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Shell Energy Smart Meter: Installation & Problems

Shell Energy logo and smart meter

If you’re a Shell Energy customer, you can get a Shell Energy smart meter fitted in your household for free. With this set up, you will start receiving more accurate bills and handy energy saving tips based on your energy usage data, both of which can help you save money on your energy bills! Find out how to get a Shell Energy smart meter installed and optimised, as well as what to do if your smart meter isn’t working.

Shell Energy smart meter: installation

Shell Energy is currently installing second generation smart meters in accordance with the government’s smart meter roll out scheme. Under this rollout, the aim is to have smart meters fitted in 85% of households across the UK by the end of 2024. If you are a Shell Energy customer, it is therefore likely that the supplier will approach you soon (if it hasn't already), to have a Shell Energy smart meter installed in your home.

If you agree to have a smart meter installed, you will be given an installation appointment. On the agreed date, an engineer will come to your household to fit your new Shell Energy smart meter. Shell is currently working with SMS Plc for installations so it will be an engineer from this company, not the supplier, that fits the meter.

You can have two smart meters fitted: one for gas and one for electricity. It will normally take two hours to have both installed (and so only an hour if you are just having one). During the installation process, your energy supply will need to be turned off for around 30 minutes.

After everything is fitted, the engineer will set up your in-home display (IHD) and give you a demonstration of how to use it. It may take a little while for your display to receive the first readings from the meter, but the actual smart meter will be up and running straight away.

How to book a smart meter installation appointment

If you have read up on all the benefits smart meters have to offer and are keen to get one in your home, you don’t need to wait for Shell to contact you - you can book an installation appointment yourself.

The easiest way to book an installation appointment is through your Shell Energy online account. Just log in to your account and follow the instructions to book an appointment for a day and time that suits you. Remember, the installation can take two hours and you need to be present for the entire process.

Can everyone have a Shell Energy smart meter installed?

Chances are a Shell Energy smart meter will be compatible with your household. However, under certain circumstances the supplier will not be able to install one. These circumstances are quite specific and not the fault of Shell. They include:

electrcity meter
  • Meter accessibility - in certain cases the engineer might not be able to install the smart meter as your current meter is not accessible. For example, sometimes meters are blocked by kitchen units or other cupboards that have been built around them.

  • Mobile network coverage issues - if you have poor mobile network connectivity in your home, this could mean a smart meter will not work as they rely on mobile technology.

  • Space - a smart meter needs to be fitted in the same place as your old meter. If there is not enough space here, the smart meter cannot be installed.

  • Metering system problems- some issues will not be able to be fixed by the Shell engineer. For example, if there is a problem with the main supply fuse, this needs to be fixed by your local Distribution Network Operator (DNO) before you can have a Shell Energy smart meter fitted.

Unfortunately, these issues can not be known before you have your installation appointment. At the start of the appointment, the engineer will conduct a survey (which will include a meter installation safety assessment) to see if they can safely fit the meter correctly.

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In most cases the installation will go ahead, but, based on the issues mentioned above, you might find you are unable to have a Shell Energy smart meter installed.

Will my smart meter work if it was installed by another supplier?

If you’re thinking of switching to Shell but have a smart meter installed from another energy supplier, it’s important to know if it will continue to work as a ‘smart meter’ with Shell Energy.

If you have a first generation smart meter (SMETS1), then it will only work if it is a Secure SMETS1, as these are the ones Shell used to install. If you have a different SMETS1, it will likely lose its ‘smart’ abilities when you switch and work as a normal meter, meaning you will need to submit meter readings yourself for an accurate bill.

On the other hand, the newer version of smart meters (SMETS2) are designed to work with all suppliers, meaning customers can switch energy providers without worrying about smart meter functionality. So, if you have a SMETS2 meter, it should continue to work after you change to Shell. However, bear in mind that the supplier has been encountering problems with receiving automatic data from its smart meters, as explained in the section below.

Shell Energy smart meter problems

When conducting a review of Shell Energy, we noticed a lot of customers have expressed frustration with their Shell Energy smart meters not working properly. On its website, Shell confirms that currently (Jan.2020) it has a problem with its second generation smart meters (SMETS2), namely the system that automatically collects meter readings is not working with all meters.

This is not affecting energy supply - your gas and electricity supply will not be interrupted - but it does mean that the smart meters are effectively losing their ‘smart’ ability and simply functioning as regular meters.

The issues do not affect the safety of the smart meters. The problem is simply related to transmitting the information on the meter to Shell’s system. Your Shell Energy smart meter will continue to be safe to use.

For some reason, the problem is not affecting all Shell Energy smart meters. If it is affecting yours, Shell should have sent you an email to explain the issue. When the problem is fixed, you will receive another email to inform you. You might find an engineer needs to come round and reset your meter, but Shell will be in touch to arrange this if it’s necessary.

In the meantime, while your Shell Energy smart meter is not being ‘smart’, you will need to submit your meter readings manually, either through your online account of the supplier’s mobile app. If you do not do this, you will be billed for ‘estimated usage’ instead of your ‘actual’ energy usage, meaning your bills will not be as accurate.

How to read your Shell Energy smart meter

Since the introduction of smart meters, Shell has installed three types: Secure SMETS1, Aclara SMETS2, and Elster SMETS2. As the problem is only affecting SMETS2s, if you have the Secure SMETS1 in your home, you will not be affected. If you have an Alcara SMETS2 or an Elster SMETS2, you might be impacted and need to submit meter readings.

Follow the relevant instructions below to read your Shell Energy smart meter.

Alcara SMETS2

Electricity meter

  1. Press B until ‘Total’ or ‘TOU’ appears on the screen
  2. Press A to scroll through the menu until you reach ‘TOU Rate 1’
  3. If you have a single-rate tariff, the ‘TOU Rate 1’ is the reading you need to submit.
  4. If you have a two-rate tariff, you will need to submit the ‘TOU Rate 1’ and ‘TOU Rate 2’ readings

Gas meter

  1. Wake up the display by pressing any button
  2. Your gas reading will be shown as V (for volume) and measured in cubic meters (m3).

Elster SMETS2

Electricity meter

  1. Press the ‘top’ push button to display the ‘General’ menu
  2. Use the ‘bottom’ push button to navigate to the ‘Registers’ menu
  3. Press the ‘top’ push button to select the ‘Registers’ menu
  4. Use the ‘bottom’ push button to navigate to ‘Rates 1-48’
  5. Press the ‘top’ push button to select the ‘Rates 1-48’ menu
  6. Use the ‘bottom’ push button to navigate to the right meter reading:
    1. For single-rate tariffs - Imp R1
    2. For two-rate tariffs - Imp R1 and Imp R2
    3. For three-rate tariffs - Imp R1, Imp R2 and Imp R3

Gas meter

  1. Press any button to wake up the screen
  2. The gas reading will automatically be displayed as ‘Current meter reading’, measured in cubic meters (m3)

When taking Shell Energy smart meter readings, both electric and gas, always ignore the decimal places.

Set up your Shell Energy smart meter reading preferences

Your Shell Energy smart meter will send automatic readings to the supplier. Shell will use these readings to gather information about your energy usage, which will be used to:

  • Calculate your bills
  • Calculate your monthly payment amount (if you pay by direct debit)
  • Give you personal energy saving advice
  • Produce the energy usage graphs in your online account
  • Provide you with accurate quotes if you want to switch to another Shell Energy tariff

This data can be collected daily, monthly or every half an hour - you can choose which one you prefer for your account. Bearing in mind that the more often the readings are collected, the more accurate your data will be, which will mean more accurate bills and more helpful advice. Shell Energy advises that to get the full benefit of your account and energy usage graphs, you should choose half hourly readings.

You can set your preferences through your online account, or by contacting Shell Energy on 0330 094 5800. If you don’t choose an option, readings will be taken daily.

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