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Thread: Smart meters - npower

  1. #1
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    Smart meters - npower

    I received an email today from our energy supplier (npower) telling me they will be installing my smart meter on 27th November and asking me to confirm this is correct. The only problem is that I didnít actually ask for one.

    I know that all the energy suppliers are being pushed (or paid?) to get smart meters installed. I also know itís not compulsory and I can refuse, although despite allowing me to confirm the appointment online npower insist that I have to phone them to cancel.

    My initial response is to tell them to do one, simply because I donít like the way they have told me an appointment is booked and made it awkward to cancel. I also donít really see the need for one at the moment, because it seems to be a solution to a problem I donít have. Finally, I donít really want the disruption of the installation or any hassle of billing issues in the event of a problem.

    Before I cancel, I thought Iíd canvas opinion. Am I missing out by refusing to have one, or am I best avoiding one for as long as possible?

  2. #2
    Could be in T&Cs for the contract you're on.

  3. #3
    Certainly avoid getting one until the new generation smets2 meters are available, widely installed and proven to be issue free, the old smets1 are not cross compatible and are supplier specific, so if you change supplier, your smart meter is no longer smart, ridiculous money wasting white elephant. The new ones are just about being released, but I'd hold off till all the bugs are ironed out.
    Last edited by Brighty; 7th November 2018 at 23:11.

  4. #4
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    I'm with npower too and they have been sending me these mails for appointments for a good while now.
    I have no real need of a meter and expect it'd probably make me such a bore when it came to energy use that it would lead to divorce.
    I just ignore the texts completely. I've no obligation that I'm aware of and they can't bill me for an appointment I've not made.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    Could be in T&Cs for the contract you're on.
    Fair point, Iíll check.

  6. #6
    My sister had the same message so she told them to go forth and multiply.
    Why anybody falls for it beats me.
    What is smart about a smart meter? the only way you can save energy is by switching things off and you don't need a meter to do that.

    If you use less energy won't the energy companies start increasing charges further, they are selling a product after all.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brighty View Post
    Certainly avoid getting one until the new generation smets2 meters are available, widely installed and proven to be issue free, the old smets1 are not cross compatible and are supplier specific, so if you change supplier, your smart meter is no longer smart, ridiculous money wasting white elephant. The new ones are just about being released, but I'd hold off till all the bugs are ironed out.
    Just had a quick Google, and it seems npower are allowed to install SMETS1 meters until January 2019, so I strongly suspect thatís what Iíd get.

  8. #8
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    Smart meters are a con and will barely save money. We've refused ours. You'd save more money shopping around for better gas & electric providers every year.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Rod View Post
    Smart meters are a con and will barely save money. We've refused ours. You'd save more money shopping around for better gas & electric providers every year.
    Spot on.... it was almost embarrassing how much EDF were offering me a smart meter,
    Texts, emails, phone calls, statement messages, contact at least every week, sometime more. It was bordering on harassment.

    I shopped and changed to Avro and will save 20% on my bills. Beware OP, some of the new switch deals (inc EDFís best tarriff) have compulsory smart meter fitment.

    Itíd not hard is it, the most basic excel spreadsheet to work out standing charge per day in pence and cost per kWh, tines by annual usage..... really easy. Smart meter not needed. Just turn stuff off.

  10. #10
    Yes, it's positioned as a money saving device, but actually it's a data gathering device for the operators. That's why they are desperate to get them installed - it's not altruism.

    Same as those Amazon Alexa and Google Home devices - they're virtually giving those devices away for a reason (and it's not for your convenience).

  11. #11
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    The only advantage of a smart meter is that you don't have to be in when they come to read your meters or have to submit readings yourself. This is particularly helpful for the elderly who are unhappy with strangers knocking at their door or have difficulty accessing/reading their meters, eg my Mum who's 96. Other than that there are no advantages. If your meters are outside then neither of these are advantages.
    Best Regards - Peter
    Please Note: It is possible that Griswold may know nothing whatsoever about horology. It's even possible that he has never even owned a watch. It is also highly possible the he has a strange imagination. His wife insists he would be far better off paying more attention to taking his medication on time.

  12. #12
    No obligation to have one and I've told my supplier (Scottish Power) to stop sending me email, letters and to stop phoning me to encourage me to have one (or two if they do them for gas?) They seem a little miffed that I don't want one and that I don't want to save on my fuel bills ...I'm well able to manage my fuel consumption with minimal common sense. I did ask if they'd give me a discount on my bills for not taking one - the answer wasn't on their "script"!

    Must be costing millions for this poorly thought out scheme - government or power suppliers I'm not sure. Stupid.

    David

  13. #13
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    My supplier wanted me to have a smart meter, itís a bit like a consultant

    Give him your watch and heíll tell you the time.

    Ask about the cost of removing the smart meter ??


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  14. #14
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    When something is pushed onto you so hard you really have to think Ďwhy?í, if you canít see a benefit just decline.

    Smart meters will not save you money, physically switching stuff off does that.

    In time Ďsmartí will be on the side of companies with data collection and realtime tarrif setting based on time, weather, location, etc...

    We will probably end up paying more unless we decide to do common stuff outside of typical periods eg. Cook dinner. Or when it gets cold.


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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    Could be in T&Cs for the contract you're on.
    As far as I am aware the most they can include in the t&c's is that you have expressed an interest in having one installed, which is what a lot of them are sneaking in now.

    They can't include a clause that is binding to have one installed and if you simply say you have decided not to have one installed then they cannot impose it on you or cancel your supply.

    I was with Npower who used to bombard me with texts asking me to confirm particular appointment dates and like others I just happily ignored them upon the basis that they were asking me to confirm something that I wasn't happy with and therefore didn't feel the need to do so!

  16. #16
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    Thanks for all the responses.

    As per my original post, I simply don't have a need for a smart meter. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't saying no to something that would be useful. I have a few smart home products which I do find useful, but nothing I've read about smart energy meters makes me want one.

    I'm on a fixed price tariff with npower, having switched about 18 months ago. Unless npower are the cheapest, I'm likely to switch again when the fixed price period ends, at which point it would be highly likely that the smart meter will become non-smart. It would almost certainly be a first generation device as well. There is nothing I can see in the contract documentation that suggests I must have a smart meter if one is offered.

    To be fair-ish to npower (although they made me ring up rather than allowing me to do it online) they did not push me to have one when I rang up to cancel. No doubt they'll try the same trick in a few months but I'll just ignore it from now on.
    Last edited by StackH; 8th November 2018 at 10:36.

  17. #17
    Master amnesia's Avatar
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    I have a smart meter appointment with nPower in December. I want one to prove to the kids (I've got 4) that it costs actual, real money when they leave lights, TVs, computers etc on, although I suspect they will see it as a game to see how high they can get the kWh reading LOL.

    I'm also interested to see just how much energy our snake vivariums use.


  18. #18
    Master Alansmithee's Avatar
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    I have had one for a couple of years - I must confess I never look at it but occasionally check the readings in the app.

  19. #19
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    SSE fitted one 4 weeks ago for our electric meter.

    I asked the fitter if it would be a good idea to get the gas board to come and fit a gas one now so that we had that covered.

    He said that they would probably have to take out the one he had just fitted (because it was smets1).

    I asked him to explain and he said that there was a newer one called smets2.

    Apparently he could only fit a smets1 meter as he hadn't had the smets2 training.

    Somewhat gobsmacked I thanked him and he went.

    The hand held display is in the sitting room facing the wall and I've yet to look at it.

    scooter

  20. #20
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    SSE too.

    Had mine fitted for both gas and electric. I have the remote monitor which I used then realised it needs charging every other day, so actually adding (very minimal) to my bill. So the last time it went flat, into its box it went and its now in the loft with all the other crap i don't use.

    On the plus side, no chap on the property getting readings, no need to send off readings myself, and my bills have come down.

    They are "sold" as a money / energy saving device, they are not. The only real advantage is that estimated bills are more accurate, something the energy companies have been told to do, as previously some estimates (paid in advance) were wildly off the mark.

  21. #21
    had this happen a few times now with multiple suppliers , i just let them turn up then tell them i did not order one and that its not a legal requirement ( let them waste their time and money sending an engineer out for no reason)
    they just make it easier for the suppiers to read and provide no discount or fucntion whatsoever to the end user ( except maybe tell you that you cant afford to heat your property and you are getting in debt )

  22. #22
    Craftsman Incredible Sulk's Avatar
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    I'm going to buck the trend on this thread. We have smart meters for electricity and gas. They are British Gas ones, and I understand they will work with another supplier. We'll find out soon, as our fixed price contract expires at the end of December, and it's likely that we will switch providers. We had them installed because, amongst other reasons, the existing meters had reached the end of their service lives and were due for replacement anyway.

    I do look at the meter quite a lot. We use a lot of electricity - we have an electric AGA which means we rack up a minimum of 25 KW/h a day with it on half heat and not using the hot plates. On full heat and with the hot plates on, it causes the needle on the meter (looks like a speedometer) to go off the end of the scale. We use a fair bit of gas too, when the heating is on.

    I like knowing how much we spend day to day, and the meter tells me that. It also means that BG have accurate billing info - meter reads get sent to them every half hour. I can't understand why the OP thinks that smart meters might lead to 'billing issues' - I think it's quite the reverse. We have quite an assymetrical usage through the year. Consumption of gas and electricity is minimal during the summer months when the AGA and the heating are switched off, so the smart meters help BG to work out a sensible and accurate monthly payment over the year.

    Will I continue to have one in the future? Yes. Can I think of any downsides? No. OMMV.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by thegreatdogwood View Post
    As far as I am aware the most they can include in the t&c's is that you have expressed an interest in having one installed, which is what a lot of them are sneaking in now.

    They can't include a clause that is binding to have one installed and if you simply say you have decided not to have one installed then they cannot impose it on you or cancel your supply.

    I was with Npower who used to bombard me with texts asking me to confirm particular appointment dates and like others I just happily ignored them upon the basis that they were asking me to confirm something that I wasn't happy with and therefore didn't feel the need to do so!
    Iíve certainly seen it as a requirement with some contracts when looking to switch. Donít see why it canít be imposed if youíve signed up and agreed to one.

  24. #24
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    Don't do it!

    The quicker we all go smart meter, the quicker we'll see variable tariffs charging more for peak periods. They're also thinking about when people will be overnight charging EVs and phones/gadgets...

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Incredible Sulk View Post
    They are British Gas ones, and I understand they will work with another supplier.
    They probably won't, depending who you switch to. There may eventually be a software upgrade for old generation meters, to make it possible, but if not you'll need a new generation meter installing

  26. #26
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    My understanding is that SMETS1 will all eventually be upgraded to SMETS2 standard, and that in most cases this will be an OTA (Over the air) update that does not require the attendance of an engineer. However, until those upgrades are done if you change supplier the meter becomes dumb again. Personally I am holding out until SMETS2 is deployed because I change energy supplier almost every year.

    Whilst they are free to retail consumers, if you are a business customer they will whack it on to your standing charge at renewal, which is why I have rejected them for my business (they also come in different flavours like AMR).

  27. #27
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    Its not Npower who are contacting you itís their installer. Clever use of similar emails confused me initially. With Edf I had the hierarchical approach of email, text, then phone. I politely declined when the telesales guy rang and that was that. All correspondence stopped.
    Steve

  28. #28
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    I donít need proof of the bleediní obvious ie. if you use less energy you will save money. I donít find giving meter readings a hassle and at least I know the utility co. is getting correct readings.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brighty View Post
    Certainly avoid getting one until the new generation smets2 meters are available, widely installed and proven to be issue free, the old smets1 are not cross compatible and are supplier specific, so if you change supplier, your smart meter is no longer smart, ridiculous money wasting white elephant. The new ones are just about being released, but I'd hold off till all the bugs are ironed out.
    SMETS2 meters are available now. The 100,000th SMETS2 meter was installed a week ago today.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by ckyliu View Post
    My understanding is that SMETS1 will all eventually be upgraded to SMETS2 standard, and that in most cases this will be an OTA (Over the air) update that does not require the attendance of an engineer. ).
    This is incorrect. SMETS1 meters will be migrated into DCC and this will enable consumers with SMETS1 to make use of certain SMETS2 functionality e.g change of supplier but they will not become SMETS2 meters.

  31. #31
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    I contacted my supplier last week & told them to stop sending me "good news" texts every few days

  32. #32
    Demand side management .

    Your freezer will be getting bid off soon in peak demand 1/2 hours.

  33. #33
    Master IAmATeaf's Avatar
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    Iíve had these fitted by/ on behalf of npower. Being the older gen what happens if I decide to switch? Does the next supplier come out and fit their own? Do I need to concern myself about the current npower smart meters?

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by IAmATeaf View Post
    Iíve had these fitted by/ on behalf of npower. Being the older gen what happens if I decide to switch? Does the next supplier come out and fit their own? Do I need to concern myself about the current npower smart meters?
    Most likely the new supplier will treat it as a dumb meter and then swap to a SMETS2 meter as and when.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    Iíve certainly seen it as a requirement with some contracts when looking to switch. Donít see why it canít be imposed if youíve signed up and agreed to one.
    The utilities providers are under a government obligation to use reasonable endeavours to get people signed up to smart meters by 2020. Slipping into the t&c's a statement that the customer has expressed an interest in having a smart meter installed satisfies that obligation.

    The customer can ultimately choose not to permit access. Even if they had signed up to a clause that says they will allow a smart meter then no court in the country would rule for specific performance on such a clause. At best the utility provider could claim the contract has been frustrated and refuse to supply which is pretty self-defeating given all they are seeking to do is meet a government directive which they will already have done notwithstanding the smart meter was not installed. Other suppliers will happily step in without a smart meter.

    Until such time as it becomes a legal requirement for a household to have a smart meter then I can't see that it can ever be imposed, merely encouraged.

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by rincewind View Post
    SMETS2 meters are available now. The 100,000th SMETS2 meter was installed a week ago today.
    Available maybe, but not widely, huge stocks of smets1 to be used up first, they're not going to skip them when they can use them on people who are unaware of the issue. BG are delaying full release till next year, my supplier Ovo are doing limited trial installs, most installs are currently smets1, I'm sure others are the same, so if you book now, chances are you'll get a smets1.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brighty View Post
    Available maybe, but not widely, huge stocks of smets1 to be used up first, they're not going to skip them when they can use them on people who are unaware of the issue. BG are delaying full release till next year, my supplier Ovo are doing limited trial installs, most installs are currently smets1, I'm sure others are the same, so if you book now, chances are you'll get a smets1.
    Agreed, however if you ask for a SMETS2 install you will get one (assuming your energy supplier has commenced rollout).

    Edited to add for anyone considering getting a smart meter that SMETS1 meters are currently not allowed to be installed after the 5th of December 2018
    Last edited by rincewind; 9th November 2018 at 00:10.

  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Incredible Sulk View Post
    I like knowing how much we spend day to day, and the meter tells me that. It also means that BG have accurate billing info - meter reads get sent to them every half hour. I can't understand why the OP thinks that smart meters might lead to 'billing issues' - I think it's quite the reverse. We have quite an assymetrical usage through the year. Consumption of gas and electricity is minimal during the summer months when the AGA and the heating are switched off, so the smart meters help BG to work out a sensible and accurate monthly payment over the year.

    Will I continue to have one in the future? Yes. Can I think of any downsides? No. OMMV.
    There have been numerous news articles regarding billing issues.

    Genuine question... why on earth does it 'need' to send meter readings every 30 minutes!? It's clearly not for convenience, so there must be another motive....

  39. #39
    Master Yorkshiremadmick's Avatar
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    We have smart meters.
    Sadly already fitted to our new build house !
    I know Iíll have problems switching as I do most years. I use Voltz the switching app.


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  40. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by rincewind View Post
    Agreed, however if you ask for a SMETS2 install you will get one (assuming your energy supplier has commenced rollout).

    Edited to add for anyone considering getting a smart meter that SMETS1 meters are currently not allowed to be installed after the 5th of December 2018
    Read earlier that British gas and a few others have been given an extension well into next year, to "allow a phased introduction of the new technology in case of issues" and also, the far more likely reason "allow the use up of stock of existing smets1"

    I asked ovo if I could have a smets2 and they said no, limited release, no guarantee what I would get.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brighty View Post
    Read earlier that British gas and a few others have been given an extension well into next year, to "allow a phased introduction of the new technology in case of issues" and also, the far more likely reason "allow the use up of stock of existing smets1"

    I asked ovo if I could have a smets2 and they said no, limited release, no guarantee what I would get.
    Yes thatís true, however those suppliers with the extension are all capable of installing SMETS2 meters.

  42. #42
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    In Spain you have no choice in energy or water supplier and everything is on smart meter which is useful without any downsides. The bill is checked monthly and payment is on DD.

    In the UK the main problem is that despite what they say, having a smart meter fitted makes switching supplier more difficult until the day arrives that any provider can use any meter without incurring a charge.

    Smart meters are useful but it's best to hold back until all the transfer problems, both commercial and technical, have been sorted out.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miocene View Post
    There have been numerous news articles regarding billing issues.

    Genuine question... why on earth does it 'need' to send meter readings every 30 minutes!? It's clearly not for convenience, so there must be another motive....
    So they can vary charge by time of the day.... but you knew that anyway ;-)

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by farquare View Post
    Demand side management .

    Your freezer will be getting bid off soon in peak demand 1/2 hours.
    Or when the sun isn't shining and/or the wind blowing :-(

  45. #45
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    I'm also wary about having a smart meter fitted, due to the worry about possible dynamic (variable) peak time charging. I heard that this is already happening in Canada?

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miocene View Post
    There have been numerous news articles regarding billing issues.
    There are numerous articles about billing issues whatever the meter type.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by ckyliu View Post
    My understanding is that SMETS1 will all eventually be upgraded to SMETS2 standard, and that in most cases this will be an OTA (Over the air) update that does not require the attendance of an engineer. However, until those upgrades are done if you change supplier the meter becomes dumb again. Personally I am holding out until SMETS2 is deployed because I change energy supplier almost every year.

    Whilst they are free to retail consumers, if you are a business customer they will whack it on to your standing charge at renewal, which is why I have rejected them for my business (they also come in different flavours like AMR).
    SMETS1 meters will be upgraded eventually, but its not an over the air software update. The two meters work differently, SMETS1 uses mobile phone network to communicate, SMETS2 uses a data Wide area network, so they are different devices. If you have SMETS2 you will be able to go to whichever supplier you want as the data will be available to all. Most SMETS1 meters are supplier specific, so if you move suppliers, the meters go into dumb mode, which means you will need to take readings yourself, which on some of them is not an easy task. So if your like me, wait for SMETS2 meters which should start to arrive early next year. If your planning on staying with your current supplier then it doesn't matter. I also bet, those that have SMETS1 meters with a current supplier, will be bottom of the list for the new meters.

  48. #48
    Grand Master Saint-Just's Avatar
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    Smart meters - npower

    The less data they get, the less they can maximise their profits
    Last edited by Saint-Just; 9th November 2018 at 13:18.
    Well, everybody in Casablanca has problems. Yours may work out.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by casbar View Post
    SMETS1 meters will be upgraded eventually, but its not an over the air software update. The two meters work differently, SMETS1 uses mobile phone network to communicate, SMETS2 uses a data Wide area network, so they are different devices. If you have SMETS2 you will be able to go to whichever supplier you want as the data will be available to all. Most SMETS1 meters are supplier specific, so if you move suppliers, the meters go into dumb mode, which means you will need to take readings yourself, which on some of them is not an easy task. So if your like me, wait for SMETS2 meters which should start to arrive early next year. If your planning on staying with your current supplier then it doesn't matter. I also bet, those that have SMETS1 meters with a current supplier, will be bottom of the list for the new meters.
    SMETS2 meters use two different communication service providers. A dedicated long range radio network in the north region and Telefonica's 2g/3g mobile network in the central and south regions.

    The main reason SMETS1 meters cannot be upgraded OTA to SMETS2 is to do with the difference in meter / comms hub hardware and software architectures. There is also a significant difference in security architecture between the two solutions / device types. The reason why the SMETS1 solution doesn't support change of supply for example is to do with cryptography.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by rincewind View Post
    SMETS2 meters use two different communication service providers. A dedicated long range radio network in the north region and Telefonica's 2g/3g mobile network in the central and south regions.

    The main reason SMETS1 meters cannot be upgraded OTA to SMETS2 is to do with the difference in meter / comms hub hardware and software architectures. There is also a significant difference in security architecture between the two solutions / device types. The reason why the SMETS1 solution doesn't support change of supply for example is to do with cryptography.

    Thanks, that is news to me, my research showed no mention of 3g/4g for SMETS2 and the National Power contact I spoke to, also said none of the SMETS 2 would be using phone networks. I live in an area with no phone coverage, so guess SMETS2 won't work here. I have to use a booster that gives me phone coverage in the house or use wi fi calling.

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