How to read your smart meter

20 August 2020 | OVO Energy

Now you have a smart meter, it’s time to get ready to learn how to make the most of some of its cleverest features. 

Rejoice! Because gone are the days of venturing into a dingy meter cupboard to get readings. They’ll now be sent automatically. 

But that doesn’t mean you should just give your smart meter the cold shoulder. To get the most from its energy-saving capabilities, follow our guide to using its on-screen functions and In-Home Display (IHD).

And while ordinarily you’ll no longer need to take or send us meter readings, there may be times where you want to do that. For instance, if you’ve switched energy suppliers and your smart meter isn’t yet compatible with your new supplier’s systems (which means you’d need to give manual readings). Or you might want to take more regular meter readings yourself, so you can keep an even closer eye on your energy use.

If so, read on to find out how to take a smart meter reading.

Any further questions? From safety & security to installation and technology, find all the answers on our smart meters FAQs page.

Taking a smart meter reading 

It’s time to get friendly with your smart meter. Below is a visual example of a typical smart meter screen – but please note that yours might look quite different. If so, find the answers you seek in the instruction booklet for your specific meter.

Smart meters are designed to work across multiple countries, so there are some symbols you can just ignore – such as the € sign (for euros). As a simple rule, relevant symbols are black. You can ignore the ones that appear grey.

There’s further explanation of each of the other main functions below. 

  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 refers to your electricity, and the flame is gas. In this illustration, the plug is black while the flame is grey, so the information refers to electricity. If your screen shows OFF or READY, your meter is off supply – so you need to wake it up and get it back on supply. To do that, simply press any button.
  3. If you’ve got unread messages from us on your smart meter, this symbol will be lit.
  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. This is the network that smart meters use to communicate with each other, and with your IHD. The symbol on the screen shows that the meter has been set up to provide a HAN, although it may not be communicating with other devices if it hasn’t yet been linked to them.
  6. These shapes become letters or numbers on active meters. They either show messages or amounts, such as how much energy you’ve used, or how much credit you’ve got.
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Smart meter buttons and lights

If yours is a SMETS1 model, this is what the buttons refer to:

1 - Usage and cost of energy today vs yesterday

2 - Cost of energy this week vs last week

3 - Cost of energy this month vs last month

4 - Historical data for energy use and monthly cost

5 - CO2 data for the current hour, today, yesterday, last week and last month

6 - Tariff, standard charge, whether single or dual rate, and unit rates for each meter reading if Economy 7

7 - Not used

8 - Not used

9 - Meter reading

0 - Checks the display and then shows the time, date and load

B - Wakes up meter if asleep, and can be used to scroll back

If yours is a SMETS2 model


A - allows you to scroll through all the sub menus

B - Allows you to scroll through all the menu options

Gas A and B - Allow you to scroll you through the menu options

C - Allows you to access the entire menu

Smart meter lights

The red flashing light next to the keypad (known as the metrology light) measures the electricity going through your meter.

The 3 lights above the screen, from left to right, are:

Power light - should be off (it only comes on when first installed, or when the energy’s back on after a power cut)

WAN light - measures communication with OVO. This should flash 5 times, then pause for 1 second.

HAN light - indicates the home network is open. This should be off.

Flashing WAN and metrology lights are good indicators that your meter’s working.

How can I submit a meter reading myself?

To take a reading, press ‘9’ on your smart meter keypad. This will show the meter reading in kilowatt hours (kWh) for electricity, and cubic meters for gas.

If your smart electricity meter is on an Economy 7 tariff (where you pay a standard price during the day and a lower rate for 7 hours overnight), press ‘6’, then press three more times until you can see ‘IMP R01’. This shows your off-peak (night-time) reading in kWh. Press ‘6’ again and you’ll see ‘IMP R02’. This gives your daytime reading.

We’re asking anyone who doesn’t have a smart meter to submit their readings through their online account or in the OVO app. This is because we’re now only able to take emergency calls, so we can help those who need us most. It’s really easy to submit readings this way – and we thank you for your support.

How to read your In-Home Display (IHD) 

Your In-Home Display (IHD) is like a window into your smart meter. It shows you near-real-time stats on everything from much energy you’ve used to how much you’re spending. 

Once you’ve built up a few weeks of energy use, you can find even more information via your account online – which displays energy use graphs and your usage broken down by appliance. 

Your IHD screen icons

The following instructions work for most devices made by our IHD partner. We recommend checking their website to make sure that you have this brand of IHD.

Many types of IHD have 7 buttons along the bottom of the display screen, which you can use to navigate through all its features. You’ll be able to see how much energy you’ve used by day, week or month – and you can also see how much energy you’re using right now. 

  • Tap the Home button on the bottom bar to see how much energy you’ve used so far today.
  • Tap the Now button to see how much energy you’re using in real time. This is displayed as kilowatts (kW) and cost per hour.
  • The coloured light at the bottom shows if your current energy use is low (green), medium (amber) or high (red). These usage brackets are based on average usage at first, but after a while your IHD will learn and adjust the brackets based on your own energy use.
  • Tap the Utility button to switch between viewing electricity use, gas use or combined stats.
  • Tap the Calendar button to cycle through daily, weekly and monthly views.
  • Tap the Left arrow to scroll back through daily, weekly or monthly views.

Seeing meter readings on your IHD

With just a few button presses you can see your meter readings on your IHD screen:

  1. Tap OK
  2. Press the right arrow three times to see meter information
  3. Press OK to see your meter readings, using the Utility button to toggle between electricity and gas

Setting an energy budget on your IHD

Your IHD makes it easy to take control of your energy use by setting up a budget. Here’s how to set one up: 

  1. Tap OK to bring up the menu screen.
  2. Press the right arrow to select Adjust Settings and press OK. Then select Set Budget by tapping OK again.
  3. Choose the time period you want to set a budget for (daily, weekly or monthly) by tapping the Calendar button.
  4. Tap the left and right arrow buttons to change the amount. You’ll see your energy use for the previous period to help you set a budget.
  5. Once you’re happy with your budget, tap OK to save.

You can set a separate budget for electricity and gas by pressing the Utility button. Your IHD will create a combined budget line on the home screen. 

Having trouble with your smart meter or IHD? Find the answers to some of the most common smart meter problems, with our handy Smart Meter troubleshooting guide.

And find out everything you need to know about the Landis+Gyr (L+G) smart meter. It's one of the UK’s most popular – and some might say confusing to identify – smart meters!

Ready to get a smart meter?

If you’re not yet with OVO, check out our new Better Smart energy plan. It’s our lowest-rate plan that’s also powered by a smart meter.

Already an OVO member and ready to jump in? Book an appointment to get your smart meter fitted.