Smart meter installation: a simple step-by-step guide
We install smart meters because they help you to manage your energy better. Smart meters send readings automatically, so you get more accurate bills, and a clearer understanding of how you’re using energy.
Hopefully by now you’ve realised why it’s a great idea to get yourself a smart meter! So here’s a practical guide that tells you everything you need to know about getting a smart meter installed in your home.
What does installing a smart meter involve?
It’s not a big job. Our engineer will just take out your old meters and put in the new smart ones. It normally takes 60-90 minutes, depending on if 1 or 2 meters are being replaced.
How much does it cost to install a smart meter?
The good news is that we don’t charge anything for the meters or installation. Switch to OVO and get one installed for free. Or if you’re already with us, get in touch to book your appointment.
How long does the smart meter installation take?
On average, it takes around 60 minutes for one smart meter setup. And if you need both gas and electricity smart meters, it takes around 90 minutes. The bookable slots are for 4 hours, so you’d need to be home for the whole time.
How can I get a smart meter installed?
All you need to do is:
- Answer a couple of quick questions about your home and current meter setup – so we can be sure our engineer has everything they need.
- Choose a convenient time and date for the appointment – you can pick a 4 hour slot from 8am to 6pm, including Saturdays.
- Our engineer will visit your home to install your carbon-kicking kit!
Which smart meters are OVO installing?
We’re installing the very latest second generation SMETS2 meters, which work with every energy supplier.
Preparing for your smart meter installation
Once you’ve booked your installation, check your email for a confirmation from us – this includes important info about your appointment. We’ll also send you another email nearer the time to remind you. And we’ll call too, to check it’s ok for us to visit – so remember to give us your mobile number when you book.
If you have to cancel or reschedule, no problem at all! Just let us know. We don’t charge a cancellation fee, but letting us know in advance means our engineer’s time isn’t wasted – and someone else can get their smart meter too! You can reschedule your appointment online.
Read more about how to get a smart meter.
What to do before your engineer arrives
Make sure an adult will be at home for the whole appointment (they’ll need to be over the age of 18). Bookable slots are for 4 hours, but the engineer will call you ahead of time to let you know their ETA.
- Clear the area around your existing meters so they’re free from clutter
- If you’re on the Priority Service Register (PSR), you can agree a password ahead of the visit, for the engineer to confirm on arrival
- Switch off and unplug electrical equipment, as the power will be turned off for a short time
- Put any pets in a separate room
- Allow about 60 minutes for one smart meter set up, and 90 minutes for both gas and electricity
Do you need WiFi for a smart meter?
Smart meters can run off their own network, so they don’t need your WiFi to connect to us or to your In-Home Display (IHD).
What to expect on installation day
Here’s a quick rundown of what to expect on the day of your smart meter installation:
1. Make sure someone’s home
Please make sure an adult is at home to greet our friendly engineers. Remember, you can always ask to see their ID.
If you’re on the Priority Service Register and have agreed a password for the engineer to use when they arrive, now’s the time to check that you remember it. If you’ve forgotten yours or want to set one up, give us a call on 0330 303 5063 (Monday to Friday, 8am till 6pm).
For health and safety reasons, our engineers need to keep their shoes on, but they’ll use covers to stop your floors getting dirty!
And to keep everyone safe – our engineers are following all the latest rules around coronavirus safety and social distancing.
2. Allow enough time for the appointment
Please make sure that an adult is at home for the entire time slot you booked and that they can stay until the engineer has completed the job.
3. Make it easy for the engineer to get to your meters
Smart meters can be a different size to older meters, so it’s important to clear a space around your old meters for easy access.
Consider the space
Check out your meter dimensions below to make sure you’ve got enough room.
- Electricity smart meter: W 130mm H 217mm D 63mm
- Gas smart meter: W 235mm H 262mm D 167mm
If there’s a need to move your existing meter(s), sadly this isn’t covered by your smart meter installation, and it’ll need to be arranged separately. You’ll need to speak to your local Distribution Network Operator (DNO) or the National Grid.
Consider the access
If your meter’s in a locked room or cupboard or in a communal area, make sure to organise keys and access beforehand, so we can get in.
4. Be prepared for the engineer to temporarily switch off your power
It’s good to be aware that your gas and electricity will need to be switched off for about 20 minutes.
5. Switch off all electrical equipment
It’s best to switch off and unplug electrical equipment like TVs, alarms, and gaming devices while the installation is taking place.
After your smart meter has been installed
Once installed, your smart meter should start working straight away, sending us regular meter readings, so you’ll get accurate bills. Your engineer will test it to make sure it’s all working correctly. They will also:
- Offer you a clever little device that lets you see your energy use in real time called an In-Home Display (IHD) that can be connected to the wifi.
- Show you how to use your smart meter and IHD.
- Give you energy-savings tips that you can use to save more energy! You can read it all in this online guide.
You can ask your engineer about anything you’d like to know about your smart meter and IHD, they’ll be more than happy to help!
How long will it be before I get my first bill with my new smart meter?
It can take up to 6-8 weeks before you get your first statement based on readings from your smart meter – but log in to your online account any time, to see exactly how much energy you’ve used and what it’s costing you. You can also see this information on your IHD.
Is it better for my smart meter to send readings more often?
Definitely. You might have heard that knowledge is power, and as far as energy goes, it’s certainly true! If you choose for your smart meter to send half-hourly readings, it can give you a much more precise and detailed breakdown of what energy you’re using and when. This helps you spot ways you can cut down your use, which doesn’t only save you money, but reduces your carbon emissions too!
Did you know: we can also use this comprehensive information to give us extra purchasing power when we’re buying energy on your behalf. This can lead to extra savings, which we pass on to you in the future as lower prices. Don’t worry - we’ll never use this information for marketing purposes.
How do I take a reading from my smart meter?
You don’t need to! They send them to us automatically. No more craning your neck into a cupboard or hard-to-reach place to read your meter. But if you do want to check them, your smart meter readings should be easy to see on both your IHD and on the smart meter screen itself.
For SMETS2 meters, just press any button to wake up the screen, it’s that simple.
How often will my smart meter need to be replaced?
Both gas and electricity smart meters need to be replaced about every 10 years. That’s slightly more often than the old style meters – this is because the smart tech inside the new meters is more sensitive than the old analogue meters. As improvements are made across the grid, meters need to be in tip-top condition to make sure our modern energy system can work at peak performance.
We’ll let you know in plenty of time when your meter’s due to be replaced, so you don’t need to worry about it.
Can I install my own smart meter?
Installing a smart meter is a job for a professional engineer, so you can’t install your own.
What do I do if I have problems with my smart meter?
If you have any problems with your smart meter after installation, check out our easy-to-follow troubleshooting guide. It covers many simple solutions to help you fix most common problems.
You can also read our handy FAQs at the bottom of this page.
If you can’t find the answers you’re looking for, speak to one of our friendly experts in our online chat, who’ll be happy to help.
Choose an award-winning smart meter experience
We want to give our members the best smart meter experience possible – in the 2021 Uswitch Energy Awards, we were runners-up for the Best Smart Meter Installation. And on top of that, in Uswitch's latest customer ratings survey of 17,000 households in the UK, we scored 4.5 stars out of 5 overall. But don't take our word for it – here's what you've been saying about your experiences with our engineers and installations.
"OVO smart meter experience was fantastic. The engineer wore PPE and was very friendly and professional." Tracy
"The appointment was very easy to book, communication was great, the engineer called to confirm, turned up on time. He was polite, courteous and professional. Great job!" Charles
Want a smart meter, but not yet with OVO? Join us on one of our green home energy tariffs and we’ll install one for free.