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.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: simonp on February 17, 2020, 11:55:33 am
We've just requested to switch to EDF's EV tariff. This requires that you have an EV, and is either 12.5p/unit if you don't have a smart meter, or 8p for 10h overnight (9pm->7am), and ~19p at other times, plus 8p from Friday 9pm right through until Monday 7am. All washing etc at the weekend then?

We have a smart meter. Last year I tried to switch us over to the dual rate tariff, but was told no, as our meter was SMETS1 and they would not replace it. So we spoke to British Gas, who also have an EV tariff but with a higher night rate; they were the original supplier when we got the smart meter. I assumed they'd be able to use it. Nope... insane. But they said they would install a new smart meter. This seems to be SMETS2 from what I can tell (looking up model and variant online).

EDF recently emailed to say we could have the 12.5p flat rate - this didn't exist back when we first spoke to them - as a lot of people complained about not being able to have an EV tariff. We decided to try again, thinking that we'd get the split rate. No, they still think our meter is SMETS1. They will us switch to the split rate when our meter is upgraded to SMETS2 in the future.

I am not sure if EDF's info is out of date, or if the meter is really SMETS1 despite my online research suggesting it's SMETS2. I'm hoping this is their error as the split rate will save us money (even so, a flat 12.5p/unit is already going to save us money as it's almost as low as our current night rate).
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: quixoticgeek on February 17, 2020, 12:07:19 pm

I got notified recently that the local power company wants to install a smart gas meter in the flat.

It took me way too long trying to work out wtf smart gas is, before I realised what they were trying to do...

J
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Kim on February 17, 2020, 12:45:09 pm
It took me way too long trying to work out wtf smart gas is

I think I saw that in Doctor Who.  Beware of Macra.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: robgul on February 17, 2020, 04:54:50 pm
To update my experience - after a couple "not my job guv" visits a British Gas guy came and broke away the plastic cup around the sheared screw, used my pump pliers to release and fitted noth electric and gas meters (SMETS 2) - that was in mid-December . . . . . we're now moving house at the end of this week and the new house has old-style meters .... and the incumbent supplier (AVRO0 doesn't do smart meters at the moment . . . . that said a quick calculate suggests that the costs are quite a bit lower than we're paying now so I'll just read the meters and email them . . . . unless I get a better deal from British Gas as we're deserting them.

All good fun  . . . . but don't get me started on getting BT to move our phone line and broadband to the new place . . .  it's just 1.46km away (and nearer to the phone exchange - which is actually on the top floor of a Premier Inn in the centre of town) - they need the existing BT user at the new house to cease the line before we can order the change . . . . that then takes 3 days (and that's fastracked as it's a business broadband deal)   Aaaaargh!

Rob
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: rogerzilla on February 23, 2020, 08:46:03 pm
Mine was fitted while I was with Ovo, ceased to work when I changed to npower, and resumed working when I changed to Tonik.  What a fiasco!
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Jaded on February 23, 2020, 09:38:29 pm
Because Scottish Power messed me up on Smart Meters three times, and offered me £50 each time but never paid it, I've left them for another supplier, which costs the same
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Wowbagger on February 28, 2020, 05:17:49 pm
Ecotricity phoned me a couple of days ago to offer a smart meter. They are booked in to install it/them next Friday.

When we signed up with Ecotricity 6 years ago they didn’t offer a smart meter, even though SSE, who previously supplied us, did.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: simonp on March 14, 2020, 12:01:33 pm
EDF recently emailed to say we could have the 12.5p flat rate - this didn't exist back when we first spoke to them - as a lot of people complained about not being able to have an EV tariff. We decided to try again, thinking that we'd get the split rate. No, they still think our meter is SMETS1. They will us switch to the split rate when our meter is upgraded to SMETS2 in the future.

I am not sure if EDF's info is out of date, or if the meter is really SMETS1 despite my online research suggesting it's SMETS2. I'm hoping this is their error as the split rate will save us money (even so, a flat 12.5p/unit is already going to save us money as it's almost as low as our current night rate).

So our switch seems to have happened and yes the smart meter is sending data to EDF despite their claim it was not compatible. We seem to be on the 12.5p flat rate.  This should change to the 8p at night rate once everything is up and running. For now I’m trying to charge the car on sunny days as there’s no penalty when the sun goes in. With the split rate I’ll have to be more careful as you can end up spending more if not careful.

What a palaver. Should never have needed to change the meter to be able to switch tariff.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Wowbagger on March 14, 2020, 07:22:05 pm
EDF recently emailed to say we could have the 12.5p flat rate - this didn't exist back when we first spoke to them - as a lot of people complained about not being able to have an EV tariff. We decided to try again, thinking that we'd get the split rate. No, they still think our meter is SMETS1. They will us switch to the split rate when our meter is upgraded to SMETS2 in the future.

I am not sure if EDF's info is out of date, or if the meter is really SMETS1 despite my online research suggesting it's SMETS2. I'm hoping this is their error as the split rate will save us money (even so, a flat 12.5p/unit is already going to save us money as it's almost as low as our current night rate).

So our switch seems to have happened and yes the smart meter is sending data to EDF despite their claim it was not compatible. We seem to be on the 12.5p flat rate.  This should change to the 8p at night rate once everything is up and running. For now I’m trying to charge the car on sunny days as there’s no penalty when the sun goes in. With the split rate I’ll have to be more careful as you can end up spending more if not careful.

What a palaver. Should never have needed to change the meter to be able to switch tariff.

Have you seen the Octopus EV tariff at 5p a unit off-peak?
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: simonp on March 14, 2020, 07:51:33 pm
Have you seen the Octopus EV tariff at 5p a unit off-peak?

Yes, a colleague mentioned it some time back. I think we will benefit more from the EDF rate (it's 9pm-7am weeknights and 9pm Friday until 7am Monday over the whole weekend). There is probably not much in it but the number of hours of cheap rate on EDF probably swing it in their favour for our usage, and particularly because we will avoid peak rate use for much of the time with the solar panels.





Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Wowbagger on March 15, 2020, 08:42:58 pm
We have decided to stick with Ecotricity. I have read good things about Dale Vince helping XR and promising funds when the government gets taken to court by environmentalists.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: StevieB on March 16, 2020, 12:53:05 am
A little bit of background...

First, if you think Ofgen, and Ofcom, and all the other Ofs, are there to protect the interest of consumers of vital amenities, please ask yourself the question: Who regulates the regulators? Answer, the Government. So please give them a bit of slack - they spend most of their time rushing to implement one headline-grabbing half-baked scheme after another...

I'd don't know the current state of play, but here is how things were set up approx 10 years ago (when smart metres were first introduced)... Ofgem forces the big six energy companies (and only them, cause that is only fair!) to add an extra ~5% on all their bills (ie. on all your bills) and said "We are going to give this money back IF you install energy saving equipment/materials into peoples' homes."

Of course that allows the Government to go "Look at all the amazing things we are doing to save the environment!" without having to spend any of their money, or explaining that actually the money is coming directly from consumers...

But it is totally crazee... I mean energy saving is not the core competence of the energy companies, not something close to their hearts, not really in their best interests! Still money is money, so they get some contractors to stick a smart meter on your wall (who cares if it works!), or throw some insulation in your loft - low lying fruit!

So I hope that helps to explain the mess... Yes, there are technical problems, but after 10 years those could have been sorted out had there been some management. Instead responsibility is shared between Government always looking for a quick-fix with no long term commitment, large companies who want to make a profit (not unreasonably IMO), and in between is some not-for-profit organisation which was set up to collect and distribute all the data coming from the smart meters - I've never heard of them but I reckon they don't stand much of a chance!!

In conclusion - smart meters are good in theory, it is the implementation which has been poor.

Should you get one? It won't hurt you, but it might not benefit you either!

Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: rob on March 16, 2020, 07:01:21 am
Well that was a bit of a giggle.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: StevieB on March 16, 2020, 01:42:45 pm
Yea,
Sorry,
I know took much about this stuff...
I need to forget more...
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: rob on March 16, 2020, 02:15:14 pm
Yea,
Sorry,
I know took much about this stuff...
I need to forget more...

Would be nice if you added a bit of detail.

Are you referring to :-

Renewables Obligation
Warm Home Discount
Energy Company Obligation
Smart Meter Levies
Feed in Tariff Levy (probably not)

These are all levied on all suppliers not just the big 6 (incidentally an outdated term since Ovo bought the SSE supply wing).   Agreed WHD only kicks in above 250k supply points.  Bulb, Octopus and Ovo are all over 1m customers. 

I’m not quite sure who the data collecting body that you’ve never heard of are - Elexon ?

I agree that simply installing a smart meter doesn’t reduce consumption.  You have to take the data and then make informed decisions.  This is where the adverts are wrong.  Suppliers need to roll the meters out as required but then really use what they do to offer cleverer tariffs and improve their balancing.   I also agree that Ofgem just run around trying to fill holes rather than setting strategies.

It is a huge piece of misinformation that suppliers make a tonne of money.  Bulb lost £130m last year and Octopus £30m.  SSE sold their supply book and npower have been trying to sell theirs for 2 years.  Centrica’s share price is a fraction of what it used to be.  Ecotricity are loss making and I question their authenticity.  15 suppliers have gone out of business in the last year.  The 2 councils that entered the energy supply sector have done a really poor job.


Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: StevieB on March 19, 2020, 12:03:09 am

Would be nice if you added a bit of detail.


Probably just as well I didn't!

I left this all behind years ago...

but at that time the BIG ONE was called 'Green Deal'...
Now that I look at their Web site I see all kinds of:

 > insulation
 > heating
 > draught-proofing
 > double glazing
 > renewable energy generation

but not Smart Meters!

Actually, it sort of makes sense for them to be part of a separate scheme - the supply companies are a bit sensitive about people fiddling with their meters. (It is not a difficult job, and they will let subcontractors do it after a bit of vetting and training...)

And things have obviously changed slightly...

However, the point I was trying to make is that the 'solution' depends on several players, who were playing different games, which is why I am not surprised the roll-out has taken much longer than expected. (Nor am I surprised you can list 4~5 schemes which might apply, might overlap, might...)

To put it another way - the problem of getting one 'box' to talk to another 'box' is much compounded when those boxes are sitting in different systems in different organisations, whose goals and objectives don't align terribly well (and mostly competitors who are not in the habit of collaborating with each other).

I'm sure you have more accurate and up-to-date information than me, but you are right... there are a lot of things the public are not aware of...

For starters - the meter and the isolation switch/fuse are the only parts of the system the 'supply' companies have responsibility for, the wires into your house belong to you, the wires into the meter belong to the 'distribution' companies - who are strictly kept separate to the supply companies.

The supply companies, ie. those companies which we as customers interact with (if you can call it that!) are simply billing companies - they need to track how much electricity you consume and bill you accordingly. That is all. Simple (you would think!).

Some people may not like the big supermarkets, like Tesco and Sainburys, but in terms of getting food from their suppliers and onto their shelves, they are incredibly efficient. In a similar way, the supply companies are also incredibly efficient - with millions of customers they cannot afford to screw it up. (They have done in the past when updating their systems, and it was not pretty!)

To be efficient they need efficient systems - ones which are not very flexible... (But equally you won't get far asking a supermarket for a pint of milk instead of a litre... if you see what I mean.)

The total number of supply companies around show the 'barriers to entry' have been removed. As many are going out of business, that shows the market is efficient. It also shows, as you say, there is not a lot of easy profits around in the business.

Yes, Centrica share price has declined from over 400p in 2012 to under 40p today - that would destroy most companies, yet they are largely the same company doing the same thing! It is their perceived ability to make profits in the future which has declined.

Consumers have complained - that has been picked up by the press who have kicked the government into doing something, they have kicked Ofgen who have kicked the supply companies.

What is not obvious is the amount of red tape involved - the companies have very little freedom of movement. For eg. if you compare the bills from two different companies I'll guarantee they are very similar in layout and format, often using identical words or phrases - that is because it is nearly all mandated by Ofgen. (Whether or not you find the information useful I'll leave to you to decide.)


Regarding the smart meters themselves - they have a memory sufficiently large to hold several days of readings, which they squirt out at night as a data stream when the network is idle anyway - so it does not cost much. (And seems there are other options now.)
 
But to work, there must be an agreement with a network carrier and bulk purchase SIM cards, so the installer is unlikely to have a selection of networks s/he can try out for signal strength at the time of installation.

For the internal comms, I am not sure zigbee would be chosen again if starting today, but obviously there is a certain amount of momentum given the 16 million systems already installed.
 
To be fair - all those low power rf systems have strengths and weaknesses. It is not just operating distances (and remember there can be big differences between optimum and non-optimum conditions), but also security, AND interference - in the 2.4 GHz band also sits wi-fi, bluetooth and your microwave oven for eg!

You are also totally right - the smart meters are part of a bigger picture - for suppliers to "offer cleverer tariffs and improve their balancing." That is because smart meters are more of less constantly monitoring the supply (please don't quote me, but it is something like each one minute reading is an average over that time span - which is very different from monthly (give or take!) readings!)

That is hugely important because the ability to charge different tariffs at different times of the day is a way of lowering peak demand by shifting when people charge their electric cars, for example.

The alternative is upgrading the electric supply network to meet the perceived rise in demand, which is mega expensive.

It is an industry wide problem, which no one wants to tackle, least of all the suppliers who, as you point out are already well screwed and don't have the resources to even think about it.

 A lot of people will be happy to see the supply companies killed off, but that is not a solution. And a lot of people don't realise that a company need to make a profit in order to breathe - to make improvements. And very few people realise an efficient electricity supply is a core part of the low-carbon, green future they all want.

Apologies for waffling on and on!
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: rob on March 20, 2020, 09:00:43 pm
And 2 suppliers go bust in the last 2 days.

Without wanting to go all COVID-19 in another thread, what are seeing at the moment is industrial demand coming down but domestic demand coming up as people wfh. Half hourly metering is already in place in business so suppliers see the change in consumption and can adjust for it.  Because a lot of domestic meters are still quarterly read the supplier will not be a able to adjust their forecasts quickly enough.  Smart metering would offer daily consumption profiling allowing the supplier to react more quickly.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: nicknack on March 20, 2020, 09:43:21 pm
We had an appointment for smart meter installation a month or so ago. The chap turned up at the allotted hour, took one look at the location of our current meter and stated there was no way he could get a new meter in there. He then left.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: rob on March 24, 2020, 04:25:02 pm
Something’s up with my internal monitor.  It’s picking up gas data but not electricity.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Bolt on March 24, 2020, 11:42:39 pm
Something’s up with my internal monitor.  It’s picking up gas data but not electricity.
Mines been doing the same, but if I press the "flame/spark" button the combined usage is shown as normal.  It seems to be resetting itself to gas reading only overnight ???
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: quixoticgeek on May 11, 2020, 09:01:39 am

Well I now have a smart gas meter, and a electricity smart meter.

Noone can tell me what smart gas is...

J
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: quixoticgeek on May 11, 2020, 08:44:17 pm

We now have a smart meter.

And in the first 4 hours of it's use, pulled over 700kw, constantly... on a supply that can do max 16kw... I am now searching the flat to find which usb wall wart is going white hot and starting to produce plasma...

J
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Kim on May 11, 2020, 08:54:36 pm
I am now searching the flat to find which usb wall wart is going white hot and starting to produce plasma...

The pink one.  </big_clive>
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on May 11, 2020, 10:09:09 pm

Well I now have a smart gas meter, and a electricity smart meter.

Noone can tell me what smart gas is...

J
Smart gas is the perfectly timed fart.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Davef on May 11, 2020, 10:35:32 pm

Well I now have a smart gas meter, and a electricity smart meter.

Noone can tell me what smart gas is...

J
Read “the black cloud” by Fred hoyle.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Kim on July 18, 2020, 10:22:38 pm
"Oh for fuck's sake!" said Kim, the words coming easily through force of habit.

I've just discovered, after a mildly sarcastic exchange with a long-suffering customer service monkey, that our smart meters have never actually provided any data, and it's been purely estimated readings since I stopped doing them manually in 2017

That I didn't pick it up is down to a combination of poor UI on the Robin Hood website[1], a surprisingly accurate estimation algorithm[2], and my general naivety that something could fuck up that badly.   :facepalm:

It's particularly irksome that their remote energy display waste-of-time doesn't allow you to access the raw counter readings like the old nPower one did, so I'm reduced to poking the gas meter with a inanimate carbon rod pokey thing while peering through an oriface with a torch, because it's slightly less effort than moving all the camping kit.



[1] Top tip: If you provide a table of plausible meter readings with status "Accepted" in the meter readings history, we're going to think they're meter readings, not estimates.
[2] Unlike nPower, who just called rand()
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Wowbagger on July 18, 2020, 11:14:35 pm
That's interesting. We've had a few "estimated" readings since the smart meter was installed and I wondered why, given that the machine is supposed to be sending them data every 30 minutes.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: simonp on July 18, 2020, 11:58:12 pm
EDF tried to issue our first bill this week. Total fail; they've decided there's a discrepancy between the old supplier's closing reading and EDF's opening reading. Given they went through the process of agreeing this with British Gas and said it was sorted two months ago, this is irksome. They're quoting 6-8 weeks for this process (same as last time). Such ineptitude.

They've also managed to break our access to smart meter data in the meantime (they can get readings though).
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: andytheflyer on July 19, 2020, 09:12:40 am
I thank you.

All of the above merely reinforces my stance not to have an SM installed until the muppets have sorted the bugs.  What a monumental waste of time and money.  My little spy on the wall gizmo may not give me the gas consumption (only hot water anyway at this time of year) but I'll spot within minutes when the wife's left all the lights on, or she's put a fan heater on whilst doing her flute practice.

Eff off Scottish Power.  Don't bother calling me again until you've fixed the systemic issues. If I've told you once.......and still you ring me.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: rob on July 19, 2020, 09:30:13 am
Closing off my account at the old house with EDF was straightforward and the final bill was produced with a credit and refunded.

The new house has an economy 7 meter and I have worked out that the suppliers have the 2 registers the wrong way round.  I noticed this as I moved the supply over to Octopus.   The problem is the industry is so chock full of automation that you simply can’t get this fixed.   As an example I provided readings to Octopus and explained tge situation but npower rejected those and swapped them back again which Octopus accepted.   I’m back where I started. 

I’m actually better off as I’m getting the cheap rate during the day.  I initially thought at some point they would notice and fix the problem but, having spoken to several droids, I reckon they’ll never work it out.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: orienteer on July 19, 2020, 10:18:08 am
My current supplier (geddit?) So Energy is not offering smart meters, sensibly.

I submit readings once a month, and haven't seen a meter reader for yonks.

My electricity meter is tucked away under the kitchen sink unit, and I use an inspection camera to read it. The gas meter is outside.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Kim on July 19, 2020, 11:31:27 am
At this point the main benefit of the smart meters is that the electrickery one had a Mk 1 blinkenlight on it, allowing me to monitor energy consumption with RRDtool (https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=80102.msg2315671;topicseen#msg2315671).  Plenty of dumb meters also have that feature, but not the original one installed here.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: quixoticgeek on July 19, 2020, 11:35:56 am
At this point the main benefit of the smart meters is that the electrickery one had a Mk 1 blinkenlight on it, allowing me to monitor energy consumption with RRDtool (https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=80102.msg2315671;topicseen#msg2315671).  Plenty of dumb meters also have that feature, but not the original one installed here.

Mine has an IR LED which puts out some sort of serial signal. My housemate is investigating the ways of measuring what it tells us. It also has the blinkenlight output option if all else fails. Tho I suspect Lianda may get grumpy if they come round to find we've taped photo diodes to it...

J
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Kim on July 19, 2020, 11:37:51 am
Ah, it's got those too - the installer used them with a PDA thing to set up the pairing of the meters.  Haven't looked to see if there's data coming out of it.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: quixoticgeek on July 19, 2020, 11:40:35 am
Ah, it's got those too - the installer used them with a PDA thing to set up the pairing of the meters.  Haven't looked to see if there's data coming out of it.

Now I'm wondering if we have the same or very similar meters. But to work out what it is would require me getting up, so that would have to wait...

We're redoing the power completely as we've gone from single phase to 3 phase, which is proving an interesting technical challenge. Trying to split a 32A hob and a 13A oven across 3 phases of 25A each...

J
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Adam on July 19, 2020, 02:10:07 pm
For my shop, the previous owner had Economy 7, but I've gone for a normal tariff.  They've said I can't have a smart meter for either gas or electricity.  And despite me submitting monthly readings for the last 9 months, they still sent someone round last week to read the gas meter.  Not interested in reading the electricity one though, even though it's the same provider.  Bizarre.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Mike J on July 19, 2020, 06:09:56 pm
They do like to pester when you tell them you don't want one.  "It'll save you doing quarterly readings", I'm already doing that anyway.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: rob on July 20, 2020, 08:00:16 am
For my shop, the previous owner had Economy 7, but I've gone for a normal tariff.  They've said I can't have a smart meter for either gas or electricity.  And despite me submitting monthly readings for the last 9 months, they still sent someone round last week to read the gas meter.  Not interested in reading the electricity one though, even though it's the same provider.  Bizarre.

There’s a requirement in the (gas) industry code to do an independent reading every 2 years.  Gives them a chance to do a quick inspection at the same time.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: simonp on July 20, 2020, 10:32:51 am
Same for electricity IME. They want to do a reading themselves every two years.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: fd3 on July 22, 2020, 12:07:54 am
Got a text stating that (not offering to) we would be getting a smart meter.  I'm happily ignoring this and hoping it goes away.  We've been with supplier for about a year now and their algorithm is close enough to what the meter readings actually say that I'm happy not to send them monthly readings any more.
We can't switch any more appliances off (apparently the fridge needs to be plugged in even if we're not at home) and I don't see how the smart meter can't have an energy cost to run.  Also, all the stuff in this thread.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: simonp on August 12, 2020, 10:51:18 am
EDF tried to issue our first bill this week. Total fail; they've decided there's a discrepancy between the old supplier's closing reading and EDF's opening reading. Given they went through the process of agreeing this with British Gas and said it was sorted two months ago, this is irksome. They're quoting 6-8 weeks for this process (same as last time). Such ineptitude.

They've also managed to break our access to smart meter data in the meantime (they can get readings though).

This morning I decided this had gone on long enough. So I opened the live chat and asked them to tell me what's going on.

(Paraphrasing)

Indian-sounding name: "Oh, it's all resolved now"

(Hmm.... could have told us)

Me: "So the dispute is resolved?"

Indian-sounding name: "They have the right meter reading now"

(Who... British Gas? They issued a final bill in March and took another £0.03 - a rounding error - after the previous adjustment. Nothing since).

Me: "Can you tell me the readings you have" (Not once had they actually thought to inform us what the dispute was over)

Indian-sounding name: "They are XXXX and XXXX" (It's a dual rate)

Me: "Just to be clear... is this the meter reading the previous supplier already had?"

Indian-sounding name: "Yes"

I made sure to save the chat where they admitted all this messing around was on their side only.

I asked for a new bill to be issued. I'm still waiting to see this online - but our DD has already been adjusted, to half of what it was.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: DuncanM on August 12, 2020, 11:21:18 am
I've been getting emails from someone saying that Ecotricity have instructed them to install smart meters. I wonder if they know about the PV, or what it will do to the FIT setup we currently (!) have. I bet they don't. Wowbagger - are you with Ecotricity for supply and FIT (do you have PV)?

I also discovered that our PV panels overhang our neighbours property by about 100mm. We discovered this because she is getting her roof replaced and the roofers told her. According to the PV guy who came to take a look today, the house is 4m wide, and they fitted panels that come to 4m, plus there's a bit of rail at each end.  ::-) FFS. Will wait and see what his boss has to say...
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Wowbagger on August 12, 2020, 11:25:02 am
We don't have any PV solar panels just one for hot water. Our roof points the wrong way to take advantage. I was told that the payback time would be 25 years. I won't be around then, and I figures that since all our electricity is coming rom renewable sources, I might uas well just keep on paying Ecotricity.

I am still getting emails requesting meter readings. I still don't understand why.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: simonp on August 12, 2020, 11:25:17 am
The smart meter could in theory be used to measure real export rather than deemed export as now.

Depending on your usage pattern, this will either reduce or increase your FIT payments. It will certainly reduce ours as we export less than 50%.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: rob on September 11, 2020, 09:45:37 pm
I can’t find the more general thread on energy supply here but thought I’d add that both Council-backed energy suppliers - Bristol Energy and Robin Hood Energy have sold their customers and shut up shop.  Neither company really had their strategy right and both struggled to find their niche.  Both Councils are down tens of millions on their investments.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Kim on September 11, 2020, 09:59:41 pm
Yep, I've begun proceedings to jump ship to the nearest available cephalopod.  I'm predicting another round of smart meters...
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on September 11, 2020, 10:06:28 pm
Bristol Energy has been in trouble for a couple of years at least. I don't think it ever broke even.

As for smart meters, we had an email about one (we're not with Bristol Energy) a couple of days ago, which I'm ignoring, as the same problems which made it impossible a few years ago still apply.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Wowbagger on September 11, 2020, 10:24:52 pm
I had a reminder today to send in a meter reading. I was told by Ecotricity that they are getting gas meter reading but not leccy, and they speculated that the leccy meter was in a more obscure place and the signal wasn't getting through. I pointed out that both meters are in the same cupboard.

I will give them a call on Monday.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Kim on September 11, 2020, 10:29:46 pm
I had a reminder today to send in a meter reading. I was told by Ecotricity that they are getting gas meter reading but not leccy, and they speculated that the leccy meter was in a more obscure place and the signal wasn't getting through. I pointed out that both meters are in the same cupboard.

Does the electricity meter not obtain data from the battery-powered gas meter over Zigbee and then forward it to the mothership via the cellular WAN?

Not that that precludes some sort of fault or misconfiguration.  It's computers, of course they don't work properly.  But you'd generally expect it to be the other way round...
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: rob on September 12, 2020, 11:26:18 am
Bristol Energy has been in trouble for a couple of years at least. I don't think it ever broke even.

The business model is predicated on an assumption that the big guys make a tonne of money on their supply businesses and it’s just not true.  Of course the introduction of price capping hasn’t helped.

However, successful supply businesses like Bulb and Octopus are also loss making but have high market values.  I don’t get it.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Canardly on September 12, 2020, 11:41:28 am
SSE keep badgering me to install a smart meter. Have these things been sorted now regarding tech standards and transferability etc?
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Tim Hall on September 12, 2020, 11:53:44 am
SSE keep badgering me to install a smart meter. Have these things been sorted now regarding tech standards and transferability etc?
When I looked into about 18 months ago, SMETS 2 was bring rolled out,which meant transferability between suppliers, so I bit the bullet. Comms issues , either between the gas meter and the electricity meter or the electricity meter and the supplier meant they had to fit SMETS1 , with no transferability. Bah.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: simonp on September 12, 2020, 01:54:15 pm
SMETS1 meters should in theory gain transferability with firmware upgrades over time. We didn't wait as we wanted to switch to a smart meter tariff with a new supplier so got it changed to a SMETS2 meter.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Greenbank on September 12, 2020, 02:01:06 pm
SMETS1 transferability could also be solved easily by making the original supplier responsible for forwarding the data to a central broker service where it can be made available to the appropriate supplier/billing co.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: tiermat on September 13, 2020, 10:16:20 am
Smart meters. Hmmm.

We had ours installed, by E.on, when the extension was built.

It worked fine, they got the readings OK and didn't bother us. However they are expensive as a utility supplier, so we swapped. To BG. Who then expected me to read the meters for them every 4 weeks. Despite having confirmed that the smart meter was compatible with their systems.

As soon as I could, I kicked them into touch.

Now on Green Energy Network who read both the meters, remotely every week and update the portal so that I can verify.

It's not rocket science, this customer service thing....
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: simonp on September 13, 2020, 10:49:17 am
SMETS1 transferability could also be solved easily by making the original supplier responsible for forwarding the data to a central broker service where it can be made available to the appropriate supplier/billing co.

It’s not quite that simple since the meters have two way communication. So the broker would have to be able to transmit commands back from the new supplier eg when switching between dual rate and standard tariffs.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: grams on September 13, 2020, 02:02:09 pm
SMETS1 transferability could also be solved easily by making the original supplier responsible for forwarding the data to a central broker service where it can be made available to the appropriate supplier/billing co.

That's not really compatible with the fly-by-night nature of half the energy suppliers in this country, although maybe the worst ones never wasted money on deploying smart meters.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Wowbagger on September 15, 2020, 02:28:32 pm
Another wildly inaccurate set of "estimates" and a bill vastly in excess of reality. I am currently on hold after raising the issue with Ecotricity. Their cut-glass-accented female sales droids do a very good line in patronising.

And she hasn't explained to me why, after a successful smart meter reading on 11th Sept, my bill was based on an estimate, dated 14th September, about £200 in excess of the reality. Or why their website doesn't work when I try to submit my electricity reading.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Wowbagger on September 15, 2020, 02:38:57 pm
And a £500 refund! Splendid!
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Canardly on September 29, 2020, 04:52:35 pm
Have taken the plunge, both gas and leccy being fitted early October.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Kim on October 11, 2020, 01:05:28 am
 :o

The cephalopod appears to have a much higher level of competence than the man in green:

Code: [Select]
{
  "count": 240,
  "next": "[REDACTED]",
  "previous": null,
  "results": [
    {
      "consumption": 0.199,
      "interval_start": "2020-10-10T00:30:00+01:00",
      "interval_end": "2020-10-10T01:00:00+01:00"
    },
    {
      "consumption": 0.291,
      "interval_start": "2020-10-10T00:00:00+01:00",
      "interval_end": "2020-10-10T00:30:00+01:00"
    },
    {...}
  ]
}

Actual readings!  From the SMETS1 meters that have been playing dumb for the last couple of years.  I'm genuinely astounded.

I'm seeing more RRD goodness and a lot less poking the gas meter with a stick through a small slot while holding a torch in my future...
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Diver300 on October 11, 2020, 10:16:30 am
:o

The cephalopod appears to have a much higher level of competence than the man in green:

Code: [Select]
{
  "count": 240,
  "next": "[REDACTED]",
  "previous": null,
  "results": [
    {
      "consumption": 0.199,
      "interval_start": "2020-10-10T00:30:00+01:00",
      "interval_end": "2020-10-10T01:00:00+01:00"
    },
    {
      "consumption": 0.291,
      "interval_start": "2020-10-10T00:00:00+01:00",
      "interval_end": "2020-10-10T00:30:00+01:00"
    },
    {...}
  ]
}

Actual readings!  From the SMETS1 meters that have been playing dumb for the last couple of years.  I'm genuinely astounded.

I'm seeing more RRD goodness and a lot less poking the gas meter with a stick through a small slot while holding a torch in my future...

Can you please explain how you extracted that information from the meter? What hardware / software / anabaric magic was needed?
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Greenbank on October 11, 2020, 10:56:56 am
MQTT over Zigbee?

So I'm guessing just a USB Zigbee receiver and some passive snooping.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Kim on October 11, 2020, 12:15:32 pm
Can you please explain how you extracted that information from the meter? What hardware / software / anabaric magic was needed?

I'm getting it from Octopus's API:  https://developer.octopus.energy/docs/api/

(Interestingly, it's returning the same data that it did last night.  Not sure if I jinxed it, or it only updates at midnight or something.)

I already have have finer-grained monitoring of the electricity meter by means of a phototransistor attached to the blinkenlight on the front with blu-tac and an Arduino, but that's only good for monitoring consumption, rather than accurate billing.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Diver300 on October 11, 2020, 01:11:31 pm
Can you please explain how you extracted that information from the meter? What hardware / software / anabaric magic was needed?

I'm getting it from Octopus's API:  https://developer.octopus.energy/docs/api/

(Interestingly, it's returning the same data that it did last night.  Not sure if I jinxed it, or it only updates at midnight or something.)

I hope you don't mind the stupid questions, but does that mean you are getting the information from Octopus's server, via the API, using the internet, so information that the meter has already sent to the server?

I already have have finer-grained monitoring of the electricity meter by means of a phototransistor attached to the blinkenlight on the front with blu-tac and an Arduino, but that's only good for monitoring consumption, rather than accurate billing.
I already knew about that and was admiring the ingenuity.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Kim on October 11, 2020, 01:19:24 pm
Can you please explain how you extracted that information from the meter? What hardware / software / anabaric magic was needed?

I'm getting it from Octopus's API:  https://developer.octopus.energy/docs/api/

(Interestingly, it's returning the same data that it did last night.  Not sure if I jinxed it, or it only updates at midnight or something.)

I hope you don't mind the stupid questions, but does that mean you are getting the information from Octopus's server, via the API, using the internet, so information that the meter has already sent to the server?

Yes, exactly.

It proves that the meters are successfully communicating with Octopus.  Which I never expected to happen, because Robin Hood (who had them installed) never managed to obtain data from them, sending us "Ignore this request for a meter reading if you have smart meters" letters once a month, and being completely unclear that they were using estimated readings.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Kim on October 12, 2020, 03:25:20 pm
Okay, it appears that the API returns consumption in (UTC) whole days, and updates some hours after (UTC) midnight.  Presumably it's processed as a batch job on its way from the meter to Octopus's servers.

So not exactly real time.  Pleasingly, it does appear to broadly agree with my blinkylightmeter data:

(http://www.ductilebiscuit.net/gallery_albums/electricity/mainsgraph24hrwithoctopus.png)
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: frankly frankie on October 12, 2020, 11:12:51 pm
5am (UTC) is a rather unusual time to be microwaving your breakfast whilst running the tumble dryer.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: quixoticgeek on October 13, 2020, 12:01:55 pm
Okay, it appears that the API returns consumption in (UTC) whole days, and updates some hours after (UTC) midnight.  Presumably it's processed as a batch job on its way from the meter to Octopus's servers.

So not exactly real time.  Pleasingly, it does appear to broadly agree with my blinkylightmeter data:

(http://www.ductilebiscuit.net/gallery_albums/electricity/mainsgraph24hrwithoctopus.png)

You run Debian, and have substantial spinning rust storage?

J
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Kim on October 13, 2020, 12:09:01 pm
Debian: yes.
Spinning rust: a couple of drives and a couple more not spinning.  (If this is about baseload, it's a sever, router, a couple of 24 port switches, a fire alarm system, and various SIP phones and deaf tech.)
I'll leave it to your imagination why someone might need to use an electric shower for a couple of minutes at 5am...
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: quixoticgeek on October 13, 2020, 12:10:34 pm
Debian: yes.
Spinning rust: a couple of drives and a couple more not spinning.  (If this is about baseload, it's a sever, router, a couple of 24 port switches, a fire alarm system, and various SIP phones and deaf tech.)
I'll leave it to your imagination why someone might need to use an electric shower for a couple of minutes at 5am...

It was more the slight rise, that persisted for a while at 0625...

J
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Kim on October 13, 2020, 12:12:54 pm
It was more the slight rise, that persisted for a while at 0625...

That's the fridge.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: ian on October 13, 2020, 12:14:18 pm
British Gas have started to text us random installation dates, unrequested, so they're really keen that we do have one fitted.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Canardly on October 14, 2020, 09:41:23 pm
Smart meter duly installed and working. Gas is a bit slow to respond on the little monitor thingy. But otherwise working ok. Will be interesting to see if it has any positive or negative impact on bills.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: rob on October 14, 2020, 09:49:27 pm
Smart meter duly installed and working. Gas is a bit slow to respond on the little monitor thingy. But otherwise working ok. Will be interesting to see if it has any positive or negative impact on bills.

And this is where the ads get a little misleading.  The mere existence of the smart meter does not reduce demand.  It should create an informed consumer that then changes the amount and pattern of their consumption and lowers overall demand.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: ian on October 14, 2020, 10:02:31 pm
We finally signed up to get them off our case. I'm not going to bother asking them whether it's a new or an old one, because they won't know, and I figure it's their problem.

And if the gasman* gets stuck in the cupboard of IT shame, I'm not feeding him.

*sexism aside, I've never seen gaswoman, and if they do electric too, what are they? Energy people? There's an Energizer Bunny, of course, but I don't think he does meters. I figure I'm scared of the tradespeople because of 80s porn. No seriously, if you remember the plot of eighties porn movies like I do, you'll know that they frequently involved a lingerie-clad housewife and a strapping male plumber/electrician/insert trade and anything else of choice. I'm actively trying to minimize the risk by not wearing lingerie.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: grams on October 14, 2020, 10:23:30 pm
Just looked into booking one with Bulb. One of the questions is "Is the distance between your meters 10m or less?" and helpfully they add:

Quote
10m is a bit longer than a bus

Thanks Bulb.

And apparently if I answer no to that question (it's borderline) I can't have just the electric done.

FU Bulb.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Kim on October 14, 2020, 11:13:24 pm
Smart meter duly installed and working. Gas is a bit slow to respond on the little monitor thingy.

Normal behaviour:  The gas meter has quite a long interval between data transmissions, in order to conserve battery.


Quote
Will be interesting to see if it has any positive or negative impact on bills.

Theoretically the main impact is that the bills will be based on consumption, rather than random number generation.  If the supplier actually manages to access the data from the meters, of course.

Otherwise there's a lot of spin based on the dubious assumptions that consumers are a) oblivious to energy consumption in the absence of a smart meter  and  b) inclined to change their habits / appliances in order to reduce it.

Personally I reckon that, while the monitor thing might help you keep an eye on bills, it's marginally useful at best for tracking down excessive power use.  The monitor thing doesn't give you the granularity of the graphs I posted above, so a plug-in power meter is likely to be more useful for working out what's contributing what.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Greenbank on October 15, 2020, 09:14:45 am
Theoretically the main impact is that the bills will be based on consumption, rather than random number generation.  If the supplier actually manages to access the data from the meters, of course.

Most suppliers will still be billing based on estimation to flatten out the monthly bills across the year rather than charging way more in the winter than in the summer.

I'd be happy to be billed for actual monthly consumption but that's because I'm in a lucky position that a ~£150 bill for winter months wouldn't be a problem for me. For a large number of people in the UK it would be a problem, and they want to be charged £75/month over the year rather than £150 in the depths of winter and £50 for spring/summer/autumn months.

The readings from a Smart meter installed in the spring/summer months can't guess how much the bill will be in the winter months.

I suppose the more frequent and accurate readings should mean the random number generator is slightly less random though.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: ian on October 15, 2020, 09:27:31 am
I pay for quarterly actual gas and electricity consumption. They really, really don't like this judging by the amount of correspondence they send me about the 'benefits of direct debit.' They do remind me by text to read the meter (though their online portal always claims that no reading is due, and whenever I input the reading it shouts 'are you sure, this looks wrong?' even though it never is). Anyway, nothing in my experience tells me to anticipate a utility company billing correctly so I'd rather no give them a licence to take the amount.

If they attempt to change my billing to estimated I'll be peeved. Take reading, charge me for what I used.

SES Water did for a while start estimating my water bill, which I only picked up after the fact. Apparently, though they never felt like telling us this, couldn't find the water meter. Fair enough, it's in a verge, but that's where SES Water fitted it when we moved here.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: grams on October 15, 2020, 09:32:57 am
Most suppliers will still be billing based on estimation to flatten out the monthly bills across the year rather than charging way more in the winter than in the summer.

All the ones I've had will take real meter readings and feed them into a random number generator for what I should be paying monthly. Which has never worked out.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: quixoticgeek on October 15, 2020, 11:12:14 am
Anyway, nothing in my experience tells me to anticipate a utility company billing correctly so I'd rather no give them a licence to take the amount.


I'm reminded of a few years back when Scottish Gas did an estimated reading, and decided to change my monthly payment to over £1200 per month. I was very grateful of the Direct Debit Guarantee, the charge was reversed very very fast.

What then happened was a lot of them claiming that they had the right reading, and it was the amount I was due etc... In the end there was a conclusion that the electricity meter was faulty, and they would replace the meter, and then use the first 3 months of use, as the basis to calculate the previous year and a bit. They installed the new meter, couple of months pass.

"High, please pay us the several thousand you owe"
"Um, that's not what we agreed."
"Well we analysed the meter we took out and found no fault."
"Are you sure about that"
"yes"
"Well i have the old meter in my hand, so I don't think you did any testing at all"
*silence*

Eventually it got as far as a court summons, at which point a call from a lawyer told them how stupid they were, and within 24 hours my bill had been written off, and we went to just using the numbers from the new meter...

Incompetent bunch of utter fuckwits.

I still have that old meter, sat in the server room... It's a proper old mechanical bakerlite thing.

Here in Amsterdam we got a new smart meter installed, including a smart gas meter. Despite my inquiries, noone can tell me what smart gas is. It wasn't a brand new meter, and had an existing reading on it. Which took a few weeks to sort out with them. I was glad I took photos within an hour of it being wired in. They could hardly claim I'd used a few megawatts within the first hour... on a 25 amp feed...

Why are meters so damn hard? you'd think energy companies would have got this sorted by now...

J
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: ian on October 15, 2020, 11:45:14 am
It took several weeks here to convince BG that our meter wasn't imperial (because the database*) after our first surprise £1000+ bill. I had to do a comedy photo of my holding a dated newspaper over the meter. Which seems a bit pointless as it could have been someone else's meter. You'd think the huge bill would have been a giveway.

Not to mention my often mentioned travails with EDF literally billing the wall that a meter was located on, rather than an actual address. Etc.

I don't think any utility company can bill.

*I do wonder if the previous owners were paying for imperial gas, so about three-times as much...
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Kim on October 15, 2020, 11:52:12 am
I do wonder if the previous owners were paying for imperial gas, so about three-times as much...

Isn't imperial gas about 35 times as much?  Gas comes in cubes, remember...
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: ian on October 15, 2020, 12:23:31 pm
I do wonder if the previous owners were paying for imperial gas, so about three-times as much...

Isn't imperial gas about 35 times as much?  Gas comes in cubes, remember...

If I recall, there's a factor of ten involved in the meter values as read (I can't be bothered to look), so the actual conversation was 3.5 rather than 35 so not quite so obvious, but it still inflated a £300ish bill to a £1000 mid-winter whopper. But with no baseline to go on, you might not know it's wrong (we lived in a bigger house before and never used anything like that much gas).

Discussion with customer 'services' went along the lines of Hi there, I think there's a mistake with our bill. Oh no, sir, it's quite correct. But it's rather large and you see, it says cubic feet and the meter says m3. Yes, that's correct! So the bill is wrong then. No, the meter is correct. Yes, I know the meter is correct but your bill is wrong. No, sir, the billing uses your meter...

You can't just explain to them that they are billing based on the wrong unit.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Kim on October 15, 2020, 12:30:49 pm
Its worse than that, the Octopus API is returning kWh for gas meter readings.  This is apparently expected for the SMETS1 meter (SMETS2 meters return m^3), but implies another level of bistromathics is being applied somewhere re calorific value.  Possibly even at the meter itself.  I suppose that must be where the smart gas comes in.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: ian on October 15, 2020, 12:48:04 pm
Its worse than that, the Octopus API is returning kWh for gas meter readings.  This is apparently expected for the SMETS1 meter (SMETS2 meters return m^3), but implies another level of bistromathics is being applied somewhere re calorific value.  Possibly even at the meter itself.  I suppose that must be where the smart gas comes in.

There's some calculation listed on the bill so both gas and electric are kWh, but I suspect to most people that might as well be quadratic calculus with imaginary numbers. Basically some unit changes and a calorific conversation. If you were following till that point, then they bring in the tariffs, so x units at this, y units at that. Then, as you pull up the end of that epic calculation, they put a little e next to the number.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: rob on October 15, 2020, 01:34:20 pm
Its worse than that, the Octopus API is returning kWh for gas meter readings.  This is apparently expected for the SMETS1 meter (SMETS2 meters return m^3), but implies another level of bistromathics is being applied somewhere re calorific value.  Possibly even at the meter itself.  I suppose that must be where the smart gas comes in.

There's some calculation listed on the bill so both gas and electric are kWh, but I suspect to most people that might as well be quadratic calculus with imaginary numbers. Basically some unit changes and a calorific conversation. If you were following till that point, then they bring in the tariffs, so x units at this, y units at that. Then, as you pull up the end of that epic calculation, they put a little e next to the number.

Gas meters measure volume but you're required to bill energy, hence all the buggering about with formulae.   The Calorific Value is provided to the supplier daily by Transco/Grid.   In order to produce your bill they need to average the CV between meter reading 1 and meter reading 2.   It's not perfect but neither is the rest of the industry.

Incidentally if you have an old style gas meter you can disconnect them and turn them round so they run backwards.   The trick is to not let the reading run below the last one.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Kim on October 15, 2020, 06:22:07 pm
Incidentally if you have an old style gas meter you can disconnect them and turn them round so they run backwards.   The trick is to not let the reading run below the last one.

Don't attempt this with a smart meter thobut, unless you want a bill for 2147483647 m^3 of gas.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Canardly on October 26, 2020, 06:08:21 pm
Thats why the regs have changed and you are no longer allowed flexible pipework on the gas meter. Strictly speaking they should shut off any fitting that still has one when installing the new meter. I had to sign a waiver. Cross bonding was involved.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Wombat on November 07, 2020, 10:26:53 am
My electricity meter, which was installed when the house was built in 1985, ran backwards for quite a while, when we generated plenty of solar PV.  Our suppliers were of course, told of the type of meter, before the PV was installed, as part of the application for feed-in tariff.  However they chose to ignore this, and then got arsey over my bills.  Well sorry mates, but you were given the opportunity to change it!  I was being awkward and saying you can't change it unless its a smart meter, but we both new that wouldn't hold water.  They did eventually change it, but the haggling over consumption dragged on a bit.

In other news, I have another appointment for installation of a smart meter, on 16th November.  Apparently the first thing he will insist on doing before he installs it, is turn off the gas.  That could take him a while, as there's no gas for quite a few miles from here!  What he might be better advised to do, is ask me to turn off the PV, if he doesn't want to be electrocuted.  We will probably then have the conversation around "oh, you've got PV, we can't install it", and "Oh, we can't get a data signal".  Well that's your effing problem, I've made 3 formal complaints to you about it, so bleedin' well sort it!
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: valkyrie on November 07, 2020, 07:20:13 pm
After endlessly emails, letters and texts from E.On they got me on a phone call and I agreed to a smart meter install this morning. After an hour with the power off the electrician informed me that the gas meter was too far away from the electrical meter so I can’t have a smart meter. Hopefully the’ll stop contacting me now.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: rob on November 07, 2020, 07:24:26 pm
Scottish Power hassled my Mum incessantly to put a smart meter.   We put them back for ages and I still think they have cocked up the changeover from Dad’s name (they HAD to close the account and open a new one rather just swapping the names).   Anyway we finally sorted a day out and then they just didn’t turn up.   Heard nothing since.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: CommuteTooFar on November 13, 2020, 08:35:33 pm
I am booked for 4thn  January.  We will see what happens.  Npower sends me messages to confirm. I follow the link where it tells me I have already confirmed.  I have never confirmed I chose the date and time when I tried to confirm the date they offered which was unavailable.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Andy W on November 13, 2020, 08:57:36 pm
I can't see much benefit for the end user. I know people who have them fitted. I have yet to observe people changing their energy usage. A 3 kW kettle is a big energy consumer, but that's not going to stand in the way of a nice cuppa.
I do understand the benefits to energy companies, in that they can build a picture of the nations energy usage and generate or store power accordingly.
 Have I missed the point?
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: quixoticgeek on November 13, 2020, 10:53:16 pm
Have I missed the point?

Yes.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: rob on November 13, 2020, 11:17:25 pm
I thought I wrote something in this a while back, but it’s not in this thread.  I can find me being rude to someone making mad assertions about the industry.  Must have been a tetchy day.

Anyway smart meters remove the need for estimated reads and can offer half hourly consumption data allowing the smart consumer to not just use less but to move their consumption to cheaper times of the day. 

To be fair the TV ads are pretty misleading.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Kim on November 14, 2020, 12:52:40 am
Did I mention the comedy email from the Cephalopod?

Quote from: Pete @ Octopus Energy
Between 4:30pm – 6:30pm today, National Grid will be paying fossil fuel generators as much as 10 times the normal price for electricity to meet high demand.

We'd rather just pay to help you use less. That way the money goes to our customers, and National Grid don’t use as much fossil fuels.

So we’re running a special trial — and you're invited.

If you can reduce your electricity use between 4:30pm – 6:30pm today to half of your normal amount or less, any energy you do use will be completely free.

You normally use 1.2kWh between 4:30pm – 6:30pm on a Thursday, so use 0.6kWh or less to earn your free energy, and help ditch fossil fuels.

That's right!  Cut our use to below 300W for that period and win 7.3p worth of electrons absolutely free!!!

I tried to do it, purely for SCIENCE, and almost but didn't quite manage it.  I'm blaming barakta's ork laptop which has some errant security software that likes to spin in a loop to give the fans something to do.

Obviously this sort of thing becomes much more worthwhile if you've got more than a UPS-worth of energy storage.  Or incentives that are less tokenistic.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: rob on November 14, 2020, 01:23:53 am
So much spin in such a short mail.  I suspect that was a day last week when there was a system warning.  I don’t think prices went terribly high in the end.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Kim on November 14, 2020, 01:27:33 am
The idea of encouraging people to manually run around and switch things off in response to the state of the grid is a bit of a non-starter.  Only dedicated hippies will do it with any seriousness.  You might reschedule your pissy landlord electric shower session or washing machine cycle.

Have people learned nothing from Thatcher?
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Andy W on November 14, 2020, 07:16:00 am
 Thatcher was definitely not a hippy, where did you get that idea? Also, I'm not sure smart meters were around then, in the 80s. 
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: andytheflyer on November 14, 2020, 10:45:37 am
I have one of those electricity monitors on the wall which shows me when Mrs AtF has left something on. I routinely switch off the lights she's left on.  If it's showing more than 250-350W during the day, I'm hunting for the reason why.  It's often <200W.

We have a storage heater in the (part of the house) garage (for laundry drying most nights) and one in the conservatory (which I spend most of the day in - and it's double glazed with that Kappafloat glass). 

The dishwasher and washing machine both go on at night during the Economy 7 period - along with the 2 storage heaters.

Other than waiting until 3am to cook an evening meal, not sure there's much more I can do.  So, no thanks, no Smart Meter, Scottish Power, not at least until you can guarantee that it will communicate with your servers, and it'll transfer to another supplier if I choose.  Last time I asked you, you couldn't give that guarantee.  So, go away until you can.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Kim on November 14, 2020, 11:49:51 am
Thatcher was definitely not a hippy, where did you get that idea? Also, I'm not sure smart meters were around then, in the 80s.

No, quite the opposite.  AIUI, during the miners' strike there was a move for people to use as much electricity as possible in the hope of depleting Thatcher's stockpile of coal.  It didn't work.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: FifeingEejit on November 14, 2020, 12:00:39 pm
The idea of encouraging people to manually run around and switch things off in response to the state of the grid is a bit of a non-starter.  Only dedicated hippies will do it with any seriousness.  You might reschedule your pissy landlord electric shower session or washing machine cycle.

Have people learned nothing from Thatcher?
This is all suspiciously similar to the emails we get at work during the pricing assessment performances.

I'm fairly sure switching off the strip lights in an office won't have a similar effect that shutting down all operations would, but the later isn't exactly possible.

Sent from my BKL-L09 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: perpetual dan on November 14, 2020, 02:15:14 pm
Just looked into booking one with Bulb. One of the questions is "Is the distance between your meters 10m or less?" and helpfully they add:

Quote
10m is a bit longer than a bus

Thanks Bulb.

And apparently if I answer no to that question (it's borderline) I can't have just the electric done.

FU Bulb.
Our gas meter didn’t have the required clear space around it. The bulb quiz didn’t like this, but the opening said they’d do electricity or electricity + gas. So I emailed, and they said it’d be ok to carry on. So I lied on the form then owned up in the comments. Installer was fine with that, and managed to get the gas done too.

Practically, 10 clear meters and 10m full of walls, pipes, etc will be different. So I suspect they’re hedging a bit. Though quite why I’d be readily able to visualise the space taken by a bus inside my house I don’t know.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: rob on November 14, 2020, 06:25:48 pm
The idea of encouraging people to manually run around and switch things off in response to the state of the grid is a bit of a non-starter.  Only dedicated hippies will do it with any seriousness.  You might reschedule your pissy landlord electric shower session or washing machine cycle.

I think it has a place but it’s very niche.  If you have a reasonable sized house, with PV, some storage and an EV then it may be worthwhile.   

If you can build a supply business with 100,000 domestic customers and they can all load shift then it becomes more powerful.

My first job in the industry 20 odd years ago was to build tariffs for large consumers to incentivise load shifting.  It’s not a new concept but the technology is now more accessible.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: quixoticgeek on November 15, 2020, 12:28:37 pm
The idea of encouraging people to manually run around and switch things off in response to the state of the grid is a bit of a non-starter.  Only dedicated hippies will do it with any seriousness.  You might reschedule your pissy landlord electric shower session or washing machine cycle.

Have people learned nothing from Thatcher?

Or maybe reschedule dinner. If you start cooking a 1835, rather than 1755, that could be a big saving. Ovens tend to be 3kw+

Ditto a "Please don't charge your car at this time"

But yes, for this to really work, you need to have more automated systems for demand side manglement.

J
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: rob on November 15, 2020, 06:32:05 pm
Octopus Energy bought Upside Energy a couple of weeks ago.  Upside are providing kit that offers DSR at a residential level.  If they can convert some of their 1m + customers then it could be pretty powerful.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Kim on November 15, 2020, 06:33:17 pm
Or maybe reschedule dinner. If you start cooking a 1835, rather than 1755, that could be a big saving. Ovens tend to be 3kw+

This is true.  I was thinking with gas.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on November 15, 2020, 07:47:05 pm
I can't see much benefit for the end user. I know people who have them fitted. I have yet to observe people changing their energy usage. A 3 kW kettle is a big energy consumer, but that's not going to stand in the way of a nice cuppa.
I do understand the benefits to energy companies, in that they can build a picture of the nations energy usage and generate or store power accordingly.
 Have I missed the point?
I'm all in favour of renewable energy, conservation, saving the planet and reducing my bills, but I'd burn the last pound of whale fat it was the only way to get a decent cuppa!
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: quixoticgeek on November 15, 2020, 07:51:54 pm
Or maybe reschedule dinner. If you start cooking a 1835, rather than 1755, that could be a big saving. Ovens tend to be 3kw+

This is true.  I was thinking with gas.

It's 2020, what sort of backwards barbarian colony still burns stuff to cook their dinner?

J
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: rob on November 15, 2020, 07:56:10 pm
Or maybe reschedule dinner. If you start cooking a 1835, rather than 1755, that could be a big saving. Ovens tend to be 3kw+

This is true.  I was thinking with gas.

The gas system still balances daily rather than half-hourly in electricity.   Time of day charging in gas is a long way from happening.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: rafletcher on November 15, 2020, 07:57:25 pm
Or maybe reschedule dinner. If you start cooking a 1835, rather than 1755, that could be a big saving. Ovens tend to be 3kw+

This is true.  I was thinking with gas.

It's 2020, what sort of backwards barbarian colony still burns stuff to cook their dinner?

J

I guess the Dutch just heat their greenhouses with it.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: grams on November 15, 2020, 08:38:25 pm
I can't see much benefit for the end user. I know people who have them fitted. I have yet to observe people changing their energy usage. A 3 kW kettle is a big energy consumer, but that's not going to stand in the way of a nice cuppa.

If they found a way to penalise you (or gamify, as the cool kids say) every time they boil four cuppas worth of water to make one cuppa they'd be on to a winner.

(replacing every 3000W kettle with a Travelodge-spec 600W job that really made you wait would be the low-tech solution)
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: rob on November 15, 2020, 09:43:06 pm
I can't see much benefit for the end user. I know people who have them fitted. I have yet to observe people changing their energy usage. A 3 kW kettle is a big energy consumer, but that's not going to stand in the way of a nice cuppa.

If they found a way to penalise you (or gamify, as the cool kids say) every time they boil four cuppas worth of water to make one cuppa they'd be on to a winner.

(replacing every 3000W kettle with a Travelodge-spec 600W job that really made you wait would be the low-tech solution)

I just don’t think the average energy consumer cares enough.  Fuel poverty is a huge problem but you still don’t get engaged customers.

I don’t think the financial incentives are big enough.  I also don’t think penalising really works if you use petrol pricing or fags as an example.

I suspect that a strategy heading towards net zero would mean physically banning inefficient equipment.  The power sector had changed significantly but heat is a big emitter.  Think how many gas boilers there are out there that will need to be replaced.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Feanor on November 15, 2020, 09:51:55 pm
Ovens tend to be 3kw+

Actually, that's not really right.

When it comes to electrically heated cooking appliances, it's the hobs, not the ovens that are the high-power consumers.
Ovens are much more modest, and can usually be provisioned on a standard UK 13A socket, and do not require a special circuit.
Elements are in the 1 to 2 kW range.

Hobs, on the other hand, have four or five elements which might be used simultaneously, and generally require a special circuit.

Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Mrs Pingu on November 15, 2020, 09:54:51 pm
Re: gas boilers - tell me that the energy used to build, ship & install a brand new gas boiler is less than I'm 'wasting' on my current one and I might change it.
Electric - come and fit some EV panels on my roof and the roof of my shed if it's that important.
If it is that important (and it is) have a standardised way of doing it and feeding in instead of all the pissing about.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: rob on November 15, 2020, 10:13:17 pm
When I replaced the gas boiler at our last but one place my consumption halved.   It was a massive change but the old one was really crap and I suspect it was slightly hooky like a lot of the rest of the stuff in the house.

I suspect we’ll end up banning gas boilers in new build and then bringing a scrappage scheme back in.  There’s quite a lot of interest in ground source and air source heat pumps as well as hydrogen possibly being the next big thing.  Can’t see storage heating being a big thing again.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: FifeingEejit on November 15, 2020, 10:40:46 pm
I tried that last one about storage heaters on my brother (sparky) earlier.
I got a lecture in how people are pish at controlling storage heaters and how newer ones take control of the bit people were pish at.

I'm not exactly sold.


Best thing I've got out of smart meters is mums shut up about me using all the electricity as when I've got an empty I rarely breech the £1 mark.


Sent from my BKL-L09 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: grams on November 15, 2020, 10:51:31 pm
Gas boilers tend to get ripped out like once a decade anyway, so you can just wait for natural atrophy.

Or you could if there were some non fossil fuel like-for-like replacement, but every ASHP and GSHP I can find is comically large and expensive, even ignoring the outdoor bits.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: perpetual dan on November 16, 2020, 08:29:17 am
...snip...

It's 2020, what sort of backwards barbarian colony still burns stuff to cook their dinner?

J

Colony? We’ve taken back control! ;)

As for electric storage heaters for house heating, we had that in the first house we bought. It was expensive enough to make converting back worthwhile. Despite the idiot previous owners squashing all the radiator pipes as they cut them out.

Have the economics of running the thing shifted? Because if not no amount of demand shifting is going to make the low emissions a widespread winner.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: ian on November 16, 2020, 09:42:00 am
Re: gas boilers - tell me that the energy used to build, ship & install a brand new gas boiler is less than I'm 'wasting' on my current one and I might change it.
Electric - come and fit some EV panels on my roof and the roof of my shed if it's that important.
If it is that important (and it is) have a standardised way of doing it and feeding in instead of all the pissing about.

This is the real problem, isn't it? Our boiler is over a decade old but runs fine. I've no idea if it's cost-effective to replace it. I'm told we're moving away from gas boilers, but honestly, who knows. I have a big roof, it could be bristling with solar. Would this be an effective investment, who knows that either? We don't really seem to have any policies beyond we might do something, some day.

But yeah, I can get a smart meter (whether I want one or not) and fret about the kettle. Precisely no people will do this. We're dealing with people who run their car to charge their mobile.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: quixoticgeek on November 16, 2020, 09:55:00 am
Colony? We’ve taken back control! ;)

I'm glad you put the smiley on there...

Quote
As for electric storage heaters for house heating, we had that in the first house we bought. It was expensive enough to make converting back worthwhile. Despite the idiot previous owners squashing all the radiator pipes as they cut them out.

Electric storage heaters are a bloody stupid idea. There is a reason they are banned in some countries.

I hope that in the event of any boiler scrappage scheme, they include getting rid of storage heaters too...

Quote
Have the economics of running the thing shifted? Because if not no amount of demand shifting is going to make the low emissions a widespread winner.

What thing?

We can replace gas fired boilers for hot water with an electric heated water tank. These are very efficient, and also coming down in price quite nicely.

For space heating, the answer is heat pumps. Ground source would be preferred, but air source is still good too. The big problem with heat pumps is they are seriously fscking expensive. Considerably more so than a gas boiler. But that is largely due to economies of scale. When the demand goes up, the production costs should come down a bit. They also have the issue that they produce a low grade heat, which can be an issue with radiators that were designed for gas boiler supplied hot water. There are ways round this, in a new build, underfloor heating is the way forward, but there are modern heat pumps coming onto the market that sacrifice a little in efficiency, for being able to feed into traditional radiators, making for a reasonably effective plug and pray system.

In cities tho, the thing to also consider is district heating. Where I live we joke about having heated cycle lanes. The reason for this is the waste heat from the nearby MSW fired power station is used to heat the homes in this area. Cycle paths are cheaper to dig up, so when they ran the pipes, they did so under the cycle lanes. Result, they cycle lanes freeze slower. In the basement of this building we have a huge heat exchanger that takes the hot water from the MSW plant, and uses it to heat the water in the circuit that supplies the building. The result is that all 7 units on my stair are connected together, and when one of them fucks up and gets air in the system, it all collects in my living room radiator... not bitter and annoyed about this... honest... There are plans to get rid of the MSW fired power plant, not least because it was originally a coal plant, and the whole air quality thing. But when they do so, I'm not sure what they will do about the district heat. I wonder if we'll see neighbourhood scale heat pumps...

NL has already banned gas boilers for new builds I believe, and the UK has a ban coming in, tho I am not sure when it will come into effect. 2024 rings a bell, but it could be something pointless like 2030.

J
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: rob on November 16, 2020, 10:40:47 am
https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/gone-with-the-wind-why-electricity-shortages-are-becoming-the-norm

Sorry for the Spectator linky.   
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on November 16, 2020, 10:51:10 am
Colony? We’ve taken back control! ;)

I'm glad you put the smiley on there...

Quote
As for electric storage heaters for house heating, we had that in the first house we bought. It was expensive enough to make converting back worthwhile. Despite the idiot previous owners squashing all the radiator pipes as they cut them out.

Electric storage heaters are a bloody stupid idea. There is a reason they are banned in some countries.
House I grew up in had electric storage heaters. It was always cold and without Economy 7 it would have been v expensive to run. Also, the heaters themselves contained asbestos.

Quote
In cities tho, the thing to also consider is district heating. Where I live we joke about having heated cycle lanes. The reason for this is the waste heat from the nearby MSW fired power station is used to heat the homes in this area. Cycle paths are cheaper to dig up, so when they ran the pipes, they did so under the cycle lanes. Result, they cycle lanes freeze slower. In the basement of this building we have a huge heat exchanger that takes the hot water from the MSW plant, and uses it to heat the water in the circuit that supplies the building. The result is that all 7 units on my stair are connected together, and when one of them fucks up and gets air in the system, it all collects in my living room radiator... not bitter and annoyed about this... honest... There are plans to get rid of the MSW fired power plant, not least because it was originally a coal plant, and the whole air quality thing. But when they do so, I'm not sure what they will do about the district heat. I wonder if we'll see neighbourhood scale heat pumps...
This is pretty standard in Poland. I lived in several places with district heating and they were all very warm at very low cost. Mind you they were also blocks of flats, so inherently much warmer than a house, unless you're on the ground floor (which ironically commands higher prices). Most out there are still coal fired, of course. Never experienced any break downs.

But heated cycle lanes? It might work in Netherlands but in Poland and other colder places it would and did (on pavements and roads – no cycle lanes when I was there in the '00s) result in lethal ice, as the snow melts then refreezes.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: perpetual dan on November 16, 2020, 11:17:28 am
Colony? We’ve taken back control! ;)

I'm glad you put the smiley on there...


You'll have seen too the bits I didn't contest as well :)   </pobi>


Quote
As for electric storage heaters for house heating, we had that in the first house we bought. It was expensive enough to make converting back worthwhile. Despite the idiot previous owners squashing all the radiator pipes as they cut them out.

Electric storage heaters are a bloody stupid idea. There is a reason they are banned in some countries.

I hope that in the event of any boiler scrappage scheme, they include getting rid of storage heaters too...

Quote
Have the economics of running the thing shifted? Because if not no amount of demand shifting is going to make the low emissions a widespread winner.

What thing?


Space heating with not-gas. As you said: Gas is too cheap to make the up-front cost of some other system, plus any running costs, economic in the time before people move house. When selling the house, it's only an advantage by the amount of the running costs. And while there's a lot of talk of needing more houses, we're mostly in places that aren't going to be replaced any time soon.


...
In cities tho, the thing to also consider is district heating. Where I live we joke about having heated cycle lanes. The reason for this is the waste heat from the nearby MSW fired power station is used to heat the homes in this area. Cycle paths are cheaper to dig up, so when they ran the pipes, they did so under the cycle lanes. Result, they cycle lanes freeze slower. In the basement of this building we have a huge heat exchanger that takes the hot water from the MSW plant, and uses it to heat the water in the circuit that supplies the building. The result is that all 7 units on my stair are connected together, and when one of them fucks up and gets air in the system, it all collects in my living room radiator... not bitter and annoyed about this... honest... There are plans to get rid of the MSW fired power plant, not least because it was originally a coal plant, and the whole air quality thing. But when they do so, I'm not sure what they will do about the district heat. I wonder if we'll see neighbourhood scale heat pumps...

NL has already banned gas boilers for new builds I believe, and the UK has a ban coming in, tho I am not sure when it will come into effect. 2024 rings a bell, but it could be something pointless like 2030.

J

We used to have district heating in some parts of London. Back in the mists of time, my Mum worked for the council housing department and they had blocks that were heated from the local power station.

And, circling back to load shedding and off-peak pricing, I'd use our tumbler at night (on cheaper electricity) more often if it didn't have a history of tripping the earth leakage breaker. Given that it needed an after-sales fix because of a tendency of that model to catch fire because of water + electricity, I'm not that optimistic about them designing a secure and safe power management controller.



Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: grams on November 16, 2020, 01:40:14 pm
We used to have district heating in some parts of London. Back in the mists of time, my Mum worked for the council housing department and they had blocks that were heated from the local power station.

We have brand new district heating here in communist Islington:
https://www.theade.co.uk/case-studies/visionary/islington-councils-bunhill-heat-and-power

(although building a brand new fossil fuel power station is pretty lame)
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: rob on November 19, 2020, 11:59:52 am
Been scanning the 10 point plan details that have come out this week.

On the domestic heating front it looks like they are pushing heat pumps with a target of 600,000 installations per year.  There's nothing very clear on gas boilers but there will be a requirement on builders to produce low carbon homes.   It seems this will be a push towards better insulation rather than an outright ban on boilers.   Probably carrot rather than stick, again.

Smart meters don't seem to get a mention.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Quisling on November 19, 2020, 04:55:49 pm
Been scanning the 10 point plan details that have come out this week.

On the domestic heating front it looks like they are pushing heat pumps with a target of 600,000 installations per year.  There's nothing very clear on gas boilers but there will be a requirement on builders to produce low carbon homes.   It seems this will be a push towards better insulation rather than an outright ban on boilers.   Probably carrot rather than stick, again.

Smart meters don't seem to get a mention.

Fossil fuel boilers have already been outlawed on new homes from 2025.  I'd like to see electricity submetering on all heat pumps for homeowners to separate heat input power from other electricity usage in the home.
The latest proposed building regs unfortunately favour technology bells and whistles rather than a "fabric first" approach to minimising demand.  Arse about face obviously  :facepalm:
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Mrs Pingu on November 19, 2020, 05:51:45 pm
While I think the idea of heat pumps etc is a good one, I remain very sceptical that they would produce enough heat to make a 'normal' old British house (e.g. with solid walls that need to breathe, that is hard to insulate without completely blocking off all ventilation that we're now told we actually need,  etc) feel a comfortable temperature in the winter.
I'm sure they are great in well designed modern homes with lots of insulation etc and I don't think there's any excuse for not using in new builds assuming they are built to a decent standard..
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: MikeFromLFE on November 20, 2020, 08:33:47 am
I'm told that heat pumps can be noisy when running.
Can anyone confirm this?
Any louder than an air conditioning unit?

I'm thinking that if in a typical 1930s semi - like ours - a heat pump unit in the drive (between the houses) would severely hack off the neighbour, until they put one in too and we are both suffering equally.

In this sort of situation - an old semi +heat pump at the moment the top up heating would be with the gas boiler, but in future the top up might well be electric space heating of some sort.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Quisling on November 20, 2020, 08:47:21 am
I'm told that heat pumps can be noisy when running.
Can anyone confirm this?
Any louder than an air conditioning unit?

I'm thinking that if in a typical 1930s semi - like ours - a heat pump unit in the drive (between the houses) would severely hack off the neighbour, until they put one in too and we are both suffering equally.

In this sort of situation - an old semi +heat pump at the moment the top up heating would be with the gas boiler, but in future the top up might well be electric space heating of some sort.

Lots of good points here:
* Heat pumps are pretty quiet but you wouldn't want one whirring away right under your bungalow bedroom window necessarily.  But MCS accredited installers should undertake a noise design and ensure this is not problematic for neighbours in order to meet the building regs/planning requirements.
* a "bivalent" solution (two heat sources) with a heat pump running as lead boiler up to say 50 degrees, and a gas/oil boiler topping up heat on the coldest days is a more sensible interim solution that trying to shoehorn an air source heat pump into every application like old leaking properties with cast iron radiators etc.  There are plenty of ASHPs that can output at up to 90C, but the efficiency above 55C is poor and running costs will be higher than a gas boiler until such time as gas emissions are taxed more heavily.

Heatpumps are ideally matched to underfloor heating with flow temperatures of 30-35C where they will get excellent efficiencies.  Trying to retrofit with existing radiators as heat emitters banging out 60C or more is likely to result in seasonal coefficients of performance in the order of 2 to 2.5 (i.e. 1kWh electricity in = 2 kWh of heat out).  With electricity costing 3-4x gas per kWh, you therefore need to design schemes that deliver more efficient performance, although this equation changes a bit if you're currently on Calor Gas or oil.  Compared to direct electric heating, an ASHP wins hands down, as electric panel heaters are only ever 100% efficient.  The maths skew further if you have economy 7 and storage heaters....

I faced this whole challenge when I wanted to get rid of my oil boiler 7 years ago in a part Victorian house.  In the end I put in a wood pellet boiler + solar hot water.  It was probably the right decision at the time, but if I was doing it again I'd do an ASHP + small oil boiler for top-up on coldest days, but select the ASHP to be capable of high output temperatures so I'd have the option of running it harder if the boiler failed.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: rafletcher on November 20, 2020, 10:40:00 am
How much real estate is required for an ASHP? (yeah, and tell me how long that piece of string needs to be too :-))  Say for a typical 70's 3 bed semi.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: quixoticgeek on November 20, 2020, 10:41:03 am
How much real estate is required for an ASHP? (yeah, and tell me how long that piece of string needs to be too :-))  Say for a typical 70's 3 bed semi.

About the same as a small fridge. Give or take.

J
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: grams on November 20, 2020, 11:49:41 am
How much real estate is required for an ASHP? (yeah, and tell me how long that piece of string needs to be too :-))  Say for a typical 70's 3 bed semi.

You need an outdoor thing that looks a lot like an oversize air conditioner (because it is) and assuming you're interfacing with central heating pipes or underfloor heating you need a heat exchanger indoors which seem to vary in size from "oversize boiler" to "massive fridge freezer".
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Zipperhead on November 20, 2020, 02:41:51 pm

We used to have district heating in some parts of London. Back in the mists of time, my Mum worked for the council housing department and they had blocks that were heated from the local power station.

Churchill Gardens in Pimlico used to be heated by waste heat from Battersea power station. There's a tunnel under the river for the pipes. When the power station was shut down a boiler house was built, on the south side of the river, to heat the estate, on the north side.

Here's the hot water tank (https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.4859532,-0.1406014,3a,75y,113.34h,120.62t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1spgnMeGO2F83M1mfAfphd9g!2e0!7i16384!8i8192)
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: cygnet on November 20, 2020, 05:15:36 pm
Bunhill and Citigen aslo provide district heating in the Farringdon/Barbican/Old St area
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: rob on November 20, 2020, 05:26:03 pm
Bunhill and Citigen aslo provide district heating in the Farringdon/Barbican/Old St area

I used to look after the Citigen contract when I worked for London Electricity 20 years ago.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: TimC on November 20, 2020, 06:18:10 pm
I'd love to fit an ASHP for my house, but it's a listed building so The Powers That Be won't let me, and it has no wet central heating anyway. It was all (well, four rooms) storage heating, but I replaced those with modern electric clay-cored heaters. I still have an Economy 7 meter ('cos water heating), and that apparently prevents the fitting of a Smart Meter. So, despite being smaller than the average snail's shell (ok, exaggeration - it's 780 sq ft), the leccy bills are around £200 a month.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: SteveC on November 20, 2020, 06:41:24 pm
Back in the '70s, when storage heaters were all the rage, my dad used to work for the CEGB, which meant he was sometimes in the Grid Control Centre. Apparently, those heaters needed a top-up during the day, so they came on a 2.00 pm for half an hour or so. All of them. All across the country. And bringing generators on line in those days was still a largely manual process. Visitors were not popular from about 1.50 onwards.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on November 20, 2020, 07:08:57 pm
Can someone explain to me the physics of heat pumps? In terms simple enough to be understood by someone who got a C* in O-level physics way back in the 80s. How does the air or ground at a few degrees C transfer heat to a room that's warmer than that?

*Might have been a B, can't remember.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Feanor on November 20, 2020, 07:15:32 pm
Same way that a fridge moves heat out of the inside which is cooler, into the room which is warmer.

Think of it as a fridge trying to cool the outside air down even lower.
The extracted heat is dumped inside the house,  just the same as the fridge dumps the extracted heat into the room via the warm part at the back.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on November 20, 2020, 07:22:04 pm
So evaporation and condensation? But in this case condensing or compressing inside the building.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: grams on November 20, 2020, 07:30:43 pm
Pull your fridge away from the wall. The tubing on the back is nice and hot. That tubing emits much more heat than the number of watts going into the motor, because most of it is heat extracted from inside the cabinet.

Now stick your fridge on the window cill so the tubing is facing you and the door is open to the outside world. That's an air source heat pump.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on November 20, 2020, 07:33:33 pm
Clear. Thanks.  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: rob on November 20, 2020, 07:50:56 pm
Back in the '70s, when storage heaters were all the rage, my dad used to work for the CEGB, which meant he was sometimes in the Grid Control Centre. Apparently, those heaters needed a top-up during the day, so they came on a 2.00 pm for half an hour or so. All of them. All across the country. And bringing generators on line in those days was still a largely manual process. Visitors were not popular from about 1.50 onwards.

These days that would help Grid out.  There are times if day particularly when it’s windy that they are looking to turn demand up.  You could end up with a situation where you could be paid to consume power, which brings us neatly back to the benefits of smart meters.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: cygnet on November 20, 2020, 09:26:37 pm
Bunhill and Citigen aslo provide district heating in the Farringdon/Barbican/Old St area

I used to look after the Citigen contract when I worked for London Electricity 20 years ago.
Were they running the submarine engines then? I had brief involvement as some of the heating/cooling pipes ran across a site I worked on.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: quixoticgeek on November 20, 2020, 09:33:19 pm
So evaporation and condensation? But in this case condensing or compressing inside the building.

Yep, it's all based on the fact that compressing something makes it hot, and lowing the pressure makes it cold. (When i was diving, if you ever cracked a valve to empty a tank that had the wrong mix in it, the whole valve would ice up).

an air con unit is an air source heat pump, it's just rigged the wrong way round, if you put the inside unit outside, and the outside unit inside, you would have a very crude, very inefficient, air source heat pump...

There's some useful videos on gootube that explain it with really nice animations that explain it well...

J
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: rob on November 20, 2020, 09:50:55 pm
Bunhill and Citigen aslo provide district heating in the Farringdon/Barbican/Old St area

I used to look after the Citigen contract when I worked for London Electricity 20 years ago.
Were they running the submarine engines then? I had brief involvement as some of the heating/cooling pipes ran across a site I worked on.

I just did the settlement for the power offtake and looked at the balancing.  Annoyingly I didn’t get a site visit with that deal.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Diver300 on November 20, 2020, 10:31:30 pm
an air con unit is an air source heat pump, it's just rigged the wrong way round, if you put the inside unit outside, and the outside unit inside, you would have a very crude, very inefficient, air source heat pump...
Point of order / physics. If you rig an air con unit the wrong way round, you get a perfectly good air source heat pump. It would be just about as efficient as any. With a split aircon system the outside unit and the inside unit look different because, well, one goes outside and the other goes inside, but they do the same / opposite jobs of boiling / condensing the fluid and losing / gaining heat to the air. There's a compressor somewhere, usually the outside unit because of noise, but it could be anywhere really.

Many aircon units can swap the heating / cooling between inside and outside units. A couple of solenoid valves does the job a lot more easily than taking out a chunk of wall and turning it round, but the effect on the heat flows is much the same.

Most heat pumps can't cool, because if you try to cool using radiators you get condensation on the radiators. Cooling has to be by air, so the actual radiator / evaporator can be where the condensation can be piped away.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: quixoticgeek on November 20, 2020, 10:46:13 pm
Point of order / physics. If you rig an air con unit the wrong way round, you get a perfectly good air source heat pump. It would be just about as efficient as any. With a split aircon system the outside unit and the inside unit look different because, well, one goes outside and the other goes inside, but they do the same / opposite jobs of boiling / condensing the fluid and losing / gaining heat to the air. There's a compressor somewhere, usually the outside unit because of noise, but it could be anywhere really.

I was thinking more from the fact that the the hot side wouldn't be very good at heating the space, because of the compactness of the unit.

J
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Diver300 on November 21, 2020, 08:12:45 am
Point of order / physics. If you rig an air con unit the wrong way round, you get a perfectly good air source heat pump. It would be just about as efficient as any. With a split aircon system the outside unit and the inside unit look different because, well, one goes outside and the other goes inside, but they do the same / opposite jobs of boiling / condensing the fluid and losing / gaining heat to the air. There's a compressor somewhere, usually the outside unit because of noise, but it could be anywhere really.

I was thinking more from the fact that the the hot side wouldn't be very good at heating the space, because of the compactness of the unit.

J

All the aircon units that I have seen have had similar sized inside and outside units, or the inside unit is a bit smaller because of aesthetics. As the heat flow are much the same for both units and both are exchanging heat to air blow by a fan, it would be strange to have very different sizes.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: perpetual dan on November 21, 2020, 10:06:53 am

We used to have district heating in some parts of London. Back in the mists of time, my Mum worked for the council housing department and they had blocks that were heated from the local power station.

Churchill Gardens in Pimlico used to be heated by waste heat from Battersea power station. There's a tunnel under the river for the pipes. When the power station was shut down a boiler house was built, on the south side of the river, to heat the estate, on the north side.

Here's the hot water tank (https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.4859532,-0.1406014,3a,75y,113.34h,120.62t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1spgnMeGO2F83M1mfAfphd9g!2e0!7i16384!8i8192)
That’s quite possibly where she was talking about.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Wombat on November 24, 2020, 07:08:35 pm
My electricity meter, which was installed when the house was built in 1985, ran backwards for quite a while, when we generated plenty of solar PV.  Our suppliers were of course, told of the type of meter, before the PV was installed, as part of the application for feed-in tariff.  However they chose to ignore this, and then got arsey over my bills.  Well sorry mates, but you were given the opportunity to change it!  I was being awkward and saying you can't change it unless its a smart meter, but we both new that wouldn't hold water.  They did eventually change it, but the haggling over consumption dragged on a bit.

In other news, I have another appointment for installation of a smart meter, on 16th November.  Apparently the first thing he will insist on doing before he installs it, is turn off the gas.  That could take him a while, as there's no gas for quite a few miles from here!  What he might be better advised to do, is ask me to turn off the PV, if he doesn't want to be electrocuted.  We will probably then have the conversation around "oh, you've got PV, we can't install it", and "Oh, we can't get a data signal".  Well that's your effing problem, I've made 3 formal complaints to you about it, so bleedin' well sort it!

I'm stunned!

I actually have a working smart meter.  And it actually obliges and the display says "0W"  (yes, that's a zero, not the meter saying OW!") when we're generating more than we're consuming.  Of course the export meter does tell the truth as well, so we get our feed-in tariff payments.  So, what was so bloody difficult, and why the zillions of excuses as to why they couldn't fit one?
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: ian on November 24, 2020, 07:14:30 pm
Our smart meter installation is tomorrow. I am somehow managing to keep a lid on my excitement. I gave up asking them if the cupboard was too small or what kind of meter it was and subjugated myself to the endless hectoring. I started to feel like I was spoiling their party.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: ian on November 25, 2020, 01:54:27 pm
Mostly painless, the Asbestos Palace is now smart metered. Apparently, our gas meter was unsupported (literally, it was levitating on gas pipes alone, which is against the regulations, so had to be re-mangled into a more statutorily acceptable format).

I am currently running up an electricity bill at 6p per hour. Oh my.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: robgul on November 25, 2020, 02:17:12 pm
Mostly painless, the Asbestos Palace is now smart metered. Apparently, our gas meter was unsupported (literally, it was levitating on gas pipes alone, which is against the regulations, so had to be re-mangled into a more statutorily acceptable format).

I am currently running up an electricity bill at 6p per hour. Oh my.

.... you'll soon get bored with the usage indicator gadget  . . .   two weeks max and you'll disconnect it ;D
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: ian on November 25, 2020, 04:29:07 pm
Up to 7p/h now. This wouldn't matter if we all had our own home nuclear power generators.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: rob on November 25, 2020, 08:57:31 pm
Up to 7p/h now. This wouldn't matter if we all had our own home nuclear power generators.

You probably haven’t picked the right time of year to start tracking the data.   Energy usage can be next to nothing in the Summer months.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Canardly on November 25, 2020, 09:14:12 pm
Up to 7p/h now. This wouldn't matter if we all had our own home nuclear power generators.

Dont put the kettle on, you will start screaming.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Feanor on November 25, 2020, 09:28:47 pm
Yes, the electric thing is all instantaneous noise.

Shove the kettle on and it's all Alarums and Excursions.
What response is expected? Turn off the kettle?

I sometimes try to goad it from green to orange to red.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Kim on November 25, 2020, 09:40:33 pm
They would be a lot more useful if they plotted a graph.  Otherwise it just tells you what you know already, and what state your fridge's thermostat is in.  Instantaneous power is useful if you're going round switching things off to find a mysterious load, but a plug-in power meter is usually a more convenient[1] way of measuring that.


[1] Except for the things that don't have plugs.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Kim on November 26, 2020, 11:20:39 am
Did I mention the comedy email from the Cephalopod?

Quote from: Pete @ Octopus Energy
Between 4:30pm – 6:30pm today, National Grid will be paying fossil fuel generators as much as 10 times the normal price for electricity to meet high demand.

We'd rather just pay to help you use less. That way the money goes to our customers, and National Grid don’t use as much fossil fuels.

So we’re running a special trial — and you're invited.

If you can reduce your electricity use between 4:30pm – 6:30pm today to half of your normal amount or less, any energy you do use will be completely free.

You normally use 1.2kWh between 4:30pm – 6:30pm on a Thursday, so use 0.6kWh or less to earn your free energy, and help ditch fossil fuels.

That's right!  Cut our use to below 300W for that period and win 7.3p worth of electrons absolutely free!!!

I tried to do it, purely for SCIENCE, and almost but didn't quite manage it.  I'm blaming barakta's ork laptop which has some errant security software that likes to spin in a loop to give the fans something to do.

Unexpected result:

Quote from: Pete @ Octopus Energy
Thanks for joining in our big switch off, with thousands of other Octopus Energy customers.

Our boffins have tabulated and reviewed all the numbers.

In one or two cases, we weren’t able to access meter readings in time to be included in the calculations. Your meter was one of these, but we still appreciate you getting involved — so we’re crediting your account with £1: the average credit earned by all participants. We’ll apply the credit to your account within 7 days.

So what were the results of the trial? In short: a lot.

Firstly, due to factors like the cold weather and the start of lockdown, 2 out of 3 customers who weren’t involved in the trial actually used more than their average Thursday during the trial period.

And yet 2 out of 3 customers in our smart trial used less than their average: a fantastic result.

The individual amounts weren’t large — around half a kWh — but across thousands of homes make a big difference. In fact, if we scaled up the results to all Octopus customers, that small contribution from each home would have accounted for 3/4 of the entire National Grid shortfall.

Maybe they're just really bad at computers?  I can get our readings from their API within 24 hours.  *boggle*
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: grams on November 26, 2020, 12:01:41 pm
2 out of 3 used less and 2 out of 3 used more? Did AstraZeneca organise the trial?
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: ian on November 26, 2020, 05:17:08 pm
Up to 7p/h now. This wouldn't matter if we all had our own home nuclear power generators.

Dont put the kettle on, you will start screaming.

I did start bouncing around the kitchen like a trapped wasp when I saw the gas reading for the first time (91p/h!) when the heating cranked up. This wasn't helped when I noticed my wife sharing the scene with her iPad through the serving hatch* with her Zoom buddies. I'm pretty sure they have this 'worst husband' thing going.

*yes, it's spendid, bless the 1960s. Not that we use it, it's got glass doors to let extra light into the kitchen, and it's next to the kitchen door so not much actual use, but it's conceptually pleasing.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Kim on November 26, 2020, 05:32:16 pm
'worst husband'

I've just checked, and this is a much less entertaining google image search than 'worst ladder'.


Quote
yes, it's spendid, bless the 1960s. Not that we use it, it's got glass doors to let extra light into the kitchen, and it's next to the kitchen door so not much actual use, but it's conceptually pleasing.

My parents had one with a rickety wooden sliding door arrangement.  This was useful for re-creating[1] the "...unless they figure out how to open doors" scene from Jurassic Park whenever the cats sensed that someone was carving a roast.

This has absolutely nothing to do with energy consumption.  Though one of the cats did function as a rudimentary energy monitor by sleeping halfway up the stairs whenever someone left the light on in the cupboard beneath.


[1] Technically, our cats had prior art.  Hence the whole family struggling to contain their laughter when we first saw that scene at the cinema.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: offcumden on November 26, 2020, 05:36:38 pm
Our SM has just been installed. Booking was for this afternoon, and the electrician finally turned up at 4pm, which meant we sat in the dark without heating for nearly an hour. Otherwise uneventful.

As we already have apps for the PVs and the Zappi charger, the new usage gadget will not tell us much that we didn't already know. I've left it in the garage for the time being - until any tenacious lurgi bugs have expired - but will bring it indoors soon to add to the starship control panel.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: ian on November 26, 2020, 06:04:26 pm
'worst husband'

I've just checked, and this is a much less entertaining google image search than 'worst ladder'.

Quote
yes, it's spendid, bless the 1960s. Not that we use it, it's got glass doors to let extra light into the kitchen, and it's next to the kitchen door so not much actual use, but it's conceptually pleasing.

My parents had one with a rickety wooden sliding door arrangement.  This was useful for re-creating[1] the "...unless they figure out how to open doors" scene from Jurassic Park whenever the cats sensed that someone was carving a roast.

This has absolutely nothing to do with energy consumption.  Though one of the cats did function as a rudimentary energy monitor by sleeping halfway up the stairs whenever someone left the light on in the cupboard beneath.

[1] Technically, our cats had prior art.  Hence the whole family struggling to contain their laughter when we first saw that scene at the cinema.

It was the wooden door (swing) arrangement when we got The Asbestos Palace (everything was pretty much as it was when the place was built in 1966). The refurbilators wanted to brick it up, but I stood firm, and we put in glass doors instead. The kitchen is sort of semi-underground so the windows don't exactly gush illumination.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: ian on November 28, 2020, 08:51:52 pm
Getting bored with it now. It's actually interesting to see what we're using, since we normally just get the quarterly bill, but I have to agree, beyond that it is what it is, I'm not sure how we'd change it. Sit in the cold, become raw-food gurus, and regularly purge ourselves with cold showers. Or knock down our mid-sixties shrine to asbestos and build a Scando-superhome. That's probably the solution, though it comes with a measure of drastic, and it's a bit late in the evening to start demolishing one's home.

It probably terrifies people on a budget, who see their money trickling away. I remember once scoffing an entire sharing plate of nachos and then, it being one of the classy joint, noticing there was a calorie count on the laminated menu. It's that sort of a shocker. I couldn't exactly uneat it. And that was only the starter but once you've started, you may as well finish.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: offcumden on November 28, 2020, 09:03:16 pm
Re the usage gadget: I was puzzled for a while to see it indicating that our current (in both senses) take was 0watts, given that we had lights on and the washing machine was turning over. Then I realised that the output from our PVs was being deducted from the overall take.  Very nice to be reminded that, even during the current grisly weather, we get a few free electrons to keep life ticking over.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: rob on November 28, 2020, 09:03:42 pm
I do go round the place turning lights off.  The only other way to save is to go cold, to be honest.

Most modern electrical appliances are as efficient as you’re going to get them.

Actually I’ve just counted and there’s 24 spotlights in this room - kitchen/diner.   Good job it’s a rental place.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: offcumden on November 28, 2020, 09:26:18 pm
LED lights are getting cheaper. We had a couple of multiple spotlight fittings which came with halogen GU10 bulbs.  Changing these to LEDs reduced electricity usage by, I think, five or six times.
Screwfix or Toolstation are my usual sources.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: quixoticgeek on November 29, 2020, 02:11:51 pm

The problem with LED lights, is in a way, they are too efficient.

When I moved into my flat in Canterbury, my bedroom had 3 100W R80 spot lights. They put out enough light, and they also dumped nearly 300w of heat into the room.

Now I have 3 9w LED lights, that put next to no heat into the room. So I have to put a bit more heat in elsewhere.

I notice it.

J
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Diver300 on November 29, 2020, 02:15:11 pm

The problem with LED lights, is in a way, they are too efficient.

When I moved into my flat in Canterbury, my bedroom had 3 100W R80 spot lights. They put out enough light, and they also dumped nearly 300w of heat into the room.

Now I have 3 9w LED lights, that put next to no heat into the room. So I have to put a bit more heat in elsewhere.

I notice it.

J
Of course the additional heat is on and offable separately from the lights, so won't be needed all the time that the lights are on.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: robgul on November 29, 2020, 02:30:28 pm
I'm just in the process of changing light fittings and bulbs from halogen to LED which should mean, so they say, a close to 90% reduction in electricity - the outlay will probably take a couple of years to pay back but I can live with that . . . and we should get much longer life from the LED bulbs.   The one issue has been trying to work out the best LED bulbs for the warm white colour and the number of lumens - bit of trial and error buying odd bulbs but we've cracked it now.

.... anyone want a bargain lot of 20 stainless steel halogen downlighters complete with transformers and bulbs before I put them on Gumtree?
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: ian on November 29, 2020, 05:05:29 pm
The baseline seems to be about 3p/h, which is always-on stuff like clocks and speakers. Lights don't seem to make much difference, but we have LEDs throughout, other than my very satisfying decktop lava lamp.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: FifeingEejit on November 29, 2020, 05:26:19 pm

The problem with LED lights, is in a way, they are too efficient.

When I moved into my flat in Canterbury, my bedroom had 3 100W R80 spot lights. They put out enough light, and they also dumped nearly 300w of heat into the room.

Now I have 3 9w LED lights, that put next to no heat into the room. So I have to put a bit more heat in elsewhere.

I notice it.

J

Had a similar issue, not helped by the fact the house had storage heaters!
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: fuaran on November 29, 2020, 05:29:24 pm
Most of the heat from lights goes up into the ceiling. Not very efficient at heating the rest of the room.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Kim on November 29, 2020, 06:03:07 pm
Most of the heat from lights goes up into the ceiling.

Even more so with dichroic reflectors.  Halogen downlighters anyone?
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: quixoticgeek on November 29, 2020, 10:38:45 pm
Had a similar issue, not helped by the fact the house had storage heaters!

That's how my Canterbury flat is heated.

J
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Kim on November 29, 2020, 10:51:06 pm
Had a similar issue, not helped by the fact the house had storage heaters!

That's how my Canterbury flat is heated.

Ah, hence the need for extra heat...
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: ian on December 01, 2020, 09:45:40 pm
Hmm, getting a smart meter evidently earned us a bill (not sure why they send one at the end of the dumb-meter period, surely the meter continues, but perhaps it starts again from the big zero). I don't really mind, it's all the same money. Except the bill says estimated, then read, then estimated, then read.

I have a PhD in fancy stuff that involved genetics and molecules. It's not sums, admittedly. Honestly, I cannot understand their fucking bills. And believe me, if you ever had the misfortune to contact British Gas, you'll have realised they don't understand their fucking bills either.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: robgul on December 02, 2020, 09:18:23 am
Hmm, getting a smart meter evidently earned us a bill (not sure why they send one at the end of the dumb-meter period, surely the meter continues, but perhaps it starts again from the big zero). I don't really mind, it's all the same money. Except the bill says estimated, then read, then estimated, then read.

I have a PhD in fancy stuff that involved genetics and molecules. It's not sums, admittedly. Honestly, I cannot understand their fucking bills. And believe me, if you ever had the misfortune to contact British Gas, you'll have realised they don't understand their fucking bills either.

Yep - when we had Smart Meters installed at our previous house they sent and "end bill" for the old ones and then a new one starting from Zero.

We're waiting on booking Smart Meters from BG having just ordered a switch from AVRO (who can't seem to get their act together on billing or admin) - and the upside is that the 2 year fixed rate we have with BG is a LOT cheaper than AVRO (who purport to be cheap) - you just need to speak to a human at BG and they have some way better than published/online rates.  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: ian on December 02, 2020, 09:39:57 am
I did figure it out in the end, BG changed their prices, and estimated the reading when the price changed, and then took the final reading and basically mangled together a final bill out of the two. Without really saying they did this. Surprise bill with bonus random numbers. Good to know getting a smart meter has not affected the service.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: rob on December 02, 2020, 09:59:20 am
BG recently acquired the customers of a failed supplier.  So bad is their SAP based billing system they have been unable to move the customers over quick enough and have lost approx 50% of them to other suppliers.   This is what happens when you hire Accenture to run your IT procurement.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Ashaman42 on December 02, 2020, 09:07:44 pm
Our smart meter, well the readout box in the living room, is claiming that we've used £1305 worth of electricity today.

I did charge up a couple battery packs but they weren't that big!
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: ian on December 02, 2020, 09:36:47 pm
Just put the electricity back when you are done. They'll never know.

As students, we had one of those 50p meters. The little coin hopper underneath somehow fell off. I blame poor workmanship on behalf of the meter-makers. That 50p did some work. It sweated to a mirror shine as it passed through the meter like dahl during dysentery. On collection day, we had to go to all the local shops and get to generate about £20's worth of 50p coins. It was like the crappest treasure hoard ever. Then we'd bodge it all together with enough coins not to raise immediate suspicion. I'm to this day unclear how we got away with this for so long, during winter we were running electric fires in every room. Eventually we had to do a bunk owing to an epic mismatch between reading and reward.

Don't judge us. We had just cause. Righteousness sided with us and waved her mighty angelic sword. Firstly, our landlord, Norm the Milkman* had a son who was the epitome of scally so he tried to rob us about once a month, somehow never twigging we had no shit worth stealing, but was dumber than the average milk bottle, and also NtMM never fixed the big hole in the roof. Also yes, as you ask, we were somehow never short of a bottle of milk, since our back window opened into the yard where he parked the milk-floats. I may well be going to Hell, but that's fine, because I already have a second home there and that's my retirement plan.

*not Norman the Gangster, who we wouldn't fuck with, because he was the real deal, the King of Kensington and he had lads who didn't just hit people, they hit people like they liked it more than they liked their mums, and they really liked their mums. I've no idea why everyone in the late-80s/early 90s Liverpool was called Norman.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: ian on December 04, 2020, 01:18:18 pm
Novelty over. I put the gadget in the cupboard with the meters (it kept losing connection anyway, but as previously discussed, The Asbestos Palace is impervious to weasily little radio waves).
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Kim on December 04, 2020, 01:31:41 pm
I'm still enjoying the novelty of accurate billing without performing keyhole surgery to access the gas meter.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: ian on December 04, 2020, 01:43:43 pm
I won't argue with no longer needing to insert my iPhone into the cupboard, arm outstretched, in the hope of getting a picture of the electricity meter readout*.

*our fault. In olden times, back when the Asbestos Palace was a mere castle, everything in the hallways was en-cupboarded in fabulously crappy dark wood that was favoured in the 60s and 70s and reminded me of schools and hospitals, which turned the hallway into a grimly dark institutionalized intestine that squeezed you from the front door to the kitchen. Rip it out, declared we. Unfortunately, then we had to minimally box in the meters which our destructive processes had left cruelly exposed.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: robgul on December 04, 2020, 05:29:54 pm
Novelty over. I put the gadget in the cupboard with the meters (it kept losing connection anyway, but as previously discussed, The Asbestos Palace is impervious to weasily little radio waves).

Told you!!   We should have Smart Meters shortly, I'm not even going to bother to get the reader gadget out of the box.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: ian on December 04, 2020, 08:07:29 pm
The instructions said the gadget didn't need to be connected to the wifi for billing but please connect it to your wifi for billing. I assume this means it uses the wifi as a backup, but it preferred the elegance of a quantum superposed instruction.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Kim on December 04, 2020, 08:10:23 pm
Neither of the smart meter display gadgets we've had had any sort of WiFi functionality.  They were able to obtain tariff data (in order to display in Currency Units rather than something intuitive like kW) via the meter.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Feanor on December 04, 2020, 08:12:53 pm
I think it means it gets its useage from the meters in the usual way, and can present this in kW.
But to be able to present this to you in £, it needs to know about your tariff, so it needs to be able to go online to the supplier to get this info.

The meters connect to the suppliers by themselves to supply usage info, and don't need the display device to do this.
The display device is cosmetic to the metering.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: ian on December 04, 2020, 08:45:27 pm
I suppose that makes more sense than the instructions. It wanted to be connected to the wifi for some reason, though from this point on, I'm blaming it if any p0rn gets downloaded.
Title: Re: Electricity Smart Meter
Post by: Feanor on December 04, 2020, 09:52:11 pm
That's fair enough, I look forward to an Oglaf series where in some other-world smart meters have become sentient and have their own p0rn, subjugating hapless homeowners and their guests in some mass orgy where inserting 50p coins is a historic-fantasy fetish.