Smart Meter Technical Specs?

I’ve had quite a search now and so far have failed in finding very much information on the Smart Meters that you’re planning on trialling soon/rolling out in 2018. I understand they’re going to be SMETS2 meters, presumably with GSM connection?

Are the ones for the trial going to be a selection to see what works best or only one type of unit? Do you know which unit/units it may be?

Hi @mowcius

We will definitely be rolling out SMETS2 meters next year and will be trialling a few different units, but we haven’t decided which ones yet.

As for the communication, Long-Range Radio communications (LRR) will be used in Scotland and the North of England. Cellular radio communications will be used in the rest of England and Wales, backed up by “mesh” connectivity in the harder to reach locations in some areas of England and Wales.


Hi @“Samantha at Bulb”, thanks for the info.

I’ll keep an eye out for updates.

Did I read that you’re also looking at energy monitoring devices for customers?
If so, are these devices integrated as part of the Smart Meters or would they be separate units with a CT clamp?
I presume the update rate of the Smart Meter to the supplier is not very frequent so instant energy monitoring would not be possible from your end?

@mowcius We’ll be offering an In Home Display with our smart meters, which is a small device with a screen that will show your usage in real time. It will get your usage data from the meter, so no need to clamp anything to the meter.

We’re looking into technologies to allow for live monitoring of usage from your smartphone. However, these are still early conversations, but we’ll post our plans when we have them.

@danp, thanks for the response.

Based on your comment, I presume you have looked at a number of units as potential options, even if you don’t yet know which you will be trialling next year.
Do they have some way for a user to read the information with other equipment/services (connection to the ZigBee SE network or perhaps an optical data port)?

Does the power for the unit come after the current sensor or before? Will we get charged for the power that the smart meter uses (with multiple wireless radios, maybe a couple of pounds a year)?

Shifting from the other thread, it probably makes more sense to keep everything here.

So far I understand that the electricity meter will have the DCC communications hub affixed to it. This can be installed with a high gain antenna if cellular network signal is poor (DCC expected 10% of installations to require antennas).
The gas meter will then wirelessly connect to the communications hub in order to send information to the supplier (Bulb in this case).
This is presumably still via ZigBee IP in a similar manner to the 1st generation smart meters which would facilitate intermediate devices as boosters for extending the range between your gas meter, electricity meter, and in-home display.

The communcations hub connected to the electricity meter requires a host to provide at least 6W (not that all of that power will likely be used) with a cut-off of double that (12W). So far I’m unsure as to whether the power for the smart meter and the communications device will be drawn from the unmetered side, or the metered side of the electricity meter.
If the metered side, a bit extra could end up on customer’s bills. More if their device is reporting every half an hour or acting as a mesh repeater.

Hi @mowcius I believe that the comms on second gen smart meters will work in the same way as first gen, though as I understand it they are still looking into the way signals are transmitted for meters in areas with poor service, and I don’t believe anyone has reached a final decision yet. As I understand it, smart meters are powered from the customer side of the meter, in the same way as current meters are. Given the reduction in energy usage shown for people who’ve had first gen smart meters installed, it looks like the benefits of smart meters will outweigh the cost of the energy they use (which I imagine would be a very small amount, though I don’t know the figures)

Hi @“David at Bulb”, thanks for that bit of info. I’ll wait to hear more when you start full testing and rollout.

I agree, the reduction of energy use casued by someone being able to monitor their energy consumption will almost certainly be considerably more than the amount of energy used by the meter and communications hub. I’m just trying to get all of the information out there.

Hello @“DanP at Bulb” @“David at Bulb” and @“Samantha at Bulb”

Just a quick question about smart meters… actually the smart meter displays that you’re planning on using. I’m renovating our home right now and I’m sure it’ll all be done before your smart meter roll-out kicks off. That’s fine, I’ll wait until I can get one installed- HOWEVER - I want to make sure I’ve included in the plans wherever the display unit should go and so wanted to know:

  • can the display be located anywhere within the house,
  • does it need a wired or wireless connection to the meter,
  • most importantly - does it need to be powered? I need to add an extra 3 pin plug socket to the plans now if it needs one.
Hopeful thanks in advance...


I’m not Bulb but I can answer some of these:

  • In theory yes.
  • The display will be wireless but there will be some range limitation (of an as yet unquantified distance but boosters are theoritically possible, whether they're available to purchase/install or not).
  • I've seen some 1st gen ones with a power socket and an always on display, and a handful of battery powered ones. With the additional functionality of the SE1.2 (SMETS2) standard, I'd expect them to require a power socket if you want a nice one. I'd be hoping to use something like this personally).

I do wonder how you’re planning to include it in the plans when exact unit and therefore the design/size etc has not been determined.
To be safe though, I’d probably just plan to have it within 10m of your electricity meter, and include a socket nearby.


I’m from Bulb and I agree with most of @mowcius answer.

I’d recommend having a power socket wherever you’re planning on installing the in home display. The device will require power, I don’t believe it will rely on battery power for extended periods of time. In terms of exact specification of the display, nothing’s been finalised yet, so we’re unable to announce the display that we will be providing as of yet.

I’d also recommend situating the in home display within wireless range of the smart meter as the unit will be connecting wireless.


You know, having originally been a fan, I’ve gone right off the idea of smart meters - the overall cost nationally is huge and it’s all borne by the customer in the end, I don’t need technology to encourage me to minimise my power use, and a monthly reading really isn’t that difficult to take.

I’m fast coming round to the view that it’s a costly waste of customer money and the world’s resources to replace tens of millions of working meters. Call me a luddite, though…

@Alec I can see a case for smart meters being provided for people who, for whatever reason, find it difficult or impossible to gain access to their meter.
In general, though, I agree that it’s a multi-billion white elephant which we’re paying for. :confused:

@Alec, @198kHz, agreed.

Personally I think that removing the 2020 requirement and just phasing them in slowly in line with the standard meter replacement programme would have been better. Allow people to still request them but don’t necessarily encourage everyone to get one.

At least with Bulb I feel we’re likely to be charged fairly for them.

@Alec, @198kHz, agreed.

At least with Bulb I feel we’re likely to be charged fairly for them.

We know that we’re all paying for the smart meter roll out through our bills, but I’ve been unable to establish whether this is a flat rate per household, a percentage based on consumption, or something else.
Whatever the case, I doubt that Bulb have any discretion in the matter.
Could @“DanP at Bulb” or someone else at Bulb clarify?

I would suspect that each supplier has to work that out themselves and Bulb have complete control of how they get that money back from their customers.

@Alec @198kHz @mowcius Suppliers cover their own smart costs so tariffs are likely to increase, or could increase due to these costs. This all depends on how efficiently each supplier can procure meters and keep installation costs down.

Thank you @“DanP at Bulb”

To update this, the smart meters being supplied by Bulb are the EDMI ES-10A or Landis+Gyr E470 5394 with either an EDMI or Toshiba(/WNC) communications hub attached on top, and a Landis+Gyr G470 672 for gas.

The IHDs are Chameleon IHD3-PPMID units. Colour block LCD units.

EDMI ES-10A with long range (North of England) communications hub, and Landis+Gyr G470-672 gas meter.

The dual pole isolator was also fitted free of charge as part of the installation.