All your questions about joining an Octopus smart tariff

Our beta smart tariffs are a whole new way of buying green energy, made possible by our unique tech. They’re unlike most other tariffs on the market because they rely on a smart meter system, which can be complex – that’s why these products are in beta!

Here’s everything you need to know about going smart with Octopus.

If you want to join a smart tariff, you need a smart meter we can connect to, because in order to charge you correctly for your energy we need to be able to automatically take readings from your meter every half an hour.

We can connect to second generation ‘SMETS2’ meters and first generation ‘SMETS1’ meters made by Secure™, but if you don't have the right type of meter yet, there are ways we can help. How do you know what type you have?

  • If you have a smart meter we can connect to, we’ll need to link it to our system so we can take half-hourly meter readings. This generally takes at least two weeks from when we install the meter or you’ve fully switched to us.
  • If you don’t have a smart meter yet, we’re currently installing these for customers with properties that are suitable for smart meters, so we should be able to install one (it may take a while to book you in, depending on where you live).

    We’ll get in contact as soon as we have availability to install your meter. If for any reason your home isn’t suitable, we’ll get in touch to let you know, and you can leave any time with no exit fees.
  • If you have a different type of smart meter, please email smart@octopus.energy and we'll see what we can do.


Connecting to your smart meter

What type of smart meters can Octopus Energy connect to?

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We need to be able to fully link a smart meter to our systems in order to take meter readings remotely. There are a few different types of smart meters out there, but we can only connect to some of them.

We can connect to second generation ‘SMETS2’ meters, and first generation ‘SMETS1’ meters made by Secure™. What if my meter is a SMETS1 that's been remotely upgraded by my supplier?

Any other type of smart meter will lose smart abilities when you switch to us. It’ll essentially revert to acting like a traditional ‘non-smart’ meter. It won’t send us any meter readings automatically, meaning you’ll have to send us readings manually each month, and you won’t be able to access any of our smart tariffs.

We’re working to connect to more types of SMETS1 meters in the coming months, and will update any changes here.

How do I know what type of meter I have?

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If you’re a customer of ours already, check what type of meter you have on your online account under ‘meters’.

If you're not a customer of ours yet, contact your current supplier to find out what meters you have. Don’t forget – you need either a second generation SMETS2, or a SMETS1 made by Secure™, to be able to join a smart tariff. What if my meter is a SMETS1 that's been remotely upgraded by my supplier?

If your meter has a Secure logo on the front, we should be able to connect to it – this is a Secure™ SMETS1 meter.

How long does it take for my smart meter to connect?

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It usually takes around two weeks for us to connect to a smart meter after you’ve fully switched to Octopus, or we’ve installed your smart meter. In some rare cases, we might need even longer. It takes a while because there are lots of important steps we need to take to link a meter to our systems through the national network and different industry data processors.

It’s a highly complex process: there are actually 34 different connection stages for your electricity meter alone (if you want the nitty gritty, smart meter whizz Joe’s blogged about it here). If any of these stages fail, your connection can hit a speed bump. Depending on the issue, it can take a while to get things back on track – but our smart meter experts work tirelessly to ensure smooth connections to our customers’ meters, and our octobot runs regular health checks too.

If it’s been more than three weeks since you switched, or since your smart meter was installed, and your smart meter still isn’t connected, let us know.

How do I know when my smart meter is fully connected?

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You’ll know your smart meter is fully connected when you can see regular meter readings appearing on your energy dashboard. It’ll generally happen around two weeks after you’ve fully switched to Octopus or your smart meter was installed.

If you’re joining one of our smart tariffs like Agile Octopus or Octopus Go, you’ll be emailed as soon as we’re connected to your meter with next steps.

If it’s been more than three weeks since you switched, or since your smart meter was installed, and it’s still not connected, let us know.

I have a SMETS1 smart meter, but it was remotely upgraded by my energy supplier. Will it work with an Octopus smart tariff?

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SMETS1 meters can't always stay smart when you switch suppliers – even if your supplier remotely upgraded your smart meter after it was installed. UK energy suppliers are working with the government to remotely upgrade all SMETS1 meters so they'll stay smart no matter who you switch to. Suppliers are doing these upgrades in stages, and so for now, different suppliers will be able to keep different meters smart.

We're working to connect to more and more types of SMETS1 meters currently, so there's a chance we might be able to make your one work with Octopus now, but it'll all depend on the make and brand of the meter. Please email smart@octopus.energy and we'll let you know whether we can connect to your meter.



Getting your smart meter installed

How long does it take to get a smart meter installation booking?

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Getting a smart meter booking can take more or less time depending on a few important factors, so we can’t always guarantee a speedy appointment.

Things like pandemic restrictions, the number of engineers available and demand for installs in your area can all impact availability. While we’ve ramped up safe installations massively over the past few months, lockdowns have left us with a large backlog of people keen to go smart, which means we can’t always get you a smart meter on day 1, but we’ll do our best to get you booked in quickly. For full details, read our blog.

If you're a customer of ours and you’re eligible for a smart meter, you'll be able to book an appointment directly via your online account whenever slots become available.

Appointments are booked on a first come first serve basis, so try to book as quickly as you can.

If there aren't appointments available yet, you'll be able to register your interest and we’ll get in touch as soon as we have slots free to install your meter.

How do I know if my home is suitable for a smart meter?

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Smart meters are suitable for most properties, but there are a few factors that may mean we can’t install one for you yet.

  1. If you have a complex meter set up (like a three-phase meter)
  2. If you currently have a prepayment meter
  3. If there’s a problem with the signal inside your home. You might have a weak ‘Home Area Network’ (HAN) signal if...

    - Your meter is more than 10 metres away from your property (for example if you live in a flat where your meter is in a communal meter cupboard)
    - If your property has super thick walls
  4. If there’s a problem with the smart meter signal in your area. Most parts of the UK have a decent ‘Wide Area Network’ (WAN) signal, but some parts of the country haven’t been upgraded yet. The general rule of thumb is that if you have mobile phone signal, you’ll have good WAN coverage – but there are exceptions to this
  5. If you live near a Royal Air Force Base, due to potential signal/comms interference

If you’re worried about any of these impacting your home, please get in touch and we’ll be able to confirm either way. If you’re not a customer of ours yet, ask your current supplier.

If you register interest and we find out we’re not able to fit a smart meter for you, we’ll let you know via email and you’ll be free to switch away from us at any time.

The government is working hard to give more customers access to smart meters all the time, from improving national network coverage to developing signal boosters and other helpful add-ons. So even if you’re not eligible for a smart meter right now, you may well be soon.

How do I book a smart meter appointment?

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Before we can book you in for a smart meter installation, you must be a customer of ours – meaning you’ll need to wait til you’ve fully switched to us, which takes around 17 days.

If you're a customer of ours and you’re eligible for a smart meter, you'll be able to book an appointment directly via your online account whenever slots become available.

Appointments are booked on a first come first serve basis, so try to book as quickly as you can.

If there aren't appointments available for you yet, you'll be able to register your interest and we’ll get in touch as soon as we have slots free to install your meter.

I have a first generation ‘SMETS1’ meter Octopus doesn’t connect to. Can I switch it for a SMETS2 meter?

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Our smart meter boffins are working closely with the government to remotely upgrade all SMETS1 meters in UK homes so that they’ll become smart again, and stay smart even if you switch suppliers – so your meter may well be compatible within the next year.

If you’re keen to join a smart tariff sooner than that, please email smart@octopus.energy.

How are Octopus Energy making smart installations Covid-safe?

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During the coronavirus outbreak (Covid-19), we've taken steps to ensure the safety of our customers and team during smart meter installs.To find out more about the precautions we're taking, check out our Safe Meter Installations page.



Using a smart tariff with Octopus

Will my In-Home Display work with Octopus Energy?

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There is a chance your IHD might not work with your new smart meter, but here's why doesn’t it matter too much.

First of all, Its important to remember that your smart meter and your In-Home Display (IHD) are two different bits of kit - the In-Home Display is literally just the screen. IHD’s are a piece of third party hardware, and can sometimes be unreliable, but even if the screen isn't working, we should still be fully connected with everything working fine.

Sometimes your IHD won't work perfectly with our smart tariffs because the pricing info is too advanced - that's part of the reason our smart tariffs are in beta. We're working to improve this all the time and their online account (which works perfectly via your phone browser or desktop).

The great news is that there are already better, easier ways you can monitor your usage from your phone. We provide a lot of the information an IHD does in your online account, which you can access using our website, or our app (the website is designed to work well on all mobiles), and watch this space – we’re working on making the display on your dashboard even smarter.

Some meter readings are missing from my energy dashboard - what does this mean?

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If you're on a smart tariff and you can see gaps in your consumption data, it usually means that one of the third party companies who send/receive meter us has had an outage.

The most important thing to know is that your half-hourly meter readings are safely stored in your meter, no matter what.

This means you can go on using energy as normal - we'll work out your energy charges and create an up to date bill for you later. Though we have limited control over when these outages happen (they're due to issues with separate companies), we work with our partners to fix them as soon as possible.

Our team do backfill any meter readings that don't make it to us during outages. This is an automatic process, but sometimes it takes us a while.

Hey I'm Constantine, welcome to Octopus Energy!

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