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Those of you with concerns or opinions about or expert knowledge of smart meters might like to be reminded that the deadline for submissions of evidence to the House of Commons ECCC will close on Tuesday 4th November.

The deadline is Tuesday 04 November 2014. As a guideline submissions should state clearly who the submission is from e.g. ‘Written evidence submitted by xxxx’ and be no longer than 3000 words; please contact the Committee staff if you wish to discuss this. If you need to send hard copy please send it to: The Clerk, Energy and Climate Change Committee, 14 Tothill Street, London, SW1H 9NB.

Written submissions for this inquiry should be submitted via the inquiry page on the Energy and Climate Change Committee website.

[Link repaired. TM]






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Reader Comments (18)

I wouldn't want to stop anybody from responding to the consultation, but it will probably be a complete waste of time. The Government has to do these consultations - it is a box-ticking necessity. The Government knows what it wants to do and will ignore anything said to the contrary. Most of the consultees will be trade bodies and industries itching to get their hands on the money that the Government will waste on this mad scheme.

I've contributed to several consultations overt the last 6 years, and, having read the Government (DECC) responses to the consultations, all I have achieved so far is a complete waste of my time.

As an example, here is an extract from the solarPV consultation response to a question about closure of the RO to solarPV projects below 5MW:

One alternative suggestion put forward was a total closure to any commercial site built on land rather than rooftops

In the "post-consultation decision", no mention was made of the suggestion - it was not addressed, but instead was totally ignored. In other words, they will ignore any suggestions that are not in line with what they want to do.

Oct 23, 2014 at 7:43 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

The link sends me " Page Not Found"

Oct 23, 2014 at 9:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterGlebekinvara

I'm unsure why people in the UK seem so upset about smart meters.

Here in NZ, they are enabling people to choose electricity retailers such as whose prices track the 30 minute wholesale price throughout the day.

Conventional retailers charge you the same price per unit an hour of any day through the year. And you're paying in the region of 25c per unit.

In contrast, wholesale prices are generally around 5c/unit, but have sometimes quite high peaks in the morning and evening, and on many days (even in the depths of winter) drop to almost zero at some point between 1 AM and 6 AM.

Flick add a fixed markup (1.5c/unit and 40c per day) to the wholesale price, but otherwise pass on the half hour average wholesale prices directly to retail customers.

If you do nothing more than put your home heating on timers that avoid 7 AM - 9 AM and 6 PM - 8 PM, and run your hot water heating at say 3 AM - 5 AM (which I find more than ample) then you can save pretty serious money: at least $500 and maybe even $1000 a year.

If you put in a computer-based controller with internet access (you can get 5 minute prices, delayed 5 minutes, so you can react to changes *inside* the 30 minute periods your prices are averaged over) then you can do a lot more than this.

Oct 23, 2014 at 11:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterBruce Hoult

Re: Bruce Hoult

The Smart Meters might be used for that in NZ, but here in the UK they will be used for "Demand Side Management".

This means that when when there is a power shortage they can remotely disconnect you from the grid whilst leaving what they consider to be essential services and premises still connected.

If there wasn't a looming energy shortage in the UK and they actually had sensible plans for maintaining, upgrading and meeting future power needs then I might consider having a smart meter installed. That decision would be based on whether or not I expected it to save me money.

Oct 23, 2014 at 12:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

No @TerryS I think you have overextended the description Gov Smart Meter Page, Wikipedia page for UK

"they can remotely disconnect you from the grid " - I don't think so, as you might have your oxygen machine plugged in.
- To me the smart bit is that they send the consumption figures direct to the supplier, without them having to send the meter reader around
- Secondly yes they will then be able to cope with pricing electricity differently at different hours, and you'll be able to see what you are being charged on the smartmeter.

Oct 23, 2014 at 1:45 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

@stewgreen, the meters do have the ability to switch off the consumer. The question is, will it be used and if when and why.

Oct 23, 2014 at 2:23 PM | Unregistered Commenterivan

@Ivan Terry implied that "Demand Side Management" DSM is the primary purpose of a DOMESTIC smartmeter ..I don't agree we discussed before switching fridges off for a short time is just a pebble in the sea and hardly worth the effort.
..Are all of today's smart meters are even capable of selecting switching on/off individual appliances ?
I wouldn't even bother with DSM for domestic customer

However Yes for non-domestic customers smart meter with DSM could well be the primary motivation
.. to smooth demand I'd have certain school , offices, shops warmed up earlier than normal etc a and maybe shift certain process to later etc,

Oct 23, 2014 at 4:24 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

By DSM I don’t mean mean remotely switching off somebodies fridge, I mean remotely disconnecting them for a couple of hours.

At the present moment, if there is a power shortage they can only switch off an entire area. This would include those with oxygen machines.

With smart meters they can switch off individual homes (or businesses). Anybody with an oxygen machine, dialysis machine or other necessary equipment could register their home as having vital equipment whilst the rest of us end up whistling in the dark.

They can avoid disconnecting hospitals, care homes, pensioners etc and focus entirely on households that they consider can do without power for a period of time.

Oct 23, 2014 at 5:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

@stewgreen:"However Yes for non-domestic customers smart meter with DSM could well be the primary motivation
.. to smooth demand I'd have certain school , offices, shops warmed up earlier than normal etc a and maybe shift certain process to later etc,"

How can you be so certain that DSM COULD apply to non-domestic, but NOT domestic customers, have you got evidence to support your claim? You might have ideas how DSM might be applied to non-domestic customers, but I'm 100% certain it won't be you or me that makes that decision, so who will it be? - the electricity companies, OFGEM, the government?

Oct 23, 2014 at 6:22 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

@stewgreen, those smart meters do not have the ability to switch off individual household items unless they are part of it IoT (Internet of Things - smart TV, fridge etc). What they can do, and most probably will if it comes to the crunch, is switch off the whole house, apartment, flat, etc. They can also be used by the supply company to switch you off if you haven't paid your bill.

Oct 23, 2014 at 6:55 PM | Unregistered Commenterivan

Think of it from the point of view of the power company.

You have a power shortage. Here are your 3 options:

1, Let an uncontrolled blackout occur.
2. Instigate a controlled brownout.
3. Disconnect "X" number of high domestic users via the smart meter.

You can bet the green Taliban would want number 3.

Oct 23, 2014 at 8:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Ha I like the way you guys coming at me from both angles with
@TerryS "With smart meters they can switch off individual homes (or businesses)" so skip Anybody with an oxygen machine
..Terry is right they can disconnect anybody with a moments notice (no more sending a techie and you pretending to be out). However in practicality they are unlikely to cut off a voter in the middle of cooking their tea ..more likely they'll announce a price increase for that peak hour to incentivise you to plan a salad today

@Salopian "How can you be so certain that DSM COULD apply to non-domestic, but NOT domestic customers" ..I can't, but it just is more practical to DSM the 50KW of a school heating , instead of trying to control a hundred watts of devices each for many many homes.
As Terry said they could knock out an entire house, but that would get 2KW only and piss the voter off
.. Existing economy-7 for overnight heating is practical ..but I suppose they'll add some greenwash gimmicks of encouraging you to do your washing/ironing at economy-7price in the middle of the night so you can con yourself that "you are saving the planet & lots of money" (probably 20p)

Oct 23, 2014 at 10:41 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

@stewgreen: "How can you be so certain that DSM COULD apply to non-domestic, but NOT domestic customers" ..I can't,"

Exactly; YOU can't, nor can anyone else. Unless, it is clearly, openly, democratically and legally decided who has the finger on the button of these smart meters, before they are installed, how the hell can you say how they will be used to DSM customers domestic or non-domestic?

Oct 24, 2014 at 12:53 AM | Registered CommenterSalopian


> more likely they'll announce a price increase for that peak hour to incentivise you to plan a salad today

You are assuming that they will have plenty of advance notice, that enough domestic customers will find out about the sudden price increase and that enough of them will decide to have a salad. Since they now depend on wind and they can barely predict a day or two ahead there isn't likely to be much notice.

The UK barely has enough power to cover its current needs and the situation is unlikely to get any better. It is likely that there will be blackouts/brownouts as a result of this. Given a choice of a blackout, brownout or disconnect high use domestic then the logical choice is to disconnect the domestic. If they specifically targeted those that had high usage then the rest of the sheep population would consider it their own fault for using so much and have little sympathy for them.

> they could knock out an entire house, but that would get 2KW only and piss the voter off

It is going to take a lot of pissed off voters before the politicians actually do something.

Oct 24, 2014 at 11:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

You guys seem to be getting carried away on emotion like the alarmists do and shouting about extreme examples
- whereas I am weighting the practical as much more likely
@Terry I don't think demand is just estimated at the very last minute ..they get fairly good idea by looking at seasonal trends, then this weeks weather forecast, then today's TV schedule to home-in on what this moments demand will be.
Time will tell ..let's get fracking, and build more gas powered stations ..and also unsubsidise and properly tax "pseudo-green" gimmicks.

Oct 24, 2014 at 11:44 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Re: stewgreen

I agree that they are very good at predicting demand. That does not help them when the demand (whether predicted or not) exceeds the supply. The UK barely has enough to meet its current needs let alone future needs.

The government has a target of 200,000 new homes every year (they started 125,000 new builds last year) which will add 100 to 200MW to peak usage every year just from the new homes. Their current plans to meet this involve closing coal/gas power stations, converting others to burn biofuel (with reduced output), increasing the use of "renewables" and importing power from abroad. An increasing demand with a decreasing supply. Something has to give.

When they predict that they will need 60GW but will only have enough generating capacity for 58GW they will have to do something.

Oct 24, 2014 at 1:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

They foresee that these new homes will be "magic eco-homes" forget that the ones Cameron announced at the TP conference will be exempt from eco rules.

- Luckily they don't forsee a massive downturn in industrial demand due to no one being willing to invest in future industry in the UK where furnaces are to be l be powered by Magic Solar and magic wind power

Oct 24, 2014 at 1:34 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

I had smart meters fitted recently, and would positively recommend them to anybody.

There are a few things I'd like to add to above discussion.

My electricity supplier was very careful to ask my permission on matters such as how the meter and my data could be used. I am comfortable that nothing was changed without my agreement.

It is true that supply could be disconnected for the whole street if there is a shortage. However I was not asked, and have not agreed to be selectively switched off. I am paying exactly the same as my neighbours I have not agreed to be treated any differently. So either we are all on supply, or the whole street is in the dark together.

I have not been told the meter includes a remotely controlled relay to switch me off. That doesn't mean it hasn't. But my supplier does not presently have a contract (my agreement) which would allow such a relay to be used.

I can absolutely confirm that my fridge cannot be individually switched off using this meter. There would need to be remotely controlled relays installed in my household distribution unit. There isn't. I never gave permission for any changes to MY distribution unit (my personal property). I have the technical knowledge to confirm that none are installed.

My smart meter is a positive change. It has made me more aware of energy use and potential waste. This is not an issue of cost or anything to do with climate change. For me, wasting energy is like wasting food - I just don't do it if I can avoid.

Oct 24, 2014 at 9:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterJordan

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