Smart meters

What do people think about smart meters? I think I mainly want one to save having to take meter readings so I signed up to the waiting list with bulb. When I looked into it I found out if your meter is in a metal box they can’t install it so that’s me out.

There seems to be a lot of reasons you can’t get one but the government wants everyone to have one :thinking:

What can’t be in metal box? Gas/electric meter?

I had them year ago. They are really useful if supplier have mobile application to monitor usage. Used SSE pilot application was really nice but they decided to scrap it so I switched to :octopus:

1 Like

Check your electricity meter isn’t in a metal box. Some meters are stored inside a metal box. This disrupts the signal that enables meters to send readings back to Bulb. If your meter is in a metal box, we won’t be able to install a smart meter.

I imagine that will rule a lot of people out unless there is some sort of solution to this.

1 Like

I used to have one in my old house. They’re handy, especially the display that shows your current and projected usage, but the first batch of smart meters turn “dumb” if you move to a different supplier. The second batch, rolling out shortly, will work across different suppliers. I’m not going to request one until I know it’ll be a version 2 meter.

1 Like

I’ve had a smart meter since they first came out, no idea where I put the display unit though, It helped me ensure I turn lights off and so on, which I do years later still without checking the display unit.


I do actually want smart meters. Not necessarily because they will save me money on energy, they won’t, as I have always taken my own meter readings monthly for the almost 20 years I’ve lived at my address. I want smart meters because at the end of the day, although ‘free’ at the point of installation, they certainly aren’t ‘free’, everyone is paying for the ruddy things out of their energy bills whether you have them or not, so I might as well have them fitted.

I don’t have metal boxes and the house is less than 20 years old, so it shouldn’t preclude me from having meters, but as above, I won’t accept meters unless they are SMETS2. Funnily enough, my energy company had a pop up on their site just the other day stating that they will be offering smart meters very soon to those that want them, however once my present energy fix is over, I’m not sure yet whether or not I’ll be staying with them, only using MSE guidance will decide whether or not to move supplier.

But overall as energy useage goes, well I had a brand new boiler fitted last year and I’ve definitely seen an overall reduction in gas useage. I also have Hive fitted which in my opinon, really is the best thing since sliced bread. I have full control over my energy/hot water from anywhere in the world with a wifi link, brilliant for when I’m away on holiday. I can switch lights on and off, put the water back on the day I fly home etc.

1 Like

Had one in my flat before we moved out, given it was an old victorian tenement… the ceilings were 9ft high and so were the meters. So saved me having to get step ladder out to take meter readings.

Not sure if we have smart meters in the house… we probably do (house is literally 2 months old today)

I have a British Gas one.

At first I thought this is cool I can see what I am using and I used to use it as a clock and show temperature in the bedroom, now I have moved it to the kitchen and don’t even bother looking at it.

Pointless now imo

Ive got an SSE one which has just turned dumb since Ive just switched suppliers. Previously it was handy to know how much we’d spent over the course of the day. If you budget your household expenses then they are a good tool to have.

1 Like

I had smart meters installed by OVO Energy and have moved suppliers twice since then and they’ve luckily worked seamlessly with both Octopus Energy and now Tonik too.
I did have the smart meter display thing on the wall, but hardly ever looked at it, so saved more electricity by unplugging it and it’s now on a shelf in the garage!

The best energy saving I’ve done is replace all the halogen bulbs in my house with LED ones, reducing my 2KW usage to 200w!

1 Like

SMETS1 meters should eventually be able to join the SMETS2 network through a firmware upgrade. So apparently even if they’ve gone ‘dumb’ after a provider change they will become smart again. Problem is, there is some disagreement about when this will be completed…

My dumb meter became smart when my supplier decided to upgrade its software.

The meter itself is only dumb because the supplier can’t read the data it sends, that is more a software / firmware issue more than to do with the smart meter itself.

So I found out why the original smart meters don’t work sometimes when you switch companies, and its nothing to do with the meter itself, I quote

Smart meters don’t use your Wi-Fi connection. In fact, you don’t even need to have Wi-Fi in your home for your smart technology to work. Current generation smart meters contain SIM cards and transfer data directly to your supplier via a wireless network using radio waves. This process is similar to the technology used with mobile phones. Public Health England, the government’s agency on public health, has concluded that smart meters pose no danger to your wellbeing. The exposure to radio waves from a smart meter is in fact far lower than other everyday devices such as TVs and microwaves.

The system that gathers information from smart meters is made up of two main radio parts. The home area network (HAN) sends information to the In-Home Display and allows the smart electricity meter to talk to the smart gas meter, and the wide area network (WAN) communicates information between the meter and the supplier.

These networks are secure, helped by a high-level security system developed by leading experts in industry and government. No personal information is stored on your smart meter, and third parties will not be able to access your data for sales or marketing purposes without your consent.

The Data Communications Company

At present, not all suppliers use the same system communication network, so if you switch it may be difficult for a new supplier to automatically receive your meter readings and you may lose some smart functionality. However, the energy industry is in the process of implementing a single communication system for smart meters, the Data Communications Company. The DCC uses a secure national network, ensuring that when you switch, your smart meter will continue to communicate with your new supplier.

The first generation of smart meters, known as SMETS1, may lose some smart functionality when customers change supplier. The latest generation of smart meters, known as SMETS2, are operated through the DCC network, meaning that customers with these meters will retain their smart functionality regardless of who their energy supplier is. At the same time, DCC is working with energy suppliers to enrol all SMETS1 meters into their network. This means that everyone should be able to keep their smart benefits if they decide to switch supplier.

Well today was the day it happened, my new smart meters were fitted by British Gas. It took a mere 90 minutes for both meters to be installed, the electricity one taking the longest.

Both meters are SMETS2 and both meters are clearly marked as such. The actual indoor energy monitor is the latest incarnation, not too intrusive and sits on my living room window sill in a corner. Connected to my home WiFi though that is for extra functionality through my BG phone app, not because it needs to be connected to my router for any other reason.

As I said in my earlier post, the meters won’t save me any money as I’ve always provided monthly meter readings anyway. I wanted them so I no longer have to bother submitting readings myself.

I realise that there are people out there who will always come up with a reason for not having smart meters and some households actually can’t have them fitted without major wiring rework, as a friend of mine discovered when the installer arrived and wouldn’t touch anything with a barge pole. Mine was very straightforward and no problems connecting to the DCC Network.

1 Like

Npower turned up at my Mam’s house yesterday to install her new smart meters. Left after two minutes as the cupboards housing the meters are too shallow to accommodate the new ones!

I was with Npower for several years, never had an issue with them. I used to swap tariffs every 3 or 4 months because they would knock out cheaper tariffs all the time and not tell their existing customers, or at least that was my experience of them. I used to find out via MSE about their newer tariffs all the time. Just took a 10 minute phone call to Npower and they would swap the tariff. They would never give me a reason why they wouldn’t tell me as an existing customer about the new cheaper tariff…mmm, I wonder why!

Anyway back to the smart meters. I first enquired about them with Npower when they sent an email shot out gauging interest as to whether customers would be interested. I did register my interest, but they soon hit me with ‘We’re currently not fitting them in your area’. Eventually I swapped provider to a small energy company who were unable to supply new meters anyway hence why I’ve since switched again and now have them.

I suppose in many ways, it was a good job I didn’t get smart meters fitted 3 or 4 years ago considering the utter shambles over SMETS1/2. The very first question I asked the meter fitter this morning before he opened his tool bag was, “Are you fitting SMETS2 meters?” to which he responded that he was. That response negated me from politely asking him to get back in his van! Anyway, he did a good job.

My only problem now is, I can’t stop looking at the bloody energy monitor lol!

It’s funny though, because a few years back, Npower were handing out free in home energy monitors that measured how much electricity the household was consuming. It consisted of a battery pack with a clip on wire that you clipped directly to the main incoming electricity wire in the outside meter box. The meter in the house then picked up the signal. I often thought it looked like something dodgy was going on with the electricity supply when the meter readers came round, but they obviously all knew about how it worked.

1 Like

Interestingly we had our smart meters fitted yesterday too.

The IHD (in home display) that Bulb are giving out are Cameleon IHD6s which, apparently come with a CAD (Consumer Access Device) within them.

Problem is that they don’t seem to let the consumer access them… Which kinda defeats the point.

I really want to get usage from an API or similar, but the damn thing just seems to send data (who knows what) to Cameleon’s cloud service every little while.

If you look at the following link and scroll down to the picture after the dog licking the woman’s face, that is exactly the energy monitor that I’ve been provided with. As far as I know, it just sends energy consumption back to BG via the DCC. I don’t think GCHQ or Langley get a look in :laughing: