give a more detailed response.

In the not too distant future, all Energy Suppliers will need to offer some TOU Tariffs. So I’m sure the Moderators and other OVO staff will appreciate hearing your views on what Octopus currently provide.

We live in interesting times...

If the DCC came into existence earlier, my ex BG SMETS1 could have been enrolled, I could then have used them with Octopus, and the meters would never have needed to be swapped. The problem was the long delay between SMETS1 and the DCC, or the slack specifications for SMETS1 that allowed them to be incompatible between different manufacturers.

Regarding Agile, the evening peak rate is too expensive for my usage, I am cheaper on GO with 4 hours charging on a cheap rate overnight. 

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Hi @Blanik - Your comments and observations are welcome here whether you’re an OVO customer or not.

Whilst the Data Communications Company (DCC) was still being formed, it was left to the numerous Energy Suppliers to find their own way to build data networks capable of running SMETS1 meters. That they did so in such a way as to make systems incompatible with each other was a clear demonstration of why we need Ofgem as a central regulator for the energy sector!

As you’re with Octopus, I’d be interested to know whether you have availed yourself of their Agile Tariff, which offers genuine variable-pricing TOU (Time Of Use) billing.

When I switched to OVO in 2017, I was told that my old "smart" meters - installed by SSE in 2016 - were of an older type, not compatible with other providers. So I was left with "dumb" meters for more than a year. Then OVO offered to install what I believed were second generation "smart" meters - which would be compatible with other energy providers.

I now realise this is not the case. The meters OVO installed in Sept 2018 are first gen and not compatible with other providers. However, they are capable of being updated to SMETS2 - supposedly starting mid-2019 and completing sometime in 2020.

This leads me to conclude that OVO replaced the old SSE meters because they were early first gen models, not capable of being updated to SMETS2.

Later this year, when I switch from OVO to a new supplier, I will be left with "dumb" meters again - until such time as the upgrade is rolled out. Oh joy.

My experience, in summary:
Jan 2016 - Traditional "dumb" gas and electric meters replaced by SSE with "smart" meters.
Jun 2017 - I switch to OVO and the "smart" meters are rendered "dumb".
Sep 2018 - OVO replace the SSE meters with upgradeable SMETS1 meters but the gas meter has, in effect, been a "dumb" meter since the day it was installed.
Jun 2019 - When I switch to a new provider, I will be left with two "dumb" meters again.
2019/20 - SMETS1 meters will be upgraded to SMETS2 and I should have working "smart" meters

  1. Dumb to smart
  2. Smart to dumb
  3. Dumb to smart - but one is effectively dumb
  4. Smart to dumb
  5. Dumb to smart

Okay, the situation may not be as mad as I thought. More like a shambles. I am left feeling it is me who is dumb - dumb for ever believing that "smart" meters might be a good idea. Reading this article, I am not alone...

This Is Money - Smart Meter Gone Dumb


Hi there
You are very much not alone, I have to agree with you the smart meter roll out up until smets2 is a bit of a fumble in the dark, it's took a while... Too long but now on the right tracks.

Really good thread - I’m not an OVO customer, but have also experiences SMETS1 meter swaps where a perfectly good meter was replaced.

  1. British Gas fitted SMETS1 gas and electric meters with a seperate comms hub.
  2. Switched away from BG to separate gas and electricity suppliers and the meters went dumb - as expected.
  3. Switched electricity to Octopus to take advantage of their time of use tariff to charge my car and they replaced the electricity meter and comms hub with Secure SMETS1.
  4. This now means that my SMETS1 gas meter is no longer connected to the comms hub, so will never be smart again. One side effect of this is that the Gas meter has a battery, and when it goes flat it might cut off the gas supply, if would normally report a low battery warning - but it no longer has any comms to do this!
  5. Switched my gas to Octopus - so they fitted a SMETS1 gas meter which would communicate with their SMETS1 comms hub.

 

So 2 sets of meters fitted, with 4 engineer visits ( 2 from BG as we only have a gas boiler and the meter installer was not allowed to vent the gas line, so needed another visit ) and 2 from Octopus as the meters were installed at different times.

 

Crazy! 

 

 

I had a smart meter installed on 23 October.  The installation could not be completed as the OVO network was down, meaning that the initiation process could not take place.  The engineers told me that this was not an uncommon problem.  They reported the issue and moved on to another job.

 

Sorry to bust in like this, I’m a EON customer, come across this thread because it has some very valuable information.  I just had the smart meter fitted a week ago, similar story to Keith.  Called EON CS, they told me it was a DCC network issue and affecting a lot of networks, including BG. They told me to wait until the DCC network is up and running properly, no ETA.  Hopefully, DCC can fix their issue quickly.

 

 

Pretty much what she'll told me but my post got deleted I think

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Everyone’s welcome here @dchao. You don’t need to be an OVO customer.

EON are correct in that any network outage by DCC and their telecommunications partners (Telefonica and Arqiva) will affect the entire National Smart Meter Network.

Just bear in mind that there are other reasons that the network may be down… such as DCC/GCHQ detecting a potential cyber attack. It is important that this encrypted network remains secure and prevents our domestic energy supply systems being compromised.

In similar fashion to the National Grid employee who decided to sacrifice a quarter of the electricity supply network in order to prevent the system collapsing on Fri 9th June, DCC will be prepared to take strong action if they believe their network is threatened.

I’m not saying that is what has happened on this occasion, but we need to trust DCC to get things right rather than imagine they might be at fault. We’re on the same side!

I had a smart meter installed on 23 October.  The installation could not be completed as the OVO network was down, meaning that the initiation process could not take place.  The engineers told me that this was not an uncommon problem.  They reported the issue and moved on to another job.

 

Sorry to bust in like this, I’m a EON customer, come across this thread because it has some very valuable information.  I just had the smart meter fitted a week ago, similar story to Keith.  Called EON CS, they told me it was a DCC network issue and affecting a lot of networks, including BG. They told me to wait until the DCC network is up and running properly, no ETA.  Hopefully, DCC can fix their issue quickly.

We have solar panels installed by A Shade Greener - they own the panels not me - basically they get the money generated, I get usage. I was told by British Gas that I couldn't get a smart meter because of the panels. Is this true with OVO and the newer SMETS2 meters? I’m happy to book an installation, but don't want to waste an engineers time if he turns up and then realises it cant be done.

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It’s most likely that your situation, @KeithC,  doesn’t fit within the “boxes on OVO’s check-list”!

I suggest you simply email them, including your name & address, account number and details as you’ve just posted above. That means you retain a date/time-stamped copy of when you formally notified them of the problem.

I expect they’ll handle it as if it’s within the Complaints Procedure, and respond to you within 5 working days.

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It seems strange you haven’t heard back about this yet, @KeithC. We’ll need to see whether this is something we can resolve remotely or if an engineer visit is required.

 

We’d be more than happy to look into this, send us a message on Facebook or Twitter you’ll need to confirm your name, DoB and account number. 

I had a smart meter installed on 23 October.  The installation could not be completed as the OVO network was down, meaning that the initiation process could not take place.  The engineers told me that this was not an uncommon problem.  They reported the issue and moved on to another job.

I have not heard from OVO customer services since regarding a date for completion of the job.  Indeed I have not had even had an acknowledgement that the job is in an incomplete state,   The smart meter booking pages show the original booking but do not cater for incomplete installs.  I emailed OVO help but got a nonsense answer which probably closed the ticket but didn’t help me.  How long will I have to wait ?  Are other customers having the same problem?

 

Keith

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You’ll find all the info you need above, @Khristyne and plenty of members with SMETS2 meters that will be happy to offer some insight I’m sure. 

SMETS2 @Transparent has a endless pool of knowledge! 

Cheers!

Hi.  I am tempted to get the smart meter, SMETS2, installed as now if I change supplier in the future this meter can still be used with my new supplier, and OVO are giving me £50 off my bill.  Has anyone got one of these new meters and would you recommend them.  Thanks.

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About 15 days ago my Communications Hub indicators changed to have no flashes at all from the WAN or MESH indicators. With no link to the outside world, it wasn't possible for OVO in Bristol to continue downloading code updates whilst we tried to resolve problems.

Following discussions with @BenS_OVO I was hopeful that all we'd need was for the Communications Hub to be re-booted. (A reboot of a Toshiba Comms Hub is done by removing its power for 3 minutes) But alas, it transpired that it required much more than that to re-establish communications with DCC.

So... I've now had another visit from an OVO Engineer, and a complete change of all four SMETS2 devices on Weds 18th Sept.

It took about 5 hours before the Gas Meter eventually started sending readings which could be displayed on the new Chameleon. I now know that this is quite normal, albeit disconcerting for customers because they can't be shown the full functionality of their IHD.

It will take another month before I get to see usage graphs and Smart readings appear on the My OVO page.

And if that is successful, it will be a laborious task for someone in OVO's Billing Dept to work out what I really owe for the last six months since the first SMETS2 installation on 11th March.

To be continued.... 😐
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YAY🎉 A happy ending is what we like to see!

Thanks so much for sharing your journey, @So much for subtlety!

I think you have raised some really good feedback, that are pretty simple to put into action, I'll ensure they are passed on!

Thanks!
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Part 7 - The final post credits scene and a happy ending.

ok, so installation day +6 and the final pieces dropped into place with our SMETS2 installation.

As I said in part 6, On Tuesday (installation +4) we noticed on the Ovo app, that the reading history for gas had been wiped and the only entry was for 30 Aug (day of installation) with a reading of 00000. What I hadn’t noticed at first was the that meter MPAN was wrong for this reading and still showed our old
dumb meters MPAN.

today (Thursday - installation day +6) we noticed on the Ovo app that a) the meter MPAN had updated and b) the first auto reading had been taken! Very exciting.

when we got home the IHD is now providing data for both electricity and gas.

So, part 7 is the end (barring some future failure) and that is our SMETS 2 installation story!

Things I would observe with hindsight. Most people probably aren’t going to go out and start digging through the menus on meters. My suggestion is that most people are going to look at their IHD and the Ovo app.

I think more more information could be provided on timescales that things will happen and how this will manifest in the Ovo app in particular. Something as simple as please let us know via this website or through a dedicated upgrade tab in the app if you haven’t seen this change by x days post installation. This would get the customers flagging problem installations to Ovo so they can focus the customer service.

so I would tweak the book and written material/ emails that accompanies the switch to provide customers guidance on the indicators that it’s all progressing ok, update and tighten the installation engineers script to back this up and implement some changes to the app, that are enabled when a customer has been upgraded, to help them a) not fret unnecessarily about time passing or things changing/not changing and b) help Ovo spot issues and intervene before it generates negative customer perception.

All the stuff above is icing on the cake in our case as I suspect many people don’t care about stats, tech and data as much as we do and also it only took 6 days to sort itself out!
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Keep us updated, @So much for subtlety!
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Part 6 - a happy ending.

And then, on the 5th day there was connection!! (Maybe - standby for a post credits scene)



The first and only reading showing is 30 Aug as 0000 which was the installation date.

at this stage I don’t know if this has been done manually or actually means the meter has connected.

as I Pointed out in post 5, if there is a problem with the gas meter connecting and Ovo didn’t intervene to update the meter MPAN and set the reading the zero, I wouldn’t even be able to provide manual gas readings.

i will know by tomorrow whether this manually entered by tomorrow. If it’s connected the first reading will auto update at midnight.
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Ok so here’s part 5.....

which is where is gets interesting (and where hopefully @Transparent tells me how he managed to fix this / get it fixed.)

@Darran_OVO @Nancy_OVO @Eva_OVO please have a look at this as say whether or not this is what we should expect or just unlucky that both @Transparent and I have experienced the same issue.

its now 4 days since the installation and 2.5 working days if you include Friday afternoon.

the electricity meter continues to both talk to the IHD and accurately communicate daily readings back to Ovo that show in the app.

But the gas meter in the Ovo app has not updated its MPAN number and the last reading is still the one I did just prior to installation.

when I check the displays and work through the menus I see the following:


So the temperature was correct! And the date and time!

there were lots of error messages in the event log:


Plus alert codes: 0x8161, ...145, ...183, ....161, ...154 repeated broadly equally over the 33 error messages shown in the event log as of Sunday night.


It seems to be accurately measuring gas and it thinks it’s connected tO something but connected to what? remember @Transparent‘s point about connected to electricity meter as it needs to be or connected to the IHD which is connected to the electricity meter.

When I get home later this week I plan to conduct a little test and turn off the IHD and then check the gas meter to see if it still thinks it’s connected.

Com version is showing 3.10.7, firmware version 04:09:15, firmware rev 19093, boot firmware version 01:10:17

final screenshot:



So, it’s working as a Meter, it’s connected to something and it’s managed to get its date and time. But there are a whole load of error messages and to me it looks like a copy and paste of circumstances that led to @Transparent having a replacement meter.

Bottom line it’s not talking to Ovo yet and so it’s not smart in the most basic sense and CRITICALLY even providing a manual reading is going to be tricky as the MPAN is now wrong and providing a meeting reading of 2 or 3 when the last one was 6000ish will probably result in a divide by zero moment.

so the question for @Transparent and the wider team is, did the meter replacement fix his issue? Was it necessary to replace the meter to fix it (or did something else occur in parallel / afterwards that would have fixed it replacement or not)? If it hasn’t fixed it what should we and others like us do to get it fixed? If no one knows how to fix it what should we do to gather data and evidence and who should we contact/ be sending it to?

how do I provide meter readings for gas when the smart meter isn’t and the new meter details are registered and the readings won’t match??
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Thanks for all that @So much for subtlety.

You wrote:
The cost figures were slightly wrong as the default loaded into the meter is slightly more expensive than our rate. 48 hours later these still haven’t updated on either the meter or the IHD.

This is the very last part of the commissioning process, and could take up to 5 weeks. I still don't understand why.

Possibly it only gets done when OVO's internal Billing Team actually switch your invoicing across to the data-stream incoming from DCC.

Can @Amy_OVO please wander across the other side of the room and ask one of the techies what the answer is please?!

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