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Discussion > Smart Meters

Smart meters are on the march. One of them will be coming your way fairly soon.

I don't pretend to be an expert, but this is what I think is correct.

The order to install them is an EU directive.
Germany refused to install them because of the high cost.
The UK has agreed to install 56 million at an estimated cost of £14 Billion.
The Government says we shall save money because we shall see what various appliances are costing.
The adverts on TV suggest that the benefit is measurement rather than estimate. I don't understand this because surely all users have a measurement at some stage?
How does the system work today? For example, I read my meter and email the reading. Not a problem.
So what are the benefits of smart meters?

Moving on from the readings, what are the issues?

There is much concern about the security, eg hacking.
Smart meters may not work if you switch supplier. I know this is the case.
I have read that some meters lose the plot and bills increase by thousands of pounds.
The meter reveals whether you are in or on holiday, indirectly of course.

Mar 13, 2017 at 7:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

It is about load balancing the power supply that they know will be inadequate in the future if the switch to renewables continues.

They can either control your usage by active control, or market control i.e. make electricity more expensive depending on conditions.

This is also the reason (many people fail to understand) why they reduced the max power of vacuum cleaners etc, Just to make the overall base load requirements lower.

They will make the consumer fit the market, not the other way around. All to do with retiring old power stations etc.

Mar 13, 2017 at 7:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

What about the darker, more speculative uses of smart meters?

It is clear that renewable energy is unreliable and the authorities will want to control demand.
We have read that consumer white goods will be fitted with chips that will turn down power consumption when the power frequency drops.
White goods will have the ability to communicate with other gadgets (and probably with smart meters?)
What is not installed today can be fixed with a firmware update without our knowledge.
Will smart meters control our consumption levels and even if we get power at all?
Will they control the consumption of individual appliances within our homes?
Is this scary rubbish or on the way?
Are we sleepwalking towards green control?
What should we do about it?


I don't know all the questions, let alone the answers but I do feel that we are part of the way down that road already and should, as a minimum, debate what is definite and happening, what is likely to happen and how we feel about it.

Mar 13, 2017 at 8:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

Jiminy Cricket - Just for info, my first part ran out of allowed capacity so I had to add the rest as a separate comment. Your reply to the first bit had appeared by then.

Not a problem and thanks for your contribution. I hope there are many more. I believe that low cost, plentiful energy is an essential part of achieving economic growth, health and prosperity.

The current direction of travel is to raise costs, restrict available energy and all to solve a non-problem.

Mar 13, 2017 at 8:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

The meters will be compromised - if they aren't already - and to avoid embarrassment - the utilities in cahoots with the bureaucrats who signed us up to this will hide it.

Eventually the software will get to be stable - but by that time the confidence of the consumers will be in tatters.

There is also the matter of selling marketing data and assorted other snooping.

The boosters of the scheme have not learnt any lessons whatsoever from the home electricity monitor market.

The marketing crews are likely dreaming up a flood of snappily named tariffs of Byzantine complexity working on the principle "heads I win tails you lose".

tugs beard .... the Germans have not implemented smart meters and are building more coal powers stations ..... hmmmm...

Mar 13, 2017 at 8:40 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Yes, the lash of progressive government regulation does smart.

Mar 13, 2017 at 8:44 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Schrodinger's Cat: "The current direction of travel is to raise costs, restrict available energy and all to solve a non-problem."

Indeed it is:

Craig Morris (@PPchef) is the lead author of German Energy Transition. He directs Petite Planète and writes every workday for Renewables International. He is co-author of Energy Democracy, the first history of Germany’s Energiewende. This is his take on things:

"High energy prices are good in that they incentivize conservation and efficiency. The poor need to be protected from these high prices to some extent, but that falls in the domain of social policy. Low energy prices should not be the goal of energy policy.”

Mar 13, 2017 at 8:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

" Over the last six years, DECC, BEIS and Smart Energy GB have spent £450 million on consultations, developing specifications, fighting Freedom of Information requests and spinning PR stories, yet we have not had a single smart meter installed which conforms to their specifications."
NotALotOfPeopleKnowThat: What’s the difference between Sir Philip Green and the GB Smart Metering Program?

Mar 13, 2017 at 10:06 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

"High energy prices are good in that they incentivize conservation and efficiency. The poor need to be protected from these high prices to some extent, but that falls in the domain of social policy. Low energy prices should not be the goal of energy policy.”

Mar 13, 2017 at 8:49 PM | Mark Hodgson

Mark Hodgson, thank you for finding that quote. Those who write and believe that type of pompous and arrogant drivel, have no understanding of why they are detested.

Blaming fuel-poverty deaths in the UK on failed "socal policy", when they have been caused by failed Climate-Science Dictated Politics, is a grotesque shrug of callous indifference. Meanwhile, Underdeveloped Countries fail to develop because those in need, are deprived of reliable power, with the backing of the UN and World Bank.

Anti-Social Democracy at it's worst, and most hypocritical, but it is favoured by Progressives.

Mar 13, 2017 at 11:51 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Robert Christopher

thanks for the link - another quote from the linked article and obvious to most victims -

there is no benefit to consumers in continuing the program. It is time it is stopped

Really .... what needs to be done to euthanise this program?

A cull of the bureaucrats (and the eradication of the eco-NGO clingon secondment crew) would be very gratifying.

The involvement of state bureaucrats in the whole affair has resulted in an unmitigated disaster for taxpayers and consumers.

Couldn't organise a pissup in a brewery

Mar 14, 2017 at 12:38 AM | Registered Commentertomo

We recently changed fuel suppliers, and the new suppliers tried to push a smart meter at us. However, when I said we didn't want one, they backed off readily enough, which was mildly encouraging. But I suspect the day is coming when, if you want to change suppliers, it will be a condition of moving to your new supplier that they require you to take a smart meter.

If that day comes, what do we do? Cave in and accept the inevitable in order, for now, to save a little bit of money on our energy bills? Or refuse, and stay saddled with our currently uncompetitive supplier?

Mar 14, 2017 at 8:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Mar 14, 2017 at 8:42 AM by Mark Hodgson
"But I suspect the day is coming when, if you want to change suppliers, it will be a condition of moving to your new supplier that they require you to take a smart meter."

A major problem with the £450m spent and "yet we have not had a single smart meter installed which conforms to their specifications" means that one suppliers smart meter will probably (or almost certainly) not work when using a different supplier, so it will mean a meter re-installation (which will probably be as useful as a chocolate teapot when moving to the next supplier :) ) or back to Stone Age meter reading!

Who's in charge: a PPE or EngLit graduate?

Mar 14, 2017 at 9:49 AM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

It's about rationing, once we get smart meters we can be allocated a number of kWh per person in the home. That will allow us to reduce our CO2 emissions, which will be A GOOD THING. Make no mistake about it environmentalists are ruthless, heartless bastards, who will cheerfully inflict pain and death on fellow human beings to save the planet.

Mar 14, 2017 at 2:21 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Monday's Times
pg 12 Smart Meters come in 2 forms
Smets1 can't be transferred across suppliers
Smets2 aren't yet being installed cos the IT system is more than 1 year late

So they will end up with 3 millions more smets1 than expected
ies 6 million of this old type will be installed instead of just 3m
So in future all 6m will need to be replaced

Mar 14, 2017 at 3:09 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Please don't let this happen; these are evil. In Ontario these were forced down our throat ( we're too polite to fight back). It is about control; they ask, for now; if we will let them adjust our usage should it become necessary! Many have seen huge unexplainable increases in usage and it takes years to fight the bad readings; power gets cut off if you don't pay up. We garbaged millions of good , accurate meters for nothing. They were supposed to save power and prevent the building of more expensive power plants ie. nuclear ; but now we have to pay others to take the excess power on sunny and or windy days that we pay 10 to 20 times the normal cost. Fight as hard as you can and you will save millions. Many states and counties in the US have banned them.

Mar 19, 2017 at 3:50 PM | Unregistered Commenterskiman

As far as I know the Energy Bill that determined that a Smart Meter could only be fitted with the consent of the occupier is still in force. DO NOT agree to anyone apart from a meter reader (and nobody unacompanied) to have access to your meters and you should be safe.

Mar 19, 2017 at 5:50 PM | Registered CommenterDung

say hello to P272

Unlike most ECIU stuff this half hour might be worthwhile

Mar 27, 2017 at 9:25 AM | Registered Commentertomo

Smart meters in Toronto .... monetising the data

May 1, 2017 at 12:06 AM | Registered Commentertomo

I have a wireless electricity meter and a normal meter, the wireless one gives me real-time data which I can analyse but its kept private and shared with no one. Its useful for a few weeks to see where and when you have the peaks of usage, it turned out it was our tumble dryer is where we can make most savings, so a summer job this is is to get an undercover drying area sorted for the next winter. Not a lot else to go at, the heating is oil/wood through a linked boiler control panel and the rest is cooking/washing, lights are all LED. So once you have the original analysis a Smart meter is only good for sending data to the electricity company, as the current billing is quarterly I can email a reading every 3 months its hardly cost effective.

May 1, 2017 at 1:14 PM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

A while back there was an article on Paul Homewood's site (I think) which went into some depth on all of the problems with the smart meter programme. Looking back I found what appears to be an update by the original author on his website: it's about the 10th down in this list:
The number and complexity of the programme's problems look insurmountable. It should be terminated forthwith. I am no techie but there has to be a simple way to let a meter link to domestic WiFi and thus to the owner's computer or phone for onward transmission to the utility.
Colour me cynical but I suspect the energy companies are pushing this inadequate technology because they know that the incompatabilities and other issues will make it very difficult to switch supplier once a meter is installed.

May 3, 2017 at 7:24 PM | Registered Commentermikeh

So @Mikeh he says
..go ahead get a smartmeter, and then it may cause your energy to disconnect at some random moment.

 In the past six months, three things have  happened which bring the risk back into focus.  
#1 We’ve seen the first major grid cyber attack in the Ukraine; 

#2 smart home owners with Nest thermostats have discovered that firmware 
updates can stop them operating 

#3 reports have come in of smart meters in the UK which have stopped working.  

None of that means our grid is going to be hacked tomorrow, but they all point 
out that what has been dismissed as impossible may not be quite so difficult 
as the industry and DECC would like to believe.  

May 3, 2017 at 9:43 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

MileH that post is from May 2016
I don't see anything from 2017
that Smart Metering is FCUKED article is dated 2013

May 3, 2017 at 9:58 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

May 3, 2017 at 9:58 PM | stewgreen

"As SMART as a Climate Scientist" really ought to pass into the English Language, to describe something that is an uncontrollable, dangerous, untrustworthy and unreliable con.

May 4, 2017 at 12:43 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Smart meters have all sorts of snazzy uses. They can help sharing the electricity in times of scarcity, forgetting your instant readings and bills at your convenience, or they can be used to ration your electricity use. if I was a crazy Greenie, I might have the idea that we could easily cut carbon emissions by allowing a per person use of electricity in each household and if you exceed your ration you would pay a massive excess for the electricity used over the top of your ration. The excess payment would be used to put more subsidies into renewable energy. But I'm not a crazy Greenie so I haven't thought of it.

May 4, 2017 at 2:26 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo