Author Topic: Electricity "smart" meters  (Read 3131 times)

Offline Pitlamp

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Electricity "smart" meters
« on: October 10, 2019, 11:02:52 am »
Nowt to do with caving - but my electricity company seems to be very keen on my having a smart meter fitted. My electricity bills are small anyway (as I don't use electric heating) and I remember reading somewhere that smart meters are best avoided for some reason.

So I was just interested in what fellow cavers thought about these. Should I go for it or would the most "smart" thing to do be to resist?

Offline maxf

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Re: Electricity "smart" meters
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2019, 11:08:49 am »
My very skeptical view is that they will only use the data to increase their profits somehow so I have avoided getting one so far.

Offline Laurie

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Re: Electricity "smart" meters
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2019, 11:54:02 am »
We have one. I makes no real difference, you can still opt to pay quarterly as before. It's useful to see how much electricity you're using at any one time and your bills are always accurate rather than estimated.
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Offline mikem

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Re: Electricity "smart" meters
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2019, 12:52:49 pm »
& they can reduce the number of meter readers they employ...

Offline Minion

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Re: Electricity "smart" meters
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2019, 01:07:29 pm »
Smart meters allow data collection in half hourly (HH) periods (the standard measurement period in the energy retail industry). A HH report will take the format below, but on a daily basis.

Period:                   Energy (kWh)
1 (00.00-00.30)         1
2 (00.30-01.00)         1
3 (01.00-01.30)         2
Repeat measurement for 48 periods during a day.

This allows your energy supplier to know exactly when you are using energy, and how much.

This is useful for them in two ways..

Firstly they have more data to allow them to trend and forecast energy consumption more accurately over time. This give the grid more stability as National Grid will be able to dispatch additional energy onto the grid when required more accurately, saving costs as they won't have to overestimate demand by so much, which means they won't have to overpay for energy they won't need.

Second, in the coming years, due to the increased penetration of renewables into the UKs energy mix, there is likely to be a surplus of energy during the day (most are in work/out of their homes, solar generation will peak during mid day), and a deficit during the evenings when the sun has gone down, possibly further exacerbated by low winds that day, people will also be home from work having showers, cooking food, watching Corrie, so energy demand will peak. Smart meters will allow energy supplier to charge us consumers different tariffs at different time of the day, as they will know how much and when we used it. High generation, low demand during the day...cheaper energy. High demand and low generation during the evenings...expensive energy.

In short, having a smart meter now isn't really an issue as you will get a fancy little display in your house so you know how much energy you're using an how much money you've spent on it today/this week/this month.

Having a smart meter in future will open you up to the variable tariffs, which will be inevitable in a few years. I'm not sure if this is a bad thing. With a smart meter you will either pay for exactly what you have used, when you have used it. Without a smart meter, will they have to assume an average pence per kWh, and charge you that on all energy consumed? This cost may work out to be higher, than paying for exactly what you've used.

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Electricity "smart" meters
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2019, 01:18:14 pm »
Wow - some incredibly useful responses above already - many thanks.

I'm sure I'm not the only one interested in this, so please keep 'em coming.

Offline Badlad

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Re: Electricity "smart" meters
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2019, 01:20:24 pm »
I think one of the main complaints was that they were not universal and ceased working if you changed suppliers.  As many people switch suppliers every year this seems like a big waste. I believe the new generation of smart metters are meant to address this but I'm sure I read there are still some problems.

Offline nickwilliams

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Re: Electricity "smart" meters
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2019, 01:20:57 pm »
How strong is the mobile phone signal inside your house? Smart meters use the mobile network to send data back to your DNO so they will refuse to fit one if they can't get a strong enough signal.
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Offline ttxela2

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Re: Electricity "smart" meters
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2019, 01:53:12 pm »
Not sure if they are good or bad becuse we registered to have one fitted, 3 appointments were made to install and on each occasion the work could not proceed because it was raining (on all occasions just very slight drizzle). I still get the odd message asking to rearrange but I'm not going to spend any more time hanging around at home waiting for it to happen  :furious:

Offline royfellows

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Re: Electricity "smart" meters
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2019, 04:09:10 pm »
I get pestered a lot by Eon who i am with.
letters asking for an appointment to make a'safety check' of the meter
others about the smart meters.
If their ordinary meters are not safe this leaves me with little confidence in the smart ones.
 :lol:
Glad NAMHO 2019 over.

Offline Martin Wright

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Re: Electricity "smart" meters
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2019, 04:28:05 pm »
We are with Eon and have a smart meter. The only difference we have noticed is not having to supply meter readings or allow Eon's meter reading staff into our kitchen where the original meter was located.

Offline royfellows

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Re: Electricity "smart" meters
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2019, 04:42:14 pm »
Mine is in the front foyer but most of the time I supply my own readings.
Glad NAMHO 2019 over.

Offline traff

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Re: Electricity "smart" meters
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2019, 04:51:24 pm »
Call me cynical but I suspect eventually the suppliers will use smart meters to bill you for apparent power opposed to real power. Which will inevitably cost you more.

Offline Minion

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Re: Electricity "smart" meters
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2019, 04:55:16 pm »
Call me cynical but I suspect eventually the suppliers will use smart meters to bill you for apparent power opposed to real power. Which will inevitably cost you more.

I don’t think it would be that much different? Houses don’t have very many inductive loads.

Offline damian

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Re: Electricity "smart" meters
« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2019, 05:05:30 pm »
Had one fitted, then changed suppliers. Ever since it has been turned off (ironically saving power) and I have returned to making my readings manually. A total waste of time and money. The guy who came out needed a special part to fit our gas one and said someone would be in contact to arrange a second appointment. They never did so we don't have the gas done.

Offline crickleymal

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Re: Electricity "smart" meters
« Reply #15 on: October 10, 2019, 05:16:18 pm »
We have one and it doesn't work properly. It collects the data from the individual meters but cannot transmit it to the company. So we have to phone them up or email the readings through every quarter.
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Offline Maj

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Re: Electricity "smart" meters
« Reply #16 on: October 10, 2019, 05:24:25 pm »
I had a smart meter fitted with my previous supplier for both gas and electric. They still rang me asking for meter readings. One of the benefits is meant to be no meter readings required to be taken on site (except the two yearly meter safety check that I believe is more to check that it's not been tampered with) I told where they can go and to read it themselves.
Another alleged advantage is that you will save money on your bills, this I feel is bulls**t too. You will probably look at the monitor/display for a couple of weeks and then ignore it, unplug it and save the energy the adaptor plug uses. I guess you probably already know which appliances are heavy energy consumers.
 
I've now changed energy suppliers and since my smart meters are "thick" my energy supplier cannot interrogate them for my meter readings, I instead have to read them. I find reading them more awkward than the old traditional meters, so I end up taking several photographs after pushing button "A" or something before I'm able to get a reading. If I had the choice again I'd say "No" to smart meters.

The problem I believe stems from the fact the government set targets for a percentage of households to have smart meters by a set date. But this didn't give enough time for proper research and development (or the energy companies didn't get off their arses and sort it in good time). The net result was ill thought out, rushed and no collaboration between the energy companies, they all did their own thing.

My advice would be to hold off as long as possible, but if you do go for smart meters, ensure that they are universally readable by all energy suppliers.

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Online Fulk

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Re: Electricity "smart" meters
« Reply #17 on: October 10, 2019, 05:57:30 pm »
The last time the meter-reader came to read our (electricity) meter I asked him what he thought about smart meters, and he said 'A waste of time – don't bother'.

Offline Allan

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Re: Electricity "smart" meters
« Reply #18 on: October 10, 2019, 07:04:44 pm »
One of my clients had them installed, the gas one was obviously faulty as the tenants gas bills went through the roof, the independent Heating Engineer who checked it, said that according to the meter they were using an impossible amount of gas for a residential property.  This cut no ice with the supplier/installer who refused to come out and look at it.  Result the tenant left the house, the landlord was left with the problem, it still hasn't been sorted.

As for the usage displays, I see a lot of them in houses, virtually all are unplugged or hidden behind various kitchen appliances.

Offline aricooperdavis

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Re: Electricity "smart" meters
« Reply #19 on: October 10, 2019, 07:19:54 pm »
I would like to just add that smart meters allow the national grid to predict much more reliably when and where energy is going to be needed. This allows them to improve their energy scheduling, informs the design of new energy systems, and allows them to improve their service delivery. As such it is very likely that by installing a smart meter and allowing the national grid to collect this data you will enable more efficient energy delivery and therefore save energy and carbon emissions in the long term. The same goes for water metering. Whilst for individual consumers the decision is tricky, for the networks as a whole it is a no-brainer - the more data the operators have the more efficiently they can operate.

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Electricity "smart" meters
« Reply #20 on: October 10, 2019, 07:43:42 pm »
Some really interesting responses here - my thanks to all of you.

Online Jenny P

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Re: Electricity "smart" meters
« Reply #21 on: October 10, 2019, 07:48:33 pm »
Had one fitted by our previous supplier but it ceased to work when I changed supplier 3 years ago so I hadn't bothered but simply sent in the readings from the gas & electricity meters easily accessible outside the house.

Now my present contract has run out and, in order to get a cheap deal on the new contract, they say I now have to have their new smart meters fitted, presumably one for the gas and one for the electric as both are on the same deal.  This is due to be done tomorrow so I can let you know how it goes - but I'll still be taking my own meter readings to check.

I did have quite a useful conversation with someone at the energy company about this as I said I already had a smart meter so why was I still having to take readings?  Confirmed that the previous meter fitted was not compatible with the new company but assured me the one due to be fitted would be compatible if I changed supplier again in the future.  Fitting is free, so I've said go ahead.

Online mountainpenguin

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Re: Electricity "smart" meters
« Reply #22 on: October 11, 2019, 09:59:53 am »
For the most part they are a waste of space and some are a potential securoty nightmare ..
however when used correctly they do offer a way to drastically lower your electricity bill especially if your able to shape your demand.
We have an electric car, its ace and super cheap to run (£1.25 for 80 miles) its so cheap to run because we have an account with
octopus (shameless referral link for £50 off share.octopus.energy/jade-cat-643)
Our electricity is cheaper over night and they also have an agile tariff with API that tells you what the cost will be for each half hour slot for the next day yesterday this was down to 0.36p!

So if you can regulate your demand (battery / car / turning the washing on at a different time) a smart meter can save you a lot of money and help make best use of the renewable generation capacity.


Online Fulk

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Re: Electricity "smart" meters
« Reply #23 on: October 11, 2019, 10:20:30 am »
Wow . . . I didn't realize that electric cars are (can be) so cheap to run.

Offline TheBitterEnd

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Re: Electricity "smart" meters
« Reply #24 on: October 11, 2019, 10:43:27 am »
I haven't read all the responses (it it an internet forum afterall :-)  )  but in response to "best avoided for some reason" the reason was that the first generation would stop being "smart" if you changed suppliers, the second generation are common to all suppliers so no reason not to get one as long as it is second generation, your supplier will tell you what they are fitting if you ask.
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