All you need to know about the new generation of smart meters and the 2020 rollout
Why wait around to get a smart meter? Our current SMETS1 meters are about as smart as they come.
In fact – with innovative features you can’t yet get with the upcoming ‘SMETS2’ meter – some might call our ‘SMETS1’ meter a thing of beauty.
At OVO, we install them for free. The government wants all energy suppliers to offer smart meters to all British homes by 2020. But anything that encourages people to save energy is great with us.
And it’s not just about saving energy. Or even getting out of having to supply irritating meter readings. Smart meters can unlock the benefits of all the most innovative, household energy technology. Home batteries. Electric vehicles. Solar panels.
You name it, smart meters are behind it.
What does SMETS stand for?
SMETs stands for ‘Smart Metering Equipment Technical Specifications’, which is pretty self-explanatory (and proof if it were needed that the government loves a good acronym).
Is it worth waiting for a SMETS2?
Well, the distinctions between the features on each are small. It just depends on what’s best for your home – and how long you want to wait. It also depends on when you’re planning to switch suppliers, and how often you switch.
SMETS2 meters are being rolled out from October 2018, so if you switch often it might be worth waiting to get one. On the other hand, if you’re midway through a 2 year fixed contract, for example, you might as well start enjoying smart energy immediately with SMETS1. By the time you’re ready to move on, the chances are it will have been made compatible with all suppliers.
Or, if you don’t want to wait until then and you don’t want to miss out on smart energy now, you can get a SMETS1 and we’ll ‘upgrade you’ by installing a SMETS2 for free once it’s launched.
We can’t claim this decision is as exciting as ‘shall I upgrade my phone or wait for the next one?’ – but in a similar way to the whole phone process, it’s not black and white.
Whatever you decide, you can relax in the knowledge that we’ll help you make the most of smart energy. Part of that commitment means that, unlike other suppliers, we replace new customers’ smart meters with our own when they switch. In essence, nobody loses ‘smart’ on our watch.
What’s the difference between SMETS 1 and 2?
Both models offer the major benefit of taking meter readings for you, so you get more accurate bills (something that 60% of OVO customers tell us they love!). But there’s more to it than that.
We’ll keep it brief...
These are first generation meters, which means they’re tried and tested, so you know they work.
Smart energy outlook shows that three quarters (76%) of Brits say they’d recommend a smart meter
The industry aim to ensure these meters are compatible with all energy suppliers by the end of 2019.
OVO SMETS1 meters have undergone rigorous internal testing (making their hardware and software super secure).
They’re compatible with our popular tools: ‘My Energy Breakdown’ in My OVO (our account management system) and ‘OVO Live’ in the OVO app. These show you exactly which household appliances are using the most energy. OVO Live even gives you a glimpse of what you’re using, as you use it.
Our Field Force engineers are well versed in installing these models quickly and efficiently with minimal fuss. Currently they install 500 a day!
SMETS2 are the second generation meters that are still undergoing testing.
They’ll work with some of our popular OVO energy management tools, but not immediately.
We’re working with a small group of customers to test SMETS2 at the moment.
But they’ll be compatible with all energy suppliers from the get-go which makes switching suppliers easier, although .
SMETS features with OVO Energy
*SMETS1 will be made compatible with other suppliers at a later date, DCC systems pending.
**SMETS2 release date pending DCC rollout (5th October, 2018).
So what’s the DCC exactly?
It’s the Data and Communications Company.
These guys are Ofgem regulated and are helping energy suppliers work together to roll out 53m smart meters by 2020. They’ve been given licence to do this by the Secretary of State, and are responsible for the shared infrastructure needed across the UK to support the smart meter rollout.
When’s the official SMETS2 rollout?
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) say SMETS2 will be available as part of the mass rollout from 5th October 2018.
How can I tell which smart meter version I have?
Unless your energy supplier told you otherwise, you’ll have a SMETS1. A small number of SMETS2 systems are already in place though. So if your installation happened very recently, it’s worth asking your supplier for exact specifications.
SMETS1 DCC integration
The DCC will officially integrate SMETS1 by the end of 2019 (although we’re urging them to do it sooner), which means there won’t actually be much of a difference in wait time between SMETS1 and 2.