SMETS1 and SMETS 2: Everything you need to know about different types of smart meters
31 July 2020 | Matt Mostyn
Right now is a great time to get a smart meter. Why’s that, you ask? Because not only can they help you to cut your bills, but they can also reduce your household’s carbon emissions. That’s a win-win all round, we reckon!
The government wants all energy suppliers to install smart meters into all British homes by 20241. It’s all part of the effort to create a smarter energy grid, which helps deliver more efficient, reliable, low-carbon energy to Britain's households. And we’re fully on board with that.
The shift to a smart grid
The nationwide installation of smart meters is an important part of the shift away from standard electricity grids towards a 'smart grid'. This uses digital technology to let network operators predict much more accurately how much electricity is needed, and when, so they can better match supply with demand.
That shift could bring many potential benefits. Not only could it lead to big improvements in how electricity is generated, distributed and consumed, but it’s also great news for the environment. That’s because a smart grid takes us another step closer to a low-carbon energy system, powered by renewable energy and green technologies.
The more of us that have a smart meter, the greater the benefits, says Ofgem2. The government agrees, saying that the smart network benefits depend on a critical mass of next generation ‘SMETS2’ meters being installed.
‘SMETS’ smart meters explained
Which brings us seamlessly on to that catchy name! ‘SMETS’ is the acronym for ‘Smart Metering Equipment Technical Specifications’ – which is pretty self-explanatory.
Right now we’re now installing a new generation of smart meters called SMETS2. They replace SMETS1 meters – the UK’s first industry-standard type of smart meter, which energy suppliers have been installing since 2013. Problem was, if you changed supplier, many of these types of meters stopped sending automatic readings.
Since then, we’ve seen the launch of the next generation of smart meters, named SMETS2. These have all the same energy-saving features of the last generation – which means you won’t have to endure any more annoying meter readings.
But the best bit is that SMETS2 smart meters are cross-compatible with other SMETS2-ready energy suppliers. So if you switch supplier, you won’t need a meter exchange, and you won’t lose your smart meter features.
SMETS2 smart meters – why get one?
For starters, because we’ll install them at no cost to you. Then there’s the fact that you’ll be able to more easily spot patterns in your gas and electricity use, so you can find out where to make savings. It also means no more meter readings or estimated bills. And finally, it helps you to waste less energy and cut your carbon emissions. Sold yet?!
SMETS2 smart meter benefits
While SMETS2 meters offer many of the same benefits as SMETS1 meters, they contain the most up-to-date technology to help make life easier – especially if you ever want to switch supplier.
SMETS2 smart meter benefits include:
- Free installation
- Meter readings sent automatically, for accurate rather than estimated bills
- The highest standard of security for your data
- See how much energy you’re using, either online or via your In-Home Display (IHD)
- See how much energy different appliances use, which could help you to cut down what you’re spending
- Complete cross-supplier compatibility
Read more about how to get a smart meter
SMETS2 smart meters – other potential benefits
Studies are also being done into how, in the future, smart meters could prove themselves very handy in certain scenarios. With the express consent of individuals who decide to opt in, smart meters could monitor daily routines such as cooking dinner or boiling the kettle.
That could be useful if an elderly relative is showing signs of dementia, as changes in electricity use can indicate unusual patterns in eating and sleeping. Or if a relative is dangerously under-heating their home in winter, that could also alert you, to help keep them safe3.
SMETS1 or SMETS2 – how to tell which smart meter you have
The rollout of SMETS2 meters began in 2018. If your meter was installed before then, it’s likely to be a SMETS1-type meter.
Because suppliers continued using their stocks of first-generation meters after 2018, it's possible you have a SMETS1 meter, even if it was installed more recently. Nothing wrong with that, if so. SMETS1 meters have all the same energy-saving features as SMETS2. The main issue is simply one of ensuring they continue to be ‘smart’ if you ever decide to change supplier.
One way to tell is to look for a Telefonica/Arqiva/WNC/Toshiba device with two to five LED lights on top of your electricity meter. If you can see one, then you have a SMETS2 meter!
However, to be 100% sure, the best way to find out which type you have is to contact the supplier that installed it.
If we’ve installed your smart meter, please contact us via your online account and we'll help you find out which type you have.
And if you have any questions around smart meters, read our comprehensive FAQ Smart meters page.
How to upgrade to a SMETS2 smart meter
If you have a SMETS1 meter, a remote software upgrade will enable it to work across the same network used by SMETS2 meters. The good news is that ‘remote upgrade’ means it will just happen automatically.
Essentially, all existing SMETS1 meters will receive a software upgrade (if they haven’t already) and be migrated onto the national smart meter network.
All SMETS1 meters will eventually be remotely upgraded by the Data Communications Company (DCC) – which is also responsible for protecting your data. Rest assured that there's nothing you need to do to make this happen.
It’s also good to know that this update doesn’t change the way we use your smart meter data. We’ll still be 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.
How to get a SMETS2 smart meter
The easiest way to get your SMETS2 smart meter is to book via your online account. Usually, you'll be able to choose an installation slot within the next 8 weeks. Simply log in and select an available appointment time and date.
With an OVO smart meter, you’re guaranteed a great installation experience. That’s because the 2020 Uswitch Energy Awards rated us best energy supplier in 5 categories, including Best Smart Meter Experience. And we also scored 5 stars out of 5 in Uswitch's latest survey of 17,000 households in the UK.
Remind yourself of the benefits of smart meters and find out why you should get one. And if you want a smart meter, but you are not yet with OVO, find out more about how to compare energy suppliers and switch today.
Finally, 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!