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The Day I Had A Smart Meter Installed

posted by  Eilidh | 3 years ago

By now you have probably heard a lot about smart meters – who hasn’t? ScottishPower are supporting the UK Government’s rollout of new generations meters and to date we have installed over 1 million. However, we know that some of you are reluctant to have your smart meters installed. We think this is because of some of the common myths surrounding the new technology.

 The  article was originally published on the BoilerGuide website and is a great example of some of the misconceptions surrounding smart. It’s also a great article on explaining what it’s really like to have smart meter installed from a customer’s view point. Enjoy!

The introduction of smart meters for your electricity and gas were announced way back in 2009. This revolutionary technology was supposed to be installed in every building with a meter by 2020 as detailed in the Conservative manifesto of 2015; that’s 32 million properties at a cost of around £11 billion (and counting).

At the time of writing, around 12 million meters have been installed so far, so not quite the revolution the government had hoped for but not insignificant. It’s well documented in the press that the roll out has had its issues. This has left many bill payers reluctant to have one installed.

Subsequently in 2017 the government (Conservative) changed its manifesto pledge of 2015 so that all customers will now be offered a Smart Meter by the end of 2020, but there’s no obligation to have one fitted. Well almost.

While we the great British public maintain our freedom of choice, the energy companies aren’t so lucky. The OFGEM issued license that gas and electricity companies need before they can service the market contain a standard condition. This condition obligates them to take all reasonable steps to ensure that a smart metering system is installed in each of the households and small non-domestic premises they supply, on or before 31 December 2020.

All reasonable steps isn’t defined but it would suggest, given the huge amounts invested in the Smart Meter program to date, that you’re going to have to say no a lot should you decline to join the smart energy revolution.

Not to be deterred by scare stories in the press or apparent backroom politics, when a member of the Boiler Guide team was offered a Smart meter by Scottish Power, of course they accepted. Any reluctance was put aside in the name of good consumer journalism.

Smart Meter Installation Day

Company installing the Smart Meter: Actavo (on behalf of Scottish Power)

Time required to install Gas and Electricity smart meters: 2 hours 30 minutes

Armed with a list of questions and camera (and a hope that on arrival we didn’t scare the installer off), the smart revolution in an East Midlands house began at 12.30pm.

Gary (a former self employed heating engineer) was punctual, very efficient and happy to chat through the two and a half hours the installation took. We liked Gary; he even asked if it was ok to trample on the plants. He dutifully showed his ID on arrival; if your installer doesn’t do this be sure to ask them for ID. The front of the card will confirm their registration and identity, the back of their ID will confirm their competence to work on gas.


Scottish-Power-Engineer-installing-smart-meters (1).jpg








Pre-installation Advice:

Scottish Power provide a “How to prepare for your Smart Seter installation” video which basically tells you to clear any of your household items away from the meter so the engineer has easy access. Here’s the pre-install checklist you’ll be asked to do: https://www.youtube.com/embed/4FhjvNaX7iQ?rel=0&controls=0&showinfo=0

  • Ensure ALL electrical equipment is switched off and unplugged
  • Ensure ALL gas appliances are switched off
  • Ensure the central heating boiler timer and supply is switched to the off position
  • Keep fridges and freezer doors closed

Remember to reset any clocks or timers once the power has been restored.

What Type of Smart Meter Was Installed by Scottish Power?

The old electricity meter was replaced with an Elster AS300P which is the unit chosen by Scottish Power. 

You can download the technical specification of this meter here. 












This meter communicates with the energy company via mobile sim card using the Global System for Mobile (GSM) so you need to be in an area with some mobile connectivity. Our installer checked the mobile signal prior to switching over. We presume if there was no mobile signal available the Smart Meter wouldn’t have been installed. Should your Smart meter lose signal your data won’t be lost; it will be stored and shared once the signal re-connects.










The meters fitted by Scottish Power are first generation smart meters called a SMETS1 meter. This is what the majority of homes will have installed should you choose to switch to a smart meter prior to October 5th 2018. After that date energy companies are supposed to install a 2nd generation meter called a SMETS2. However, roll out could be as late as January 2019.

Potential Problems with 1st Generation SMETS1 smart meters:

  • If you switch suppliers after installing your Smart Meter, the new supplier might not be able to operate your meter in smart mode, so you’ll be back to meter reading.
  • If the meter that you have installed isn’t compliant with the Data Communications Company (DCC) communications system you might need to have an upgrade installed. This will most likely only affect meters that were installed in the early stages of 2016.

The good news is that the SMETS2 meters should do away with the issues above and the more recent SMETS1 meters can be upgraded remotely so you shouldn’t have to change meters.

The roll out of SMETS2 meters should also make switching suppliers quicker and add the flexibility to switch gas and electricity separately, though given the teething problems so far this may be some time away.


Smart Meter Installed – Now What?











Once the meters have been swapped over, your installer (in our case Gary) will provide you with an In Home Display (IHD) unit; you should keep this in a visible place so you can see how much money you’re literally burning through each hour, day or month. Hopefully it will encourage you to turn off a few lights and be less frivolous with energy when you realise that each time you re-boil your kettle it’s costing you about 10p. Anyone a serial re-boiler for one cup of tea?

They provide a handy instruction pamphlet and video to talk you through how to use it. Ask your installer if you’re unsure about anything  https://www.youtube.com/embed/OJD_qIf_KEc?rel=0&controls=0&showinfo=0

 It’s worth noting that the display unit supplied by Scottish Power communicates with the Smart Meter via Wifi. The Wifi signal strength is quite poor and needs to be located as close as possible to your meter. In our case this was a side room which rarely gets used so the visual impact of what you’re spending is kind of lost. It also costs 20p a year to keep plugged in.

Once you’re familiar with the IHD unit then the installation process is done. Our installer did a final check of the boiler and gas hob to make sure they were working and we restored the power.

The entire install process was pretty painless and Gary was a credit to Scottish Power.

Will a Smart Meter Make a Difference?

We’ll update this article periodically to see if having a Smart Meter has changed our habits or lowered the bills. We imagine the impact of seeing how much money you’re spending on gas and electricity on a daily basis will probably wear off quite soon. That said there’s no more taking readings in the rain or snow which is definitely a bonus.

Scottish Power do provide you with some information on what our various devices cost to run:

  • Tumble Dryer for 1 hour: £0.21p
  • Mobile phone: 12 hour charge: £0.01p
  • Washing Machine, one wash at 40 degrees: £0.10p
  • Laptop 2 hours use:£0.01p
  • Dishwasher, one load at 65 degrees: £0.18p
  • Games Console, 2 hours play: £0.04p

Although meter reading is a pain and not having to do it is a bonus, that’s one of the minor reasons we’re being offered smart meters. Being able to switch easily and quickly is another but the main reason is to try and lower our usage of fossil fuels. Switching things off and turning things down may not have a massive impact on your bills, but these small changes aggregated across all UK homes should reduce our negative impact on the planet.

Originally published on the BoilerGuide website.

posted by platespinner | 3 years ago

You were lucky to get a smart meter fitted!  I’ve asked for one and was given an appointment for four weeks later so someone  could talk to me about getting one. I don’t want talk I want a meter. What abysmal service!

posted by ROGERC | 3 years ago

I hope yours works as it should.  Our 'smart' meter is 'stupid'and only reads electricity despite there being , I presume, a rather expensive 'smart' GAS meter installed at the samer time.  Despite numerous contacts on the subject, one ongoing at present,  Scottish Power have singularly failed to resolve the problem.  This means I still have estimated readings or have to provide them with meter readings.

posted by stevewoodward | 3 years ago

My inhouse display packed up and it is a nightmare trying to get a new one,  Scottish say Octavo will bring one out and Octavo say Scottish should do it...between them none of them are doing it, can I buy one and set it up with the meters myself?

posted by Whitemonk | 3 years ago

Big disappointment with SP's IHD.

I expected it to tell me how many watts I was consuming - it doesn't appear to do so.
Wifi communication useless in most of my flat - only useable when I stand in front of the meter which is outside my front door.

Re-installed my Current Cost clip-on device, which works all over my flat and tells me how many watts I'm using.


posted by tm1234 | 3 years ago

Who has the time to be at home for 2.5 hours during the week?! If I want to be able to afford to pay for my gas/electricity I need to work! Also, this 2.5 hours isn’t at a set time, it starts in a longer window of 4 hours... would love to get one but just not happening unless there is a better system for arranging the installation.

posted by Whitemonk | 3 years ago

Mine turned up at the beginning of the allotted time slot, but didn't phone ahead. And was a bit off about giving me the pre-arranged password.

Only did half the job too - didn't like my gas meter, so left it - just took a few photos - said SP will be in touch - nothing happened.

Haven't bothered using the display as it doesn't show current consumption in watts.


posted by STEPHENJOHN1974 | 3 years ago

You were lucky I waitied in all afternoon. No one came or phoned. I had checked the day before they werer coming. as the girl making the appointment was going to phone me straight back and did not.  I am not able to be here for afternoons or mornings with out a lot of bother.

At this moment in time I am thinking they know what they can do with the smart meter!!!

posted by stevewoodward | 3 years ago

Well they did turn up at the 4th appointment and fitted the new IHD, the guy who attended only lives in the next village! and said the problem seems to be SP and Octavo not talking to each other.....seems to be sorted

posted by Davc | 3 years ago

The IHD radio connection is actually not WiFi and nothing to do with your home broadband router. The IHD uses a different sort of weak radio signal. Also the IHD is only a display like a computer monitor, it does not take part in sending data so it can be switched off if it is not needed or not working correctly. A final comment, if you need to read the gas meter it will be necessary to press buttons to light up its little screen. An installing engineer should always show you how to take manual readings. 

posted by Ash175 | 3 years ago

Had an appointment for an engineer to fit smart meter today. The engineer never turned up and there was no warning that the engineer would not be showing up. Took time out from work for the appointment . Extremely disappointment and this is the second time I have been let down. No apology received yet

posted by Sc6365 | 3 years ago

Had two smart meters fitted on 6th March and still not working yet.   I've had numerous calls to SP to get a commissioning appointment and no one will take responsibility for doing this.  Spoke to someone in the Liverpool call centre called Matthew last Tuesday and he agreed it was bad service and would take ownership of the problem. He said he would ring me last Thursday and still waiting.....  I've lodged two complaints on the on line chat and have got absolutely nowhere.  If I behaved like this at work, I'd get sacked!!  Abysmal service.  I can't do my own meter readings on the new Smets2 and I have no way of knowing my consumption.  Caught between a rock and a hard place springs to mind..... 

posted by Davc | 3 years ago

@Sc6365 Sorry to hear the problem. You can read your smart meter in two ways. On the IHD display you can call up the meter readings. If that is not working look at the meters, the gas meter needs a button to be pressed, the electric meter should be displaying its reading on its screen.

posted by sc | 3 years ago

Had smart meter fitted 14th Feb.  Meters fitted but signal not working so no readings can be taken.  Numerous phone calls to no avail.  on phone now still waiting after half hour for someone to talk to!!!!  Wish I had read comments first.  Good luck everyone else.

posted by JMG | 3 years ago

I must confess that - although the installer did absolutely fine, the meter and IHD are a complete total and utter joke - and not a very funny one. Since install, it refuses to report anything sensible to the IHD; I can accept technology fails (as an electrical engineer myself) , what I cannot accept is SP saying they have no solution and can't even predict when there will be one. I have some sympathy with SP, they are not being well supported by their supplier (the meter and IHD manufacturers) who are churning out junk. If I were running such a contract (which I do daily) the supplier would be engaged to solve the issues, or they would be gone and unpaid for their work. I cannot undersdtand how SP are letting them away with it, SP are getting hauled over the coals by customers for an issue in their supply chain. 

posted by Davc | 3 years ago

Hello JMG, good comments, I would only add that it may not be the hardware causing problems, also  the software and firmware. SP have attempted a number of IHD upgrades but they seem to lead to yet more bad data. 

posted by Clevedon | 2 years ago

I was told in Feb 2019 my existing Smartmeter (which doesn't work) would be updated within a month. 

I am disabled & cannot access my meters to have any idea of consumption. Regret I left BG!

posted by Ade | 2 years ago

I've been told I have to have a smart meter (version 2) because of the tariff I am on (I call this blackmail). I know about problems with version 1 but was told version 2 doesn't have any problems. Reading the blogs from only a few months ago, and the problems people are still having  I am reluctant to get a version 2 either. Has anyone got anything good to say about version 2 smart meters ?????

posted by kjedwards | 2 years ago


I had two installers turn up over 1 hour early.

They only changed the electric meter.

I was told there was a 'communication problem' so the gas meter could not be changed.

I was told to make another appointment. But when? How do I know when the 'communication problem' has been resolved?

Why is all the onus for this put on me? Surely either Scottish Power or the installation company should be telling me when it is best to come and finish the installation!!

posted by STEPHENJOHN1974 | 2 years ago

I am still waiting for the gas meter I was told it would be 2 week its now over 6 months. When I phoned I was told they were fully booked and could not do it!!!!

posted by Whitemonk | 2 years ago

I left SP precisely because of their inability to include my gas meter during my smart meter install. I have moved to Shell Energy and have requested a smart meter instal. Hopefully, I won't have to continue this thread on their community webpage (if they have one Smiley Happy )

posted by Caroline61 | 2 years ago

Hi, after a 9 month running battle with SP over what I believed to be an inaccurate smart meter (type 1), several failed attendances, I finally had my second generation smart meter installed. At the end, on being asked re gas meter, the fitter said I didn't realise yo had a smart gas meter, you will have to take readings as it will no longer work! Nice of SP to inform me about that!

i have an IHD but I cannot see a reading on the meter itself, it just says welcome to your new smart meter, rolling across the screen. So how can I actually read the meter? As before I was on daily reads of both, yet now I have had the meter over a week but there is no reading online.

posted by Calbri | 2 years ago

I have had an absolute nightmare trying to get an electric credit and a gas prepayment meter both changed to smart credit meters. All was arranged for 28th Nov, had to cancel and then found out that they couldnt do the job. several phone calls to SP and Providor (installers) and all was supposed to be sorted. Providor attended 4th Nov and fitted both only to find a block on the gas install. The left with us having no gas and an electric meter that doesnt talk to the IHD. Sp are saying that they cant come back to do a partial install, Providor are saying they can. I am stuck in the middle with no resolution. Next step is the energy ombudsman.

posted by Calbri | 2 years ago

I have a similar dilemma, just put a new post about it.

posted by STaylor53 | A year ago

Had a Smart Meter fitted 20th April 2019 but meter still not working. Had lots of telephone calls to ScottishPower who have made promise after promise but still nothing. If anyone is thinking of using ScottishPower then think twice because they just do not care!!!

posted by Whitemonk | A year ago


I also had a non-funtioning installation via SP. It's the main reason I left them.

Mind you, Shell Energy have not yet managed to resolve it either Smiley Sad

posted by Deepski | A year ago

I requested smart meter soon as I joined SP. Was fobbed off few times their Web page for smart meter was selling smart thermostats! Complained then they changed Web page. Meanwhile I just left the smart meter issue to bed. They haven't got back to me apart from letting me know I am on their list and when their electrical engineers are in my area they would contact me.

I want to put ev charger so can get reduced night rate for charging my car.

Now thinking just forget it all  too much bother. Let ombudsman and regulators sort things out. They are taking us for fools. Will change provider ASAP 

posted by LEMon | A year ago

I had a smart meter installed October 2019 and I am unconvinced that the readings are correct as I have a faulty gas meter and an internal display that has not worked properly after the first couple of weeks. After emails and phone calls no further forward. ScottishPower have agreed that the gas meter needs to be replaced but they do not have any meters to replace it.  No stock until end February or beginning March!!!!  

posted by Jbl101 | A year ago

I have just been informed by Scottish Power that they are unable to collect the readings from several customers smart meters and are therefore sending estimated bills. To avoid an unwanted estimated bill, you should manually add your readings to the website. They also say that it take several months to resolve the issue.

posted by colh | A year ago

had new smets 2 meters fitted by previous supplier Shell Energy.worked perfectly.Changed to Scottish Power 11 weeks ago and nothing works .have to submit meter readings manually and in  House Display shows connection lost.Rang Scottish Power many times to be told reconnection should take between 6/8 weeks. Any idea how long this will actually take

posted by PeterRusher | A year ago

Had smart meters fitted  Gas/Electricity over18 months ago, second generation, never worked from the day they were fitted, or the IHD, phone SP to arrange for an engineer to come out to check why they were not working, 6 months later after over an hour of him being here and making numerous calls to his office and SP it was confirmed that the meters were if fact not working or able to communicate with SP, so were in fact a waste of time having them fitted, (already had to take 2days off from work to have them fitted and an engineer to test) told I would then  have to get SP to book a new appointment to get meters changed,(what a joke) after 4 or 5  calls and several emails was told that my account had been marked as (do not action any work). I asked why and was told it was now a software issue and would be upgraded when it was sorted remotely, now as my meters are not communicating with SP I fail to see how they are going to do this, (must be by pidgeon power or by crystal ball) Now to top it off I have had two emails from SP in the last 9 months telling me that they could not communicate with my meters and that there seems to be a problem.      ( No kidding you knew that 18 months ago) Customer support are a total waste of time as they tell you one thing to get you off the line and nothing happens (no call back or anything else) I still have to do manual meter readings or get estimated bills, the whole point of getting so called smart meters fitted is so that you don`t have to do this and can keep a check on your useage, SP and there suppliers need to get there act sorted and stop wasting customers time and get these so called meters working as they are suppose to.


posted by Harper | A year ago

I have had pre pay gas and electric meters for many years but in January the electric  meter screen went blank  , no matter what w did it was just a black screen. We phoned SP  and after waiting for over an hour managed to speek to SP. They told us that because of the virus no one would be able to call at the house. Now in August 2020 no one has called or emailed or contacted us in any mannor and we dont know if our weekly amount we are adding to the meter is being credited or lost or if SP are building a large debit against us 

Was think of asking SP to change our meters to a Smart meter but from reading above does not sound to be any better. . Perhaps the problem is not the meter but is SPs management and service to customers.

Think its time to look for another supplier !

posted by planesman | A year ago

I have the SP electric car tariff (has a day and night rate) and had all the problems listed above and more and spent almost 1 year with the ombudsman trying to resolve the issue of not getting the correct gas and electric readings. In a nutshell I did manage to get one month of correct readings but now I have the same problem, the electric readings are not being transmitted to SP again.  I am not going to waste any more of my time with either the ombudsman, who by the way are as affective as a chocholate teapot when it comes to getting SP to do anything, or SP themselves.

I have a AS300P smart meter installed but I do not know how to get the night rate manually, does anyone know how to do this please?  I have seen posts about the combination of button presses on the smart meter with 2 gray buttons but this does not work with my meter as it has 3 gray buttons.

posted by Frankenval | A year ago

Smart meters dont help anyone.  Neither do SP.  after 18 years in the same house with SP  Ive now  had over £1000 in refunds in the last year due to 'errors' on their part.  no explanation just platitudes and saying we followed procedures and policies. Been on the wrong tarriff for months and months  and fortunately kept records of phone calls .   Now with the ombudsman , next stop WATCHDOG and the chairman. ;-[[



posted by planesman | A year ago

I feel your pain!  I need to be able to provide a manual meter reading so that I can be billed correctly, but as yet I have not been able to get the night tariff off my meter:-(

posted by Feud | A year ago

Scottish Power installed a so called smart meter in December  2019 and as of October 2020 they still haven't got it working.  Of course, in the interim they kept on sending emails asking why didn't I gat a smart meter installed!

Scottish Power have been dreadful on many fronts (e.g.took 4 months to set up a direct debit and they entered a phoned inmeter reading incorrectly!) and I even had to complain that my formal complaint hadn't been acted on and replied to.   I've now agreed  they will pay a small compensation amount and I will be moving supplier as soon as possible and will happily pay more so as not to require a smart meter.

So my advice would be if you really feel the need to get a smart meter use another energy company.

posted by LJOldbury | A year ago

Waste of time having a smart meter with this company.  The gas readings don't get picked up.  On emailing the company after hours of trying to call them I'm told to "read the meter".  Atrocious service and no interest to resolve the matter.   Definitely do not recommend this company

posted by Charlottesadl | 10 months ago

No signal 

posted by KayPnuts | 8 months ago

Perhaps the engineer should show everyone how to reset the IHD as well, as none of the instructions from SP work.  It seems as if it needs new firmware. My home has poor internet connection except upstairs. Should they have run an aerial up here?

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