Author Topic: Electricity Smart Meter  (Read 3848 times)


  • I'm an embarrassment to my bicycle!
Re: Electricity Smart Meter
« Reply #50 on: March 16, 2020, 01:42:45 pm »
I know took much about this stuff...
I need to forget more...
It may be self-flagellation, but it still hurts

Re: Electricity Smart Meter
« Reply #51 on: March 16, 2020, 02:15:14 pm »
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These are all levied on all suppliers not just the big 6 (incidentally an outdated term since Ovo bought the SSE supply wing).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.


  • I'm an embarrassment to my bicycle!
Re: Electricity Smart Meter
« Reply #52 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!
It may be self-flagellation, but it still hurts

Re: Electricity Smart Meter
« Reply #53 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.


  • Hornblower
Re: Electricity Smart Meter
« Reply #54 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.
There's no vibrations, but wait.

Re: Electricity Smart Meter
« Reply #55 on: March 24, 2020, 04:25:02 pm »
Something’s up with my internal monitor.  It’s picking up gas data but not electricity.

Re: Electricity Smart Meter
« Reply #56 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 ???
Most of the stuff I say is true because I saw it in a dream and I don't have the presence of mind to make up lies when I'm asleep.   Bryan Andreas