Meters and In-Home Displays (IHD)Smart meters

SMETS 1 smart meter upgrade: all you need to know

When will SMETS1 meters be upgraded? We’ve got all the answers to the most popular questions about the SMETS1 upgrade in 2021.

What’s a SMETS1 meter?

Put simply, it’s a type of smart meter.

SMETS1 is short for ‘Smart Metering Equipment Technical Specifications’ (catchy, right?) – and the 1 shows that this is the UK’s first industry-standard type of smart meter. 

These types of meters started being installed in 2013. The issue was that many of them stopped sending automatic readings if people changed suppliers.

What’s the difference between SMETS1 and SMETS2?

There are multiple models of SMETS1 and SMETS2 meters, made by multiple manufacturers. 

The main difference though is that all SMETS2 (known as the next-generation of smart meters after SMETS1) use the same method of communication – via a central system called the Data Communications Company (DCC).

Initially SMETS1 meters used different communication systems. Which is why they sometimes lost the ability to send readings when switching energy suppliers.

As well as having the same energy-saving features of SMETS1, SMETS2 meters are also future-proofed. So they’ll keep working, even if you change suppliers. 

Are first-generation smart meters still being installed?

At OVO, we’re only installing next-generation smart meters for our members. Bye bye, SMETS1!

How do I know if my smart meter is SMETS1 or SMETS2?

Suppliers began installing SMETS2 meters in 2018. If yours was installed before then, it’s likely that you have a SMETS1.

The way they look is also different. Check out this guide to see what sets them apart (scroll to SMETS1 or SMETS2 – how to tell which smart meter you have).

Can I upgrade my SMETS1 meter?

There's nothing you can or need to do to upgrade your SMETS1 – it's all done remotely by the DCC.

Essentially, the plan is for all SMETS1 meters to receive a software upgrade (if they haven’t already) and be moved onto the national smart meter network.

Why does my smart meter need to be upgraded?

This is part of a government initiative to help build a more sustainable energy system for us all. To do this, it’s important we have one connected national smart meter network, where smart meters can work better with all energy suppliers.

By tracking energy use, these little devices help plan how much energy the country needs. Which means that less energy gets wasted, and we can cut down on those nasty carbon emissions.

Once your SMETS1 meter has been upgraded, you’ll be able to switch suppliers without your meter losing any of its smart features. So it’ll send automatic readings to your new supplier too, making your bills super-accurate!

How will the upgrade change my smart meter?

If your smart meter stopped sending automatic readings after you switched suppliers (so you have to do it manually), the national smart meter upgrade will fix that.

The upgrade is totally secure, and works in the same way for every supplier.

Is my smart meter data safe?

Completely safe! The DCC has the highest security encryption standards, reviewed by the National Cyber Security Centre.

Your smart meter data is always secure, both before and after the remote upgrade. It can only be seen by us, with your permission.

To learn more, read our guide to smart meter encryption and security

How will the smart meter upgrade happen?

The update is happening remotely, no you won’t need a visit from an engineer, and your energy supply won’t be affected at all.

The DCC (not suppliers) decides when the upgrade takes place based on your meter model. 

smart meter ihd display

Who’s responsible for the smart meter upgrade?

The DCC is the organisation in charge of the SMETS1 upgrade, dealing with all meters across the country. Suppliers aren’t able to change this process.

They’re licensed by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to build and maintain the UK’s wireless national smart meter network. This connects smart meters with energy suppliers and network operators – and it’s endorsed by the National Cyber Security Centre.

The DCC is responsible for upgrading all meters that stopped sending readings after people switched suppliers. And we, together with all suppliers, are responsible for upgrading all the other meters (those sending readings) to work as SMETS2. 

What happens if the SMETS1 upgrade doesn’t work?

The DCC will look into it and try again. They might try to upgrade your meter a few times (over up to 12 months) until it works. Your supplier will get in touch when this is done.

If, for some reason, the DCC can’t complete the SMETS1 upgrade, your supplier will contact you about getting you a SMETS2 meter instead.

Is the SMETS1 upgrade optional?

No, all SMETS1 meters need to be upgraded and connected to the DCC by September 2022. It’s a government initiative, so all SMETS1 meters will get upgraded.

What type of smart meters is OVO installing?

At OVO, we’re only installing SMETS2 meters! Looking for more information about this new smart meter type? Find out the difference between SMETS1 and SMETS2 smart meters, the benefits of next generation meters and how to get one for free in our practical guide on SMETS 2 smart meters

How much does it cost to change to a smart meter?

There’s no charge for getting one installed. And there’s no additional cost for upgrading your SMETS1 either.

That’s because the cost of the national upgrade is covered within every supplier’s energy bills. The same way as with the upkeep and replacement of all other meters and infrastructure.

What are the smart meter reading options? How are they different?

The more often you share your readings, the more feedback you’ll get. This can help you find simple ways to save energy.

  • Sharing half-hourly readings can help you understand more about your energy use (most OVO members choose this option)

  • Sharing daily readings means you won’t get as much info about your energy use (this is the default option if you don’t tell us otherwise) 

  • Sharing monthly readings means you won’t get feedback about your energy use on a daily basis

Find out more about meter readings here

To keep a tab on your energy use and costs, download our OVO app. Over 50,000 members are already using it to manage their energy from anywhere.

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