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Smart meter trial FAQ’s

What is a smart meter?

Smart meters are similar to standard electricity and gas meters. They do exactly the same job, but the smart part means that they ‘talk’ straight to us, so you don’t need to give us any meter readings. It makes sure we always have completely up-to-date figures for the amount of energy you’re using and you’ll always get totally accurate bills from us.

Opt in to our free smart meter trial here

As part of the government rollout plans to have a meter in every home by 2020, energy suppliers need to rollout new smart meter versions which meet set specifications. There will be a universal platform that all meters communicate via which makes it easier to switch supplier whilst maintaining the functionality of your meter. Our new meters meet the required specification and will be set up to communicate with the new platform, this means that once the rollout is completed by all suppliers, the meters will continue to communicate in a smart way with whichever supplier you’re with.

Nothing about your tariff, contract or pricing with OVO will change. The only different things will be that you have a shiny new meter and you will no longer need to give us readings which means your statements will be accurate.  

Having one of these meters not only means you get the full benefits of smart, it also means that when you switch supplier, you will maintain those benefits. This will lead to even more benefits in the future such as faster switching times between suppliers, better access to your smart data and being able to link up other in home smart devices.. 

Yes, there is no charge to you for the meters or installation. Under some circumstances, extra work might need to be carried out before we can install the smart meters, but this would be discussed with you at the time.

Smart meters give you and your supplier access to a lot more data which enables everyone to get smart with their energy use. In the future, once everyone has a smart meter as part of the government rollout, people will be able to switch supplier faster, they will be able to link up other smart devices and they will be able to use their data to help them save money on their energy bills. With smart, you don't have to give readings anymore, and if you are paying as you go for your energy, there are huge benefits in that you can use apps and online appliances to top up without having to touch the meter or go to the shop. 

SMETS stands for Smart Metering Equipment Technical Specification. This is a specification for smart meters defined by the government to ensure a uniform technical specification is used during the government rollout. The latest version is SMETS 2. 

DCC stands for Data Communications Company. This is the company put in place by the government to manage the data and communications network to connect smart meters to the business systems of energy suppliers.

Yes - previously you'd often have to get a new smart meter when you switched from one supplier to the next. With the new type of meter, you can switch as many times as you like and your meter will carry on working as normal. All suppliers are working on implementing the new system so it may take a while before they can all support the meters buts it’s in the pipeline. 

We think installation will take up to 60 minutes per meter, although as we are in a trial phase, we may find some installs take a bit longer and some could be quicker. It's best to allow at least 3 hours for the end to end install process.

All suppliers are working together to allow this flexibility. We're all on our way but a few suppliers might not be ready to communicate with these new meters until 2017. After that, you can switch freely and continue to get the benefits of your smart meter. 

We don't anticipate a huge number of issues during the trial. We have been working on getting ready for this for the last 18 months and we are confident that we are all ready to go, but it’s always worth bearing in mind that given this is a trial period, we may experience more issues than normal, but we will have a dedicated team to work through these to mitigate the impact on you as much as possible.

Once you reply to this email and answer a few initial eligibility questions, If you meet the pre-eligibility criteria, we will give you a call to get a suitable appointment booked in for you. Once it's all booked in, an engineer will arrive on the day and will install your new meters as well as talking you through how to use the meters and the in home display that comes with them. We will have a couple of survey questions we would like you to answer after the install so you will hear from us by email or call for this. You may get some SMS messages/calls before the appointment date to remind you as well as an email to let you know how to prepare for the install.

There are a few things that we need to avoid when installing these trial meters. These are storage heaters, semi-concealed meters (in a brown box in the ground) and where your access to your meter is blocked or it sits in a small box. We may also ask you about how far apart your meters are, what the mobile phone signal is like in your house and where your meters are positioned. 

After the trial, there will be some surveys we would love you to participate in. We will give you a dedicated contact number to call if you do have any issues, but unless any issues do arise you can make the most out of your new smart meter.

On top of our standard OVO communications, as part of our new meter trial you may receive some extra contact by email or phone. When launching a new product we are always keen to check everything is working as it should as well as checking how you feel about it and what is and isn’t working for you. Most extra communications you receive will be from a dedicated go live team and could include optional surveys as well as communications around progress of the trial. 

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