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Frank Hovis

Smart Meters

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Are they a con or a benefit?

Is there no choice about having them so you may as well get them straight away or hold off as long as you can?

Googling gives the usual bland guff from energy cos who want to install them but somebody here will know.

The only claimed benefit on my supplier's email was that you can track your usage. Well if I wanted to do that I could read my meters every day.

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The "benefit" of "smart meters" is wholly in the interests of the supplier, not the cinsumer. You can but £30 tat rom Maplin that tells you all you need to know :unsure:

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The energy companies are legally obliged to fit them. Although you can refuse a smart meter, there are installation targets for the energy companies to meet, so they will say anything to meet them.

The benefit is that they transmit accurate consumption figures back to the supplier. As over 90% of customer complaints are over inaccurate or estimated billing, the energy companies have quite a strong incentive to install them anyway. The advantage for the customer is that they should get an accurate bill every time. It's mainly the vulnerable who will benefit from this, the disabled, the elderly, the mentally ill or learning disabled, etc.

Other advantages are that the meters can be remotely reconfigured. For example, if you want to change from pre-payment to credit, or vice versa, then the meter does not need replacing to do this. A signal can be transmitted wirelessly to change the meter mode. The same can be done for addition of pre-payment credit. You could pay online, and have the credit automatically transmitted to the meter - no need to take a key to the local shop.

There is also scope to offer more sophisticated time-of-use tariffs. At present, time of use tariffs are rather limited, basically Economy 7 and a variety of legacy regional tariffs. For customers with specific requirements, e.g. an electric vehicle which they like to charge during the day, then there is scope for tariffs which allow the user to take advantage of the drop in wholesale electricity costs between 11 am and 2 pm. With dumb meters, there is insufficient flexibility in the configuration of the meters to permit such tariffs. With smart meters, the supplier gets the consumption in 30 minute blocks, and can apply whatever tariff they are prepared to offer the customer.

There is a purported advantage which is that it can allow more efficient use of capital in terms of power generation plant. If you apply time-of-use tariffs then you can push consumption out of peak time and into off-peak time, avoiding the need to build and maintain power stations which sit idle for 95% of the time. There are problems with this: not all consumption can be time shifted, encouraging reduction in consumption by price signals is very regressive, in that it hits the poorest and most vulnerable hardest (for the infrastructure benefit to be realised, the price on the coldest Winter day of the year must be much higher than the price at other times; but it is precisely at this point when great-gran Doris needs the most heating but will be financially pressured to turn it off).

The major problem with smart meters is the cost. They are very expensive - costing around an extra £75-100 per year per customer, to provide and support the meter, and the supporting infrastructure. It is likely that while there may be savings due to reduced account management costs, complaint costs, etc. and the use of novel time-of-use tariffs, most of these savings will be consumed by the very high cost of the metering system.

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Are you selling this sh!t Chumpy?

:blink:

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Marvellous, thank you Chumpus Rex and that will be a no from me given your confirmation that (as it stands) I can just refuse to change.

They'll want their £75 back somehow, standing charge probably.

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If they are fitting them for free I imagine it is something to seriously consider. It does benefit them as it better ables them to determine demand and to buy in their energy sources.

I imagine that one day they will be obligatory and, by then, they will be charging you to fit them.

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If they are fitting them for free I imagine it is something to seriously consider. It does benefit them as it better ables them to determine demand and to buy in their energy sources.

I imagine that one day they will be obligatory and, by then, they will be charging you to fit them.

I don't think that they will be obligatory for the consumer unless they make it a condition of switching. And that would stop people switching so that won't happen.

My electric bill is about £200 a year (solar panels) so I don't see how that could bear a £100 pa smart meter.

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I imagine it's one step from smart meters to energy rationing

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The major problem with smart meters is the cost. They are very expensive - costing around an extra £75-100 per year per customer, to provide and support the meter, and the supporting infrastructure. It is likely that while there may be savings due to reduced account management costs, complaint costs, etc. and the use of novel time-of-use tariffs, most of these savings will be consumed by the very high cost of the metering system.

Excellent post, I was nodding along until the highlighted bit.

Do you have any info on this and more specifically on the split between providing and supporting? I'm sure they are expensive to buy and install, but once fitted I can't see that they would be any more expensive to maintain than a normal meter, in fact i'd think cheaper. So isn't the £100 per year that is pushing Frank's cynicism into the red a bit misleading?

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This is a link from Big Brother Watch

http://www.bigbrotherwatch.org.uk/cat/smart-meters/

Smart meters – the future of spying?

As several major energy companies continue to rush ahead with installations – British Gas plans to install 2m by the end of this year – there is still no concrete privacy protection in place, nor a clear set of rules about how and when they can be installed – and what rights consumers have to […]

Read More

Feb1 2012
Smart meters will not be compulsory says Minister

“We believe people will benefit from having smart meters. But we will not make them obligatory.” Charles Hendry, energy minister. The news today that smart meters will not be compulsory is an extremely positive step, but the issue is far from resolved. Smart meters have the capability to reduce energy consumption and help people […]

There is a BBW Factsheet here >> https://www.bigbrotherwatch.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Smart-Meters-1.pdf

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I've not heard anything at all to suggest that personally I'll get any benefit from them, so that's a no on my front, and as far as managing electricity supplies go, the local substation is probably as low a level as is useful for the generators. I see them as little more than more attempts to remove humans from doing anything (something I'm findind increasingly disagreable), and to stick noses in where they aren't wanted. There isn't a real problem that they're a solution to.

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Excellent post, I was nodding along until the highlighted bit.

Do you have any info on this and more specifically on the split between providing and supporting? I'm sure they are expensive to buy and install, but once fitted I can't see that they would be any more expensive to maintain than a normal meter, in fact i'd think cheaper. So isn't the £100 per year that is pushing Frank's cynicism into the red a bit misleading?

Good spot.

The metering program is expected to cost £12 billion to complete. This is broken down roughly as £5 bn in capital cost for the meters, £1.5 bn for installation, £3 bn for comms, and about £2.5 in sundry costs. However, this cost has gone up every year since the project started, and is now about 25% higher than in 2011. I'd padded the figures a bit to take account of the tendency of this sort of project to show spiralling costs.

Now, I will grant I made a mistake, as I had distributed this across 25 million customers, whereas there are actually about 50 million (small businesses, not just domestic). I've amortised the cost over about 10 years. However, the rollout will need to continue well beyond this date.

One of the problems is that the current smart meter technology (SMETS 1) is already obsolete. It is very basic, there is no compatibility between vendors, and there are limitations on coverage. So at present, if you have a smart meter, if you change electricity supplier, you can't take the meter with you. It has to be changed.

Now, the new SMETS 2 meters, once the technology becomes available should be able to work cross-supplier, but these meters are not yet fully developed and costs for meter deployment and comms hub upgrade have not been finalised. In particular, a new comms protocol needs to be developed, as the existing 2.4 GHz mesh system used in SMETS 1 will not be able to cover the whole country; so there are likely to be significant R&D costs to develop the more robust comms network needed for a full rollout.

Additionally, compared to conventional meters, the asset life is shortened. Traditional meters have an asset life of 20-30 years, with a refurbishment interval of 10 years (essentially just a functional test and recalibration/certification). Given the rapid development of smart meter technology, and the fact that the time line has already changed after the rollout started, it is doubtful whether the such long asset life would be achievable given the limitations associated with current generation smart meters, and I suspect that a 10 year asset life would be more likely.

In terms of costs (which I correct to around £30-£50 per customer per year) I expect this will be added to customers bills, whether or not you have a smart meter - probably by padding the unit price (as padding the standing charge would be quite socially regressive). It was misleading, and not my intention, to suggest that by chosing a smart meter, you would be asked to pay that cost directly.

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CR, just to pick up on your final there I don't think anybody read your annual charge as a direct cost to the customer; more that a cost that would need to be raised from customers.

I was however assuming that this cost would go onto only those customers with smart meters as it could be done in a highly confusing way with "bargain" cists in the hours you don't need electricity / gas but much higher ones when you do.

Anyway as the OP you very much answered my initial question of whether there is a benefit for me from having one. It's a definite no so I will cease to read any further badgering correspondence on this.

Unless it's a requirement to actively opt out from having a smart meter.

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Anything that can transmit data from my home that is not under my direct control is not getting through the door.

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Anything that can transmit data from my home that is not under my direct control is not getting through the door.

I'm sure it already has.

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smut meters will see everything in your toilet.

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Googling gives the usual bland guff from energy cos who want to install them but somebody here will know.

Posting to HPC, we know you must be fishing for conspiracy theories. Any other view would be hopelessly naïve.

I shall reserve judgement.

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I don't think that they will be obligatory for the consumer unless they make it a condition of switching. And that would stop people switching so that won't happen.

My electric bill is about £200 a year (solar panels) so I don't see how that could bear a £100 pa smart meter.

Um ... can you have solar panels without a smart meter? What measures your production?

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In terms of costs (which I correct to around £30-£50 per customer per year) I expect this will be added to customers bills, whether or not you have a smart meter - probably by padding the unit price (as padding the standing charge would be quite socially regressive). It was misleading, and not my intention, to suggest that by chosing a smart meter, you would be asked to pay that cost directly.

Thanks, another great post, you clearly know all about this.

Would you agree though that if the cost is, as you say, going to be borne by everyone as an addition to their energy unit price, then cost is a red herring when it comes to deciding whether to have a smart meter or not? I'm not saying you were suggesting otherwise, but for clarity for everyone the cost of the rollout and ongoing maintenance is irrelevant to the end user.

So really it's a choice between communicating your energy usage to the electricity company remotely at intervals of as infrequently as monthly (Alonso's post) or inviting a man you don't know into your house to manually read the meter. And posters in this thread will tell you that the former is dreadfully unsafe and against their right to privacy and the latter is fine.

OK... :rolleyes:

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Um ... can you have solar panels without a smart meter? What measures your production?

If you have a proper installation, another meter will be fitted. The HPC way is that your old meter goes backwards.

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Anything that can transmit data from my home that is not under my direct control is not getting through the door.

Where do you keep your computer and phone?

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Where do you keep your computer and phone?

In the toilet, with the cameras enabled. :blink:

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In the toilet, with the cameras enabled. :blink:

Aha! You're following the example of the Carlton Club. Each toilet stall (in the ladies at least) has a cctv camera. Certainly inhibited my ability to pee. ? I believe they were installed after the bombing in 1990.

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