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Prior to getting my VW ID3 I tried to get my energy suppliers to install a smart meter to take advantage of the cheap night rate tariffs for EV charging.
I had Npower in my house using a very old style analogue meter and I also have electric in a detached outbuilding which has it's own separate electric supply from Scottish Power.
I applied separately to both to have a smart meter fitted but both declined saying that their data from DCC for my location indicated that the smart meter would not communicate successfully. DCC stands for Data Communications Company, a smart meter communications infrastructure that will link energy suppliers to smart meters via a secure wireless network on O2 in the southern half of the country.
I live over 1000ft above sea level in an area in North East Wales and I am on O2 with only a one bar signal outdoors, not enough to make or receive a phone call. There is no O2 signal indoors, nothing at the meter location but I have O2 wifi calling indoors which works well but this cannot be used by the meter to communicate with the DCC.
I had been checking out the EV forums and came across Octopus Go which sounded great but only if you had a smart meter.
I rang Octopus and they initially said the data didn't look great for my area but I decided to change supplier from Npower to Octopus in the house.
I had to initially sign up to one of their single tariffs and then ask for a smart meter installation. They still said the data was not ideal but after a gentle persuasion they agreed to go ahead and schedule a date for the smart meter installation.
Octopus said that they would install something called a SKU2/T2 antenna with the meter which helps to boost the O2 signal required to communicate my meter readings to DCC.
I also explained to Octopus that I didn't have much space in my meter cupboard as the new smart meter with it's comms unit on top was much taller than my old analogue meter. They explained that there was an alternative available using a flying lead which meant that the comms unit could be placed at the side of the meter except on top, see photo.
I had to wait a number of weeks for the smart meter appointment and the first appointment was a disappointment as Octopus hadn't told the engineer he needed a flying lead.
However another appointment a week later was successful with the SKU2 comms unit mounted at the side of the new meter.
My meter cupboard is near the ceiling in a small entrance porch with a small pitched roof above and the T2 antenna was mounted in the small loft directly above the meter cupboard. It is an indoor antenna and only has a 1.5m cable so it's location is limited, see photo.
To my amazement the meter connected immediately to the DCC when the engineer switched on the power and the indoor display started working as well. Apparently it doesn't always happen like this and can take up to 14 days for the smart meter to communicate successfully, if at all.

So in conclusion there is hope for those of you out there wanting a smart meter in a poor signal area using the SKU2/T2 antenna combination and also a flying lead if you don't have enough vertical space for the new smart meter.
I wasn't expecting this outcome when I got the initial replies from the energy companies so if you are in this position don't despair, persuade them to try a smart meter installation.
Also I believe if the SKU2/T2 antenna solution fails to communicate, DCC can fit a T3 external antenna which has a longer cable.

If any of this helps you and you are considering joining Octopus Energy, please use this link below and we both get £50.
share.octopus.energy/denim-rill-703

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Octopus were excellent with my smart meter install too although not everything went right first time. Despite this they kept me up to date, their own installer (for a replacement meter) was brilliant and they made sure I wasn’t out of pocket.

I’m pretty sure from my previous experience of some of the 'Big Six' that it could’ve been a lot worse.
 
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