How to read your smart meter

20 August 2020 | OVO Energy

Now your smart meter is up and running, you can learn how to make the most of its cleverest features. 

Gone are the days of venturing into your meter cupboard to get your readings. They’ll be sent automatically from now on. But there might be times when you’ll need to take a meter reading yourself, like if you’ve switched energy suppliers or if you want to keep a closer eye on your energy use. 

In this guide, we’ll cover manual meter readings, as well as the energy-saving features that come with your smart meter and In-Home Display. 

If you’ve got a question and are looking for a quick answer, check our FAQs.

An intro to your smart meter

It’s time to get to know your smart meter. Below is an example of a typical smart meter screen – but yours might look a bit different. If so, it’s best to check the instructions.

Smart meters are designed to work in lots of different countries, so there are some symbols you can ignore. Usually, these are the ones in grey. The relevant symbols should be in black. 

Here’s a summary of your smart meter’s main functions: 

  1. If you have a Feed-in Tariff, these symbols show whether you’re currently importing or exporting electricity.
  2. This tells you whether your energy is “ON”, “OFF”, or “READY”. The plug symbol is for electricity, and the flame means gas. So if the plug is black and the flame is grey, the info on the screen refers to your electricity. If the screen shows “OFF” or “READY”, your meter is off supply. This means there isn’t any gas or electricity coming into your home. To get back on supply, press any button.
  3. When you get a message from us, this symbol will light up.
  4. This tells you which unit of energy you’re looking at. M³ (cubic metres) is gas and kWh (kilowatt hours) is electricity.
  5. HAN stands for Home Area Network. Smart meters use this to communicate with each other, and connect to your In-Home Display. The symbol on the screen shows that the meter has been set up for HAN, but it might not be connecting to other devices if they haven’t been paired.
  6. These shapes become letters or numbers on active meters. They either show messages or amounts, like how much energy you’ve used, or how much credit you’ve got.

Using your smart meter 

At the moment, there are 2 types of smart meter out there – SMETS1 or SMETS2. If yours is an SMETS1, that means it’s part of the first generation. SMETS2s are the second generation. To find out which one you’ve got at home, check our handy guide.  

What the buttons on your SMETS1 show you:

1 – Energy use and costs today compared to yesterday

2 – Energy costs this week compared to last week

3 – Energy costs this month compared to last month

4 – Historical data for energy use and monthly costs

5 – CO2 data for the current hour, so far today, yesterday, last week, and last month

6 – Your tariff, standard charge, single or dual rates, and unit rates for each meter reading if you’re on an Economy 7 plan

7 – Isn’t used for anything

8 – Not used

9 - Your meter reading

0 - The time, date, and load

B - Wakes up your smart meter, and can be used to scroll back

What the buttons on your SMETS2 do:


A – Takes you through the different sub menus

B – Scrolls through the menu options


A and B – Both scroll through the menu options

C – Opens the entire menu

The different lights on your smart meter 

First, let’s cover the flashing red light next to the keypad. This is known as the metrology light, and it measures the electricity passing through your smart meter.

You’ll also see 3 more lights above the screen. From left to right, they are:

The power light – this only comes on when your smart meter is first installed, or when the electricity comes back on after a power cut. So don’t worry, it’s supposed to be off.  

The WAN light – WAN stands for Wide Area Network. This light shows you how well your smart meter is connecting to your energy supplier. If the connection is strong, the light will flash 5 times and then pause for 1 second.

The HAN light – HAN stands for Home Area Network. This light should be off to show that your HAN is secure. 

How to submit a meter reading yourself

To take a reading, press the number 9 on your smart meter’s keypad. It’ll then show you the reading in kilowatt hours (kWh) for electricity, and cubic metres (m³) for gas.

If you’re on an Economy 7 energy plan 

This means you pay a standard price in the day, and a lower rate for 7 hours overnight. Press the 6 button, then press it again 3 more times – until you see “IMP R01” come up. This shows your off-peak (night-time) reading in kWh. For your daytime reading, press 6 until you see “IMP R02”. Then you can send us your readings through your online account or in the OVO app. 

How to read your In-Home Display 

Your In-Home Display (IHD) is like a window to your smart meter. It shows you how much energy you’re using in real time, and how much it’s costing. It also lets you keep track of your energy use by day, week, or month. 

Once you’ve built up a few weeks of data, you can find more info in your online account – like graphs and your energy use for different appliances. 

Getting to know your In-Home Display 

You can follow this guide for most devices made by Chameleon, our IHD partner. It’s a good idea to check their website before you start, just to make sure you’ve got one of their In-Home Displays.

Lots of IHDs come with 7 buttons along the bottom of the screen. Here’s a quick summary of what they do:

  • Home – returns you to the home screen. So if you ever get lost in your IHD, this is the button to press.
  • Now – shows you the amount of energy you’re using in real time. 
  • Utility or Fuel – lets you switch between gas and electricity, or both. If your IHD isn’t showing your fuel type, you might be on the wrong screen. 
  • Calendar – shows you your daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly energy use.
  • Menu or OK – selects whichever option you choose.
  • Arrows – these take you through different options or info.

You’ll also see 3 coloured lights below the buttons. Your IHD uses a traffic light system to help you stick to your budget at a glance. A green light means you’re on track, amber means you’re getting close, and red means you could go over your budget.

Meter readings on your In-Home Display

Thanks to your IHD, you can take a meter reading just by pressing a few buttons:

  1. Tap “OK”
  2. Press the right arrow three times until you get to “Meter information”
  3. Press “OK” to see your meter readings, using the “Utility” button to switch between electricity and gas

Setting a budget on your In-Home Display

If you ask us, this is one of the most useful features In-Home Displays come with. Here’s how to set up an energy budget:

  1. Tap “OK” to bring up the menu screen.
  2. Press the right arrow until you see “Settings” and press “OK”.
  3. Choose “Set budget”.
  4. Tap the calendar to choose the time period.
  5. Use the arrows to set your budget amount. Your screen will tell you how much energy you’ve used previously to help you decide.
  6. Press “OK” to save.

You can set separate budgets for gas and electricity by using the “Fuel” or “Utility” button if you’d prefer. Then, once everything’s set up, the budget dial and marker will help you see how closely you’re sticking to your targets.

If you’ve got a Landis+Gyr smart meter at home, we’ve put together a more detailed guide that covers everything you need to know. And if you run into any problems, our smart meter troubleshooting page might be able to help.

Ready to go smart?

Join us on the path to energy that’s better for you, your wallet, and the planet. You can get a quote for any of our energy plans online. And if you haven’t got a smart meter yet, we’ll set one up for free – just pick a time slot that suits you.