Troubleshooting smart meter issues
If you think you may be experiencing any issues with your smart meter or in-home display, you may find the following tips useful in helping you to resolve the problem yourself. We’d also recommend you check the FAQ or troubleshooting section on your supplier’s website to see if you can resolve the issue.
What is a smart meter?
A smart meter replaces your traditional gas or electricity meter and automatically sends readings to your supplier. It comes with an in-home display that shows how much energy you’re using in pounds and pence in near real-time. See our video below:
The smart meter system is made up of two parts – the smart meters, which replace your traditional gas and electricity meters, and the in-home display – a portable screen that shows you how much gas and electricity you’re using and how much it’s costing you.
Both parts of the system work together to ensure you receive accurate information about your energy use. Your smart meter records your electricity use in near-real time, and every half hour for gas. The meter then securely shares these readings automatically with your in-home display for you to see. You can choose how often your meter readings are sent to your supplier, speak to them to find out your options.
The more frequently your supplier receives this data, the better they will understand how much energy is being used around the country, and when. With this information, they can buy more accurate amounts of energy to supply to their customers, helping to make our energy system more efficient.
Continue reading to find your smart meter issue. If you can't find your specific problem, contact your energy supplier and bring up the issue with them.
My smart meter is not working
If you believe your smart meter isn’t working, please try not to worry. It’s likely to be a connection issue that is temporary and will be fixed remotely. And even if you receive estimated bills for a period of time while the problem is being fixed (like you did with your analogue meter), this will not affect how much you pay for your energy.
We’ve listed some examples here of temporary connectivity issues, if none of these apply to you, it’s best to contact your energy supplier who will work with you to understand the issue and resolve it:
My smart meter has just been installed and is not sending automated readings to my energy supplier
If you’ve just had a meter installed most data is transferred within a few weeks, but please be aware that in rare cases it can take up to six weeks after installation to update the meter details on your account.
Your supplier can advise you on this.
If your first automated smart meter reading arrives with your energy supplier on a different day than the one on which your bill is created, your supplier may estimate your energy use for the days in between. Any differences between the estimate and your actual energy use will be corrected on your next bill.
I am concerned that my meter has lost its connection
Smart meters occasionally temporarily lose connection. If there is a temporary loss of connection this will be fixed remotely. Any energy that you do use in the meantime will be correctly reflected in your next bill. However, if are concerned that the loss of connection has been going on for some time, then please contact your energy supplier about the issue.
I’ve just switched suppliers and my meter isn’t sending readings
Some people who have a first-generation smart meter (typically installed before March 2019), may have experienced some loss of its smart functionality when switching energy suppliers.
In this case, you may be asked by your supplier to take manual readings for a limited time, as you would with an analogue meter. This is a temporary issue which is being resolved.
Millions of first-generation meters have already been enrolled into the secure smart meter communication network, with the remainder continuing at pace.
Citizens Advice have an online tool, here, which lets you check whether your meters are working in smart mode.
I have a smart meter in prepay mode and my top-up hasn’t gone through
Sometimes top-ups might take a while to go through. Most top-ups will show on your meter within one hour. If it’s still not appearing after an hour, or if you need it straight away, you can add the top-up manually using a 20-digit code [also known as your Unique Transaction Reference Number (UTRN)] which you’ll find on your receipt/payment confirmation.
For more information, check out our page on prepay smart meters and how to benefit from one.
My In-Home Display (IHD) is not working
Your IHD shows you how much energy you’re using but it doesn’t affect the readings that are supplied to your energy company about your energy use. If your IHD isn’t working, there may be a few reasons why. We’ve listed some examples below.
To help fix a problem with your IHD, it’s worth checking the instructions or searching for the IHD instructions online. You’ll usually be able to find the brand name or model number on your device.
If your supplier gave you the IHD less than a year ago, they should also be able to help you with it. They can often repair it or replace it.
If you can’t find your IHD’s instructions, here are some things you can try to sort the issue yourself:
The in-home display is not showing my energy use information
Like all wireless devices, the in-home display can sometimes experience low signal strength or lose signal with your smart meter. The good news is that even if the IHD screen doesn’t appear to be working, this shouldn’t affect your smart meter – it should continue to send automated meter readings with your energy use to your supplier.
One of the most common ways to correct this issue is to turn your IHD off and move it closer to where your electricity meter is located. Turn the IHD back on and this should restore the connectivity and begin to display your data again within 24 hours.
If the data is still not showing after 24 hours, contact your supplier. In many cases, they can fix it by turning your communications hub off and on again.
My IHD screen is blank
If the IHD display has gone blank, it could be that it has run out of battery. Plug it in and let it charge for a few moments, then turn it back on. There is also a possibility that it has gone to sleep to conserve its battery or it might be in a different mode to the one you’re used to – your user guide is a good port of call in these circumstances.
I’m worried that my IHD isn’t showing accurate information, how can I check?
Most suppliers offer the ability to check your usage and the unit cost of gas and electricity online – via a website or app – so if you’d like another way of monitoring this, register with your supplier online or contact them directly.
It is worth noting that the readings on your IHD can take longer to update than the ones on your meters - this is normal.
I’m getting an electricity reading on my IHD but no gas reading
First, try resetting the IHD to see if that fixes the problem. To do that, press the on/off switch and unplug the charger. Then hold the on/off switch down for a few seconds while plugging the charger back in. The IHD should then reconnect to both meters after a few minutes. If this doesn’t work, contact your energy supplier for further advice.
My prepay smart meter IHD is not working – how can I check my balance?
You should still be able to use your online account or app to check your usage or prepayment balance. You can also contact your supplier to ask for this information.
If none of the above resolve your issue, then contact your energy supplier with a description of the problem and they will work out what they can do to help you.
Citizens Advice will also be able to provide additional help and support with many issues relating to your smart meter or energy bill.
If you feel that your issue hasn’t been resolved by your supplier, Ofgem has information on the next steps you can take, here.
I am having difficulty making payments:
If you are having financial difficulties or are in debt speak to your supplier as soon as possible. Energy suppliers are required to work with you to find a solution if they know there is a problem.
Your supplier has to follow rules set by Ofgem, the energy regulator. This includes offering ways to help you repay the money you owe. They can only switch a meter to prepay mode where it is safe to do so. Regulatory protections are as strong for people with smart meters as for those with traditional analogue meters.
If someone has not been able to resolve an issue with their energy supplier, they can contact Citizens Advice for further support.
I have had a bad installation experience:
If you’re not satisfied with your installation, there are regulations to protect you:
The Smart Meter Installation Schedule must be followed by suppliers and is in place to ensure customers receive a high standard of service throughout the installation process, and this is monitored by the industry regulator Ofgem.
If you do not think your supplier has met its obligations, Ofgem has information on the next steps you can take here: