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1 hour ago, SteamyTea said:

If the power industry every sorts itself out with smart metering, then that will make life a lot easier.

27 minutes ago, PeterW said:

I can pretty much categorically say it will not be to the benefit of the consumer !!!

The technology is fraught with issues (it was built to the lowest price contract...) and its being rolled out against a set of standards that aren't fully agreed....

I looked into the technology being used and the data collection and security, some time ago (probably around 4 or 5 years ago now, when the first "smart" meters were being rolled out.  There are a stack of issues with them, even though the intention is partly good.  The major one hitting consumers right now is that each supplier came up with their own implementation, so when you change suppliers (as we're all encouraged to do to maintain competition in the market) then the meter needs to be changed as well, or you just lose the "smart" meter "advantages".

The more serious flaws were that the entire system, from the meter data link to the storage of data by the suppliers and intermediaries, was open to malicious attack.  In fact the protocol was so insecure that it was laughable, with virtually no security provisions at all at the meter end.  Whether consumers would have trust in the data collection end, run by the suppliers is open to question.  Right now there's no significant problem there, apart from the frequent "computer errors" that seem to effect the billing part of the systems some suppliers use.  With the advent of control of meters and supplies by the suppliers, using their systems, there comes a whole new set of security issues that some could choose to exploit to there advantage (anything from crooks fiddling usage data to malicious interference with supply control).

The annoying thing is it wouldn't have been at all difficult to make smart metering effective and secure.  Adding hardware encryption to the data link would have been easy, cheap and effective.  Making the metering systems all work to a common standard, with rigid controls to ensure interoperability between suppliers would have been easy, and not added significantly, if at all, to the cost.  Focussing on effective incentives, rather than replicating existing energy usage displays and hoping that will change behaviour (for most it won't, as has been shown) might have given real benefits.

For example, EDF in France charge different prices for electricity to all domestic consumers depending on their forecast load.  It's not smart metering, it relies on radio, TV and internet warnings of the days/times when prices will be high.  We have friends who lived in France for years, and they would always watch out for the price changes and plan their usage pattern to avoid using things like the washing machine during high price periods.  From what I gathered from talking to them, this was commonplace; lots of consumers were used to just adjusting things around the varying energy price.

Smart meters would have allowed that easily, and a simple display showing the consumer the current price and usage, with a short calendar of forecast prices over the next few days, would almost certainly start to do the same as what has been happening in France for some time (I think the reason for doing it in France had  lot to do with their shortage of short-term fast ramp-up generation; they use a lot of very slow to respond nuclear plants).

The real nail in the coffin seems to be that widespread roll out of smart meters in other countries hasn't resulted in any saving, if anything it's produced the opposite effect!

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I see there are national tv adverts promoting smart meters at the moment. The only benefitt they seem to be telling customers is you can "see what you are using". Well you can do that by reading an ordinary meter but let's not rain on their parade.

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9 minutes ago, ProDave said:

I see there are national tv adverts promoting smart meters at the moment. The only benefitt they seem to be telling customers is you can "see what you are using". Well you can do that by reading an ordinary meter but let's not rain on their parade.

That was my immediate reaction, followed by the inevitable "What's in it for them, as they are spending tens of thousands on advertising?".  I don't know of any company that willingly spends a great deal of money on promoting something that only appears to give a free benefit to their customers, at a significant cost to them in implementing it.

It reminded me very much of the "free" electric car charge points that were being offered, if you live somewhere with a mobile signal - the "free" offer magically disappears when they find they can't get a signal when they come to do the site survey, as I found.  In that case the significant installation cost was being paid for by using the data they gathered from you and selling it to others for marketing purposes.  I'll lay money that part of the reason for advertising smart meters is because there is a hidden revenue stream from them, most probably from the data they provide.

I have an objection in principle to data about me being used for profit, especially by a company whose service I'm already paying for.  We have a very poor mobile signal here anyway, but that from inside our meter cabinet will be a great deal poorer, as I covered the outside of it with earthed aluminium foil as a screen.  I was just thinking ahead to the time when smart meters become mandatory, rather than optional.................... :ph34r:

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I don't really understand how they work but would they measure any exported electricity? Anyone with solar panels and equipment to maximise usage would probably lose the 50% export allowance. Could this be a reason for them fitting them free

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I believe they do register exports, if that information is used/recorded/acted on is a different matter.

 

The long term dream is that the smart meter can also control non critical equipment in the house, saving the householders using very high priced power.  I think this is a long way off and will require a lot of new white goods mainly.

I have just saved a few pence on the energy consumption of my fridge, I inadvertently hit the thermostat and turned it off.  Cost me a couple of pints of milk and a car journey to the supermarket at 7:00 this morning >:(

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Every standard digital meter I've looked at measures exports, they just don't display the data, but only make it available via an IrDA port.  For example, the cheap Elster meter I fitted inside the house transmits a host of data out of it's IR port all the time, that is relatively easy to read. This data includes the exported energy as well as the imported energy, so any meter reader with the right equipment can just hold it to the meter data port and read it all out at any time.  This £30 standard meter makes the following data available at the IR port:

Import energy total (kWh)

Reverse run event count

Reverse run energy total (kWh)

Reverse run indication on LCD

Power fail count

Elapsed time count

Time in rate 1 and rate 2

Hours since last power-up

Hours spent in anti-creep

Most digital meters made in the last 5 years or so have this level of functionality (or more) built in, so all are perfectly capable of being used as export meters IF the companies really wanted to do it.

 

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Holy thread resurrection!

Just received a letter telling me mines obsolete and needs to be replaced! Really? It was only replaced 4 yeas ago.

Doesn't actually say it HAS to be replaced, just implies it must be.

I look forward to telling them to bugger off!

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I refused a Smart Meter, and they accepted my right to do so.

Ferdinand

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On ‎7‎/‎8‎/‎2016 at 11:58, JSHarris said:

The major one hitting consumers right now is that each supplier came up with their own implementation, so when you change suppliers (as we're all encouraged to do to maintain competition in the market) then the meter needs to be changed as well, or you just lose the "smart" meter "advantages".

As I understand it there is a target date after which they are meant to be portable between suppliers. However it's not clear to me who pays for if you want to upgrade from a first generation meter to a portable one. So i'm declining until they can assure me it's a portable one

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/smart-meters-how-they-work

 

Quote

Switching suppliers

Smart meters will ultimately make switching suppliers easier and quicker. It is important that smart metering devices work together (even if from different providers) and also that consumers can still use the meter on change of supplier. However, meters installed during the Foundation stage may lose some smart functionality depending on which energy supplier you switch to. This will be resolved for the vast majority of meters installed during the main rollout as more energy suppliers begin installing smart meters.

In most cases, if you switch during the Foundation stage the meter can still be used in ‘traditional’ mode if the new energy supplier cannot support the smart functionality at the stage of switching suppliers. The In Home Display (IHD) issued alongside the smart meter should still continue to operate and show you near real time information about your energy consumption.

Ofgem has introduced rules (link broken) designed to help domestic consumers understand if the smart services they are receiving will be maintained when they switch supplier. The rules include a requirement that a supplier installing a smart meter must inform the customer that they may lose meter functionality on change of supplier.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Temp

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PS Somewhere there is a standard that portable meters have to meet and which first generation meters don't. If anyone can remember what that's called let us know. SMETS2 or something like that?

Edited by Temp

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Depends if you are referring to type 1 and type 2 meters..? There are differences but a lot of it was to do with HAN protocols and other lovely stuff....

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