SMETS2 Smart Meters vs SMETS1

Are you wondering what the difference between SMETS1 and SMETS2 is when it comes to smart meters?

If so you are not alone and this jargon confuses many people, so what does it mean and what are the differences between the two?

First things first, let’s define the term…

What does SMETS stand for?

SMETS stands for Smart Metering Equipment Technical Specifications and the number after e.g. 1 or 2 indicates the generation the smart meter belongs to.

At present all new smart meters installed in the UK belong to SMETS2 e.g. they are now using second generation technology.

SMETS1 vs SMETS2

SMETS1 Smart Meters:

SMETS1 generation smart meters were the first to be used and installed into UK homes, allowing energy companies to record meter readings remotely for the first time.

To achieve this, they essentially use the same 3G technology found in your smart phone, allowing your energy company to be updated with your latest energy usage at regular times of the year, typically quarterly.

As well as the SMETS1 smart meter itself, customers were also provided with an accompanying smart hub to allow them to see a visual representation of their energy use in real time.

This ability to track data and energy use more easily means that homeowners can take more responsibility for their energy use, helping to avoid energy waste and make financially wise decisions about their usage.

The Major Disadvantage of SMETS1 Meters

Unfortunately, like any new technology, the first release typically faces some major stumbling blocks and SMETS1 major issue was the fact that they were not compatible with all suppliers equipment.

This often meant that if a customer decided to switch their energy company, the SMETS1 meter would no longer function as required and would be compatible with a few suppliers software.

The work around solution to this is that the energy company would have to revert back to taking manual meter readings e.g. visiting your home.

However, the good news is that the smart hub that allows you to track and see your usage via the screen/interface would still work as normal.

What’s the difference between SMETS1 & SMETS2?

SMETS2 are designed to solve the combability issues faced with first generation smart meters.

How do they do this?

Instead of using 3G sim cards to record and send data, instead they rely on a new secured government network to transfer data (known as the DCC).

The main advantage for you, the consumer is that you no longer need to be concerned that your meter readings will be impacted if your change energy suppliers.

How do yo you know if you have a SMETS2 Smart Meter?

If you are curious to know whether you currently have a SMETS1 or SMETS2 smart meter, you can easily find out by asking your energy supplier.

The reality is that sadly there is no quick and easy visual way to identify which smart meter you own, you simply have to ask.

You could also have a guess by using the rollout periods for each. For instance, SMETS1 meters began rollout in 2017 before being replaced by SMETS2 in 2018.

You would think that would mean all new smart meters from 2018 are now SMETS2, unfortunately that is not the case.

The reality is that most energy companies in the UK had huge stocks of first generation SMETS1 smart meters and so continued to install them, even to the current day.

However, to curb this practice, the UK energy regulator Ofgem stopped SMETS1 meters from being added to government targets in March 2019.

This meant that any supplier still installing SMETS1 meters risks falling short of targets and receiving financial penalties and so it’s not too common for a SMETS1 smart meter to be installed today.

I have a SMETS1, can I upgrade to a SMETS2 Smart Meter?

If you discover you have a SMETS1 smart meter and want to replace it with a second generation SMETS2 this is possible, but you will likely have to cover the costs of the upgrade yourself.

All smart meters installed before March 2019 have already been counted towards government targets, which means that there is no financial incentive for the company to upgrade your smart meter for free.