Author Topic: Electricity Smart Meter  (Read 1852 times)

Electricity Smart Meter
« 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.

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Electricity Smart Meter
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2019, 03:00:13 pm »
Mobile telephony, your honour. You can even get a good signal in Hell.
!nataS pihsroW

Re: Electricity Smart Meter
« Reply #2 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!

robgul

  • Cycle:End-to-End webmaster
  • . . cyclist, Cytech accredited
    • Cycle:End-to-End
Re: Electricity Smart Meter
« Reply #3 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

fuaran

  • rothair gasta
Re: Electricity Smart Meter
« Reply #4 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.

Edd

Re: Electricity Smart Meter
« Reply #5 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!)

Re: Electricity Smart Meter
« Reply #6 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.)
Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

FifeingEejit

  • Not Small
Re: Electricity Smart Meter
« Reply #7 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.

Re: Electricity Smart Meter
« Reply #8 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. 

Re: Electricity Smart Meter
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2019, 04:09:15 pm »

FifeingEejit

  • Not Small
Re: Electricity Smart Meter
« Reply #10 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.
 

robgul

  • Cycle:End-to-End webmaster
  • . . cyclist, Cytech accredited
    • Cycle:End-to-End
Re: Electricity Smart Meter
« Reply #11 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

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Electricity Smart Meter
« Reply #12 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.
!nataS pihsroW

Re: Electricity Smart Meter
« Reply #13 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.

Re: Electricity Smart Meter
« Reply #14 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.

Re: Electricity Smart Meter
« Reply #15 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!

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Electricity Smart Meter
« Reply #16 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 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.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Wombat

  • Is it supposed to hurt this much?
Re: Electricity Smart Meter
« Reply #17 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...
Wombat

Wombat

  • Is it supposed to hurt this much?
Re: Electricity Smart Meter
« Reply #18 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.
Wombat

Wombat

  • Is it supposed to hurt this much?
Re: Electricity Smart Meter
« Reply #19 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...
Wombat

robgul

  • Cycle:End-to-End webmaster
  • . . cyclist, Cytech accredited
    • Cycle:End-to-End
Re: Electricity Smart Meter
« Reply #20 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

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Electricity Smart Meter
« Reply #21 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.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Re: Electricity Smart Meter
« Reply #22 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.

Basil

  • Um....err......oh bugger!
  • Help me!
Re: Electricity Smart Meter
« Reply #23 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.
Quote from: Kim
And remember that friends who organise things on Facebook aren't proper friends anyway.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Electricity Smart Meter
« Reply #24 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...
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...