SMETS1 and SMETS 2: Everything you need to know about different types of smart meters

19 November 2021 | Matt Mostyn

There are lots of great reasons to get a smart meter at home. They send your meter readings automatically, give you more accurate bills, and let you unlock exclusive benefits. And thanks to the In-Home Display, you can see your energy use in real time – helping you spot ways to save. 

The government wants every UK home to get a smart meter to help create a smarter energy grid, where renewables can be used more effectively. We’re fully on board with that. 

So if you’re with OVO and ready to go smart, all you need to do is to book your free installation. If you want to learn more about smart meters first, head to our website or read on for the technical stuff.

Smart meters explained

At the moment, there are 2 types of smart meter: SMETS1 and SMETS2. SMETS stands for Smart Metering Equipment Technical Specifications. And the number at the end tells you which generation the meter belongs to. Second-generation smart meters, or SMETS2s, are the current industry standard. 

SMETS1 smart meters

Energy suppliers started to install the first generation of smart meters (SMETS1) in 2013. They were fitted with the same kind of 3G sim cards that came in mobile phones. This was so smart meters could send readings to your energy company automatically. And it worked just fine – until you switched supplier. Enter the SMETS2.  

SMETS2 smart meters

These newer smart meters come with all the same benefits as the first generation, but they’re also compatible across energy suppliers. That’s because their software lets them communicate with other SMETS2s. So if you switch, you still get to keep your smart meter – along with all its features.

The big smart meter upgrade 

Now, there isn’t a lot of difference between the two. That’s because all SMETS1 smart meters have been remotely upgraded to work like SMETS2s, so you can switch supplier with peace of mind. 

This doesn’t change the way we use your smart meter data. We’re still the only people that can see how much energy you’re using, and when you’re using it. And we can only see your data with your approval. 

Read more about our data security in our smart meter safety guide

Is there an SMETS3 smart meter?

Not right now, but there are different types of SMETS2s. One of them is known as a 3-Phase SMETS2. This is a smart meter for “heavy load” energy users, who use a lot of electricity. They’re usually for industrial or commercial properties, but can be installed in some homes too.  

You might be a heavy load energy user if you’ve got solar panels, battery storage, or an EV charger. Until recently, homes and businesses that use a lot of electricity couldn’t get smart meters installed. But now, you could be eligible for a 3-phase SMETS2. 

What is a smart grid and why is it important?

Installing smart meters across the UK is a big step towards a smart grid. This kind of grid uses digital technology to help network operators predict how much electricity is needed. That means they can match supply with demand more accurately. 

The shift to a smart grid could have other benefits, too. As well as improving how electricity is generated, distributed, and used, a new smart grid could help us make the UK greener. By bringing us closer to a low-carbon energy system, powered by renewable energy and green technology

According to Ofgem2, the more of us that have smart meters, the better. And the government agrees. They say the smart network and all its benefits depend on the next generation of meters being installed.

How do SMETS2 meters work?

A smart meter for electricity measures an electrical current’s flow and voltage at certain times, and adds it up to work out how much power is being used. Gas smart meters work in a similar way, except they measure the flow of gas. This info is then sent to you and your energy supplier automatically. 

That means you can forget about monthly readings – your smart meter sends them for you. And because they share data frequently (up to every half an hour), you get more accurate bills instead of estimates. 

All of this is possible thanks to 2 wireless networks: the HAN (home area network) and WAN (wide area network). 

  • The HAN lets your gas smart meter communicate with its paired electricity meter. It’s also how your meters connect to your In-Home Display.
  • The WAN sends data from your home to your energy supplier. That also means you can see your energy use in your online account, and get lots of useful insights. 

SMETS2 meters don’t just send out information. They communicate both ways, so your energy company can update your meter remotely – without having to call out an engineer. 

Why get a smart meter?

Getting a smart meter really is a smart move. It’s one of the ways you can join us on the Path to Zero, and take steps to help reduce your bills and carbon footprint. Here’s how a smart meter can make energy work better for you.

  • Spot ways to save energy and money 
  • Say goodbye to manual meter readings 
  • Get accurate bills instead of estimates 
  • See your energy use and costs in real time  
  • Unlock exclusive offers and rewards 
  • Get peace of mind with the highest level of data security

Ready to go smart? If you’re with OVO, you can book your appointment today. We’ll set everything up at a time that suits you.

Smart meters could help keep our loved ones safe 

Studies are being carried out to find other ways smart meters could help us in the future. With the consent of people who decide to opt in, they could monitor daily routines, like cooking dinner, or boiling the kettle. 

This might be reassuring if you have someone elderly or vulnerable close to you. A smart meter could alert you to unusual patterns in their electricity use, or if they’re under-heating their home in winter.  

SMETS1 or SMETS2 – how to tell which smart meter you have

If you can see a device with LED lights sitting on top of your smart meter (usually marked Telefonica, Arqiva, WNC, or Toshiba) then you have an SMETS2. If not, it’s likely to be an SMETS1. 

The rollout of SMETS2 smart meters started in 2018. But some suppliers were still using their stock of first-generation meters. So the only way to be 100% sure is by asking your energy supplier. If you’re with OVO, you can contact us through your online account

Ready to go smart?

If you’re with OVO and want to get an SMETS2 smart meter, all you need to do is to book an appointment. We’ll set everything up at no extra cost – usually within 8 weeks. 

And you won’t just get the latest tech. In the 2022 Uswitch Energy Awards, we won Best Energy Supplier in 4 categories, including Best Smart Meter Experience. So you’ll get one of the best installation experiences around, too. 

How to read your smart meter

Even though your smart meter sends readings automatically, there might be times when you need to do it yourself. For example, if: 

  • You’ve just switched energy supplier, and need to send them your first reading
  • You’ve switched supplier and they can’t connect to your meter, which might happen if you’ve got an older model
  • You want to check if your meter reading has changed 

To find out how to take a meter reading, head over to our step-by-step guide. We’ve also got lots more info on smart meters in our Help Centre.