Yet Another Cycling Forum

General Category => The Knowledge => OT Knowledge => Topic started by: De Sisti on September 11, 2018, 10:28:09 am

Title: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: De Sisti on September 11, 2018, 10:28:09 am
Does anyone have a Home Energy Smart Meter in their property that is successfully being
used to save money on fuel bills?
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Ham on September 11, 2018, 11:19:44 am
Arguably, yes. I used the info from when my smart meter was smart to identify and reduce background electricity usage. My smart meter is, however, now dumb.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Kim on September 11, 2018, 11:51:57 am
Does anyone have a Home Energy Smart Meter in their property that is successfully being
used to save money on fuel bills?

That's not what they're for.  They're for saving money on meter readers.  The consumer won't benefit until new tariffs that reflect the varying wholesale cost of energy throughout the day become available.

Ours means that I don't have to move all the camping kit once a month to read the gas meter.  I've given up on the crappy energy display thing (which doesn't even stay set to real units) in favour of a ESP8266 counting pulses of the blinkenlight on the electricity meter, feeding the data to RRDtool.  You can infer so much more from a time series graph (https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=80102.msg2315671#msg2315671) than an instantaneous value.

(I do have a plug-in power meter which has been useful for determining the inefficiency of certain specific loads.)
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: hellymedic on September 11, 2018, 11:52:17 am
Our electricity supplier effectively forced us to arrange installation of a smart meter which we ignore, so no.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Tim Hall on September 11, 2018, 12:02:55 pm
Is it still the case that smart meter from Supplier 1 will not talk to Supplier 2, should I switch from Supplier 1 in the near future??
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Ian H on September 11, 2018, 12:16:46 pm
We were going to get a smart-meter, for all the wrong reasons, but dug a big hole and moved the old one into the cellar instead (where a smart meter might find itself struggling to communicate).
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Kim on September 11, 2018, 12:18:06 pm
Is it still the case that smart meter from Supplier 1 will not talk to Supplier 2, should I switch from Supplier 1 in the near future??

Possibly, but it just means that they'll upgrade your smart meters to smart meters when you change supplier.   :facepalm:
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: De Sisti on September 11, 2018, 12:38:09 pm
Does anyone have a Home Energy Smart Meter in their property that is successfully being
used to save money on fuel bills?

That's not what they're for.  They're for saving money on meter readers. 
Same difference.  ::-)  I've had emails galore about fitters being in my area and for me to arrange an appointment.
I see no urgency at the moment. Perhaps when they become compulsory.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Kim on September 11, 2018, 12:43:38 pm
Does anyone have a Home Energy Smart Meter in their property that is successfully being
used to save money on fuel bills?

That's not what they're for.  They're for saving money on meter readers. 
Same difference.  ::-)  I've had emails galore about fitters being in my area and for me to arrange an appointment.
I see no urgency at the moment. Perhaps when they become compulsory.

I think the main difference is that saving money on meter readers isn't likely to be reflected in your fuel bill.


Anyway, for me it's mildly convenient to have a bill that actually reflects what I use (been stung by the nPower random number generator in the past) without having to go to the effort of regularly reading the meters myself, and it's nice not to have someone turn up when I'm on the loo or still in bed or up to my neck in spaghetti code or whatever and need me to move all the bikes and stuff quite as frequently.  There's no real disadvantage to me (it's not like I'm not paying for the roll-out as part of my bill anyway), so fine.


On the gripping hand, if we hadn't had smart meters installed the loose meter tail wouldn't have been noticed until it caused a fire.   :o
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: De Sisti on September 11, 2018, 01:03:27 pm
urgency at the moment. Perhaps when they become compulsory.


I think the main difference is that saving money on meter readers isn't likely to be reflected in your fuel bill.

Anyway, for me it's mildly convenient to have a bill that actually reflects what I use
You're confusing me (or I didn't understand you correctly). If one's meter readings are reduced (after having
kept a close watch on the smart meter), then surely that means that fuel bills will be lower?
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: ian on September 11, 2018, 01:06:33 pm
BG keep telling me TO GET A SMART METER. They're very insistent (in fact they just sent me an actual letter to tell me I'm not receiving their emails, which I evidently am, otherwise I wouldn't know how keen they are). I'm mostly unmoved. It would be nice to see what I'm using without having to peek under the stairs (which involves moving the broken ironing board and spaghetti of wires for the router, NAS, and random computers snangles) and it's not like BG don't misread the read or use an estimation algorithm that includes i. But equally it's a palaver and the fitter will probably break something or get stuck in the cupboard.* Plus I keep meaning to change supplier before BG demand they're only paid in gold bullion and I'm still not clear if these things are transferable (I asked BG and got a non-answer). I don't much fancy having to keep changing them.

(This all reminds me to sort out the water meter, misread, unbilled, and now corrected in such a way that even this chap, armed with a graduate-level education is left scratching his head and muttering what the fuck? – I presume that rather than correct the earlier misread, they've counted it and subtracted from the current, and then hid their working in lots of random units@ such-and-such tariff changes, lord knows how people who struggle to get GCSEs are supposed to decipher this nonsense.)

*predictions of disaster are not unfounded, one once drove off the side of our drive and took the chain link fence with him; he might have done a better job of driving if he'd not been plugging away at some kind of hand-held device at the time.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Pingu on September 11, 2018, 01:20:24 pm
urgency at the moment. Perhaps when they become compulsory.

I think the main difference is that saving money on meter readers isn't likely to be reflected in your fuel bill.

Anyway, for me it's mildly convenient to have a bill that actually reflects what I use

You're confusing me (or I didn't understand you correctly). If one's meter readings are reduced (after having
kept a close watch on the smart meter), then surely that means that fuel bills will be lower?

The money the company saves from not having to pay a meter reader to visit you will not come off your bill, it will go into shareholders' pockets.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Greenbank on September 11, 2018, 01:22:41 pm
urgency at the moment. Perhaps when they become compulsory.

I think the main difference is that saving money on meter readers isn't likely to be reflected in your fuel bill.

Anyway, for me it's mildly convenient to have a bill that actually reflects what I use

You're confusing me (or I didn't understand you correctly). If one's meter readings are reduced (after having
kept a close watch on the smart meter), then surely that means that fuel bills will be lower?

The money the company saves from not having to pay a meter reader to visit you will not come off your bill, it will go into shareholders' pockets.

Which saves the company having to put up their prices if they continue to pay the meter readers and want to put the same money into shareholders' pockets.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: rafletcher on September 11, 2018, 01:27:31 pm
urgency at the moment. Perhaps when they become compulsory.

I think the main difference is that saving money on meter readers isn't likely to be reflected in your fuel bill.

Anyway, for me it's mildly convenient to have a bill that actually reflects what I use

You're confusing me (or I didn't understand you correctly). If one's meter readings are reduced (after having
kept a close watch on the smart meter), then surely that means that fuel bills will be lower?

Why do you think it will save you money? What will you not use/turn off that you don't already if you're concerned, say, about standby power usage? What appliances will you replace if because they're inefficient?- though of course it'll take years to recoup the purchase costs.

I've continued to ignore requests to get them fitted. I already know what to do to reduce my bills.  (Caveat - I haven't done a controlled experiment to see if batch cooking then reheating by microwave or cooker is best).
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Kim on September 11, 2018, 01:29:49 pm
an estimation algorithm that includes i

On which note, I expect that once modern electronic meters are sufficiently rolled out, energy companies will start billing domestic customers for reactive power.

Which is fair enough in my book - the only reason they aren't is that traditional electromechanical meters only measure real power, and in the days when most domestic loads were resisitve it made a vanishingly small difference.  But it's going to come as a bit of a shock when people discover how nasty the power factor of their cheap shitty LED lighting from China is.  Expect power-factor correction to be the new eco ratings.  There'll be outraged articles in the Bile Duct about how Brussels wants to take our traditional BRITISH capacitive droppers away.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Greenbank on September 11, 2018, 01:34:44 pm
I don't see why the v1 smart meters that only send readings to a single supplier is that much of a problem.

Surely it's easier to have that supplier forward the details on to the other suppliers as required rather rather than replacing all of those meters (again) at a much greater cost.

I'm sure it's so insecure that the meter readings could be redirected at the mobile phone network level too.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on September 11, 2018, 01:40:23 pm
urgency at the moment. Perhaps when they become compulsory.

I think the main difference is that saving money on meter readers isn't likely to be reflected in your fuel bill.

Anyway, for me it's mildly convenient to have a bill that actually reflects what I use

You're confusing me (or I didn't understand you correctly). If one's meter readings are reduced (after having
kept a close watch on the smart meter), then surely that means that fuel bills will be lower?
I think Kim was hinting that at some point in the future, smart meters might allow the price charged to the consumer to vary throughout the day on a fluid basis, reacting to changes in the wholesale price – dropping when it's windy or rising when everyone puts the kettle on at the end of East Enders, for instance.

We were supposed to get a smart meter but it proved impossible to fit without cutting off half a dozen other households and some other problem I've forgotten about.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: DaveReading on September 11, 2018, 05:58:06 pm
I can't help but laugh every time I see that TV ad with the nonsensical claim that

"We could save enough energy to power every home in Cardiff, Aberdeen & Manchester for a year, if we all got a smart meter."
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: ian on September 11, 2018, 06:24:43 pm
There is a valid point that if people can see their usage they're more likely to moderate it – for most of us, me included, I only really know what I use when I get the bill or am forced to correct one of BG's creative estimates. If you constantly see energy being used you might question it. It's the same theory for cars – people underestimate their costs as there no real per-journey costing (unless you've a clever computer thang), just the occasional jolt when you fill the tank or pay tax.

I believe they burn penguins for energy in Aberdeen anyway. Cardiff, I'm not sure they have energy. As for Manchester, they probably rob it from nearby towns. So it might be true.

I have no idea what a 'power factor correction' is but I bet it stings. Fifty Shades of Ow.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Greenbank on September 11, 2018, 06:29:59 pm
[XPOST with ian]

Maybe it's based on the idea that people, when faced with seeing a little display telling you exactly how much you are using right now, will actually take measures to lower their energy usage (change bulbs, hunt out inefficient appliances and items on standby, etc).

Whether enough people to do to save the claimed about of energy is another matter, but I don't think the claim is "nonsensical".

(It didn't affect my energy usage, but then I have already pretty much minimised it as I have a power measuring pass through socket for testing things, and almost every lightbulb in the flat is an energy saving one [just the bathroom to sort next time it needs a refit])
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: SteveC on September 11, 2018, 06:43:56 pm
We were with Eon until a few months ago. They wanted us to switch to a smart meter and the chap on the other end of the phone got a bit stroppy when I said I would only do so if it were a second generation one which would allow changing suppliers.
We are now with Bulb who have stated they're not going to roll out any smart meters until they are the second generation type. That process is supposed to start this year.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Giropaul on September 11, 2018, 07:25:26 pm
One here who has seen a drop in usage and cost. It’s just a raised awareness. The meter did illustrate what gobbles up the energy - anything involving heating stuff up. The kettle outdoes everything in buckets. Just making sure that a cup of tea only needs a cup boiled has probably been the factor that has made the saving.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Greenbank on September 11, 2018, 07:29:35 pm
One here who has seen a drop in usage and cost. It’s just a raised awareness. The meter did illustrate what gobbles up the energy - anything involving heating stuff up. The kettle outdoes everything in buckets. Just making sure that a cup of tea only needs a cup boiled has probably been the factor that has made the saving.

We have a Breville One Cup thing at work[1] and I'm seriously thinking about getting one for home. Boils exactly the right amount for a single cup in a short space of time and it withstands a lot of use in our office. That or getting an efficient boiling water tap installed if we ever get the kitchen redone.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: perpetual dan on September 11, 2018, 07:56:51 pm
I spent some time doing research that touched on this a while back. As well as the obvious switching lights off stuff there’s a load of electricity consumption that people have a variable grasp about ... immersion still on while running a bath; vacuum rather than dustpan round the dining table or every day in the hall; turning the laundry temperature and spin down a notch; hanging laundry out when it’s a bit grey; floodlights for the foxes etc.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Kim on September 11, 2018, 08:08:39 pm
Other than getting a feel for the duty cycle of the fridge/freezer, the one that's really stood out to me is the washing machine.  I mean, obviously heating such and such an amount of water to such and such a temperature is going to take a certain amount of energy, but it wasn't something I'd really thought about until I saw the big lumps on the electricity consumption graph.  I remain sceptical about the merits of cold-only fill.  Sure, sometimes hot fill doesn't gain you anything, but there must be enough people with solar water heating, back-boilers, gas boilers literally above the washing machine, etc, to make it a worthwhile option.

Not that I've changed my laundry habits to reduce electricity consumption.  The limiting factor is drying capacity (that we're drying on a rack is, admittedly, pretty good for our electricity consumption) and scheduling is governed by ensuring availability of needed clothing.

Obviously a large chunk of our usage is electronics.  But much of that is equipment I've specified with power consumption in mind, so consumption monitoring didn't bring any real surprises.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: hellymedic on September 11, 2018, 08:44:46 pm
Well, I don't really give a damn about how much electricity I'm using.

I choose my laundry temperature to get clothing clean and fresh, which does not happen at temperatures lower than those I choose.

A slower spin will leave clothes wetter so they'll take longer to dry and could go musty more easily. We don't have a tumble drier.

The central heating is set at the lowest temperature at which David will not grumble.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: ian on September 11, 2018, 08:56:06 pm
I think most of my electricity goes into generating enough wifi to enable aliens on distant stars to eavesdrop on my browsing habits.

(And, my nosy little grey friends, those are all perfectly normal and legal activities for humans to engage in.)
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Kim on September 11, 2018, 09:03:37 pm
Well, I don't really give a damn about how much electricity I'm using.

I choose my laundry temperature to get clothing clean and fresh, which does not happen at temperatures lower than those I choose.

A slower spin will leave clothes wetter so they'll take longer to dry and could go musty more easily. We don't have a tumble drier.

The central heating is set at the lowest temperature at which David will not grumble.

I've found the spin speed makes very little difference at all (your washing machine may vary); it's lost in the noise on my graph.  Heating the water is what uses significant power.

If you're not tumble-drying and you're not running partial loads (all our stuff goes in the same 40C synthetics wash, apart from towels and bedding which get saved up for a full load of their own), there's really not much you can do apart from wash your clothes less frequently.  My clothes-washing frequency varies primarily with how quickly they get dirty, which doesn't have much to do with energy consumption.

The other big electrical loads are the kettle (which is of the boil-what-you-need type so doesn't run for very long at a time) and the oven (which, like the washing machine, uses a fair amount of energy to do anything useful).  Obviously proper BRITONS cannot be expected to go without TEA, so there's limited scope there.  Most of our cooking is done by gas hob or microwave anyway.

We do use a fan heater in winter, because we both have medical reasons for avoiding prolonged cold, and it seems more efficient to heat one room with electricity[1] than the whole house and all the air passing through it with gas.  We've just had double-glazing fitted, though, so I'm expecting a significant reduction in energy use there.


[1] Much of the energy dissipated by electronics contributes to space heating, anyway.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: orienteer on September 11, 2018, 10:01:39 pm
One national habit that consumes excessive energy is waiting for a boiling kettle to cut out automatically instead of switching it off as soon as it boils. For instant coffee (not something I ever use) the optimum temperature is less than boiling point anyway.

This is the one reason I use a glass kettle (also to judge how little water to use), but boiling point can be gauged by sound too.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Tim Hall on September 11, 2018, 10:23:41 pm
One national habit that consumes excessive energy is waiting for a boiling kettle to cut out automatically instead of switching it off as soon as it boils. For instant coffee (not something I ever use) the optimum temperature is less than boiling point anyway.

This is the one reason I use a glass kettle (also to judge how little water to use), but boiling point can be gauged by sound too.
When I got my Aeropress, I also bought a digital poke-it-in-the-thing-to-be-measured thermometer. A bit of listening to the kettle while measuring the temperature means I get  "good enough not too hot water" result. Now I just use my ears.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: DaveReading on September 11, 2018, 11:20:57 pm
Whether enough people to do to save the claimed amount of energy is another matter, but I don't think the claim is "nonsensical".

Have another think about it. 

It says that the amount of energy saved if everyone had a smart meter would equate to the annual energy usage in those three cities - let's call that X GigaJoules for the sake of argument.

But there is no reference to how long the smart meters would have to be used to save that amount of energy.  A year? Ten years? A century?

Without that information, it's a nonsensical claim.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Kim on September 11, 2018, 11:22:32 pm
Whether enough people to do to save the claimed amount of energy is another matter, but I don't think the claim is "nonsensical".

Have another think about it. 

Well, I suppose the meter readers do have to travel to work...
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Greenbank on September 12, 2018, 01:00:34 am
Without that information, it's a nonsensical claim.

If the word "annual" is in there it would be quite obvious to assume it mean the annual savings would equate to the annual energy usage of those 3 cities. Seems kind of obvious to me. Again, I've got no idea whether this is true or not, but it's advertising innit.

If you want to have a go at the adverts purely on semantics then you're on your own.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: frankly frankie on September 12, 2018, 11:40:50 am
Maybe it's based on the idea that people, when faced with seeing a little display telling you exactly how much you are using right now, will actually take measures to lower their energy usage (change bulbs, hunt out inefficient appliances and items on standby, etc).

I think I would just cover the display with black tape (as I already do with countless glowing appliances round the house).
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Kim on September 12, 2018, 11:45:55 am
Maybe it's based on the idea that people, when faced with seeing a little display telling you exactly how much you are using right now, will actually take measures to lower their energy usage (change bulbs, hunt out inefficient appliances and items on standby, etc).

I think I would just cover the display with black tape (as I already do with countless glowing appliances round the house).

Or you could just unplug it?
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: ian on September 12, 2018, 11:46:41 am
Things that glow are cool. They make every day a Starship Enterprise day.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: hellymedic on September 12, 2018, 12:57:37 pm
Maybe it's based on the idea that people, when faced with seeing a little display telling you exactly how much you are using right now, will actually take measures to lower their energy usage (change bulbs, hunt out inefficient appliances and items on standby, etc).

I think I would just cover the display with black tape (as I already do with countless glowing appliances round the house).

Mine is not covered in black tape but stands on the sideboard obscured by tat. I'm seldom anywhere near the sideboard. Out of sight, out of mind...
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: andytheflyer on September 12, 2018, 01:45:45 pm
I've just had an email from Scottish Power asking me to contact them for an appointment to have a smart meter fitted.  I know that there's a major issue about different supplier's meters not being mutually compatible, but I don't exepct to change supplier any time soon.

I have a kW monitor in the hall (which I installed, there's a sender in the meter cupboard which transmits to a readout unit) which tells me how much is being used at any one time, so I know if something's been left on.  I check it several times a day as I walk past.

It enables me to shout at the wife when she's put the fan heater on in the music room when it's 20C outside....

Why would I want a smart meter?  All suggestions gratefully received.

I don't see why I need one, or am I missing something?
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Greenbank on September 12, 2018, 02:05:50 pm
There are several benefits:-
* The ability to see current usage (which you've already got)
* More detailed historical views of usage (I guess your current power monitor does not record historical info)
* Never having to have your meter read, or have to submit readings yourself, this leads to more accurate billing and estimation[1]

Putting it another way, is there a reason why you don't want a smart meter? They don't cost you anything except for a bit of time and faff whilst they disconnect the supply to fit it.

1. The billing companies try to bill you the same amount every month despite varing usage throughout the year (more lights on and more heating uses in winter, etc), so there's still an element of estimation even with accurate hourly meter readings.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Kim on September 12, 2018, 02:10:16 pm
Why would I want a smart meter?  All suggestions gratefully received.

So you get billed accurately without submitting meter readings.
So you get fewer visits from meter readers.
So you get a new! shiny! slightly more accurate! display thinger.
So your supplier stops hassling you about smart meters.


I think that's about it at the moment.  At some point they should enable new kinds of tariff, which may or may not be to your advantage, but that doesn't seem to be happening particularly quickly.

The advantages of smart metering are primarily to the supplier, and - eventually - to the grid in general.  Which isn't to say that a balanced grid isn't in everyone's interest, but it's very much a long-term thing.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Kim on September 12, 2018, 02:11:49 pm
1. The billing companies try to bill you the same amount every month despite varing usage throughout the year (more lights on and more heating uses in winter, etc), so there's still an element of estimation even with accurate hourly meter readings.

You can get them to bill for what you actually use every month, but they'll keep nagging to see if you want to change to a fixed DD.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Greenbank on September 12, 2018, 02:22:20 pm
1. The billing companies try to bill you the same amount every month despite varing usage throughout the year (more lights on and more heating uses in winter, etc), so there's still an element of estimation even with accurate hourly meter readings.

You can get them to bill for what you actually use every month, but they'll keep nagging to see if you want to change to a fixed DD.

The trick is moving to a fixed DD in the winter, so that you're not in credit with them during the summer and drawing down on that in the winter.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: ian on September 12, 2018, 06:20:05 pm
I don't think I'd give any utility company the ability to take money out of my account. I've seen their attempts at billing. They can bill me for what I've used and I'll pay them once I've checked. Direct debit, non!
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Feanor on September 12, 2018, 06:44:34 pm
I remain sceptical about the merits of cold-only fill.  Sure, sometimes hot fill doesn't gain you anything, but there must be enough people with solar water heating, back-boilers, gas boilers literally above the washing machine, etc, to make it a worthwhile option.

The thing is, that for most installations, hot fill does not actually give you a hot fill.
The water volume brought into the machine is rarely sufficient to get the hot water running even vaguely lukewarm.

Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Kim on September 12, 2018, 06:53:11 pm
I remain sceptical about the merits of cold-only fill.  Sure, sometimes hot fill doesn't gain you anything, but there must be enough people with solar water heating, back-boilers, gas boilers literally above the washing machine, etc, to make it a worthwhile option.

The thing is, that for most installations, hot fill does not actually give you a hot fill.
The water volume brought into the machine is rarely sufficient to get the hot water running even vaguely lukewarm.

I get usefully warm water within first two litres from the kitchen tap.  The pipe run from the boiler to the washing machine is shorter.  (And in the real world, I tend to have used the tap recently when the washing machine starts up.)  I'm not denying that most installations suffer from the effect of a much longer pipe run, just noting that some would benefit, and it seems a shame not to be able to buy a washing machine that can exploit that - particularly if your hot water is heated for 'free'.  It feels like a greenwash excuse to save a solenoid valve and some plumbing.

Maybe it'll reappear as a premium feature wrapped in internet-of-shit talks to your hot water tank logic...
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: ian on September 12, 2018, 07:29:25 pm
In the Asbestos Palace, the hot water typically goes on a Grand Tour before it finds it's way to the tap. I think the washing machine would be finished before the feed got tippy-toes warm. Oddly the bathroom is worst, it takes ages despite the cylinder being right next door. I dunno where it goes. It's never sent a postcard.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: hellymedic on September 12, 2018, 07:44:56 pm
I don't think I'd give any utility company the ability to take money out of my account. I've seen their attempts at billing. They can bill me for what I've used and I'll pay them once I've checked. Direct debit, non!

+1!
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: hellymedic on September 12, 2018, 07:48:32 pm
Maybe it's based on the idea that people, when faced with seeing a little display telling you exactly how much you are using right now, will actually take measures to lower their energy usage (change bulbs, hunt out inefficient appliances and items on standby, etc).

I think I would just cover the display with black tape (as I already do with countless glowing appliances round the house).

Or you could just unplug it?

The flattery will get bat!

These gadgets have a back-up battery and I don't want to pay good CA$H to replace them! (So I'll just pay the electricity to keep it ticking over...)
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: DaveReading on September 12, 2018, 08:04:32 pm
If the word "annual" is in there it would be quite obvious to assume it mean the annual savings would equate to the annual energy usage of those 3 cities. Seems kind of obvious to me.

Your assumption may or may not be correct.  We all know what happens when you assume ...

As it is, it would have been much easier just to leave out the irrelevant time element and simply compare the claimed power savings from smart meters with the power required to run those cities.

Instead, we get an attempt to equate two things with different dimensions - energy and power.  Sloppy physics like that doesn't inspire confidence in what they are trying to promote.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: De Sisti on September 13, 2018, 08:11:05 am

Putting it another way, is there a reason why you don't want a smart meter?

1. The billing companies try to bill you the same amount every month despite varing usage throughout the year (more lights on and more heating uses in winter, etc), so there's still an element of estimation even with accurate hourly meter readings.


If the above is true, then I don't understand the following.....


Never having to have your meter read, or have to submit readings yourself, this leads to more accurate billing and estimation.

Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Greenbank on September 13, 2018, 08:28:15 am

Putting it another way, is there a reason why you don't want a smart meter?

1. The billing companies try to bill you the same amount every month despite varing usage throughout the year (more lights on and more heating uses in winter, etc), so there's still an element of estimation even with accurate hourly meter readings.


If the above is true, then I don't understand the following.....


Never having to have your meter read, or have to submit readings yourself, this leads to more accurate billing and estimation.



You generally often have two options for paying:

a) Pay for exactly what you use every month.

So the accurate meter readings give you an accurate bill. So it could be ~£40 in July/Aug/Sep but then ~£100 in Dec/Jan/Feb. Some people don't like this variation and want their annual bill to be split up equally over the whole 12 months, (i.e. paying ~£70 a month if that was the average figure) so..

b) They have to estimate your expected usage for a year and then divide that by 12 for your monthly payment.

Even if they have accurate data for the previous 12 months they're still having to guess whether your usage for the next 12 months will be the same, greater or less than those last 12 months. With the accurate hourly meter readings they have more data to work on so it should be more accurate than estimates based off quarterly meter readings, but it's still an estimate.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: De Sisti on September 13, 2018, 12:44:49 pm
I normally give accurate meter readings at the beginning of the month. I've just had an on-line
bill today. My direct debit has gone down £10 to £44 per month. It may well go up sometime after
the new year to between £48-£54; until this time of the year again.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Brucey on September 13, 2018, 01:08:16 pm
re kettles and instant coffee. I recently worked out that I often prefer to drink some water and then have a small cup of fairly strong coffee rather than just have a bigger cup of coffee. This means that I am only heating half the water.

 I find that the noise of the kettle and the first wisps of steam out of it are quite good signs of impending boiling. If takes less than 30s to heat enough water for a (smaller) cup of coffee.

BTW re washing machines on hot fill; just run the hot tap in the sink for a little while before starting the washing machine; normally the pipe runs share most of their length and the water will come through hotter to the washing machine. I find that if the washing machine is used on a cooler setting only, it tends to get a bit smelly inside; the occasional boil wash or some other deliberate treatment helps to avoid this but doesn't solve the problem entirely.

cheers
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Kim on September 13, 2018, 01:14:57 pm
I find washing towels at 60C seems to be enough to keep the washing machine from going manky.  Probably depends on water hardness and whether you add slime fabric softner to the wash.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: thing1 on September 13, 2018, 01:42:35 pm
Pondering... If one wanted the meter and main fused moved up a bit, to stop it using all the useful wall space under stairs, do people think getting a smart meter installed could be a good chance to have that done too on the cheap?

Electrician I spoke to said it'd normally be an expensive job even to move it a small bit.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Brucey on September 13, 2018, 02:03:02 pm
I find washing towels at 60C seems to be enough to keep the washing machine from going manky.  Probably depends on water hardness and whether you add slime fabric softner to the wash.

I think the hardness of the water is the main problem in my case. I think that many detergents on sale today basically don't have enough softener in them for use in hard water areas any more.  Have taken to adding a couple of pints of vinegar and running the machine empty from time to time. Seems to help.

cheers

Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Greenbank on September 13, 2018, 02:17:15 pm
One of these a month keeps ours in ok shape:

https://parts.hotpoint.co.uk/product/all_models/all_parts/J00296870

We were left that by someone who came out to replace the original heating element (machine is cold fill only) that had furred up. The quick (1h) cycles were starting to take longer than and hour and a half.

40 deg C is the max we wash anything on.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: CommuteTooFar on September 13, 2018, 04:58:42 pm
I have not get one.  Last year when I had a job I got a message from NPower saying they would be fitting a smart meter. "When is convenient choose a day".  So I chose a day a few weeks ahead and took a day off work. The day before the Npower website before was still saying coming tomorrow.  So I sit at home all day awaiting but nothing happened.  A month later a phone call from Amey says we are coming to fit the meter tomorrow.  I told my mother to send the man away if he called. The engineer came and agreed with my mother that Npower were useless and went away.

I have decided not to get a smart meter until they do it properly so that all meters work with all electricity suppliers.  I think they are still installing the stock of old meters.  There may or may not be a firmware update to make some older meters work as they should.

   
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: ian on September 13, 2018, 05:03:14 pm
On balance I'd probably get one, if I could be bothered to sort out the appointment, for no better reason than LEDs. But I'm quite lazy and will probably forget unless they keep prodding me.

In other news, my washing machine is a bit smelly.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: hellymedic on September 13, 2018, 05:12:51 pm
My smart meter display is backlit LCD.
Sorry to disappoint!
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Greenbank on September 13, 2018, 05:14:11 pm
I have decided not to get a smart meter until they do it properly so that all meters work with all electricity suppliers.  I think they are still installing the stock of old meters.  There may or may not be a firmware update to make some older meters work as they should.

I suspect that the ones that cannot be upgraded will either:
* continue to report the readings to their current supplier who will forward them on (via a broker service) to the appropriate supplier
* have the data packets redirected by the mobile phone companies on a per device basis

Either of those has to be cheaper than fitting yet another set of new meters.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: slope on September 13, 2018, 05:22:22 pm
And there are those of us whose choice of to 'smart' meter or not is irrelevant = no mobile phone signal ::-)




Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Kim on September 13, 2018, 05:49:17 pm
And there are those of us whose choice of to 'smart' meter or not is irrelevant = no mobile phone signal ::-)

I thought they were working on that, by providing what-could-possibly-go-wrong internet-of-shit meters that use a WiFi connection.  Providing the WiFi connection left as an exercise for the customer, presumably.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Quisling on September 13, 2018, 05:56:24 pm
https://www.smartme.co.uk/technical.html
https://www.smartenergygb.org/en/about-smart-meters/what-is-a-smart-meter

By using Zigbee mesh comms the meters can talk via one another rather than using Wifi in order to get round a lot of comms issues.  They don't use your Wifi.

Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Kim on September 13, 2018, 06:44:49 pm
https://www.smartme.co.uk/technical.html
https://www.smartenergygb.org/en/about-smart-meters/what-is-a-smart-meter

By using Zigbee mesh comms the meters can talk via one another rather than using Wifi in order to get round a lot of comms issues.  They don't use your Wifi.

Seems to me that if you're in a mobile reception blackspot, the chances of someone else having meters within Zigbee range are 50% at best...

(Obviously it's fine for the usual purpose of the gas/water meter talking to the electricity meter, and the electricity meter talking to the display unit.)
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: andytheflyer on September 13, 2018, 09:26:38 pm
Thank you for those OTP that responded to my query as to whether or not to have a smart meter, as offered by my energy supplier, Scottish Power.  Yes, I know I live in rural S Cheshire, but we were MANWEB (Merseyside and North Wales EB, until they were bought out years ago).

I also consulted the blogosphere, and whilst maybe that will be biased toward those who've had a bad experience and need to sound off, I've decided to politely decline SP's kind offer.  As in ignore it.

We pay a fixed monthly fee, based upon SP's assessment of our annual usage using the quarterly meter readings supplied by me.  It would appear that nothing would change as we can continue to pay on that basis (and yes, I know that they owe me money in the summer, but given the pathetic interest rates on our savings it matters not a lot whether my cash is sitting in their bank or mine for a few months over the summer).  There may be a tweaking of the monthly fee as it may be a more accurate estimate based on hourly readings as opposed to quarterly.

However, on doing my research, I found countless complaints about SPs ability to take those readings, either because of defective kit or poor mobile signals (as is common in our small village), or some other technical gremlin, totally outwith the consumer's control.  There then seemed to be endless hassles (or grasping demands for stupid amounts of cash from SP) for the consumer in trying to get SP either to listen, or actually fix the problem, that it seems to me that what I have now may not be perfect, but it certainly ain't broke, so it don't need fixing.  I don't suppose SP are any different to the other suppliers, I suspect the incompetent roll-out of smart meters is an industry-wide issue.

The monitor on electricity usage that I already have, and consult several times a day, stores usage data for a month, so if I need to consult recent historic usage, I can.  Not that I do.  If were are using much more than the base load of about 200W I want to know why, and what the wife has left switched on.  I'll spot it within an hour or two.

So, for now at least, I'll stay as I am, thank you.  As you were.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Greenbank on September 13, 2018, 11:46:30 pm
If mobile reception is non-existent in your area then the more people in that area that get a smart meter fitted the quicker your area will be bumped up the list for improved mobile reception. Of course, you may not want this.

(If the mobile reception is available but poor then, more than likely, the low demands of the data connection from the smart meter to the mobile network will probably work often enough that the usage information can get through [even if not immediate but arriving in batches every few hours], so no improvements will be deemed necessary in that area.)
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: rogerzilla on September 14, 2018, 05:20:41 pm
Mine went dumb when I changed supplier, as do most.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Tim Hall on October 05, 2018, 10:26:48 pm
I put off getting one until after the 1st of October, which was the magic date for them to be SMETS2, ie 2nd generation and able to keep on being smart after a supplier change. Today was the day and a nice man turned up, having phoned to warn me he was on his way.

Power off, fuse out, old meter out, new meter in, fuse in. There then followed a lot of fruitless waiting, phone calls  and switch frobbing as it failed to connect the the mobile network. Puzzling as both the nice man and I get good mobile connections,  although the signal strength on my phone was a bit lower by the external to my flat but in the hallway meter cupboard.  This was solved by putting a SMETS1 in instead. Gas was a lot easier as was commissioning.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: andytheflyer on October 06, 2018, 08:03:28 am
I put off getting one until after the 1st of October, which was the magic date for them to be SMETS2, ie 2nd generation and able to keep on being smart after a supplier change. Today was the day and a nice man turned up, having phoned to warn me he was on his way.

Power off, fuse out, old meter out, new meter in, fuse in. There then followed a lot of fruitless waiting, phone calls  and switch frobbing as it failed to connect the the mobile network. Puzzling as both the nice man and I get good mobile connections,  although the signal strength on my phone was a bit lower by the external to my flat but in the hallway meter cupboard.  This was solved by putting a SMETS1 in instead. Gas was a lot easier as was commissioning.

See my post ^^.  I rest my case. For now at least.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Quisling on October 10, 2018, 01:01:14 pm
Pondering... If one wanted the meter and main fused moved up a bit, to stop it using all the useful wall space under stairs, do people think getting a smart meter installed could be a good chance to have that done too on the cheap?

Electrician I spoke to said it'd normally be an expensive job even to move it a small bit.

We moved our incoming supply a couple of metres, and moved the meter last year.  It cost about £300+, though we had the electrician booked to do other works on the kitchen anyway.  Most of that was to the local distribution company to shift the incoming supply (2 blokes), then Good Energy I think charged a nominal amount like £50 to move the meter (1 chap), and then our sparky plumbed it all back to the consumer unit.  It was a lot of effort liaising with the different people to get them to all show up on the same day.

Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: citoyen on October 10, 2018, 01:43:25 pm
an estimation algorithm that includes i

On which note, I expect that once modern electronic meters are sufficiently rolled out, energy companies will start billing domestic customers for reactive power.

Which is fair enough in my book - the only reason they aren't is that traditional electromechanical meters only measure real power, and in the days when most domestic loads were resisitve it made a vanishingly small difference.  But it's going to come as a bit of a shock when people discover how nasty the power factor of their cheap shitty LED lighting from China is.  Expect power-factor correction to be the new eco ratings.

Could you translate this into English for those of us who only got a B in GCSE physics?

We're getting a smart meter installed next week. Not entirely sure why.

Here's another question: if a smart meter works by sending signals over the mobile cell network or wifi, presumably that means it is itself using power, so am I getting charged for that power use? If so... Chiz!
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Greenbank on October 10, 2018, 02:12:11 pm
Here's another question: if a smart meter works by sending signals over the mobile cell network or wifi, presumably that means it is itself using power, so am I getting charged for that power use? If so... Chiz!

They contain a large battery. My smart gas meter is not plugged in to the mains but has a digital display and would (if it could) be sending readings to my electricity meter that is too far away.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: hellymedic on October 10, 2018, 02:42:27 pm
an estimation algorithm that includes i

On which note, I expect that once modern electronic meters are sufficiently rolled out, energy companies will start billing domestic customers for reactive power.

Which is fair enough in my book - the only reason they aren't is that traditional electromechanical meters only measure real power, and in the days when most domestic loads were resisitve it made a vanishingly small difference.  But it's going to come as a bit of a shock when people discover how nasty the power factor of their cheap shitty LED lighting from China is.  Expect power-factor correction to be the new eco ratings.

Could you translate this into English for those of us who only got a B in GCSE physics?

We're getting a smart meter installed next week. Not entirely sure why.

Here's another question: if a smart meter works by sending signals over the mobile cell network or wifi, presumably that means it is itself using power, so am I getting charged for that power use? If so... Chiz!

Ours has a battery and is permanently plugged into the mains via an adapter.

It uses a small amount of electricity, for which we are paying.
I think replacing the battery might cost more though.

Our smart meter was installed after Eon sent a letter which started: 'We need to change your meter'...

So we let them change it 'cos it didn't look like we had much choice.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Kim on October 10, 2018, 03:38:16 pm
an estimation algorithm that includes i

On which note, I expect that once modern electronic meters are sufficiently rolled out, energy companies will start billing domestic customers for reactive power.

Which is fair enough in my book - the only reason they aren't is that traditional electromechanical meters only measure real power, and in the days when most domestic loads were resisitve it made a vanishingly small difference.  But it's going to come as a bit of a shock when people discover how nasty the power factor of their cheap shitty LED lighting from China is.  Expect power-factor correction to be the new eco ratings.

Could you translate this into English for those of us who only got a B in GCSE physics?

Resistive power is what you'll remember from your GCSE: Current flows through a Mk 1 tungsten light bulb or similar, makes it get hot, and electrical power becomes heat and light.  Power dissipated is current multiplied by voltage.  Simples.

Alternating current makes things more complicated, because with AC some things don't act like resistors.  The usual culprits are things with coil windings like electric motors, which have some inductance, or things like switched-mode power supplies, which have some capacitance.  This causes them to store energy (in a magnetic field, or as charge on the capacitor plates), and then return it back to the supply at a different point in the AC cycle.  Imagine a suspension spring compressing and then expanding - you get the energy back, but not when it's useful. 

The overall effect is that you have real power - that which the electric motor converts into mechanical work (and heat), and reactive power, which just causes a bit more current to flow.  The apparent power - what you'd actually measure if you put a voltmeter and ammeter on the wire and multiplied the readings - is the combination of the two.  'Power factor' is simply the ratio of real power to apparent power.  It's a measure of how reactive the load is.

The apparent power matters because the supplier has to generate that electricity, and it causes real transmission losses.  As such, industrial customers who are powering massive motors (or whatever) are billed accordingly.  Domestic customers (with their tungsten lamps and heating elements) historically had very little reactive load, and the traditional mechanical domestic meter (which can only measure real power) was considered to be 'close enough'.

The difference is that domestic users now have more reactive loads (typically capacitive things like DC power supplies, rather than inductive motors), and - critically - with an electronic meter, it's possible to measure apparent power cheaply at point-of-use.

The good news is that it's possible to design devices to have a better (ie. less reactive) power factor, by adding components that cancel out the effect[1] (which obviously increases cost).  Historically, that's been the domain of industrial users, but if domestic customers start to get billed accordingly, there will be an incentive to design things like domestic LED lighting and consumer electronics power supplies with power factor in mind.


Quote
Here's another question: if a smart meter works by sending signals over the mobile cell network or wifi, presumably that means it is itself using power, so am I getting charged for that power use? If so... Chiz!

I don't *think* you get billed for the energy required to run the meter, other than indirectly as part of the standing charge for having an electricity supply.  Obviously if you use the energy usage display thinger, that's powered from your side of the meter, and would cost you a few pennies a year.



[1] Inductive and capacitive loads shift the power factor in opposite directions, so you can for example correct the power factor of a motor by adding capacitors.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: citoyen on October 10, 2018, 03:55:48 pm
The difference is that domestic users now have more reactive loads (typically capacitive things like DC power supplies, rather than inductive motors), and - critically - with an electronic meter, it's possible to measure apparent power cheaply at point-of-use.

Right. So this is why you shouldn't leave phone chargers plugged in and switched on when not actually in use?

Will the current generation of smart meters actually measure reactive power?
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Greenbank on October 10, 2018, 04:18:48 pm
an estimation algorithm that includes i

On which note, I expect that once modern electronic meters are sufficiently rolled out, energy companies will start billing domestic customers for reactive power.

Which is fair enough in my book - the only reason they aren't is that traditional electromechanical meters only measure real power, and in the days when most domestic loads were resisitve it made a vanishingly small difference.  But it's going to come as a bit of a shock when people discover how nasty the power factor of their cheap shitty LED lighting from China is.  Expect power-factor correction to be the new eco ratings.

Could you translate this into English for those of us who only got a B in GCSE physics?

We're getting a smart meter installed next week. Not entirely sure why.

Here's another question: if a smart meter works by sending signals over the mobile cell network or wifi, presumably that means it is itself using power, so am I getting charged for that power use? If so... Chiz!

Ours has a battery and is permanently plugged into the mains via an adapter.

That's not the smart meter. The smart meter is the thing in the cupboard/elsewhere that you incoming electricity/gas supply comes through. It'll be about 30x15x12cm with an LED display and/or other blinkenlights.

The little monitoring thing that you plug in to get a reading of things is a completely separate item and isn't responsible for uploading any of your readings. Mine went to the small electrical items recycling area at the local tip.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Kim on October 10, 2018, 04:20:34 pm
The difference is that domestic users now have more reactive loads (typically capacitive things like DC power supplies, rather than inductive motors), and - critically - with an electronic meter, it's possible to measure apparent power cheaply at point-of-use.

Right. So this is why you shouldn't leave phone chargers plugged in and switched on when not actually in use?

The main reason for doing that is so they don't catch fire.  (Top tip: Don't buy cheap shitty pink USB chargers from China (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioAq7PI1Uwg))

But also because energy saving advice gets oversimplified.  "Turn appliances off when not in use." is a catchier message than "Caclulate the tradeoff between your device's standby load, the increased wear on the switch[1], and the inconvenience of having to cold boot it each time you use it.", especially when most people have no idea what the standby load of a given appliance actually is.

You can run a lot of idle phone chargers for the energy wasted boiling a full kettle when you only need one cup.


Quote
Will the current generation of smart meters actually measure reactive power?

I'm sure some of them can (It's been a while since I flipped through the menus on ours).  They'll be using real power for billing purposes, though.


[1] Cooker and shower isolator switches are a favourite here - they're designed to be a safety isolator, not a service switch, and wear out relatively quickly if frobbed on a daily basis.  How much power do you have to save not running that little neon light before you've covered the cost (monetary or environmental) of a replacement switch?
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: hellymedic on October 10, 2018, 05:32:14 pm
an estimation algorithm that includes i

On which note, I expect that once modern electronic meters are sufficiently rolled out, energy companies will start billing domestic customers for reactive power.

Which is fair enough in my book - the only reason they aren't is that traditional electromechanical meters only measure real power, and in the days when most domestic loads were resisitve it made a vanishingly small difference.  But it's going to come as a bit of a shock when people discover how nasty the power factor of their cheap shitty LED lighting from China is.  Expect power-factor correction to be the new eco ratings.

Could you translate this into English for those of us who only got a B in GCSE physics?

We're getting a smart meter installed next week. Not entirely sure why.

Here's another question: if a smart meter works by sending signals over the mobile cell network or wifi, presumably that means it is itself using power, so am I getting charged for that power use? If so... Chiz!

Ours has a battery and is permanently plugged into the mains via an adapter.

That's not the smart meter. The smart meter is the thing in the cupboard/elsewhere that you incoming electricity/gas supply comes through. It'll be about 30x15x12cm with an LED display and/or other blinkenlights.

The little monitoring thing that you plug in to get a reading of things is a completely separate item and isn't responsible for uploading any of your readings. Mine went to the small electrical items recycling area at the local tip.

Our main meter is in the cupboard on the outdoor wall by the front door.
The monitor is ignored.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Ham on October 11, 2018, 07:12:49 am
Gas smart meter (not that ours is smart any more). No obvious battery replacement, certainly not user serviceable. Does that mean there's an imp inside, who survives on natural gas, or is that a once-in-10-years visit to replace a lithium cell? Also, AIUI, the gas comms go through the electric which means that the energy Cos have to play nice together..... or does it?
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Kim on October 11, 2018, 11:28:27 am
Yeah, it'll be a 10-year primary lithium battery, like the quantum meters.  It speaks Zigbee (a wireless protocol almost, but not quite entirely, unlike Bluetooth) to the electricity meter, which has mains power available for the cellular comms.  Presumably it's able to smartly ask for a new battery as the voltage drops, though whether that's implemented properly in the back-end is anyone's guess.

When I was a PSO, our quantum gas meter had a bat flattery, and we had to invoke a gas man to come and replace it.  This was complicated by us naughtily not having a gas (or electricity) supplier, after previously nobbling a fraudulent attempt to sign us up as customers by the infamous London Electricity cold-callers.  We'd been happily taking the card/key to the local newsagent to add credit, and the meters had been dispensing overpriced energy, but apparently our supply existed in a superposed state and attempting to get the meter replaced collapsed its wave-function.  Presumably this is why they call them quantum meters.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on October 11, 2018, 12:24:10 pm
So this reactive and resistive power thing: Let's take a washing machine. It has basically two electric components, a heating element and a motor to turn the drum. Let's suppose for ease of stuff that both are 1kW. That means the heating element uses 1kW of electricity and turns it into 1kW of heat (minus inevitable losses)? Whereas the motor uses more than 1kW of electricity to produce 1kW of spinny power (torque?) (minus inevitable losses)? Or not?
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Kim on October 11, 2018, 01:03:51 pm
So this reactive and resistive power thing: Let's take a washing machine. It has basically two electric components, a heating element and a motor to turn the drum. Let's suppose for ease of stuff that both are 1kW. That means the heating element uses 1kW of electricity and turns it into 1kW of heat (minus inevitable losses)? Whereas the motor uses more than 1kW of electricity to produce 1kW of spinny power (torque?) (minus inevitable losses)? Or not?

Yes, exactly that.  The power factor will be near as dammit 1 while it's heating the water, but will drop significantly when the motor's doing serious work in the spin cycle.  The domestic electricity meter will magically[1] only record the 1kW of real power, in spite of there being more than the ~4.2A you might expect a 1kW load to draw flowing in the wire.

By convention, apparent power is quoted in VA (Volt-Amperes) rather than Watts.  You're most likely to encounter this on ratings of things that supply AC power, like isolation transformers (the big yellow things for 110V power tools), UPSes, generators and inverters.

A 1kVA inverter, for example, might happily power your washing machine as it heats the water and swishes the drum about during the wash (when the motor is only drawing a fraction of its rated power, albeit at a nasty power factor), and promptly trip out when the washing machine gets to the spin cycle and presents, say, 1.4VA of load.


[1] For simplicity I've been carefully not talking about phase angle, but suffice to say the difference between resistive and reactive current is whether they're in sync with the AC voltage or not.  Inductive loads make the current lag behind the voltage; capacitive loads make the current lead the voltage (hence if you carefully combine the two they can cancel out).  Some loads (typically electronics and fluorescent lighting) are non-linear, with a current waveform that isn't even a sine wave, which causes particular problems for the grid.

Your traditional spinning-disc electricity meter is effectively an induction motor that mechanically multiplies instantaneous voltage by instantaneous current, hence always measures real power.  An electronic meter will be sampling the voltage and current waveforms independently and performing the calculation in software, so can derive voltage, current, frequency, real power, apparent power, power factor, etc.  Potentially some of this is useful for monitoring the performance of the distribution network, as well as billing.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on October 11, 2018, 01:20:17 pm
By convention, apparent power is quoted in VA (Volt-Amperes) rather than Watts.  You're most likely to encounter this on ratings of things that supply AC power, like isolation transformers (the big yellow things for 110V power tools), UPSes, generators and inverters.
Aha!
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Ham on December 01, 2018, 08:19:17 am
Big Clive's smart meter teardown

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G32NYQpvy8Q
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: andytheflyer on December 01, 2018, 08:50:42 am
A couple of months ago Scottish Power (yes, I know, I live at the bottom end of Cheshire) 'invited' me to have a smart meter fitted, and I declined.  I have an electricity monitor on the wall and I can see when SWMBO has put a fan heater on in her music room, and has left the doors open, so a 3kW heater is trying to heat our whole house...…  I don't need a smart meter that won't work if I change supplier.

This week I had an email from SP inviting me to have a smart meter fitted.  I wondered if this was the start of a campaign to wear me down into having one fitted - if we keep badgering you, you'll give in in the end.  Ha Ha  - we win!

Just had another SP email, apologising for emailing me earlier in the week when I'd already previously declined their kind offer.  Is this some form of subterfuge? Yes, we know you'd told us not to fit a smart meter, but we forgot, so sorry we bothered you.  But, really, would you like one after all?  (There was a link button on their email to book a meter fitting appointment).


I don't normally subscribe to conspiracy theories, but in this case......
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Jaded on December 01, 2018, 09:02:39 am
I’ve had the same.

The weird thing about the latest emails is that they are coming to fit one next week.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Mrs Pingu on December 01, 2018, 10:50:56 am
We're supposed supposed to be getting our b0rked electric meter replaced by a smart one on Monday. But it's a dumb smart one so I'll still need to grovel on the floor to read it I suppose.
(Though that's not as much of a pain as having to empty the cupboard under the kitchen sink and grovel on the floor to read the gas meter, which isn't getting replaced becauss it would be a PITA.)
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Feanor on December 01, 2018, 11:07:07 am
Ive had the same from SP.
In fact, Ive been getting spammed by txt and email several times a week.

I had to call them and ask them to stop, as its in relation to a rental property we are only in shot term.

They said the could mark the account as 'awaiting landlord approval' and that would stop the spam.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Wombat on December 01, 2018, 02:25:01 pm
At last, I am supposed to be getting mine (a proper SMETS2 one) fitted on Tuesday.  Assuming the mobile phone network plays ball at the moment of installation, of course.  I'm on a tariff with SSE which pre-agrees that I'm OK to have a smart meter, but I held off on it because we had an old meter (this is a new house to us, we moved in during Feb) that went backwards when the newly installed solar PV was generating.  It took them months to twig I wasn't lying in the meter readings I gave them, so they wanted to fit a new meter as soon as they realised what was happening.  I got awkward and insisted on a smart meter, they said they didn't have any that were OK for solar PV (which I knew was bollocks) and a bloke came to install a new dumb meter 2 weeks ago.  He also showed me a message on his phone saying he could now install SMETS2 compliant meters in homes with microgeneration, but he had to fit what he had been told to fit, i.e. a dumb one.  A week ago I got a letter from SSE saying I could have a smart meter, so I phoned, and they're coming on Tuesday.  I didn't worry them like I did the advisor when making the previous appointment, that when we have no electricity, it also means we have no water, as that got her all worried (we have a private borehole, with a pump about 40 metres down the hole).

Here's hoping they get a mobile signal, as it comes and goes randomly.  Sometimes its 4G, sometimes there's nothing, but luckily the meter is outside, so it gets a slightly better chance.

I'm puzzled by the folk who are anti-smart meter.  What do they think its going to do, steal their children and ravage their spouses?  Even if you resolutely refuse to make use of the helpful information it gives you, and aren't interested in not getting any estimated bills, what possible harm can it do?  OK, so it raises the distant possibility of demand side regulation, but if that ever comes to pass, I'd rather have my electricity supply throttled, than have it cut out because everyone was being too greedy.  Energy is a precious and limited resource, we need to use it carefully and wisely.  And before anyone points out that I could just have an energy monitor, OK, just tell me of one that works properly with microgeneration, because as far as I can tell, there aren't any.  I have no idea, why, but none of them actually seem to be able to tell me clearly my status, whether I'm in credit or debit, on the consumption versus generation, front.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: andytheflyer on December 01, 2018, 05:30:26 pm
I'm puzzled by the folk who are anti-smart meter. 

I don't have one, and don't currently want one: unless I'm given a SMETS2, it doesn't work if I change supplier.  What idiot allowed the suppliers to install meters that can't be used by any supplier.  Big lack of application of brain by someone in Govt/Regulation which we, the consumer, are paying for.

I already have a monitor on the wall for my electricity - so I soon know if our consumption is not what I'd expect given the time of day.

I pay by quarterly DD, based upon my previous consumption, and I almost always send in my quarterly meter readings and doing that allows me a quick check to see if our consumption for the quarter is what I'd expect.  Occasionally they'll owe me something, or I owe them something.  It balances out.

Agreed, a Smart meter would obviate the need for me to spend 10 minutes 4 times a year reading the meters.  And, yes, a Smart meter would also show me the gas consumption - but it's only used for CH/HW and that consumption doesn't vary much - it doesn't get 'left on' like a fan heater or hob ring can, which drink electricity.

And  finally, in our corner of our rural village, only one mobile provider seems to work - when I worked from home, my work mobiles only worked if I went to the upstairs front of the house.  The meter cupboard is downstairs, around the back.  I'd be surprised if it gets a signal.  Inevitably, they'll use a provider that can't 'see 'my Smart meter's modem, so I'll still have to email my meter readings.

When the idiots who specified the Smart meter system get their act together, and install meters that do what they should do, then I'll have one.  Until then I'll help out all of the UK's energy consumers by saving them the cost of installing a semi-useless bit of technology in my house.

And breathe.

I thank you all.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: toontra on December 01, 2018, 05:40:15 pm
Ah, that's interesting, Wombat.  I've been trying to get SSE to fit a smart meter for ages but was told they couldn't because of my PV FIT set-up.  From what you say they are now able to do this.  Let me know how it goes.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Kim on December 01, 2018, 06:03:26 pm
The main objection to smart meters (other than them being badly implemented) seems to be that they allow your electricity company to cut your electricity off.  As if they couldn't do that already.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: rafletcher on December 01, 2018, 07:17:11 pm
The main objection to smart meters (other than them being badly implemented) seems to be that they allow your electricity company to cut your electricity off.  As if they couldn't do that already.

Well they can, but as things are lots of others would be cut off too - every third house in our case. Individual smart meters = individual disconnections.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Kim on December 01, 2018, 07:21:40 pm
The main objection to smart meters (other than them being badly implemented) seems to be that they allow your electricity company to cut your electricity off.  As if they couldn't do that already.

Well they can, but as things are lots of others would be cut off too - every third house in our case. Individual smart meters = individual disconnections.

They already have a legal right to enter your property, escorted by a police ossifer and a locksmith as necessary, in order to perform individual disconnections.  The smart meter just means you don't need a new front door.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: robgul on December 01, 2018, 07:37:36 pm
Interesting this week - I phoned our energy supplier (British Gas for both) about a billing query and tariff change (that's another story of unscrupulous attempts to up the price now instead of when the current fix ends in February - cost to me would have >£100) - it was sort of answered but I lodged a formal complaint.

Five minutes later I got a sales call about fitting a SmartMeter "to save me money on my tariff" .... err, no - all it does is frighten you into turning the heating down and the lights off so any saving is in your realm.

I hovered and said possibly if it's a SMETS 2 .... "we can't guarantee that but we'll be there between nn and nn on nn January"    .... oh no you wont, no Smets 2 = no new meters.

Coincidence with the sales call or what?

Rob

Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: rogerzilla on December 01, 2018, 08:12:48 pm
The conspiracy theory is that smart meters are being put in to enable surge pricing, which will allow the suppliers and generators to better match revenue to costs (they have to pay a lot more for energy at certain times, but it's all flat rate to domestic users).  This means it might cost you a quid to boil a kettle at some times of day, when everyone wants to do it.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: rob on December 01, 2018, 08:21:59 pm
The conspiracy theory is that smart meters are being put in to enable surge pricing, which will allow the suppliers and generators to better match revenue to costs (they have to pay a lot more for energy at certain times, but it's all flat rate to domestic users).  This means it might cost you a quid to boil a kettle at some times of day, when everyone wants to do it.

And that is, indeed, just a conspiracy theory. 

A recent trial with smart settlement at a domestic level had consumers saving £150-£300 per year.  The worst off customer was flat.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Kim on December 01, 2018, 08:31:33 pm
The conspiracy theory is that smart meters are being put in to enable surge pricing, which will allow the suppliers and generators to better match revenue to costs (they have to pay a lot more for energy at certain times, but it's all flat rate to domestic users).  This means it might cost you a quid to boil a kettle at some times of day, when everyone wants to do it.

Which seems like an eminently sensible thing to do, if we want to encourage people to use the cheap clean electricity, rather than the expensive fossil-fuel-based stuff.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: mzjo on December 01, 2018, 09:03:50 pm
All this is very interesting. From a french viewpoint I think it is possible to refuse them but the mechanism for doing that is not very clear (read, exceedingly well-hidden for normal mortals). French meters apparently use current carrying  (or whatever CPL is in anglo-saxon), not wi-fi. They are not 100% reliable; I forget who said a member of his family had one catch fire but our neighbour had her tele destroyed by it - liability accepted by the fitting sub-contractor but she now has a hassle dealing with various insurance companies which at 80+ with dodgy health she could do without.
On our case we accepted it, the man came on the due date for the electric one, all cleared to give him access. It took him all of 30 seconds to discover there were no main fuses - no new meter until Engie come to cut the power at the pole ( which will probably cut off the whole neighbourhood). The fitter looked at our 1950's vintage meter and said that the oldest they had changed dated from 1932 and it was still working fine, a record that he didn't think would be the case with the new ones.
Some time later the gas meter was going to be changed as well. Rdv advanced a couple of weeks in this case. Same story, just explaining what he was going to do and which bits to turn off when I show him where the meter is. The container that it's in (for which I have forgotten the right word in french and in english; damn senior's moments) is not "aux normes" and needs to be replaced as well for which a new rdv will have to be arranged in a relatively distant future. I didn't have the heart to point out that they would undoubtedly have to replace the tiny pipe and T-piece that feeds our neighbour and us or the box in the wall that it comes from (but I did tell him that our neighbour's installation was the same as ours!).
Great stuff, these new meters! How on earth we stay alive without them I really don't know :D
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: robgul on December 02, 2018, 01:47:54 pm
The conspiracy theory is that smart meters are being put in to enable surge pricing, which will allow the suppliers and generators to better match revenue to costs (they have to pay a lot more for energy at certain times, but it's all flat rate to domestic users).  This means it might cost you a quid to boil a kettle at some times of day, when everyone wants to do it.

The converse is that the BG guy said that there would "reward offers" for things like a day's free energy - i.e. use whatever you like and the meter will record it but make a deduction on the bill for the value used that day.   

Given that our whole energy biill, with the standing charges, is only about £3 a day you'd need to have some massive piece of kit using electricity and heat the house with gas to 100 degrees all day to get any sort of worthwhile reward.

Rob
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on December 02, 2018, 05:22:47 pm
The main objection to smart meters (other than them being badly implemented) seems to be that they allow your electricity company to cut your electricity off.  As if they couldn't do that already.

Well they can, but as things are lots of others would be cut off too - every third house in our case. Individual smart meters = individual disconnections.

They already have a legal right to enter your property, escorted by a police ossifer and a locksmith as necessary, in order to perform individual disconnections.  The smart meter just means you don't need a new front door.
We need a new front door anyway. Unfortunately our (non-smart) meter is in a box in the porch, so even if we stopped paying the bill we probably wouldn't get a new door.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Wombat on December 02, 2018, 06:17:29 pm
Ah, that's interesting, Wombat.  I've been trying to get SSE to fit a smart meter for ages but was told they couldn't because of my PV FIT set-up.  From what you say they are now able to do this.  Let me know how it goes.

I will! 
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Wombat on December 02, 2018, 06:21:40 pm

When I was a PSO, our quantum gas meter had a bat flattery, and we had to invoke a gas man to come and replace it.  This was complicated by us naughtily not having a gas (or electricity) supplier, after previously nobbling a fraudulent attempt to sign us up as customers by the infamous London Electricity cold-callers.  We'd been happily taking the card/key to the local newsagent to add credit, and the meters had been dispensing overpriced energy, but apparently our supply existed in a superposed state and attempting to get the meter replaced collapsed its wave-function.  Presumably this is why they call them quantum meters.


Aargh, quantum meters!  The bloody things are a nightmare for social housing providers, for the very reason you outline, namely, folk who either don't actually have a supplier, or those who do, but then we can't find out who it was, when they bugger off.  Yes I know in theory we can find out who their supplier is, but they would often refuse to tell us, so we just had to rip out the meter, and then tell them there was no meter...
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Wombat on December 02, 2018, 06:27:54 pm
I'm puzzled by the folk who are anti-smart meter. 

I don't have one, and don't currently want one: unless I'm given a SMETS2, it doesn't work if I change supplier.  What idiot allowed the suppliers to install meters that can't be used by any supplier.  Big lack of application of brain by someone in Govt/Regulation which we, the consumer, are paying for.

I already have a monitor on the wall for my electricity - so I soon know if our consumption is not what I'd expect given the time of day.

I pay by quarterly DD, based upon my previous consumption, and I almost always send in my quarterly meter readings and doing that allows me a quick check to see if our consumption for the quarter is what I'd expect.  Occasionally they'll owe me something, or I owe them something.  It balances out.

Agreed, a Smart meter would obviate the need for me to spend 10 minutes 4 times a year reading the meters.  And, yes, a Smart meter would also show me the gas consumption - but it's only used for CH/HW and that consumption doesn't vary much - it doesn't get 'left on' like a fan heater or hob ring can, which drink electricity.

And  finally, in our corner of our rural village, only one mobile provider seems to work - when I worked from home, my work mobiles only worked if I went to the upstairs front of the house.  The meter cupboard is downstairs, around the back.  I'd be surprised if it gets a signal.  Inevitably, they'll use a provider that can't 'see 'my Smart meter's modem, so I'll still have to email my meter readings.

When the idiots who specified the Smart meter system get their act together, and install meters that do what they should do, then I'll have one.  Until then I'll help out all of the UK's energy consumers by saving them the cost of installing a semi-useless bit of technology in my house.

And breathe.

I thank you all.

The idiots in question, are the Energy Retail Association, and the Government.  I went to a meeting where they were planning the standards, in about 2008, and they've been farting about with it ever since.  They seemed to be a bunch of bumbling reactionary old farts, even then.  As for a monitor on the wall, lucky you.  You evidently don't have microgeneration, or don't mind having a monitor that will only tell you half the story.  It defeats me that such a thing seems to be beyond the manufacturers of such things.  We shall see what sort of monitor thingy I get with my smart meter, assuming it actually happens on Tuesday.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Kim on December 02, 2018, 06:48:02 pm
My smart meter is monitored by an Arduino counting the flashes of the blinkenlight on the front panel via phototransistor and blu-tac technology.  Because the supplied energy monitoring widget is, frankly, a waste of electrons[1].


[1] It always reverts to a display of the running total for the billing period, which I'm sure is helpful if you're penny-pinching, but mostly useless if you're trying to keep an eye on rogue energy consumption.  The previous effort supplied by nPower was better, as it gave you an instantaneous power reading.  Of course, without a time-series graph of decent resolution, it's hard to spot unexpected loads without going around switching things on and off.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: BrianI on December 02, 2018, 09:01:14 pm
Ive had a couple of letters from Eon requesting me to change to smart meters. However since I'm probably going to change suppliers once my current fixed rate deal ends, I'm not keen to get a smart meter fitted only for it to end up a dumb meter on a new supplier.

Anyway the stumbling block for a smart meter is that my electric meter is at the front of the house in the cupboard under the stairs, and the gas meter is external to the rear of the house.

Also the fuse box uses ye olde worlde cartridge fuses. I'd hate for the electrician to come and fit a smart meter only for a sharp intake of breath and charge me for a new mcb consumer unit and a complete rewire...
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Kim on December 02, 2018, 09:07:58 pm
Anyway the stumbling block for a smart meter is that my electric meter is at the front of the house in the cupboard under the stairs, and the gas meter is external to the rear of the house.

Zigbee can probably cope with that.  That's why they use it for the comms between the meters.


Quote
Also the fuse box uses ye olde worlde cartridge fuses. I'd hate for the electrician to come and fit a smart meter only for a sharp intake of breath and charge me for a new mcb consumer unit and a complete rewire...

Not sure if the supplier cares, unless it's actually unsafe.  You'd have to get your own electrician to replace the CU anyway.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Greenbank on December 02, 2018, 10:01:32 pm
Anyway the stumbling block for a smart meter is that my electric meter is at the front of the house in the cupboard under the stairs, and the gas meter is external to the rear of the house.

Zigbee can probably cope with that.  That's why they use it for the comms between the meters.

One wall and one floor in between the meters (probably 10m in total) and they can't talk to each other.

Quote
Also the fuse box uses ye olde worlde cartridge fuses. I'd hate for the electrician to come and fit a smart meter only for a sharp intake of breath and charge me for a new mcb consumer unit and a complete rewire...

Not sure if the supplier cares, unless it's actually unsafe.  You'd have to get your own electrician to replace the CU anyway.

When they replaced our gas meter they said we should get an earth bond added, and he said our consumer unit should be in a museum. His recommendation was to get an electrician to assess everything.

An ancient consumer unit isn't a de facto sign that you need a rewire but there's a high correlation between ancient consumer units and ancient wiring that can be unsafe (e.g. fabric, rubber or even lead insulated cables) or not enough circuits (modern electricity demands greatly exceed design decisions from years ago).

The electrician who assessed ours said that the wiring was modern stuff in reasonable condition and there was no urgent requirement to rewire on that front, but consider saving up for it and having it done with the associated redecoration work. Only 4 circuits for a 3 bed flat is a definite red flag, especially with a kitchen that contains many power hungry appliances (oven, microwave, toaster, kettle, washing machine, dishwasher, fridge freezer) all effectively on one circuit.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: rafletcher on December 03, 2018, 08:21:57 am

Quote
Also the fuse box uses ye olde worlde cartridge fuses. I'd hate for the electrician to come and fit a smart meter only for a sharp intake of breath and charge me for a new mcb consumer unit and a complete rewire...

Not sure if the supplier cares, unless it's actually unsafe.  You'd have to get your own electrician to replace the CU anyway.

Or you can do what I did, and buy MCB "cartridges" that slot into the old CU.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: ian on December 03, 2018, 09:25:48 am
The conspiracy theory is that smart meters are being put in to enable surge pricing, which will allow the suppliers and generators to better match revenue to costs (they have to pay a lot more for energy at certain times, but it's all flat rate to domestic users).  This means it might cost you a quid to boil a kettle at some times of day, when everyone wants to do it.

Which seems like an eminently sensible thing to do, if we want to encourage people to use the cheap clean electricity, rather than the expensive fossil-fuel-based stuff.

Yes, but that might cause people the terrible inconvenience of not doing whatever they want whenever they want to do it.

I'd actually like one, but BG can't guarantee it'll be the newer version.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: grams on December 03, 2018, 10:52:19 am
Or you can do what I did, and buy MCB "cartridges" that slot into the old CU.

That does nothing to improve the safety of your installation though. If your fuses are tripping often enough that the convenience of MCBs is worth it, something else is wrong...

The main thing to be concerned about it older installations is the lack of an RCD, which is what protects you from being electrocuted. The olde worlde earth circuit breakers don't really do that.

The electrician who assessed ours said that the wiring was modern stuff in reasonable condition and there was no urgent requirement to rewire on that front, but consider saving up for it and having it done with the associated redecoration work. Only 4 circuits for a 3 bed flat is a definite red flag, especially with a kitchen that contains many power hungry appliances (oven, microwave, toaster, kettle, washing machine, dishwasher, fridge freezer) all effectively on one circuit.

The main reason to have lots of separate circuits is so that one thing tripping doesn't take out everything else - i.e. convenience, not safety. If the cables are sensibly sized and the fuses/MCBs are correct then it's not clear what the problem is.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: rafletcher on December 03, 2018, 11:57:45 am
Or you can do what I did, and buy MCB "cartridges" that slot into the old CU.

That does nothing to improve the safety of your installation though. If your fuses are tripping often enough that the convenience of MCBs is worth it, something else is wrong...

The main thing to be concerned about it older installations is the lack of an RCD, which is what protects you from being electrocuted. The olde worlde earth circuit breakers don't really do that.



Agreed, but that wasn't why I did it, I just wanted rid of the cartridge fuses. And yes, an RCD would be good. We'll probably have a rewire soon - it's desperately needed. It's just such an upheaval to get it done - there's not a lot of maneuvering room in a two up, two down. Reminds me though, to get some quotes in the New Year.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Jaded on December 03, 2018, 01:49:53 pm
Pah! No engineer arrived yet so I start checking. There's an email that came in on Friday.

The email is headed "SX1-3 Dual Fuel Exchange - Legacy to Smart" So now I know what that means...
They tell me they tried to phone me on Friday - but they sent the email at 09:22

This appointment was a rearranged one as they cancelled the previous one without reason. I subsequently discovered that they had cancelled it because the found out I was on Economy 7 and the engineer didn't have any suitable meters in his van.

I am not not surprised that the Smart Meter deadline is at risk...
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Kim on December 03, 2018, 01:58:42 pm
Or you can do what I did, and buy MCB "cartridges" that slot into the old CU.

That does nothing to improve the safety of your installation though. If your fuses are tripping often enough that the convenience of MCBs is worth it, something else is wrong...

They may trip a little faster, but yeah.  Main advantage is you don't get someone re-wiring them with the wrong rating fuse wire to get the lights working.


Quote
The main thing to be concerned about it older installations is the lack of an RCD, which is what protects you from being electrocuted. The olde worlde earth circuit breakers don't really do that.

Indeed.  MCBs/fuses are to prevent the wiring catching fire.  RCDs prevent electrocution, and are a very very good thing[1].


[1] Except where nuisance tripping poses its own safety issue.  Plenty of CUs about where the lighting circuits aren't fed through the RCD (which I'm sceptical of, but it made sense in the 90s when low-voltage halogen lighitng was trendy).  AIUI the USAnian electrical codes prohibit the use of ELCBs (their version of RCDs) on circuits feeding refrigerators, because someone looked at the stats and decided that food poisoning was a much greater risk than electrocution by faulty fridges.
 SCIENCE!
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: rafletcher on December 03, 2018, 02:10:27 pm
When I rewired a house some 30 years ago, I used a split load CU, with RCD+MCB protecting the ring mains / shower / cooker circuits, and only MCB on the lighting circuits, as was the norm then, although I had no LV halogens. It was just I didn't expect the risk from electrocution to be that great through the lighting. Plus a blown bulb didn't shut the whole house down, it just popped the relevant MCB.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Kim on December 03, 2018, 02:18:16 pm
When I rewired a house some 30 years ago, I used a split load CU, with RCD+MCB protecting the ring mains / shower / cooker circuits, and only MCB on the lighting circuits, as was the norm then, although I had no LV halogens. It was just I didn't expect the risk from electrocution to be that great through the lighting. Plus a blown bulb didn't shut the whole house down, it just popped the relevant MCB.

Indeed.  It made sense when tungsten lamps blew regularly and would often trip the RCD when they did so (LV halogens seemed to do it chronically).  These days that's much less of a problem.

I reckon RCBOs are the way to go: best of both worlds.  More expensive, of course.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Wombat on December 05, 2018, 12:10:16 pm
Ah, that's interesting, Wombat.  I've been trying to get SSE to fit a smart meter for ages but was told they couldn't because of my PV FIT set-up.  From what you say they are now able to do this.  Let me know how it goes.

I will!

You may not be surprised to hear that it did NOT happen!
Sentences involving the words "arse" and "elbow" or "Arse-couldn't find-both-hands with" spring to mind.  We got a letter confirming our appointment, Mrs W waited in for them, as I was working down the railway, and they didn't show, so she called, and spoke to someone who said there was a system problem, and anyway, you can't have a smart meter with solar PV.  Mrs W insists on speaking to a manager, or someone who can find their arse with both hands.  They didn't have one, so he phones me this morning, and he plainly doesn't know a lot about such things, as he's just a call centre manager, not a smart metering person. After hearing my side of the story, he says he'll research and phone back, which he does.  He tells me there are still software issues regarding smart metering and export meters, which would affect my FIT payments. This is plainly bollocks as the FIT payments are based on what the export meter says, which is nothing to do with any consumption metering.  I had previously heard no suggestion that the smart meter interfaced with the export meter anyway, so was at a loss to see what that had to do with it.  He then told me they would give me £30 compensation for the missed appointment, which is handy as the central heating pump has died this morning, but I still have no clear idea whether I will get a smart meter before I die of old age.

I will therefore raise another complaint insisting that someone who is fully acquainted with the relationship between arses and elbows contacts me with the full truth, rather than some half truth based on a 2 minute conversation with someone in another call centre. Sadly all of the folk I used to deal with on energy or smart metering matters at SSE have conveniently been made redundant, or shifted into management rather than technical jobs.  Well, it beats baiting TV licensing, as a sport, I suppose...
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: toontra on December 05, 2018, 01:22:52 pm
You may not be surprised to hear that it did NOT happen!

Indeed - not surprised at all  ;D  My dealings with them have been equally shambolic.  Last time I rang I was on hold for 15 minutes while they tried to find someone who knew what they were talking about, then cut off.

The £30's do come in handy though - they missed 4 appointments in a row to read my FIT meter in August & I've just had the £120 payment, which equals my usual Nov-Feb generation  ;D

Keep us updated with the next instalment.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Canardly on December 11, 2018, 09:55:53 pm
Came across this vid relating to smart meters. Gives some cause for pause and reflection?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYPwrbpAHbk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYPwrbpAHbk)
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Tim Hall on December 12, 2018, 12:49:24 am
Came across this vid relating to smart meters. Gives some cause for pause and reflection?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYPwrbpAHbk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYPwrbpAHbk)
It struck me as scaremongering nonsense.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Greenbank on December 12, 2018, 08:40:53 am
Came across this vid relating to smart meters. Gives some cause for pause and reflection?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYPwrbpAHbk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYPwrbpAHbk)
It struck me as scaremongering nonsense.

Indeed. If I had time I'd pull it to pieces one ludicrous claim at a time.

Some parts do have some basis of legitimate concern[1], but they're embellished and overhyped in the video or just completely misunderstood.

1. My biggest concern is that the supplier is hacked and up to date minute-by-minute usage data is exposed, which could be used to detect people who are on holiday. But then most burglaries are opportunistic and not planned (the planned ones tend to be against people with lots of money).
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Kim on December 12, 2018, 01:25:27 pm
1. My biggest concern is that the supplier is hacked and up to date minute-by-minute usage data is exposed, which could be used to detect people who are on holiday. But then most burglaries are opportunistic and not planned (the planned ones tend to be against people with lots of money).

Most people will tell you that they're on holiday using TwitFace anyway.

I suppose the real question is what's the most evil thing that one of the big data mining companies (Google, Facebook, etc) - or through them, the security services - could do if they had access to your electricity usage data.  They won't need to resort to cracking, you'll give them access to the data in exchange for dancing pigs, just like you did with your phone's location and the contact details of everyone you know.

TBH, I'm struggling to think of what electricity/gas consumption gives them that they don't already have from tracking a mobile phone.  Cooking and sleeping habits, maybe.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: drossall on December 12, 2018, 08:40:01 pm
Our supplier has been chasing us for ages to have one, so I just tried to book to have it fitted. I was told it couldn't go in an outside box. We're in a Wimpey house on a massive Wimpey estate, for crying out loud. How could they not know that they wouldn't be able to fit them round here? Why waste all that time and money chasing?
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Kim on December 12, 2018, 08:53:33 pm
Our supplier has been chasing us for ages to have one, so I just tried to book to have it fitted. I was told it couldn't go in an outside box. We're in a Wimpey house on a massive Wimpey estate, for crying out loud. How could they not know that they wouldn't be able to fit them round here? Why waste all that time and money chasing?

The nagging people to have smart meters people probably don't have access to that sort of information.  It may be outsourced.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: andytheflyer on December 12, 2018, 09:35:30 pm
Our supplier has been chasing us for ages to have one, so I just tried to book to have it fitted. I was told it couldn't go in an outside box.

Ah ha!!  That solves my problem then.  My meters are both in an outside box, with only a thin plastic door between the internals and the howling westerlies, bearing driving rain up the eastern slope of the Dee valley, which on a wet and windy winter's night saturates that wall of the house and lifts the roof tiles as we lie in bed, listening to the gale. Good job that both meters boxes are sheltered behind a 30 yo laurel bush then.

Many houses have outside meter boxes, that's so that the meter readers can get to them.  Is this more incompetence from the smart-meter promulgating fascists?
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Kim on December 12, 2018, 09:39:11 pm
Does anyone know *why* the meters can't go in an outside box?  It's not like a traditional meter is particularly waterproof, so I doubt it's that.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: drossall on December 12, 2018, 09:45:38 pm
It said something about low-profile meters and outside boxes. Didn't make a great deal of sense to me. I'm not necessarily saying that no such meter will fit any outside box, just that that's what our supplier said when I tried to book.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Kim on December 12, 2018, 09:49:09 pm
Not fitting in a standard meter box sounds entirely typical of the level of standardisation we've come to expect from the smart metering fiasco...   >:(
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Jaded on December 12, 2018, 10:24:40 pm
They cancelled my first appointment because I’m dual fuel with my supplier and the meter installer didn’t know that.

I told the installer that the gas meter was outside and the door was broken. He still made he appointment. (That one got broken too, and I got £30 for it).
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Ashaman42 on December 13, 2018, 05:40:15 am
Our electricity meter is a smart one and in an outside box.


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Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: hbunnet on December 20, 2018, 11:59:29 am
A Youtube video of BigClive taking one to bits.  Answers a lot of questions, I don't know which type though.

https://youtu.be/G32NYQpvy8Q
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Feanor on December 20, 2018, 12:11:30 pm
I've not watched the whole thing but...
That thing he called a relay for disconnecting you.

Is it?
I couldn't make out the writing on it.

Is it not more likely to be a Current Transformer which does the metering?
I don't see any other metering device in-line with the main terminals.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: FifeingEejit on December 20, 2018, 01:32:28 pm
I've not watched the whole thing but...
That thing he called a relay for disconnecting you.

Is it?
I couldn't make out the writing on it.

Is it not more likely to be a Current Transformer which does the metering?
I don't see any other metering device in-line with the main terminals.

Captured and zoomed in
Switch on the 250VAC line
Magnet on the 24VDC line

So fits his description.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Feanor on December 20, 2018, 01:59:43 pm
Yes, I've watched more of it now.
It is a disconnector.

The current measurement is using an in-line Shunt, not a CT.

<ETA>
But I was a bit surprised how confused he seemed to be about the function of the shunt. He zoomed in on it and scratched his head and wondered what it was. And yet the PCB screen print clearly showed what it was, if it was not obvious enough from inspection.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: grams on December 21, 2018, 09:43:17 pm
I don't think that was the case at all - I think he was just intrigued by the way they'd implemented it as a special insert rather than just using the copper bus bar.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Kim on December 21, 2018, 10:00:09 pm
But I was a bit surprised how confused he seemed to be about the function of the shunt. He zoomed in on it and scratched his head and wondered what it was. And yet the PCB screen print clearly showed what it was, if it was not obvious enough from inspection.

I've watched enough Big Clive, EEVBlog and so on to know that there's a special ability to miss the obvious that kicks in as soon as you're talking to a camera.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Kim on February 05, 2019, 12:25:27 pm
I'm currently waiting for an engineer from Western Power Distribution to come and install a data logger, with a view to sorting out the insufficiency of voles at KimBarakta HQ.

I'll ask him why they can't use the convenient smart meter to obtain the relevant data.  I suspect we all know the answer...
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: hellymedic on February 05, 2019, 12:30:59 pm
Our electricity meter is a smart one and in an outside box.

So is ours.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Kim on February 05, 2019, 01:49:22 pm
I'll ask him why they can't use the convenient smart meter to obtain the relevant data.  I suspect we all know the answer...

They weren't aware it could do it, but wouldn't have access to the data even if it did.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: toontra on February 05, 2019, 06:14:54 pm
An update on SSE - they still are unable to supply a smart meter if a solar FIT meter is involved.  They will ring me when the situation changes - not holding my breath.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Wombat on February 10, 2019, 03:40:18 pm
Oh go on, it saves me holding MY breath...  I'm still stunned that they've got this far, yet have failed to manage to install smart meters to solar PV installed properties, especially when it was the FIT department that last invited me to have a smart meter, and the dumb meter fitter had received a message saying he could install smart meters to PV fitted properties as of now ("now", being about 3 months ago).
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Tim Hall on February 18, 2019, 08:52:05 am
Sequence: Smartmeter installed 05/10/18
Direct debit payments continue at the same amount as before
Youthful looking cyclist has much more exciting things to do than contact EDF to see what the score is.
Emails come in every now and then saying my bill is available to view on line.
Youthful looking cyclist etc etc .
Today EDF drop nearly six hundred notes in my account. Just like used to happen in the old direct debit days.
Take a peek st the EDF website, benefits of Smartmeters section where a sentence leaps out:
Quote
Accuracy Only pay for what you use

Uh huh.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Wombat on February 18, 2019, 10:14:44 am
That has less to do with the capabilities of smart meters, and more to do with EDF totally failing to make use of the available data properly.
Title: Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
Post by: Tim Hall on February 18, 2019, 10:26:51 am
That has less to do with the capabilities of smart meters, and more to do with EDF totally failing to make use of the available data properly.
I'm sure that is the case.  I might grink them to see what their take on it is.