Everything you need to know about your new smart meter

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You've gone smart with Octopus Energy. Nice one! Here’s everything you need to know about life with a smart meter, from the benefits you’ve unlocked, to handy energy-saving tips, a guide for reading your meter’s in-home display screen and more.


Smart meter post-installation timeline

First things first – once you’ve had your meters installed, it can take up to two weeks for them to connect to our systems. During that time, we won't be able to take automatic readings from your meter, and your In-Home Display won't work.

A calendar displaying an example smart meter timescale. We will have your meter details and should be able to communicate with your meter after two weeks. Several days after that, you will be able to switch to one of our smart tariffs if you do so wish.

While we're waiting for your meter to connect, you might receive an email asking for a meter reading. You don't need to do anything if you get this email because your final meter reading from your old meter will have been taken already by our engineer.

Once your meters are fully connected, you’ll see your smart meter data in both on your online account under “your meters”, and on your In-Home Display . If they aren’t there yet, it means we’re still busy connecting. If it’s been longer than 14 days, get in touch.

Your new meter is a stepping stone to a smarter, greener future!

Our smart tariffs are unlike anything else out there. With pricing that varies throughout the day based on the current wholesale market price of energy (made possible by your shiny new smart meter), they reward you with super cheap rates for shifting your energy usage towards times when the grid is greenest.

But they’re much more than cheap tariffs - they are also a key part of our mission to drive the transition to a 100% renewable energy system. They help reduce strain on the electricity grid during ‘peak’ times (between 4-7pm, when dirty fossil fuel generators are turned on to meet consumer demand).

To truly unlock their potential, you can also combine these tariffs with gadgets like intelligent home batteries (to store cheap, green energy for use later on), and automated smart appliances - so you can step back and let your home run when it’s cheapest to do so. (Find out more about how to hack your home for the smartest, greenest energy!)

Our smart tariffs:

  • AgileOctopus has half-hourly energy prices, giving customers super-cheap power when there's lots of renewable electricity available to use up, and no one around to use it. Sometimes, customers even get paid to use energy. Seriously.
  • octopusGO is a tariff for electric vehicle owners, offering a super-cheap rate for four hours each night, so drivers can charge up for next to nothing during off-peak times.
  • OutgoingOctopus is the UK's first ever smart 'export' tariff for customers who generate energy at home. If you have solar panels, we’ll pay you for the green energy you pump back into the grid.


What else makes smart meters so useful?


Cheaper and Greener

An image of a smart meter in home display

Thanks to your smart meter, it’s much easier to stay on top of your energy usage - which will help cut both your bills, and your carbon footprint. Your smart meter has a simple display screen which will show you how much energy you’re using and what it costs. You can also monitor your energy consumption through your online account.


Easier

A little graphic of a paper plane flying through the air

No more giving meter readings manually. You might have heard whispers about how much more convenient smart meters are - you’ll no longer need to remember to take a monthly reading, or battle territorial spiders under the stairs. From now on, your smart meters will send meter readings to us automatically.

(Don’t worry, we'll still send you bills, and you can still spin our meter reading wheel of fortune once per month, per fuel.)

Fair and accurate

A graphic of a bill and an envelope

No more estimated bills. Your smart meters means we don't have to estimate how much energy you’ve used any more, because we can take real meter readings automatically. You’ll always be charged for exactly how much energy you’ve really used.

How to read your fancy new In-Home Display (IHD)

Your in-home display can tell you everything you need to know about your energy usage. It can also help you understand how, when, and where you could be making more energy-efficient choices and saving money. We're installing two different kinds of In-Home Display at the moment: IHD 3 and IHD 6.

Get to know your IHD 3

If you've got an IHD 3 it will look like this:

An Image of an IHD 3 Display
An Icon of a dial, that is situated in the upper right hand corner of the IHD 3 screen. If you imagine the dial as an incomplete clock face, moving clockwise the dial starts green at 7, and then becomes orange at 11, and finally red at 2.

QuickCheck - Over time, your meter will get a good idea of how much energy you typically use. It lets you see how you’re going compared to your personal average. Green is less, orange around the same, and red is more.

An Icon of a house. It is one of several icons along the bottom of the IHD 3 screen. It is situated on the far left.

Home - tap this icon anytime to return to the home screen, in both Credit and Smart Pay-As-You-Go mode.

An Icon of a lightning bolt with the word 'now' written below. It is situated on the right of the home icon mentioned above.

Now - touch this icon to see how much energy you’re using right now.

Another Icon situated on the bottom of the screen, depicting a lightening bolt and a flame. It is 3rd from the left.

Fuel - tap to switch between your electricity usage, gas usage or both fuels combined.

An icon of a calendar. It is fourth from the left on the bottom of the screen, almost dead in the middle of the row.

Time - touch this icon to switch between your daily, weekly or monthly usage.

Get to know your IHD 6

If you've got an IHD 6, it will look like this:

An Image of the IHD 6's screen
A dial takes up the top left hand corner of the display. It has two icons, a lightning bolt and a flame in the centre. Two tracks move around them, the 'gas' track is on the inside and the electricity track is on the outside. The tracks start on the left and them arch up and over the icons in the centre, finishing on the right.

Energy Usage Dial - see your energy usage at a glance, electricity is yellow and gas is blue. The budget line indicates your personally set budget.

An Icon of a house in the bottom left corner of the display.

Home Button -you can use this icon to return to the home screen.

On the right hand of the screen, there are two icons, a lightening bolt and a flame, next to each icon is the amount you have spent on each fuel respectively over a particular period.

Numeric Display - here, you can see your energy usage and cost in numbers.

An icon that says 'so far today' in the middle centre of the display, just below the Numeric Display,

Energy Usage Time Period - you can use this icon to choose which period is shown on the numeric display. Scroll between right now, today, this week or this month.

A menu icon, showing 6 white bars. It is in the bottom right hand corner of the screen.

Menu Button - this icon will take you to your IHD 6's menu.

Your IHD 6 has a built-in rechargeable battery and connects wirelessly to your smart meter. This means you can walk around your house and investigate how much appliances cost to run and where you can make savings.

Pressing the ‘So far today’ button until you get to the ‘Now’ option will allow you to see your current electricity and/or gas usage. Why not turn each appliance on and to see how much kWh electricity or gas each of your appliances uses. Click here to learn more about how the IHD 6 works. You can download these IHD guides and some other smart meter info here.

How do I read a Trio Accessible In-Home Display

We’ll soon be trialling the Trio, an accessible "talking" In-Home Display for blind and visually impaired customers, which will speak the contents of each screen out to you. It’s been tried, tested and approved by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).


We’re really excited to be trialling an accessible In-Home Display - it’s vital that smart energy tech be as inclusive as possible, and that nobody gets left behind in the green energy revolution. The Trio can show energy use for electricity and gas smart meters and can be configured to work with whichever smart meters you have installed. For those who have got the Trio already, or are thinking about getting one, here's how they work:

Speech settings:

Speech can be turned on and off by long pressing the button on the top. Even if speech is turned off, pressing this button will cause your Trio accessible In-Home Display to speak the current state of the speech setting. You can interrupt the speech at any time by pressing the top button (the middle LED above the centre of the screen). This button also functions as a repeat button if you would like to hear something again.

Button layout:

The Trio has a screen in the middle. You can navigate with three buttons to the left of the screen, three buttons to the right of the screen, and one on the top.

The buttons on the left of the screen, from top to bottom, are laid out as follows:

(1) Home button: Press to return to the Home screen.

(2) Back button: Press to return to the previous screen.

(3) Left arrow button. Press to navigate to the previous item on the screen (e.g. in a menu or where there are several tabs, e.g. on the home screen)


The buttons on the right of the screen, from top to bottom, are laid out as follows:

(4) Menu button. Press to go to the menu.

(5) OK button. Press to select an item (e.g. in the menu) or to change a selected item (e.g. change between cost or energy consumption)

(6) Right arrow button. Press to navigate to next item on the screen.


There are three LEDs on top of the screen, the middle one is also a button.

(7) The middle LED button interrupts or repeats speech. A long press will turn the speech on or off. The three LEDs show your electricity usage (green/left for low, amber/middle for medium or red/right for high), if your Trio only shows your gas meter these LEDs will not be on.

Home Screen Layout:

The Home screen is broken down into two tabs - from left to right - "Now", "Today". Press the arrow buttons (bottom left and bottom right) to navigate between them. At any time, press the home button (top left) to return to the Home screen. The Now tab on your Home screen is shown by default.

All information on the screen will be spoken when selected:

The “Now” tab:

(1) Along the top of the screen, the banner bar allows you to check the smart meter(s) signal strength. If there is an issue, you will hear a spoken alert (if speech is on).

(2) Taking up a large portion of the left hand side of the screen, is a dial that reveals the current rate of electricity consumption. As appliances and lights are switched on and off, the dial needle will move and the change will also be spoken. The dial is divided into three segments - Low (green), Medium (amber) and High (red). As your usage changes the Display will speak to indicate Low, Medium or High electricity usage, and also speak the cost per hour or consumption now in watts or kilowatts for both electricity and gas.

(3) Below the dial, the rate of consumption is shown in cost per hour or, if kW is selected, the rate of energy currently being used.

(4) Directly underneath the banner that runs along the top of the home screen, but just above the dials, you can see the two tabs: "Now", and "Today". You can use the left and right buttons to move between them.

(5) On the right of the screen, across from the electricity dial, is an icon depicting a flame, indicating the recent rate of gas consumption (typically over the last 30 minutes). As your home uses more or less gas, the flame size will increase from Low to Medium to High. On the "Now" tab, Press the OK button (middle right) to switch between cost per hour (£/hr) and energy usage now in kilowatts (kW). Depending on your smart meter configuration, only the available fuel types will be shown - the gas flame will not be shown if you do not have a gas smart meter, for example.

The “Today” tab:

The "Today" tab follows a similar configuration to the "Now tab", and is split into two parts. The left shows electricity used today, in either cost or kilowatt hours. The right shows gas used today, following the same format. If you have a budget for each fuel type then on the centre left, and centre right of the screen the Display will show the percentage of budget used so far today for each fuel. Below, the daily expenditure for each fuel is described.

Navigating the Menu:

The main menu is available from any screen. To select it, press the menu button (top tight). Press the arrow buttons (bottom left and bottom right) to move through the menu items and then press OK (middle right) to access the items on the menu. Press the back button (middle left) to go back. The items on the menu are as follows:

Usage History

Displays electricity and gas consumption over the previous hours, days, weeks or months. The Electricity usage history has four tabs, from left to right - “Hours”, “Days”, “Weeks” and “Months”. Use the left and right arrow keys to move between the tabs. Each of the screens is designed in a similar manner. The left side of the screen shows a bar graph of electricity usage for the period in either kilowatt hours (kWh) or cost (£). For example for the Hours view, bars represent hours, and Days view the bars represent days. The cost or usage for the highest hourly period is also shown. The right side of screen shows the total cost (£) or total usage (kilowatt hours) for the period, and when showing cost, if a budget has been set then the budget for that period.

System Status

This screen displays the status of the metering network and connection to WiFi and the cloud. There are several connected circular icons, showing status of electricity and gas meter, signal status (between the display and smart meter(s)), display status, and connection with with the cloud. Select an icon to see and hear the status of this part of your smart meter system. Use the arrow buttons to move between different icons, and press OK to select and show more details.

Meter balance

This screen shows and speaks the current balance of energy used for electricity and gas since the last period.

Tariffs

These screens show and speak current and next electricity/gas prices along with any other daily charges that apply.

Meters

Information on your electricity or gas meter and current meter readings.

Support

Contact details for your utility provider(s), (may include a telephone number and email address). This screen is only shown if set by the meter.

Settings

Personalise your Trio within the Settings screen. You can change talking options, repeat settings, manage alerts, toggle speech and more. Use the arrow buttons to change the setting selection and press the OK button to view or change the selected setting.

Quick and easy energy saving advice

Your smart meter will allow you to keep a close eye on the energy you use, and thanks to your In-Home Display, you’ll begin to see that a couple of energy saving tips can make a whole world of difference. For example:

  • Why not try swapping your old bulbs for LEDs whenever one burns out – if the light is on for 2 hours a day, you’ll see that you can save about £10 a year for each bulb replaced. And of course, switching off lights when they’re not needed is always a good idea!
  • Lowering your thermostat by just 1°c can also make a real difference. You’ll barely notice the temperature change, but thanks to your smart meter, you might notice that your bills are a bit lighter – typically to the tune of £75 a year. Swapping your thermostat for a smart model can make the savings even bigger.

Visit our blog for more easy energy saving tips, or check out this quick video!


If you’ve got any other questions about your smart meter, why not check out our
smart meter FAQs, or get in touch!

Published on 28th August 2020 by:

image of Joe Grainger

Joe Grainger

Smart Meter Operations Manager

Hey I'm Constantine, welcome to Octopus Energy!

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