Yet Another Cycling Forum

General Category => The Knowledge => OT Knowledge => Topic started by: Martin109 on May 22, 2019, 02:53:35 pm

Title: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Martin109 on May 22, 2019, 02:53:35 pm
I am considering having one of these fitted, perhaps reviewing my scepticism, as I had previously thought that such a unit would be connected to my broadband, thus involving me in the 'internet of things', which I view with mistrust.  However, the lady from the electricity people said they send data direct to themselves.  How does this happen?  Was I naive to think broadband was involved?  Sometimes I'm a bear of very little brain.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: ian on May 22, 2019, 03:00:13 pm
Mobile telephony, your honour. You can even get a good signal in Hell.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Martin109 on May 22, 2019, 03:06:12 pm
Ah.. I see.  I dread to think what their phone bill's going to be, sending info about my electricity usage every few minutes 24/7!
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: robgul on May 22, 2019, 03:08:06 pm
Beware the smart people speak with forked tongue.  Worth asking Mr Google a few questions as there are loads of issues floating around:  not compatible if you want to change supplier; simply does not work etc. - especially the network transmission.   

And of course the "it'll save you money" is a bit devious .... what it does is show you how much energy you are using -  and for you to turn it down and save money.

The bit about reading your meters (or not having to) which is a benefit - is easily solved as quite a few of the energy companies have a website/app for you to read meters and send figures to get actual bills (I pop out to my garage once a month, smartphone in hand, to read the meters and by the time I get back in the house I have an email from British Gas with the reading and the amount.)

My advice would be to wait for a while (probably quite a long one)

Rob
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: fuaran on May 22, 2019, 03:16:07 pm
Ah.. I see.  I dread to think what their phone bill's going to be, sending info about my electricity usage every few minutes 24/7!
It is not much data. If it just needs to send your current meter reading, it should only be about 1KB each time. So maybe 50MB a month, which doesn't cost much. Much cheaper than sending a person round to read the meter.

In the northern half of the UK, it is using a separate network. So it doesn't use the mobile signal anyway.

The smart meters also have a separate "home area network". They use this to transmit from the meter to a home display. This is based on Zigbee, so separate from any home wifi you use.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Edd on May 22, 2019, 03:33:21 pm
Beware the smart people speak with forked tongue.  Worth asking Mr Google a few questions as there are loads of issues floating around:  not compatible if you want to change supplier; simply does not work etc. - especially the network transmission.   

And of course the "it'll save you money" is a bit devious .... what it does is show you how much energy you are using -  and for you to turn it down and save money.

The bit about reading your meters (or not having to) which is a benefit - is easily solved as quite a few of the energy companies have a website/app for you to read meters and send figures to get actual bills (I pop out to my garage once a month, smartphone in hand, to read the meters and by the time I get back in the house I have an email from British Gas with the reading and the amount.)

My advice would be to wait for a while (probably quite a long one)

Rob

I'm looking at getting one installed but only after I've been assured that they are the second generation so don't go dumb when you switch supplier (which I used to do a lot, but have not needed to of late). In the installation questionnaire that they sent me, they did mention issues if your gas and elec meters are more than 10m apart (which most aren't) and some old meters are not compatible.
In terms of saving money, I agree with the above, but I'm looking at possibly going on a tariff with the same supplier who takes readings regular readings for differential day/night pricing, which may save us money (no switching anything on until after midnight! dinner at 1am, and showers before 6am!)
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: andyoxon on May 22, 2019, 03:44:47 pm
We don't have a smart meter.  A little while ago when I was investigating who to switch to I noticed that some providers were requiring a sm with a new deal.  I spoke to one major company to ask if the Smart meters were SMETS2, and they said they were rolling them out but not in all areas, so could not guarantee we wouldn't end up with a SMETS1.  In the end went with a provider which didn't have any sm clause.  Apparently... https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/05/14/two-million-smart-meters-not-working-research-suggests/  (...in 'dumb' mode.)
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: FifeingEejit on May 22, 2019, 03:47:32 pm
The smart meters also have a separate "home area network". They use this to transmit from the meter to a home display. This is based on Zigbee, so separate from any home wifi you use.

Not heard of Zigbee in years, around 2003 IIRC.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: rob on May 22, 2019, 04:02:14 pm
As has been said above the 'no more estimated bills' bit adds no value as you just submit your own readings when required.

Flexible tariffs and load shifting will help consumers to save money if they work at it, but not all suppliers offer these. 
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: De Sisti on May 22, 2019, 04:09:15 pm
Discussed at length here.
https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=109499.msg2323040#msg2323040 (https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=109499.msg2323040#msg2323040)

Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: FifeingEejit on May 22, 2019, 04:11:35 pm
As has been said above the 'no more estimated bills' bit adds no value as you just submit your own readings when required.

Flexible tariffs and load shifting will help consumers to save money if they work at it, but not all suppliers offer these.

Submitting your own readings will ultimately at some point require a validated reading.
Taking photos of the meter with some sort of unique tamper proof identifier attached would be the non-smart way of doing similar to the smart meter in terms of billing which is providing the supplier with a validated figure of usage.
 
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: robgul on May 22, 2019, 05:59:10 pm
As has been said above the 'no more estimated bills' bit adds no value as you just submit your own readings when required.

Flexible tariffs and load shifting will help consumers to save money if they work at it, but not all suppliers offer these.

Submitting your own readings will ultimately at some point require a validated reading.
Taking photos of the meter with some sort of unique tamper proof identifier attached would be the non-smart way of doing similar to the smart meter in terms of billing which is providing the supplier with a validated figure of usage.

.. yep, the validated reading is OK - but we get gas and electric from British Gas (and read the meters etc each month) - but we've had the meters read in the last month by, guess what, two different meter reading persons on behalf of our single supplier!

Rob
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: ian on May 22, 2019, 09:25:11 pm
Ah.. I see.  I dread to think what their phone bill's going to be, sending info about my electricity usage every few minutes 24/7!

Well, it's their bill, not yours. They either use GSM or mesh with nearby meters until they find a suitable GSM link. It's not much information and they're not paying by the gigabyte, it's a dedicated system.

I'm not against them because I'm lazy and reading the meter means squirrelling in the dark cupboard of wires under the stairs and it'd be interesting to see what we're actually using rather than getting the bill and thinking 'how fucking much?'

But I've not bothered because the customer services at British Gas couldn't tell me whether we'd get the old or newer smart meters (well, they didn't know they were two sorts) and I can't be arsed having them fitted twice when we eventually get annoyed enough with BG to move.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: videoman on May 22, 2019, 09:59:46 pm
We had gas and electric meters fitted a couple of years ago but changed supplier last October so I am now back to supplying meter readings again, what a complete waste of money which the consumer will end up paying the bill for.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: andytheflyer on May 23, 2019, 07:30:02 pm
We had gas and electric meters fitted a couple of years ago but changed supplier last October so I am now back to supplying meter readings again, what a complete waste of money which the consumer will end up paying the bill for.
Which is exactly why I've just told Scottish Power to get stuffed, when they wanted to know why I'd declined their kind offer to have an SM fitted.  I read the meters every quarter and email them the data - takes all of 5 mins. I have a monitor on the hall wall next to the kitchen door so I can immediately see when SWMBO has left on something she should not have, and I can send the naughty schoolgirl upstairs to turn off the fan heater in the music room.

I was constructive in my response: when you can guarantee an SM2 meter, and that the data comms will work, you can fit a meter.  No?  Thought not. Sod off then.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Martin109 on May 23, 2019, 07:40:47 pm
I was constructive in my response: when you can guarantee an SM2 meter, and that the data comms will work, you can fit a meter.  No?  Thought not. Sod off then.

Maybe I should take that approach then!
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Kim on May 23, 2019, 07:49:33 pm
I'm liking our not-that-smart smart meters because they mean I don't have to play bike-and-camping-kit Sokoban in order to read the meters.  Which means we pay for what we use, rather than what the random number generator comes up with, and fewer dodgy blokes turning up at awkward times expecting us to do some spontaneous heavy lifting.  (Or worse, damaging bikes by attempting it themselves, when I'm not in and barakta isn't capable.)

A secondary benefit is knowing what we're using.  Not because of the smart display unit thing (which is very cumulative-money-oriented and largely a waste of electrons) but because unlike our previous meter, this one has a blinkenlight on the front which I can easily interface to a microcontroller using a phototransistor and a Mk 1 bit of blutac, and generate much more informative time-series data.  You can infer a lot more from a graph like this (https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=80102.msg2315671#msg2315671) than you can from an instantaneous power reading, unless you actually want to run around switching things off.

Obviously dumb meters with blinkenlights are available.  But not predictably.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Wombat on May 24, 2019, 05:59:28 pm
All reasonably modern meters, regardless of smartery, have blinkenlights.  There are some aftermarket displays that read said blinkenlights.  Both our import and export meters have these, but of course they are in different places, which is not helpful. the import meter is (surprise) in the meter cupboard, but as the export meter (which is absolutely identical to the import one) is mine, not theirs, its not allowed in their box.  I do know exactly how much I'm currently generating, and a daily/monthly/annual record of generation wherever I am in the world, but can I find out how much I'm using, or have used today, no I bloody can't! Thanks, you fumbling arseholes of the Energy Retail Association who completely fumbled the standards for smart meters, meaning I can't have one...
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Wombat on May 25, 2019, 06:59:43 pm
And as a follow-on to this, I received my electricity bill (online) and thought that the cheapest tariff that I'm on seemed to be more expensive than the standard tariff that I was on temporarily.  So I had a whinge at SSE, also about still having my address wrong, then went back online to change my tariff to the new cheapest one.  All went very simply, got a message that I was now on the new tariff, with a footnote under "what happens next".  It said this tariff means you need to have a smart meter.  Go on then, give me one, as I've asked for one half a dozen times and you keep telling me I can't have one because I'm awkward enough to have solar PV.  This could be mildly interesting, as I'd like to see them try to tell me I can't have the cheapest tariff because they are too bloody incompetent to give me a smart meter...  I do like a bit of sport with some organisations.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Wombat on November 16, 2019, 11:18:09 am
Well, that was fun... or not.

In August I eventually got a date for an installation of a new shiny SMETS2 smart meter, that can cope with me having solar PV.  The date was Tuesday 12th November, and they kept sending me phone messages twice a week since August, reminding me of the installation date, including one sent the day before the installation.

Well, do you think I now have a smart meter, it being the 16th of November?  Of course I bloody haven't, because they found a new way to screw up. 

Apparently the mobile phone signal isn't reliable enough without a 5 metre high aerial which they don't want to provide.  Actually where the meter is, there is a fairly consistent Vodafone signal, but of course they use EE.  So why did they only realise this the morning of the appointment?  The head of customer services insists its because they do repeated phone signal checks (how, without actually visiting my house?) right up the the installation time.

They say I will probably have to wait a year or so to see if the phone signal improves, but as the phone companies seem hellbent on providing 5G to city dwellers who already have pretty damn fast 4G, rather than actually providing a phone network that serves the whole UK, I'm not holding my breath.

So why didn't the smart metering standard cover communication in rural areas, particularly as my area has full fibre broadband (paid for by the welsh Govt and the EU, NOT bloody BT/Openretch).

I'm not giving up on this, but Ofgem are a bunch of wasters who don't actually want to do their job, and refuse to speak to common members of the public (it was hard enough dealing with them at work).  This reinforces my view that the mobile phone companies should be legally prevented from installing ANY 5G infrastructure until they have finished providing a basic mobile signal to the entire UK.  If OFGEM would talk to OFCOM, and both of them would actually do the job of serving the people of the country, I might get somewhere.

The fight goes on...
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: robgul on November 16, 2019, 01:30:27 pm
Coincidence that this thread has reappeared today - there is a possibility that Mr British Gas will be installing SmartMeters for gas and electric in our house this coming Monday.

I have made it very clear that if the bloke turns up and the meters aren't SMETS2 he will be sent away, no ifs, no buts,  We'll see.

Meter reading and recording by me each month will continue .... and Mrs robgul will be introduced to the in-the-house display unit  in an effort to encourage use of light switches  ::-)

Rob
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Jaded on November 16, 2019, 06:11:45 pm
Scottish Power seem to have stopped asking me to consider a smart meter.

Perhaps having to give me another £50* has put them off.

Two cancelled appointments means they owe me £50 twice. They’ve not actually paid, of course. That would require them to know their arse from their elbow.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: rob on November 16, 2019, 06:29:16 pm
My new EDF tariff requires me to have a smart meter fitted and they are already quite persistent.  I probably should get one so that I understand the conversations I have at work.

The only issue I have now is that I have just accepted an offer on the house.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Basil on November 16, 2019, 07:12:58 pm

I have made it very clear that if the bloke turns up and the meters aren't SMETS2 he will be sent away, no ifs, no buts,  We'll see.



How will you know whether it is gen 2 or 1?  Other than ask the fitter and believe them.
Interested, as I may give in and get one sooner or later.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Kim on November 16, 2019, 07:14:16 pm
Wondering if there's some way we can get the smart meter people and the TV licence people to chase each other in some sort of feedback loop...
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: andyoxon on November 16, 2019, 07:15:10 pm
Still avoiding them.  We joined AVRO energy - on decent rates, before they got into trouble over smart meters back in May...

Quote
Small energy firm Avro Energy has been banned from taking on new customers because it hasn't joined the national smart meter network.

Update: Avro Energy says the ban has now been lifted.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Socks on November 16, 2019, 07:39:24 pm
We had smart meters installed yesterday.  Only after I had ignored marketing emails for the last year or two, and received confirmation to a direct question confirming that SMETS 2 would be installed.

As I understand it they are paid for by a general charge on utility bills, so (as long as you have a reliable mobile signal) might as well sign up.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: andytheflyer on November 17, 2019, 04:52:27 pm
We had smart meters installed yesterday.  Only after I had ignored marketing emails for the last year or two, and received confirmation to a direct question confirming that SMETS 2 would be installed.

As I understand it they are paid for by a general charge on utility bills, so (as long as you have a reliable mobile signal) might as well sign up.
I've been fobbing off Scottish Power's emails for months.  Then, last week, someone actually rang me to make an appointment to fit a Smart Meter.  I told him that I didn't want one unless he could guarantee it would be SMETS2, and it would communicate with our iffy you-can-have-Vodafone-if-you-go-to-the-upstairs-front-bedroom, rural mobile signal.  He said it would.  I told him that I didn't believe him. The conversation then deteriorated somewhat and I accused him of fobbing us off with substandard, ill-thought-out technology that we as consumers have to pay for.  He then hung up on me. 

I win.  Again.....
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: fuaran on November 17, 2019, 05:24:56 pm
In Scotland and the northern parts of England, they use a separate radio network. So doesn't need a mobile phone signal. Maybe better coverage.

Apparently they can also work in a mesh mode. ie it relays the signal through your neighbours meter, until it gets to one with a network connection. So it could improve, as more people get them installed.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: robgul on November 17, 2019, 08:11:20 pm

I have made it very clear that if the bloke turns up and the meters aren't SMETS2 he will be sent away, no ifs, no buts,  We'll see.



How will you know whether it is gen 2 or 1?  Other than ask the fitter and believe them.
Interested, as I may give in and get one sooner or later.

I am informed that the man will hve some paperwork which I shall examine before letting him start work, ask the man if it doesn't say SMETS2 and then annotate his paperwork with "this is a SMETS2 installation" . . . that way I have "something to show the judge" should that be necessary.

Rob

MORE on Monday AM : man has just turned up - despite my paperwork saying both meters his says just gas to do - he's checking with his HQ on whether he can do both.  AND he says he has SMETS2 meters in the van (now preparing for no heating, lighting or PC for a while - they say up to 2 hours or so)

Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Wombat on November 18, 2019, 12:20:13 pm
In Scotland and the northern parts of England, they use a separate radio network. So doesn't need a mobile phone signal. Maybe better coverage.

Apparently they can also work in a mesh mode. ie it relays the signal through your neighbours meter, until it gets to one with a network connection. So it could improve, as more people get them installed.

That sounds promising, but it relies on a) having neighbours with smart meters (presumably on the same suppliers?)
 and b) having neighbours at all...

I wonder what the range of them is, between meshed meters.


We have a next door neighbour one side (which is about 30 metres away, and they are not with the same supplier).  I imagine they have resisted a smart meter because a) they are Jehovah's witnesses, and b) they are convinced wifi fries their grandchildrens brains. Apart from these oddities, they are perfect decent folk, and share vegetables, and take in parcels, etc.

Other than that, the nearest neighbour is about 400 metres away, and the next one, about twice that in the other direction.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Kim on November 18, 2019, 12:22:08 pm
I wonder what the range of them is, between meshed meters.

Tens of metres for Zigbee.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Tim Hall on November 18, 2019, 01:29:02 pm


That sounds promising, but it relies on a) having neighbours with smart meters (presumably on the same suppliers?)

AIUI meshed meters don't have to be the same supplier. That's part of the rationale of SMETS2 meters - they don't care which supplier.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Tim Hall on November 18, 2019, 01:40:10 pm
I wonder what the range of them is, between meshed meters.

Tens of metres for Zigbee.

According to this page https://www.smartme.co.uk/technical.html (https://www.smartme.co.uk/technical.html) (I make no claims for its authenticity and know very little about this stuff) Zigbee is for communication within a property:
Quote
The Home Area network or HAN is a bit like your home broadband wireless network and will be used to communicate between the meters, the In Home Display (previously known as Smart Meter Display or Home Energy Monitor) and other items as and when they become available. However where the meter is a long way from the location of the In Home Display, or thick walls are in the way, the current technology (Zigbee at 2.4GHz) won't work. This could be the case for up to 30% of properties.

A different communications method (Zigbee 868MHz) will improve this for about 3.5% of properties but that still leave a large number for whom Smart Meters won't work. Zigbee 868MHz should be available some time in 2018.
Meshing is for comms between your house and (eventually) the Power company.

Quote
The Wide Area Network or WAN is the name given to the communications network between the meters and the company responsible for collecting the data and passing it on to other businesses such as suppliers. This company will usually be the DCC (Data Communications Company) which the government has set up especially for this role supporting the final SMETS2 meters. Depending on the Communications Service Provider, which varies by areas of the UK, the technology can change depending on what works best in a local area. Sometimes your meter will communicate directly with DCC and sometimes it will talk through the meters around you to reach a particular meter which has direct communications with DCC. This form of communications looks like a mesh when you draw out the possible links between meters and is therefore known as a Mesh network.
Meter Alerts
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: robgul on November 18, 2019, 04:33:18 pm

I have made it very clear that if the bloke turns up and the meters aren't SMETS2 he will be sent away, no ifs, no buts,  We'll see.



How will you know whether it is gen 2 or 1?  Other than ask the fitter and believe them.
Interested, as I may give in and get one sooner or later.

I am informed that the man will hve some paperwork which I shall examine before letting him start work, ask the man if it doesn't say SMETS2 and then annotate his paperwork with "this is a SMETS2 installation" . . . that way I have "something to show the judge" should that be necessary.

Rob

MORE on Monday AM : man has just turned up - despite my paperwork saying both meters his says just gas to do - he's checking with his HQ on whether he can do both.  AND he says he has SMETS2 meters in the van (now preparing for no heating, lighting or PC for a while - they say up to 2 hours or so)

Man got the OK to do both meters - did all the checks, pulled the main fuse and took the cover off the existing electric meter - to find that one of the screws holding the incoming cable in the clamp had sheared across the screwdriver slot so that it couldn't be undone . . . he reckoned it was over-torqued when the meter was replaced about 10 years ago. 

Of course, the task of sorting it wasn't in his remit so he had to report a fault for Western Power to come out and release the incoming terminal block (on the live side) to be able to get the meter off and fit a new (old style) meter before British Gas comes back to fit the SmartMeter.  Oh joy. 

The only upside of all this is that I was forced to tidy and rearrange the garage/workshop so that the meters were accessible.

Rob
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: asterix on November 20, 2019, 11:13:55 am
We had gas and electric meters fitted a couple of years ago but changed supplier last October so I am now back to supplying meter readings again, what a complete waste of money which the consumer will end up paying the bill for.

I refuse to have a smart meter.  Lots of pressure from my last supplier but No!
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Adam on November 20, 2019, 10:34:01 pm
Since buying shop premises 2 months ago, I've been regularly chasing Opus about the smart meters I was promised when I signed up.  Apparently they've got no idea when they'll be installed. 

Luddites.