Why can't my supplier resolve my smart meter Wide-Area-Network (WAN) signal issues?

Who has a SSE or OVO installed smart meter that doesn’t work and more significantly has NEVER worked? Succumbing to promotional pressure and keen to save/monitor my electricity usage, I had one installed 3.5 years ago — and it never worked from the off, save after a few months to provide exactly the same as the old one. After complaints and taking the matter to the ombudsman service (upheld on all counts and resolved with goodwill and indefinite pledges to sort out the issue). That was 20 months ago and there’s been zilch in action or communication since. Now that OVO is running the show, we will see what happens. I have no information on whether my situation is unique or common and why this is so, except that it is largely a government communications agency’s fault (DCC). Hence my question. I am in a small town in the northeast of Scotland, where everything else digital works just fine - with, as far as I know, three SSE electricity sub-stations and three digital/telecoms masts within a mile of my house. Thanks for taking the time and trouble to post if you can help or enlighten me in any way.


Best answer by Blastoise186 28 March 2022, 21:39

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Updated on 26/06/23 by Emmanuelle_OVO

Hi @rawx ,

I’m Blastoise186, one of the forum volunteers here. I don’t work for OVO or SSE myself and cannot access your account, but I might be able to help figure out some diagnostics. Please could you post some photos of your meters, as I need to figure out what you’ve got so that I know what I can try.

If you have SMETS2, then your location means you’re on the Long-Range Radio based Arqiva WAN. All smart meters do ultimately connect to DCC, but there’s two ways of doing so. If you were in the Southern Territory, it would have been the Cellular based Telefonica WAN instead, but that option wouldn’t have worked as well in rural parts of Scotland, whereas Long Range Radio has a far better chance.

While the tech and concept sounds great on paper, in reality the Arqiva WAN has been plagued with issues and you are not alone here. Unfortunately however, fixing those issues is beyond OVO’s control as only Arqiva can install more infrastructure and repair their existing masts. It is only after this is done, that OVO/SSE would be able to truly fix your smart meter issues. Even if you switch supplier, I’m afraid this same issue will still affect you.

One of the best resources we’ve got is the website SmartMe, which we commonly use here on the forum anytime we get stuck or need reliable source info.

My own smart meter, Raichu, is a SMETS2 Aclara SGM1411-B with a WNC SKU1 Communications Hub, installed by OVO in April 2021. It which runs on the Telefonica WAN as I’m in the West Midlands. For me, it’s always worked perfectly as well.

Many thanks Blastoise for that information. Much appreciated. I didn’t get anything like this from SSE until I went to the energy ombudsman, perhaps because they thought it too technical and would baffle me (partially true) but more likely because it could imply there was nothing they were able or willing to do about it. Having said that, I did receive this explanation from an executive complaints rep: : 

“The smart metering system requires wireless communication networks to allow the two-way communication between the smart meter, yourself and the energy supplier. There are two key parts to the smart metering system, which when working correctly will let you see in near real time how much energy you are using and allow two-way communication with the supplier. The two parts of the system are called the Home Area Network and Wide Area Network.


The Home Area Network (HAN) is the part of the smart metering system within your home. The supplier is responsible for the HAN. It contains the smart meters, the in-home display, and the communications hub. 


The communications hub acts like a Wi-Fi network in the home. The smart meters wirelessly send information to the communications hub which in turn sends the information to the in-home display. Most communications hubs will either be part of or situated next to the electricity meter. Problems with the HAN will likely result in the smart meters not being able to send energy usage information to the in-home display and/or the energy suppliers.


The Wide Area Network(WAN) spans over a large geographical area and is the part of the system that allows the wider communication between the smart meters and the energy suppliers to take place. 


Communication with the suppliers takes place over a secure network that is like that used by mobile phones. The communications hub is the link between the HAN and the WAN. Problems with the WAN will mean that the smart meters cannot communicate with the SSE (Energy) and vice versa and can be fitted but do not function correctly and be used as a general heritage meter.


We are currently working with the DCC (Data Communications Company) to find a fix for the issue you are experiencing.  The DCC have been contracted by the Government in order to deliver SMETS2 communications functionality to the industry.


Unfortunately, I would be unable to guarantee when the signal will improve but I promise I will do everything possible to help and if The Ombudsman contact us we will work closely with them and contact you to work towards fixing your Smart issues.”


I can still send you pics of the meter but I think the above confirms it’s a SMETS2.

Thanks again.



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Apart from describing the Telefonica WAN rather than the Arqiva WAN, that description is pretty much spot on. I could probably nit-pick it if I really wanted to, but I’d say it’s good enough for anyone who isn’t me. :)

I think you are on SMETS2, but I’m happy to double check for you because 3.5 years ago from now is around the point where S1 was starting to be phased out and S2 starting to roll out.

Unfortunately, it’s all down to how fast DCC and Arqiva can fix their problems though. And I already know that DCC isn’t exactly very fast at resolving support requests...

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Hi @rawx, I have your smart meters brother! I had a Smets2 installed by OVO on 8/2/20 and it didn’t work. The engineer knew it didn’t work but installed it anyway because he was getting paid £35 by OVO for every smart meter he installed that day (saturday). I assume OVO must be being paid more for installing the smart meter and appear to be promoting Ofgems protocol. After numerous phone calls and emails with OVO I got nowhere so was forced to consult the ombudsman who determined that OVO had provided me with a poor service. I was given a £50 goodwill credit and OVO were told to send an engineer to investigate. It seemed like a token gesture as the 2nd engineer told me there was no communication to the smart meter and it was an issue for DCC, the communication company and not an OVO issue. I contacted DCC and low and behold they told me that a smart meter issue lay with the provider and not with them. They told me the signal strength in my area was high and I should contact OVO. In addition OVO should have lodged an issue with DCC as a communication issue but they hadn’t. Still now I am being bounced between OVO and DCC and nobody wants to help. OVO have no incentive to get my smart meter working. They have been paid for installation whether working or not - I’m not surprised the energy industry is failing. Ofgem should have laid the ground rules that suppliers will be paid for installing a WORKING meter, not just for installing a meter. I have an ASHP and an EV. TOU tariff is important to me but since I have no functional smart meter OVO *removed by moderator* have no incentive to get my smart meter working so i can strategically reduce my energy costs. 

We had smart meters (SMETS2) installed by Scottish Power about 3 years ago. 

The engineers were unable to get these working/communicating with their service so we continued to provide manual readings.

We since moved to OVO, and still need to perform manual readings.  What can we do to enable the auto reporting?

I am keen to get this working so that we can track out consumption, and also Solar export levels to best balance use of appliances.

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Heya @dastardly00 ,

Can you show us some photos please? We’ll see if we can figure this out for you!

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Hey @dastardly00,


Welcome to the OVO Online Community.


If you haven’t already, I’d advise completing a smart meter health check:



This will help our Team diagnose the problem.


Hope this helps.

thanks for your responses, I had looked at the guides before, but these units are different

The WAN light flashes every 5s (ish) the HAN light is solid green


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Hmm… Can you give a go?

Please tell us the status that it returns, and who the supplier is

Computer says no!



that’s using the MPAN on the OVO electric bill

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Then it’s as I suspected. DCC doesn’t even know about your site…

Please fill out the Smart Meter Health Check below and send it to OVO via Live Chat.

They can try to fix this but it may end up requiring a meter exchange.

Hi. I’m new to smart meters, being in the sticks. I’ve recently installed some solar panels, but can’t get a tariff that pays SEG without a SMETS2, but we don’t get a mobile signal. A house 400 meters away gets a mobile signal with a SMETS1. They would be happy to change to a SMETS2. So, can I get a meter to communicate with theirs via WAN, which would send data via mobile to the supplier. Is that how it could work? 

Two other neighbours with panels would also be interested, but none of the suppliers will look into it. Before spending more time on it I’d like know if what I suggest is feasible. 

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Hi @Jimbo757 ,

This might work if you can get a Mesh Network going in your area. It requires iirc four SMETS2 sites with SKU2/SKU3 Comms Hubs and at least one of which must have a direct WAN signal. If all four of you are willing to upgrade, then this could potentially be explored. :)

Thanks. I might also be able to get a couple of others as well. Who should I contact to explore this? I don’t get anywhere with the usual customer service points of contact

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I can ask for advice on that one backstage, but it may take a few days to get a full reply. Bear with me!

What I do know is that the bigger the Mesh gets, the more powerful it becomes and in turn, increases the range it can cover. Every additional Site added to the Mesh Network itself becomes part of the relay and any Site in the Mesh that has WAN coverage can upload and download to the WAN on behalf of the entire Mesh Network and all Sites that are part of it.

There must always be at least one Site in the Mesh Network at all times that has a direct WAN Signal. If all Sites lose WAN Signal, then the Mesh Network will go down until WAN Signal is restored to at least one of the Sites. It’s a self-healing system though, so it will keep trying to re-establish the link and the Mesh side of things would remain active even if the uplink fails.

So I’m clear on this, is mobile connection seperate from WAN, or if one meter can connect via mobile and others can communicate with it, then they form a mesh to upload data? Does one meter have to have connection to the WAN network to enable all the others to communicate? 

Is there a website I can look at to get my head round it? I’m reasonably techie.

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Pretty much. :)

The Telefonica WAN used in most of the UK (outside of Scotland and Northern England) effectively runs on the O2 mobile network, albeit with massive segregation in place to stop the two sides from interacting.

You’re also correct about the Mesh. One meter can connect directly to the WAN via the mobile network and the rest will go via that one, frog hopping through others if needs be.

Try . That’s the resource we always use here!

Thanks. I’ll have a look at it. Do you know if 400m is too far for the first contact with a mobile connected meter?

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Erm… 400m is probably fine. I can’t say for sure because I don’t know the frequency being used, but I highly doubt it’s anything that has only say, 100m range on it. In actual fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s at least a mile.

After all, the Mesh Network method is designed for rural areas like the one you’re in!

I appreciate this thread is now a little old.
I have O2 signal outside, but my smart meter is buried in my concrete basement.
Can i simply use a 3G range extender to bring O2 signal to meter and thereby connecting to DCC WAN?

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3G Range Extenders probably wouldn’t have any effect. The Cellular Comms used in the Southern Territory run in a different way to regular devices and are more heavily locked down.

It can only be achieved using approved equipment.

OK, so where/how do you get ‘approved’ equipment?

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The best way of that is via your supplier, through their customer service team. They can help with the arrangements.

OVO is supplier - blank drawn there, they say there is nothing they can do if the extended antenna doesn’t get a signal - this is the 30cm long thing on a somewhat useless 20cm wire.

There is no ‘specialist’ kit, unless you know something different?


Are O2 using non standard 3G, why wouldn’t a simple range extender work?

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Well, in edge cases there is the T3 Aerial, but it’s rare and has to be specially requested from DCC.

I’ll ask about where those are up to. It’s private infrastructure, so you can’t just use any old extender.