Smart Meters

Smart meters are getting installed across the UK, for both electricity and for gas;

My question is what do we know about the “HAN” (Home Area Network) side of the new meters used to communicate with internal monitoring and other smart devices in the home.

I would assume that at the moment the only devices that connect to these smart meters are the energy monitoring solutions that are usually given to customers at install time, but I would assume (based on noting but sensibles guesses) that heavy use appliances will soon be able to connect too, in order to alert the “smart grid” to their up-coming need to a large amount of power (fast charging your electric car etc).

So where am I going with this; well these new smart meters broadcast usage information on the HAN side, including the Gas meter (where you have one). The information I could find suggested that these devices are “paired” and use 2.4GHz - so this is probably going to be bluetooth (WPAN) or ZigBee (LR-WPAN) again a guess based on what I could find in a few mins.

So is anyone doing any research into how we (thats all of us) might connect the emonPi / emoncms to smart meters, since I bet the software will be worlds better than that on the devices we’d get to monitor those meters with - AND it would bring the ability to monitor the gas supply too.

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…and also, will they have a ‘energy bucket’ similar to existing meters - 1 Wh, which assists with the solar power diverters that a lot of us are using.


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Taken from the FAQ on their website (Our FAQs - Smart meter questions | Smart Energy GB)…

If you can’t find what you’re looking for in our FAQs, then please email us:

[email protected]

Here in France they also started to install the ‘Linky’ and more and more people are questioning the massif investment with a more then questionable result (no one sees how it will be able to help save energy use the way it is proposed)

It communicated via powerline (you know those little hubs you plug in the wall and you connect your ethernet cable … same technology) to a concentrator near you. This concentrator then sends the signal (in France via cellular network) to the big node and up to a central system.

As said here in France more and more people are standing up and asking details for it as the investment is +/- 6 B € and for what ? Actual counters work ok, we can already send our consumption online in a few easy steps
The new meter won’t last as long as the existing ones as it is plastic (safety when heating ?)
It uses powerline system = radiation in all your copper lines in the house = hell for those sensitive to radiation.
It only records your consumption in real time and sends it back, has no smart capability to manage power injection etc …
Why spend 6 B for that ? But this is a debate outside this topic I guess;-)

Energy Secretary Amber Rudd said during energy questions in the Commons today when talking about Smart Meters

"The data is protected and the data belongs not to Government, which some people might not unreasonably fear, but to the energy companies. Vine

Data ownership isn’t specifically covered by the FAQs on the website I linked to so I have asked…

one of the faq’s on that site does imply ownership is yours by stating

#####What data do smart meters store?

Your smart meter has information about how much gas and electricity you’ve used, but doesn’t store other personal information that could identify you, such as your name, address or bank account.

All this information about your energy use is strongly protected. The law, which is explained in the Energy UK Data guide for smart meters, puts strict controls on:

  • your data
  • who can access it
  • how you choose to share it

It’s your data – you choose what you want to do with it and you can change your mind about how much you share, and how often, at any time. So, you can choose:

  • how often your smart meter sends data to your gas and electricity supplier (monthly is minimum, daily or half-hourly are optional)
  • whether to share data about your energy use with other organisations, like price comparison sites
  • if your supplier can use your meter readings for sales and marketing purposes

I strongly suspect this is just loose speaking and saying it’s “your data” rather than “data about you” is not legally standing, the data is probably just like all other data held by all other companies, owned by them but you get a “token” say in who they share it with under the data protection act.

Also (vaguely related) a few months back David Cameron proposed that if utility company customers did not change tariffs for a 2 year period their details should be “released” to a national database that all energy companies subscribed to, so that any users swapping tarrifs could be targeted for marketing by ALL the utility companies to encourage regular tariff review. I wonder if this usage data would be included in that too ???

It will be interesting to see how the response to your question is worded !

So I have received an answer:

"Yes, I can clarify this – the smart meter data belongs to you. And your name, address and bank account details are never stored on the meter, only how much energy you use. Only your supplier has access to your data and they can’t share any of it without your consent.

Your energy supplier will use this information to prepare your bill. If you want them to, and choose to share the relevant data with them, they may also be able to provide extra services such as tailored energy efficiency advice."

which contradicts the answer given in the House of Commons, so I have both emailed SmartEnergyGB pointing out the contradiction and also Emailed Amber Rudd who made the statement asking for clarification.

Key word here is personal as the DPA is only concerned in data that is personal data i.e. it identifies (or is linked to) a living human. The data obtained by the meter and linked to the MPN is actually personal, but f it stayed on the meter there is no issue with that. As soon as the data reaches a system that can link you to an MPN it then becomes personal under the DPA (as the data describes your behaviour).

If for instance you rent out a property and want to look at the data from the smart meter, you would need the tenants permission to do so as that data is personal to them not you. This is different to simply reading the meter, as that does not give any insight into their behaviour (other than they use too much).

There is no concept of ownership in the DPA, only whether data is personal. Legally the Energy Co is a Data Controller and it has to protect the smart meter data to the same extent all the other personal data they hold about you. You cannot stop them holding it (you have given them permission to hold it because they supply your energy).

{edit 2} What you do have of course is control over how often you let the meter send it to them and what they can do with it over and above the purpose of billing you for use.

Quite a tricky area of Law.

It is an interesting way of wording.
It says how frequently it sends the data, which doesn’t actually mean the granularity of the data it sends.
For example, emonhub can be set to upload data to emoncms once per half hour, but in that upload I could have readings which are taken once per second.(limited here by the fact that the base reading is recorded in seconds [int] ). My father has an energy monitoring ‘solution’. It requires that a laptop be plugged into it (near the ceiling) to get the data. Needless to say, this happens about every 6 months now at best. However, the data stored is accurate to about 30s I believe.

Watched an interesting video yesterday. Someone in Germany had been looking at what information could be garnered by the smart systems being flogged there. They determined (in the devices they looked at) that all of the comms were unencrypted. In addition, when the website claimed data had been aged off and deleted, in fact it was only the user interface that had the ageing limit, they could request old ‘deleted’ data direct from the back end. Thy did an experiment by giving a video to a household with a meter. By analysing the power consumption of the whole house they could determine at what point during the period of a whole month that household had watched the video.

I think I read somewhere, that you can set the meter to only upload data once a month. However, I had assumed that that was simply a reading rather than a dump once a month of say 10s interval data. Under the DPA, the company should be clear in their privacy statement what data is collected.

If it is granular data and it is easily accessed, the ICO should be all over it like a bad rash!

Hi all,

I have one question.

Who can provide you a smart meter apart from the basic providers (Bitish Gas, Eon, Npower Ovo)…
Who else?

Are there private companies that can do this? Let’s say for a small business comapny needs to have 50 meters installed in 50 properties? Can a private company get them the deal? Tnx

I don’t understand the question.
You are in the UK? Do you want the smart meter for billing purposes, or do you want it installed downstream of the supplier’s meter to use the output for your own information?

I got a job as an assistant at a very small real estate agency in London. My boss asked me to search for companies that can install top up smart meters in all the properties we have (around 50). But to search for brokers i.e. private companies that can get him a cheaper deal…

From what I have researched, only BG, Eon,Ovo and all the other electricity providers are actually the only ones that can install top up meters. There are no such private companies that do this…

Am I right?


While the meter is in your property, the meter itself remains the property of the company who own the infrastructure.
So while you can ask Ovo, Eon, etc etc to install a smart meter, they ask the area infrastructure company to install it.

So no, you will not find a 3rd party installer to get this done.

**as usual the above comes with the standard caveat - I’m totally prepared to be wrong about this…

It appears I am indeed wrong about this…

In the top few lines of those ammendments, it IS possible to own your own energy meter… I’m honestly surprised by that…

It should also be possible for you to own your own meter in addition to the meter provided by your energy supplier, but it would not be used for billing purposes. That meter (of yours) could be installed by any registered electrician, would remain your property and you would be responsible for its operation - exactly like the rest of the electrical installation of which it would be a part.

Me too - and the supplier can’t reasonably refuse! But they might insist on regular calibration certificates, etc.

Me too! Has anyone experience of this in practice?

Good luck owning your own meter in practice - we’ve tried, in the past, to buy a £200 U16 gas meter for a project and have it installed by a technician that is qualified to work on meters but no, there’s no provision in any of their administrative systems for anybody other than a meter point operator to own a meter, and becoming a meter point operators is an exercise in administrivia beyond belief.

Legally possible but the industry effectively prohibits it with the way that they choose to administer their systems.

That’s exactly where I thought theory and practice would diverge.

As I wrote in my first response, there’s nothing to stop you having your own meter installed downstream of the supplier’s meter, and using the information from yours for your own purposes, but the supplier will always use theirs for billing.

I know I am dragging up a really old thread here, but here goes.

After some recent information came to light - the HAN network used by these smart meters looks like it’s based on ZigBee - as in, it’s industry standard; this is both excellent news, and painful all at the same time.

First off -they don’t appear to use off the shelf ZigBee, its been extended, that’s actually not too bad for my expected usage, since I only want to read the stream of data coming out of the meter.

The bad news is that the data is encrypted in transit, thats a shame for me, but I am glad this is the case, after all security matters.

The meters collect the stats, the stats are transmitted to a home monitor for the end user to view, and to a modem that uses the cellular network to post the data, the end goal will be to sniff the in-flight data to be able to read the meter and post the stats to your chosen open energy monitoring solution :).

So what’s the point I hear you ask - since we can still just use clamp meters and collect the information anyway - totally true - but I’d like to be able to get my gas stats too :slight_smile:


If your gas meter has a magnet inside, you can sense that. (The best tool to check is a rambler’s magnetic compass.)

I don’t know what everybody else thinks, but my feeling is, if this thread is the most relevant (or it’s more relevant here than in a new thread), here is where it belongs.