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Smart meter problems and how to solve them

Find the answers to some of the most common smart meter problems, with our handy Smart Meter troubleshooting guide.

Technology’s great, when it works – but just like with any other piece of techno-wizardry, smart meters can have issues from time to time. 

From smart meter error codes to warning lights, In Home Display failures, strange noises and much more, we’ve put together a list of the most commonly asked questions and problems relating to smart meters. 

Don’t worry , because smart meter problems are usually easily fixed. Read on to find out about the most common issues and learn how to solve them.

Smart meter issues covered here include the following questions:

  1. My gas and electricity meters are tricky to access. Can I still get a smart meter?
  2. I’ve switched supplier and my smart meter has turned ‘dumb’
  3. How do I find out whether I have a first generation (SMETS1) or second generation (SMETS2) smart meter?
  4. I have a smart meter but I’m getting estimated bills
  5. Why is my smart meter not sending readings?
  6. I don’t know how to take a smart meter reading
  7. What do the lights on my OVO smart meter mean?
  8. How do I use the buttons on my OVO smart meter?
  9. Why is my smart meter display now showing “waiting for current data”?
  10. My smart meter has been installed, but I’ve lost my power/gas supply 
  11. My In Home Display is only showing my gas/electricity reading, but not both
  12. Why is my overnight usage on smart meter and In Home Display (IHD) higher than I expected?
  13. My smart meter is making a strange noise, what should I do?
  14. My In Home Display is broken/displaying an error/has frozen. What should I do?
  15. Why has my usage increased so much since my smart meter was installed?

 

If you can’t find the answer to your specific question here, feel free to check out the OVO Forum, where you can search for related member questions, read their responses, and also submit your own question to our smart meter team. Or reach out to us via our Help centre’s online chat function.

 

My gas and electricity meters are tricky to access. Can I still get a smart meter?

If your meter is in a small cupboard or another confined space, an engineer may have problems installing a smart meter. To solve this, you might need to dismantle the cupboard, or move any other obstacles before your smart meter installation appointment. 

It’s important to clear the space around your other meters, for easy access. Check out your meter dimensions below to make sure you’ve got enough room. 

  • Electricity SMETS2 smart meter: W 127mm H 160mm D 65mm
  • Gas SMETS2 smart meter: W 235mm H 262mm D 167mm

Our smart meter installer is only authorised to replace your old meter with a smart meter, on the same backboard (the technical name for what the meter attaches to). If your existing meter(s) need to be moved, you can arrange a visit from your Distribution Network Operator (DNO) or the National Grid.  

If your meter’s in a locked/communal room or cupboard, make sure to organise keys beforehand, so we can get in. 

Find out more about smart meter installation with OVO

 

I’ve switched supplier and my smart meter has turned ‘dumb’

Sometimes when you switch supplier, your smart meter might lose some of its smart features – particularly if you have a first generation SMETS1 meter. If this happens, you may need to send manual meter readings to your supplier until your smart meter is upgraded.

All SMETS1 meters will eventually be remotely upgraded by the Data Communications Company (DCC) – which is also responsible for protecting your data. There's nothing you need to do to make this happen, and your energy supplier will let you know when they start receiving readings from your meter.

 

How do I find out whether I have a first-generation (SMETS1) or second-generation (SMETS2) smart meter?

The rollout of SMETS2 meters began in 2018. If your meter was installed before then, it’s likely to be an 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 decide to change supplier. 

The easiest way to tell is to look at your electricity meter. The first 2 digits of the meter are the year of manufacture. If that’s followed by a P, it’s a SMETS1 – and if it’s followed by M or K, you have a SMETS2 meter.

SMETS1 meters also have numbered keypads, whereas SMETS2 meters don’t.

Another 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!

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, we’ll happily help you find out which type you have. Reach out to our Support team via the Help Centre.

 

I have a smart meter but I’m getting estimated bills

Estimates for gas and/or electricity

If you’re getting estimated readings for gas and/or electricity on your OVO statements, it could mean that we’ve lost connection with your electricity meter – either via WAN (Wide Area Network), or both WAN and HAN (Home Area Network). 

If there's an issue, please call us and we can go through a meter health check. We’ll either reset your meter remotely, or send you some kit to help boost the signal. 

If the electricity meter’s in a cupboard or cellar, it could be preventing communication (if you're in a good signal area otherwise). Please get in touch with us if there’s been an issue for 3 months or more, so that we can look at whether an aerial would help fix it.

Estimates for gas only

If you’re getting estimated readings for your gas use on your OVO statements, it means your gas meter isn’t getting through to your electricity meter (via your Home Area Network or HAN).

This can happen if your meters are too far apart, or because there’s a thick wall between them. We’ll get you to check the distance, and how many walls might be in the way. 

If you’re having problems, please reach out on webchat via the Help Centre, or call us on 0330 303 5063.


Why is my smart meter not sending readings?

First, be aware that it can take up to 6 weeks after installation to update the meter details on your account. Until your new meter is ‘plugged in’ to your account, your online account/billing won't be aware that we're receiving readings.

The next thing to check is the WAN light on the electricity meter. 

For SMETS1 meters

If the WAN light is flashing, that means it’s connected to the network and should be sending readings back to OVO. 5 flashes indicates a strong signal, but 3 flashes means it’s on the weak side. 

For SMETS2 meters

The WAN light should flash once every 5 seconds. If it flashes once every 3 seconds, it’s searching for a WAN signal. If it's flashing every second, or is off completely, that indicates a fault.

The signal might be struggling depending on where your electricity meter is, or its surroundings (ie. thick walls, being in a metal box, being underground). We can potentially install an aerial to improve the Wide Area Network (WAN) and boost the signal. 

If the WAN light is on continuously or off completely, please reach out to our Support team on Facebook, Twitter, or webchat via the Help Centre, so they can diagnose and fix it.

 

I don’t know how to take a smart meter reading

For all SMETS1 meters

Press ‘9’ on your smart meter keypad to show the meter reading in kilowatt hours (kWh) for electricity, and cubic meters for gas.

If your smart electricity meter is on an Economy 7 tariff (where you pay a standard price during the day and a lower rate for 7 hours overnight), press ‘6’ and then press it three more times until you can see ‘IMP R01’. This shows your off-peak (night-time) reading in kWh. Press ‘6’ again and you’ll see ‘IMP R02’. This gives your daytime reading.

For SMETS2 electricity meters 

Press A 3 times.

For SMETS2 gas meters 

Wake up the meter by pressing a button, and it should automatically default to the reading screen.

 

What do the lights on my OVO smart meter mean?

For SMETS2 meters in central and southern England

The red flashing light (the metrology light) to the left of the screen measures the electricity going through the meter.

If you’ve got solar panels and the light isn’t flashing, that means you’re exporting energy to the grid.

The 5 lights on the comms hub, from left to right:

  • SW - Represents the status of the comms hub's software
  • WAN - Indicates the comms hub’s ability to communicate with us
  • MESH - Indicates communication through another S2 comms hub 
  • HAN - Indicates communication of the electricity, gas meter and IHD with the comms hub
  • GAS - Indicates gas meter HAN connectivity
For SMETS2 meters in most other regions 

The red flashing light (the metrology light) to the left of the screen measures the electricity going through the meter.

If you’ve got solar panels and the light isn’t flashing, that means you’re exporting energy to the grid.

The 2 lights on the comms hub, from left to right:

  • WAN - Indicates the comms hub’s ability to communicate with us
  • HAN - Indicates communication of the electricity, gas meter and IHD with the comms hub

 

How do I use the buttons on my OVO smart meter?

Here’s a quick guide to the key functions on SMETS1 meters.

1: Shows how much energy you’ve used and what it’s cost you today and yesterday

2: Shows how much your energy cost this week and last week

3: Shows how much your energy cost this month and last month

4: Shows historical data about how much energy you’ve used and what you’ve spent each month

5: Shows ‘Not Used’, followed by the mode, current use and current cost

6: Shows which rates you’re on, your standing charge per day, your active rate register(s) and your energy use and cost per unit recorded in each rate register

7: Shows ‘Not Used’, followed by the mode, current use and current cost

8: Shows ‘Not Used’, followed by the mode, current use and current cost

9: Shows total import and export register values if you have photovoltaic solar panels. The import register value is the same as the meter reading

0: Checks the display, then shows the time, date and load, then shows CO2 data for the current hour, today, yesterday, last week and last month

B: Activates auto scroll display from sleep mode. Use it to scroll back through a display sequence; confirm entered codes when in VEND mode; mute alarm; confirm supply reconnection from ‘Ready’ state

For SMETS2 meters 

Elec - B cycles through menus, A cycles through sub-menus

Gas - C brings up menu, A and Bscrolls through options



Why is my smart meter display now showing “waiting for current data”?

This message can be a sign of connectivity issues between your In-Home Display (IHD) and smart meter. First, make sure your IHD is near your electricity meter, and try moving it closer. 

Next, try the usual trick of switching it off and on again.

Some other common causes include:

  • Home Area Network (HAN): your smart meter(s) might not be on the HAN, preventing devices from connecting to it. 
  • Firmware: there might be a firmware issue with the IHD or smart meter that’s causing connectivity issues.   

If you suspect it’s a HAN or Firmware issue, please reach out to our Support team on Facebook, Twitter, or webchat via the Help Centre, so they can diagnose and fix it.

 

My smart meter has been installed, but I’ve lost my power/gas supply 

If you’ve lost your electricity supply:
  • If you have one, check that the isolation switch next to your smart electricity meter is in the ‘on’ position. It’s a single switch (probably red), that’s clearly marked ‘on’ and ‘off’. If it’s ‘off’, switch it to ‘on’.

  • Take a look at your smart meter display panel. If it’s completely blank, try to wake it up by pressing 'B' on the keypad. If the display stays blank, that probably means there’s no power getting to your meter, and there may well be a power cut in your area. Call your DNO (Distribution Network Operator) and they’ll let you know if there’s any scheduled maintenance work going on, or if there’s been an unexpected power cut. 

  • Try switching the lights on in different rooms. If the lights are still working in some rooms, it’s not a problem with the meter. Check the fuse box and make sure all the fuses are in the ‘on’ position. If not, switch the ‘off’ ones to ‘on’.

If your smart meter display is working, the isolation switch is on and all the fuses are on, but your whole home is still without power, call us on 0330 303 5063 and we’ll look into what’s happened.

If you’ve lost your gas supply:

If you’ve got a gas boiler, along with a gas fire, gas oven or gas cooker, first check whether they’re all without power, or if it’s just the boiler. 

If it’s only the boiler, check that the mains electricity switch is on and the pilot light is lit. 

If all your appliances are definitely without power, please check your Emergency Control Valve (ECV) – which is usually attached to your gas pipe, just before your gas meter. If the lever is in line with the pipe, that means the valve is ‘open’ and allowing gas to flow through. But if it's at right angles to the pipe, it's ‘shut’ and will be stopping gas from coming through. If so, you need to turn it until it’s open. 

If your ECV is open and all your appliances are still without power, please call us on 0330 303 5063 and we’ll look into what’s happened.

If your meter is displaying an ‘Overload’ message

First, turn off all gas appliances. Then turn the isolation valve from the on position (where the lever is in line with the pipe) 90 degrees, to the off position. Do this very slowly, so the turn takes at least thirty seconds.

Wait for 1 or 2 minutes, then press ‘AAB’ on the meter.

Very slowly (again, taking at least thirty more seconds), turn the isolation valve back to the on position, and see if the supply comes back on.

 

My In-Home Display is only showing my gas or electricity reading, but not both

 First, try resetting the IHD to see if that fixes the problem. To do that, press the on/off switch and disconnect the charger. Then hold the on/off switch down for a few seconds while reconnecting the charger. Hopefully the IHD will reconnect to both meters after a minute or two.

 

Why is my smart meter and IHD showing a higher than expected figure for my energy use overnight?

Be aware that there is a per day, per supply standing charge – so even if it seems that you’ve used very little/no electricity or gas, especially overnight, you’ll still be seeing a daily charge on your meter/IHD.

Sometimes it can look like you've used energy when you were asleep, or weren't home. First of all, bear in mind that many of your appliances (such as a fridge, TV on standby, etc) are still using power overnight or while you’re out.

Also, depending on how quickly we receive readings from your meter, there can be a delay in collating your energy use, and so your reading can be late to update.

 

My smart meter is making a strange noise, what should I do?

Some noise from your meter is considered normal – and often, odd noises will stop by themselves over time, so we recommend waiting for a few days to see if it resolves.

If you still want to investigate further, you can send a private message (ideally with a video of the sound) to the team via Facebook or Twitter.  You can also speak to us via our Help centre’s online chat function, and they'll be able to look into it. Remember to also include your account number, full name and date of birth in your message.

 

My In-Home Display is broken/displaying an error/has frozen. What should I do?

The main error messages you might see are:

  • 'Connection Lost’ or ‘Data Lost’
  • 1 or both fuels aren’t showing energy use data
  • Cost and Consumption Data is showing as dashes rather than kWh or £s

Usually, the classic ‘turn it off and then on again’ reboot will work  wonders for any IHD problem. If the screen has frozen completely and you can’t even do that, leave it unplugged to discharge the battery, then plug it back in later and you should be back up and running without further issue.

If your IHD has stopped showing data but is still paired with the meter, make sure it’s positioned as close to the meter as possible before rebooting. Following that, give it around 24 hours to reconnect and start showing the correct data again.

If your In-Home Display still proves to be faulty, we'll happily replace it. You'll need to first send us the IHD. Once we've received it we'll send you out a new one. Send a private message to the team via Facebook, Twitter or our Help centre’s online chat function, and they'll be able to look into it. Remember to also include your account number, full name and date of birth in your message.

 

Why has my energy use increased so much since my smart meter was installed?

First and foremost, it’s important to stress that having a smart meter installed will not increase the price of your energy supply. There are no hidden costs, and your plan won't change unless you choose to. The first thing to check is whether or not you decided to change energy plans recently. If so, you can check the new rates on your "Profile" section online – and your old rates will also be available on your previous online statements.

The only purpose of a smart meter is to measure your energy use and take readings, so we can bill your actual energy use. If you haven't previously given regular readings, your bills may have been estimated and so not 100% accurate.

Be aware that your first bill after installation may be higher than usual. That’s because this is often a longer than normal billing cycle, with the first bill taking up to 6 weeks to issue.

To get free and impartial advice on cost of use, along with helpful ideas to reduce your energy use, check out the Centre for Sustainable Energy.

Want more helpful advice on reducing energy waste? Learn 120 clever new ways to save energy at home and reduce your bills

If you need more help

More help is on hand for this topic on the OVO Forum. And if you don't find the answers you need, feel free to ask a question and one of our forum users can help.

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