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How smart meters work - a handy infographic

  • 20 August 2019
  • 9 replies
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  • Community Manager
  • 6681 replies
Hi everyone

We sometimes get questions from our Members about how smart meters work.

So we've put together this handy infographic which I hope you find helpful!



Your Smart meters, comms hub and In-Home Device (IHD) make up what's called your 'Home Area Network' (HAN).

The comms hub is a small box that sits on top of your electricity meter. It's the 'brain' of your HAN. It talks to your smart meters and IHD, then communicates data to the Data Communications Company (DCC). The DCC collect and securely store all smart data and are the core of the smart network.

Smart data is sent back and forth between your comms hub and the DCC. In the north, this is via long wave radio waves, and in the south, it's based on parts of the mobile telephone network.

Your energy supplier communicates with the DCC. That's how they collect readings from your meter. Your supplier can't communicate directly with your meter, it all goes through the DCC to keep it secure.

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Your Network Operator also communicates with the DCC. They manage the infrastructure (the pipes and cables) of the energy network, and they can use smart data to detect problems or power cuts and fix them much more quickly.

9 replies

Hi, what would be nice is if this article discussed briefly how the hub communicates with the DDC, over broadband, over a 3 G or 4G network etc.

When you live in a mobile comms black spot the method of comms becomes important...

​​​​​​​Regards, LozBoz63
LozBoz63;42583:
Hi, what would be nice is if this article discussed briefly how the hub communicates with the DDC, over broadband, over a 3 G or 4G network etc.

When you live in a mobile comms black spot the method of comms becomes important...

​​​​​​​Regards, LozBoz63


Hi @LozBoz63
Welcome to the community!
Great suggestion.
I'll look into that, and update the post with more info. 👍
I’m with @LozBoz63 on this - my electricity meter is in the cellar with no mobile signal, so I don’t see how it would work. I’d love to have a new generation smart meter to save me having to go down there to read the current one!
LozBoz63;42583:
Hi, what would be nice is if this article discussed briefly how the hub communicates with the DDC, over broadband, over a 3 G or 4G network etc.

When you live in a mobile comms black spot the method of comms becomes important...

​​​​​​​Regards, LozBoz63


Hi @LozBoz63
I've added an extra image which shows the flow of data from comms hub, via DCC, to energy supplier.

In answer to your question:
how the hub communicates with the DDC, over broadband, over a 3 G or 4G network


The post already has this info:
Smart data is sent back and forth between your comms hub and the DCC. In the north, this is via long wave radio waves, and in the south, it's based on parts of the mobile telephone network.
So if you get an OK mobile phone signal it doesn't necessarily mean you'll get a smart meter connection. Especially if you live in the 'North' region. Unfortunately.

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Just wondering how long after smart meter installation the IHD should start showing consumption. Mine is still showing "waiting for data" after 20 hours. Installer said it might take one or two. FWIW, IHD's about a metre from the meters so I guess close enough to communicate. Thanks. 

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Just wondering how long after smart meter installation the IHD should start showing consumption. Mine is still showing "waiting for data" after 20 hours. Installer said it might take one or two. FWIW, IHD's about a metre from the meters so I guess close enough to communicate. Thanks. 

Good luck! I’ve been waiting for my IHD to display data for over a month now @JohnDK  - PP still investigating the issue

Thanks @myauntie. I guess I need more patience. I'll give it a few days and if it's still not showing will report to PP. Though, from looking at the flashing lights on the comms hub, I don't think the gas meter is talking to the hub either. 

Hey @JohnDK 

Absolutely - it can take a few days for everything to settle and start showing your info. 

If it’s not working yet, the best thing to do is select ‘get help and support’ > ‘ask a question’ and type ‘IHD not working’. There’s more info on that in our FAQs, too. 

Hope it’s showing your energy info OK now!

Thanks Natalie. Bad news is it's still not working but I'll follow your advice and cross a digit or two. 

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