Smart meters

Hi there,

We have an account with BULB and already have a smart meter installed by our previous provider (British Gas). Do we still need to switch to a BULB Smart Meter? Happy to do so if that is the case.

Hi @debbyf,

You probably have a ‘SMETS1’ meter (the ‘Big Six’ suppliers were very very keen on getting those installed) - these actually lose functionality when you switch to ANY other supplier (i.e. moving to British Gas to N.Power/Eon/Bulb/Scottish Power etc) and tend to keep that functionality ‘lost’ even if you move back to the installing supplier(!).

So when you switch to Bulb (or anyone else), the meter is likely to become ‘dumb’ - i.e. not able to automatically send back meter readings and any in-home display unit (IHD) will either stop displaying information or show incorrect data. This means you’ll have to manually read the physical meter and send Bulb the readings: just like all of us on ‘non-smart’ meters.

There is no NEED to have your meter changed: however, read on.

There’s a (small) chance British Gas installed a SMETS2 meter which can be switched over to a new supplier without any problems or loss of functionality, there’s a slightly larger chance they’ve installed a SMETS1 meter which can actually work on the new ‘SMETS2 DCC’ system and will continue to be ‘smart’, there’s a slightly larger chance they’ve installed a SMETS1 meter which can, with a bit of work later this year, be remotely updated to work on the ‘SMETS2 DCC’ system and ‘re-smartenate’ it. However, the likelihood of any of those happening is around 30%. In this case, you can either just wait for your meter to come to the end of it’s life (the batteries only last around 10 years in a gas meter) and then be replaced with a SMETS2 meter, or wait for a new rollout of incompatible meters to commence (this hasn’t even been planned to my knowledge) or you can just ask Bulb to replace it with a proper multi-provider SMETS2 smart meter in their natural rollout of smart meters (although this will probably be a bit of a waste of a functioning meter).

Hi @debbyf,

You probably have a ‘SMETS1’ meter (the ‘Big Six’ suppliers were very very keen on getting those installed) - these actually lose functionality when you switch to ANY other supplier (i.e. moving to British Gas to N.Power/Eon/Bulb/Scottish Power etc) and tend to keep that functionality ‘lost’ even if you move back to the installing supplier(!).

So when you switch to Bulb (or anyone else), the meter is likely to become ‘dumb’ - i.e. not able to automatically send back meter readings and any in-home display unit (IHD) will either stop displaying information or show incorrect data. This means you’ll have to manually read the physical meter and send Bulb the readings: just like all of us on ‘non-smart’ meters.

There is no NEED to have your meter changed: however, read on.

There’s a (small) chance British Gas installed a SMETS2 meter which can be switched over to a new supplier without any problems or loss of functionality, there’s a slightly larger chance they’ve installed a SMETS1 meter which can actually work on the new ‘SMETS2 DCC’ system and will continue to be ‘smart’, there’s a slightly larger chance they’ve installed a SMETS1 meter which can, with a bit of work later this year, be remotely updated to work on the ‘SMETS2 DCC’ system and ‘re-smartenate’ it. However, the likelihood of any of those happening is around 30%. In this case, you can either just wait for your meter to come to the end of it’s life (the batteries only last around 10 years in a gas meter) and then be replaced with a SMETS2 meter, or wait for a new rollout of incompatible meters to commence (this hasn’t even been planned to my knowledge) or you can just ask Bulb to replace it with a proper multi-provider SMETS2 smart meter in their natural rollout of smart meters (although this will probably be a bit of a waste of a functioning meter).

SMETS1 meters are being brought into the network soon. By Christmas this year they’ll be compatible.

Eleanor’s post at the top of http://community.bulb.co.uk/discussion/6703/bulb-and-smart-meters/p1 implied they’ll only be able to read a third of the SMETS1 meters and that some people may have to upgrade.

I already have a smart meter, can you read it? We’ve partnered with a company able to communicate with about one-third of SMETS1 (first generation) smart meters.

We’ll be contacting anyone who’s meter we can read, starting with members who have applied to join the smart tariff. If we can’t read your SMETS1 meter now, we should be able to read it in the future. There’s a lot of government-mandated work to make SMETS1 data more accessible to energy suppliers. Once second-generation smart meters are up and running, there will also be the option to upgrade.

Eleanor's post at the top of http://community.bulb.co.uk/discussion/6703/bulb-and-smart-meters/p1 implied they'll only be able to read a third of the SMETS1 meters and that some people may have to upgrade.

That’s not how I parse that sentence.

We’ve partnered with a company able to communicate with about one-third of SMETS1 (first generation) smart meters.

So they can read one-third right now, without doing anything.

If we can’t read your SMETS1 meter now, we should be able to read it in the future. There’s a lot of government-mandated work to make SMETS1 data more accessible to energy suppliers.

Of the remaining two-thirds they should be able to read them in the future once they have been enrolled in the DCC (i.e., “work to make SMETS1 data more accessible”).

Once second-generation smart meters are up and running, there will also be the option to upgrade.

And even then, there should be an option to upgrade to a new meter.