Author Topic: Home Energy Smart Meters  (Read 5285 times)

Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
« Reply #50 on: September 13, 2018, 08:28:15 am »

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

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


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


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



You generally often have two options for paying:

a) Pay for exactly what you use every month.

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

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

Even if they have accurate data for the previous 12 months they're still having to guess whether your usage for the next 12 months will be the same, greater or less than those last 12 months. With the accurate hourly meter readings they have more data to work on so it should be more accurate than estimates based off quarterly meter readings, but it's still an estimate.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
« Reply #51 on: September 13, 2018, 12:44:49 pm »
I normally give accurate meter readings at the beginning of the month. I've just had an on-line
bill today. My direct debit has gone down £10 to £44 per month. It may well go up sometime after
the new year to between £48-£54; until this time of the year again.

Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
« Reply #52 on: September 13, 2018, 01:08:16 pm »
re kettles and instant coffee. I recently worked out that I often prefer to drink some water and then have a small cup of fairly strong coffee rather than just have a bigger cup of coffee. This means that I am only heating half the water.

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

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

cheers

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
« Reply #53 on: September 13, 2018, 01:14:57 pm »
I find washing towels at 60C seems to be enough to keep the washing machine from going manky.  Probably depends on water hardness and whether you add slime fabric softner to the wash.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

thing1

  • aka Joth
    • TandemThings
Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
« Reply #54 on: September 13, 2018, 01:42:35 pm »
Pondering... If one wanted the meter and main fused moved up a bit, to stop it using all the useful wall space under stairs, do people think getting a smart meter installed could be a good chance to have that done too on the cheap?

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

Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
« Reply #55 on: September 13, 2018, 02:03:02 pm »
I find washing towels at 60C seems to be enough to keep the washing machine from going manky.  Probably depends on water hardness and whether you add slime fabric softner to the wash.

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

cheers


Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
« Reply #56 on: September 13, 2018, 02:17:15 pm »
One of these a month keeps ours in ok shape:

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

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

40 deg C is the max we wash anything on.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

CommuteTooFar

  • Inadequate Randonneur
Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
« Reply #57 on: September 13, 2018, 04:58:42 pm »
I have not get one.  Last year when I had a job I got a message from NPower saying they would be fitting a smart meter. "When is convenient choose a day".  So I chose a day a few weeks ahead and took a day off work. The day before the Npower website before was still saying coming tomorrow.  So I sit at home all day awaiting but nothing happened.  A month later a phone call from Amey says we are coming to fit the meter tomorrow.  I told my mother to send the man away if he called. The engineer came and agreed with my mother that Npower were useless and went away.

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

   

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
« Reply #58 on: September 13, 2018, 05:03:14 pm »
On balance I'd probably get one, if I could be bothered to sort out the appointment, for no better reason than LEDs. But I'm quite lazy and will probably forget unless they keep prodding me.

In other news, my washing machine is a bit smelly.
!nataS pihsroW

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
« Reply #59 on: September 13, 2018, 05:12:51 pm »
My smart meter display is backlit LCD.
Sorry to disappoint!

Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
« Reply #60 on: September 13, 2018, 05:14:11 pm »
I have decided not to get a smart meter until they do it properly so that all meters work with all electricity suppliers.  I think they are still installing the stock of old meters.  There may or may not be a firmware update to make some older meters work as they should.

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

Either of those has to be cheaper than fitting yet another set of new meters.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

slope

  • Ride Fettle Ride
    • Current pedalable joys
Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
« Reply #61 on: September 13, 2018, 05:22:22 pm »
And there are those of us whose choice of to 'smart' meter or not is irrelevant = no mobile phone signal ::-)





Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
« Reply #62 on: September 13, 2018, 05:49:17 pm »
And there are those of us whose choice of to 'smart' meter or not is irrelevant = no mobile phone signal ::-)

I thought they were working on that, by providing what-could-possibly-go-wrong internet-of-shit meters that use a WiFi connection.  Providing the WiFi connection left as an exercise for the customer, presumably.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
« Reply #63 on: September 13, 2018, 05:56:24 pm »
https://www.smartme.co.uk/technical.html
https://www.smartenergygb.org/en/about-smart-meters/what-is-a-smart-meter

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


Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
« Reply #64 on: September 13, 2018, 06:44:49 pm »
https://www.smartme.co.uk/technical.html
https://www.smartenergygb.org/en/about-smart-meters/what-is-a-smart-meter

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

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

(Obviously it's fine for the usual purpose of the gas/water meter talking to the electricity meter, and the electricity meter talking to the display unit.)
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
« Reply #65 on: September 13, 2018, 09:26:38 pm »
Thank you for those OTP that responded to my query as to whether or not to have a smart meter, as offered by my energy supplier, Scottish Power.  Yes, I know I live in rural S Cheshire, but we were MANWEB (Merseyside and North Wales EB, until they were bought out years ago).

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

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

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

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

So, for now at least, I'll stay as I am, thank you.  As you were.

Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
« Reply #66 on: September 13, 2018, 11:46:30 pm »
If mobile reception is non-existent in your area then the more people in that area that get a smart meter fitted the quicker your area will be bumped up the list for improved mobile reception. Of course, you may not want this.

(If the mobile reception is available but poor then, more than likely, the low demands of the data connection from the smart meter to the mobile network will probably work often enough that the usage information can get through [even if not immediate but arriving in batches every few hours], so no improvements will be deemed necessary in that area.)
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
« Reply #67 on: September 14, 2018, 05:20:41 pm »
Mine went dumb when I changed supplier, as do most.
Never tell me the odds.

Tim Hall

  • I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes
Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
« Reply #68 on: October 05, 2018, 10:26:48 pm »
I put off getting one until after the 1st of October, which was the magic date for them to be SMETS2, ie 2nd generation and able to keep on being smart after a supplier change. Today was the day and a nice man turned up, having phoned to warn me he was on his way.

Power off, fuse out, old meter out, new meter in, fuse in. There then followed a lot of fruitless waiting, phone calls  and switch frobbing as it failed to connect the the mobile network. Puzzling as both the nice man and I get good mobile connections,  although the signal strength on my phone was a bit lower by the external to my flat but in the hallway meter cupboard.  This was solved by putting a SMETS1 in instead. Gas was a lot easier as was commissioning.
There are two ways you can get exercise out of a bicycle: you can
"overhaul" it, or you can ride it.  (Jerome K Jerome)

Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
« Reply #69 on: October 06, 2018, 08:03:28 am »
I put off getting one until after the 1st of October, which was the magic date for them to be SMETS2, ie 2nd generation and able to keep on being smart after a supplier change. Today was the day and a nice man turned up, having phoned to warn me he was on his way.

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

See my post ^^.  I rest my case. For now at least.

Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
« Reply #70 on: October 10, 2018, 01:01:14 pm »
Pondering... If one wanted the meter and main fused moved up a bit, to stop it using all the useful wall space under stairs, do people think getting a smart meter installed could be a good chance to have that done too on the cheap?

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

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


citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
« Reply #71 on: October 10, 2018, 01:43:25 pm »
an estimation algorithm that includes i

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

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

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

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

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

Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
« Reply #72 on: October 10, 2018, 02:12:11 pm »
Here's another question: if a smart meter works by sending signals over the mobile cell network or wifi, presumably that means it is itself using power, so am I getting charged for that power use? If so... Chiz!

They contain a large battery. My smart gas meter is not plugged in to the mains but has a digital display and would (if it could) be sending readings to my electricity meter that is too far away.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
« Reply #73 on: October 10, 2018, 02:42:27 pm »
an estimation algorithm that includes i

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So we let them change it 'cos it didn't look like we had much choice.

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Home Energy Smart Meters
« Reply #74 on: October 10, 2018, 03:38:16 pm »
an estimation algorithm that includes i

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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



[1] Inductive and capacitive loads shift the power factor in opposite directions, so you can for example correct the power factor of a motor by adding capacitors.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...