A smart meter is a new generation of energy meter that puts you in control of your energy – by measuring how much you use and on what kind of appliances. Then, unlike your old meter, it shares this info with you – online and on an In-Home Display.
What will a smart meter do for me?
With a smart meter you can say goodbye to the bother of having to submit meter readings, and hello to a savvier way of controlling your energy.
Track what you're spending in pounds
Spot patterns in your gas and electricity use, and find out where to make savings.
See which appliances cost the most
Use our ‘My Energy Breakdown’ tool to discover the impact of switching your TV off at the wall (and much more).
Give meter readings the heave-ho
No more monthly meter readings. Your smart meter will do it for you.
Get more accurate bills
With readings sent to us automatically, your bills are more accurate as we have real data.
How do smart meters work?
Smart meters use their own secure network to send us your meter readings, separate to your WiFi. You decide how regularly they send us your readings, which then determines how detailed the information is on your In-Home Display.
How to get a smart meter installedfor free
It’s easy to get a smart meter installed, and we even do it for free.
Get a first generation meter (SMETS1) fitted now and you’ll have our energy-saving tech at your fingertips.
SMETS1 meters have been given the thumbs up by millions of Brits – and work with all our smart online energy-saving tools, which help you save energy (and money).
SMETS2 on the other hand, is a new kind of meter that won’t work with our easy, account management system My OVO. Or with our popular energy-saving tools. But they will be compatible with all energy suppliers when SMETS2 launch at the end of 2018 (providing the release date isn’t pushed back again).
At OVO, we think SMETS1 are the best choice right now. Although SMETS2 will work with all suppliers from the get-go, lots of people don’t realise that SMETS1 will have that functionality too – as of the end of 2019. So if you’re not planning on switching suppliers within the next 12 months, SMETS1 is the obvious choice.
Still unsure? Compare the two in our smart meter guide.
Why is the government supporting the smart meter rollout?
The government wants to upgrade our ageing energy systems and move towards a more-efficient smart electricity grid.
This will make it easier to control energy supply and demand, so the infrastructure is cheaper to maintain. It also allows more renewable electricity (from sources like wind, tidal, and solar) to be added to the grid, which will help tackle climate change.
Smart meters at OVO
We believe that smart meters are an important step in reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, and we’ve been championing them, every step of the way.
The proof? 750,000 individual smart meters have been installed in customer homes to date, and that number’s continuing to grow.
If you have smart meter questions, you’re not alone – click here to find answers to these queries and more…
Smart meter installation Code of Practice
We’ve signed up to the Ofgem-approved Smart Metering Installation Code of Practice (SMICoP). You can view the latest version of the Code here.
No, although we do believe we’re leading the way when it comes to smart meter technologies. For example my energy breakdown, extremely detailed live use info and a discount for managing your energy online.
Smart meters come with an In-Home Display, which shows you how much energy you’re using, what it’s costing you, and how much carbon dioxide (CO2) you’re producing. You can change the screen to show your current use, or what you’ve used over the last few hours, days, weeks, or months.
Log into your My OVO account online and you’ll see even more info, including how much you’ve spent on appliance categories like heating, refrigeration, and cooking.
The Smart Metering Installation Code of Practice (SMICoP) is a set of rules and standards laid down by Ofgem. It’s designed to make sure that any energy customer getting a new smart meter can depend on a high standard of service at all times during the installation process.
At OVO, we have of course signed up to the SMICoP. But naturally we would always do our best to ensure our engineers are fully trained to give you an excellent service, even if the Smart Code of Practice didn’t exist.
The Code covers several aspects of the installation process, including:
Showing you how to use your smart equipment so that you get the maximum value from it.
Ensuring that our installers are trained to the highest standards.
Making sure any communications we send you give all the information and facts you need.
Giving the right service and support for anyone who is vulnerable or needs special help.
Advising you on ways you can monitor your energy use, and how you can use that information to become more energy efficient and reduce your energy bills.
Making sure we act promptly and keep you informed on progress if something goes wrong with your smart equipment.
Smart meters have been rigorously tested for safety. They’ve passed all the UK and EU regulations necessary to make sure a product is safe. All the same regulations that your phone, microwave, and TV will have had to pass too.
Smart meters use radio waves to communicate with us and send us your energy data. All the evidence to date shows that these waves pose no health risk, but you can read a whole lot more about smart meter safety, right here.
Your smart meter is in constant communication with our systems. This means we’re always up to date with the amount of energy you’re using, and can tell quickly if there’s any interruption to your supply.
We can check the info from your smart meter at any time, and use it to:
Manage your energy supply, and spot any problems as soon as they happen.
Help us (and the energy industry as a whole) work more efficiently.
Give you relevant advice to help you reduce your energy use and lower your bills.
Improve our service to you and our other customers.
Keep an eye on our products and services and give us ideas for new ones.
Identify and stop energy theft.
Develop and manage energy supply and demand.
Work out your bills, so they’re always up to date and accurate.
If we need to use the information for anything else, we’ll get in touch to talk it through with you and explain why.
We use encryption, controlled access and other security, including ways agreed with the government, to make sure the information transmitted from your smart meter is always secure. There are strict new regulations and codes of practice, governed by Ofgem, to keep smart meter data private and safe, and all your personal data is safeguarded by the Data Protection Act.
Your smart meter uses its own secure, wireless network, known as a home area network (HAN), that works in the same way as other wireless systems in your home. It then uses a wide area network (WAN) to send the data to your energy supplier – in the same way that your mobile phone sends and receives information.
Yes! Having a smart meter doesn’t affect your right to switch energy providers whenever you want. But you do need to be aware that your smart meter could lose some of it’s whizzy ‘smart’ functionality and revert to being a traditional meter if it isn’t compatible with your new supplier. This means that you might have to go back to giving regular monthly meter readings, and if anything goes wrong with your meter your new supplier might replace it with a standard meter – or their own meter – because they won’t know how to fix your particular model.
If your energy supplier makes it difficult for you to switch, please get in touch with Citizens Advice through their website – or call them on 03454 04 05 06
The great thing about smart meters is the way they ‘talk’ to each other and to us. They also talk to you, through interactive visual displays.
Your smart electricity meter communicates with your other smart devices and technology via two wireless networks: the HAN (home area network) and WAN (wide area network).
The HAN is a secure network that works in the same way as other wireless systems in your home. It allows your smart electricity meter to communicate with your smart gas meter and with your In-Home Display (IHD), Smart Gateway or home computer. Your smart electricity meter uses the HAN to talk to your smart gas meter and collect your gas readings. Your gas meter can’t send us your readings on its own, or send data to your In-Home Display or other devices.
The HAN uses a network called Zigbee, which is very similar to Wi-fi and Bluetooth. It has a range of 15 metres (imagine a bubble around the electricity meter). However, this can only reach other meters or devices within its ‘sightline’ – so walls will reduce this range.
In order for a Smart device, such as an In-Home Display or Smart Gateway, to talk to the electric meter’s HAN, it needs to be within range of the meter.
Communicating with your energy supplier
The WAN (wide area network) is the same kind of network your mobile phone uses to send and receive data. It allows your smart electricity meter to communicate securely outside your home, using the mobile network.
Once your smart electricity meter has gathered readings from your smart gas meter it uses the WAN to send them, together with your electricity readings, to your energy supplier.
Yes, you can. When you sign up for an OVO smart meter we’ll offer you a choice of how often you want to send us your data. You can choose between every 30 minutes (half hourly), every day (daily) or every month (monthly).
We recommend half hourly as it gives you a lot more access to your data, and offers you a much more accurate real-time way to keep an eye on how much energy you’re using. That’s a major benefit of smart meters, as it can help you cut back on your energy use and save money on your bills.
However, the choice is yours – if you’d rather the smart meter only sends us your meter readings once a month, that’s fine.
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