Solved

The electricity reading on my SMETS2 smart meter has reset itself to 0 and the IHD no longer displays electricity information - What is going on?

  • 28 September 2020
  • 12 replies
  • 884 views

I’ve had my smart meter (SMETS2 Aclara) for about a year running pretty much flawlessly, however I have just discovered that last week my meter’s electricity reading has reset itself from 1306 (day reading) back to 0. It has also reset the night counter to 0 and the night reading has not increased since then (still 0 after a week). At around the same time my IHD (Chameleon Type 1) stopped displaying any electricity readings. The new readings have been transmitted and recorded by OVO. Can anyone help with this?

Gas meter readings and display on the IHD are totally unaffected.

icon

Best answer by Tim_OVO 30 September 2020, 14:43

Some great work looking at that Aclara smart meter health check, and helping us work out the details, @JP9000

 

I’ve spoken to our SMETS2 experts, and they have not heard of this meter type physically defaulting to 00000:  

 

“While I'd say a meter exchange is likely, it'd be good to have information: As an issue we've not seen before, it really needs to be raised with the appropriate teams/meter manufacturers so it can be properly investigated. 


Some photos and a rough outline of customer experience with the meter up to this point would help.”

 

I would recommend sending this to us in an email, and include a link to this topic thread: hello@ovoenergy.com. 

View original

12 replies

Userlevel 7

This is an interesting one, thanks for posting and giving such a clear title and description @JP9000 - let’s get on with fixing it!

 

First port of call is to refer to the SMETS2 Aclara smart meter health check here - that will give you a range of options to see if the meter is still communicating with us, and the IHD (WAN and HAN) and will allow you to check the readings (just in case it’s been checked wrong). 

 

Can you do this and leave a comment below with the latest? 

 

Spoiler alert: if you don’t spot anything that might explain this, it’s likely something that’s changed at our end, so our Support team would be the next port of call. 

 

It would be good to hear from you about those checks first though….

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Fascinating, @JP9000. I always look forward to such innovative/obscure errors to help brighten the day. :sun_with_face:

Can you please tell us here, the flash-rates of the LED indicators on your Communications Hub?

When did the fault occur?

Does it yet show up on your Online Account usage-graphs?

Thanks

Hi @Tim_OVO  and @Transparent,  and thank you for responding.

 

I have carried out your recommended health check and everything seems in order. The LED indicators all flash at a regular 5 second interval (excluding MESH which stays dark).

 

The fault seems to have occurred either 19/09/2020 or 20/09/2020, and OVO are now receiving new readings  starting from 0 and Economy 7 night readings seem to have stopped completely.

 

Here are screenshots of my readings and usage according to OVO. Note 19/09/2020 on the usage graph is displaying a large negative value, and the change in the readings from 20/09/2020 onwards.

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

That’s excellent feedback, @JP9000 

I’m very interested to see that you’re getting a large negative reading on electricity. I’ve reported similar errors on gas readings over the last couple of months. You can view my screenshots over here where we’re discussing errors in the presentation of the Billing System.

Your report is not the same as the rest of us are discussing because you’ve actually had the meter reset itself to something akin to the factory-default condition. This should never happen because it suggests it might be possible to alter the memory in the meter, and send erroneous readings to the Comms Hub.

The Smart Meters actually have some hidden anti-tamper devices which send an alert to the Energy Supplier if anyone were to try this.

I confirm that the LED indicators are doing exactly what they should to show that the data communications are functional. The Mesh indicator is off because you have an SKU1 Comms Hub. That is correct.

Whilst we’re looking into this, please be assured that you will not lose out financially due to this technical fault. OVO have enough data to provide very accurate assessment of your true usage on both tariff rates.

 

@Tim_OVO wrote:

Spoiler alert: if you don’t spot anything that might explain this, it’s likely something that’s changed at our end,

I doubt that, Tim. If the physical ESME has set its display back to 0000, then it’s nothing like we’ve seen before. Something has happened within the electricity meter itself.

Worse still, neither the Comms Hub nor your Billing System has performed a sanity check to alert you that the meter has lost all its settings (including the E7 configuration).

I’m assuming your S2 Team will want the meter recovered “as is” rather than attempt to reconfigure it remotely.

Userlevel 7

Some great work looking at that Aclara smart meter health check, and helping us work out the details, @JP9000

 

I’ve spoken to our SMETS2 experts, and they have not heard of this meter type physically defaulting to 00000:  

 

“While I'd say a meter exchange is likely, it'd be good to have information: As an issue we've not seen before, it really needs to be raised with the appropriate teams/meter manufacturers so it can be properly investigated. 


Some photos and a rough outline of customer experience with the meter up to this point would help.”

 

I would recommend sending this to us in an email, and include a link to this topic thread: hello@ovoenergy.com. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

That’s a very sensible response at this stage.

@JP9000- this is the moment when you need to tell the OVO Engineers all the things that are site-specific so they can start putting together the evidence before pulling your Electricity Smart Meter back into their Test-lab.

Include anything which comes to mind, including detail on things like:

  • roughly how old is the house wiring?
  • photo of each consumer unit (standard and off-peak)
  • does your house have an earth stake?
  • what loads are connected to Economy-7?
  • how do you heat the house?
  • do you have an electric vehicle?
  • what was the weather like on 19/20th Sept?
  • apart from the Smart Meters and IHD has any other electrical device gone faulty or needed resetting?

I hope that’s enough for you to see the type of background information which is useful at this stage.

Tim’s asking for this by email so that you don’t post specifics about your household here on the open Forum. But we’re obviously able to assist if you need anything clarified. Just let us know.

Thanks for all your advice @Tim_OVO and @Transparent.

I have now sent an email with as much information as I could provide. I will keep you advised as things progress.

Update: After 9 days I finally received a first response from hello@ovoenergy.com.

Frustratingly, this response was essentially asking me to go back to square one and do the health check as requested by @Tim_OVO previously. I appreciate they have to start with the basics as part of the process, but it has taken 9 days for them to, essentially, ask me to repeat myself. I tried to be thorough in my original email to avoid this situation (a full explanation and a link to this thread was provided). :expressionless:

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

I wouldn’t regard that level of response as acceptable, @JP9000 

Customer Services is organised in three tiers. I think you should’ve been escalated to a higher level. The response you’ve received is typical of the first-level checks which would be undertaken to ensure that the symptoms are being properly reported.

There’s also the SMETS2 Engineers who tend to have cases referred to them when the symptoms are particularly unusual and require technical analysis. A meter resetting to 0000 is unheard-of, and I would expect the S2 Team to be involved.

Userlevel 7

Update: After 9 days I finally received a first response from hello@ovoenergy.com.

Frustratingly, this response was essentially asking me to go back to square one and do the health check as requested by @Tim_OVO previously. 

 

 

:confounded:

 

I wouldn’t regard that level of response as acceptable, @JP9000 

 

 

Agree! I’ll PM you now, @JP9000 to get some details from you, find the response and pass on some feedback. 

 

In the meantime, I would recommend jumping the queue and calling or using web chat. Find our details here. The info in this thread is enough for a 17 working day ‘faulty meter’ appointment to be booked, with job notes about the issue. Maybe even a case raised alongside this to our Smart ‘second line’ team, to make sure we feedback the issue to whoever it needs to go to, likely the meter manufactures. 

 

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Whether you choose the webchat route or not, @JP9000 please remember that I think this meter needs analysing - not just replacing!

Now I may just be another humble customer, but it really shouldn’t be possible for a meter to have its cumulative readings reset under any circumstances.

This is a potential security loophole, similar to being able to “clock” a car and then sell it for more money as it’s apparently done fewer miles.

The SMETS hardware and firmware has been designed (and tested!) to ensure that the memory used for readings cannot be over-written. The cumulative readings system is the absolute bedrock of providing correct/accurate billing.

However, in this case it’s more serious; there are other protected memory locations which it might also now be possible to over-write. Although I’m not going to expound on this here on a public-forum, there are consequences of doing so which would threaten the energy-supply for the UK.

It is vital that the OVO S2 engineers first test out your meter in-situ, and then recover it for proper investigation. This will need to involve the manufacturers (Aclara and Toshiba, I presume) and the National Cyber Security Centre. NCSC advised on the necessary steps to prevent the UK energy supply being threatened by a malicious 3rd-party actor.

Please do not accept a standard “faulty meter exchange” until we are sure that the S2 Engineers are tracking these meters!

I’ll PM you now, @JP9000 to get some details from you, find the response and pass on some feedback. 

PM response sent. :slight_smile:

 

Whether you choose the webchat route or not, @JP9000 please remember that I think this meter needs analysing - not just replacing!

Now I may just be another humble customer, but it really shouldn’t be possible for a meter to have its cumulative readings reset under any circumstances.

...

Please do not accept a standard “faulty meter exchange” until we are sure that the S2 Engineers are tracking these meters!

I agree! Meter readings should be tamper/fault-proof and this unique situation needs further investigation.

Reply