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Thread: smart meters-good or bad?

  1. #1
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    smart meters-good or bad?

    hi all,happy new year.we are changing energy suppliers for our gas and electric.most suppliers would want to fit smart meters which we dont have at the moment.would like to ask the forum what are the pro's and cons of these.any advice would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    I changed supplier recently, they insisted on a smart meter however they won’t fit them in my area for some reason. I don’t really see the point - we all know that turning things off saves energy and money!


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  3. #3
    Grand Master Wallasey Runner's Avatar
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    Pointless. The only decent thing about them is that the energy company can take readings when they like without bothering you.

    Those little boxes they give you to monitor usage are a complete waste of time. Picture the scene, Sunday afternoon in the winter. Curtains shut, lights on, heating on, evening meal being cooked, TV on, someone in the shower etc and the little box is screaming you are using too much. What are you supposed to do.

    Then on a Wednesday morning everyone is at work and nothing apart from fridges and freezers etc are being used, the box is saying usage is below average at present. No shit Sherlock.

    Also if your box says you have used £7.52 worth of energy, how the hell is that going to help?

    Needless to say, I threw the box away, but still enjoy not having to give meter readings.

  4. #4
    Just moved into a new house with smart meters. Called the energy supplier to set payment details up. They asked for readings, I said “there are smart meters” reply “we can’t get readings from yours as they are generation 1 and can only be read by the original supplier” so not that smart then.

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    As Wallasey Runner says, they are totally pointless. Maybe good for idiots who do not realise that if some-thing is left on it uses electricity?

  6. #6
    Grand Master Wallasey Runner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barton Red View Post
    Just moved into a new house with smart meters. Called the energy supplier to set payment details up. They asked for readings, I said “there are smart meters” reply “we can’t get readings from yours as they are generation 1 and can only be read by the original supplier” so not that smart then.
    Yes, forgot about that. Mine were fitted by British Gas and when I moved to e-on they didn't recognise them, so not industry compliant it would seem. It was only when I went back to BG that they were able to start reading their own meters.

    Difficult to understand what the motivation is to roll them out. My MIL is being pressured to have them, she is 92, lives alone and is not bothered, but they keep getting in touch telling her that she must have them.

  7. #7
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    My energy supplier kept contacting me about having a smart meter fitted,told them I don’t want one.I was then asked why not,told them in no uncertain terms I don’t trust the idiots you employ to fit them.

  8. #8
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    smart meters-good or bad?

    Personally I would avoid having them installed, as posted above. The only real benefit is that you supplier is able to take a meter reading remotely assuming you have a compatible meter fitted.

    https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/smar...-a-smart-meter

    Why your smart meter may not be so smart after all https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-49680943

    https://www.gov.uk/government/public...ves-and-health

    B
    Last edited by bomberman; 1st January 2020 at 11:37.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wallasey Runner View Post
    Difficult to understand what the motivation is to roll them out.
    Real time use data enables them to apply “dynamic” pricing. Whether that’s related to the increasing proportion of energy generated by renewables, I don’t know but I have a very suspicious mind!

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    As per post above, a lot are suspicious about them. I agree, they could play games with the pricing, but if you know what tarrif you are on and review it at renewal (like you should in theory!) then no problem there. I quite like having the smart meter, I can then make some small changes and see if that alters the £ usage. Some things are surprising in how much / little they cost in reality. Maybe I am just sad!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by David_D View Post
    Real time use data enables them to apply “dynamic” pricing. Whether that’s related to the increasing proportion of energy generated by renewables, I don’t know but I have a very suspicious mind!
    Absolutely, electricity becomes the new Uber- charge slightly more during peak periods because they know exactly what you're using.

  12. #12
    Grand Master oldoakknives's Avatar
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    I asked the same question a while back in this thread........https://forum.tz-uk.com/showthread.p...ht=smart+meter

    Perhaps some of the answers there are helpful as well.

    I decided not to bother with one, couldn't see any advantage except not having to read the meter now and then, which is no hardship really. And it seems if you move supplier they probably won't work with the new supplier.
    Cuidich 'n Righ

  13. #13
    As far as I understand it, the first generation of meters only work with the supplier who originally installed them. Most are now installing the second generation which can be accessed by your new supplier if and when you switch. Seems like a lot of fuss to me - although this thread has reminded me to pop out the back door, take a couple of readings and pop them into my energy app - which will take less then 5 minutes anyway!


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  14. #14
    Smart meters are not installed for any consumer benefit: they are for the energy suppliers to get a connected device into your home. Data is collected by your usage stats (e.g. when you are at home and when you are not) and can be sold on to 3rd parties. It's a valuable commodity for energy suppliers. I predict that the latest smart meters have features that have not been 'turned on' yet: How about identifying the brand and model of your electrical devices?

    Remember the news item that Alexa device inputs were being listened to and transcribed by human operatives?
    https://www.theguardian.com/technolo...gs-report-says
    Why do you think that such voice-activated, connected devices are very cheap or even given away free with other products?
    Thin end of the wedge IMHO.

    I see that there is a recent TV ad with children thanking you for using a smart meter - very dodgy emotional blackmail for commercial purposes as far as I can see.

    Anyway, UK energy consumers are paying for the smart meter roll out through higher energy bill costs, so how much are the actual savings?

    Maybe it's just me being sceptical and paranoid, but to save money on your energy bills, switch supplier or use less energy.

  15. #15
    Craftsman boris9's Avatar
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    Don’t quite understand the all the pointless comments.

    Whilst the benefits are perhaps minimal, you can see your energy usage and also save on the hassle of reading meters once a quarter. They cost nothing to have installed so I really don’t see the down side.


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  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by boris9 View Post
    Don’t quite understand the all the pointless comments.

    Whilst the benefits are perhaps minimal, you can see your energy usage and also save on the hassle of reading meters once a quarter. They cost nothing to have installed so I really don’t see the down side.


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    Don't see any pointless comments though downsides have been posted - incompatibility means not always easy to change supplier, data protection issues, suppliers can use information to increase profits at consumers expense etc.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by boris9 View Post
    They cost nothing to have installed so I really don’t see the down side.
    On the contrary, they are costing energy consumers (ie all of us) billions of pounds added to our energy bills. Maybe c£400 per household. Far more than we will ever save by using them.

    That is the main reason Germany stopped its smart meter rollout programme.

  18. #18
    My apartment is in a block of 20, built in 2001, and the gas meters in 18 of the 20 apartments are situated in a kitchen cupboard, while the electricity meters are in the communal stairways.

    I'm with E-On, and the old codger who used to come and read the meters was like a tramp, and after he'd been I had to open all of the doors and windows for half an hour.

    There has been an enthusiastic take-up of smart meters among us...
    Although no trees were harmed during the creation of this post, a large number of electrons were greatly inconvenienced.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wallasey Runner View Post
    Pointless. The only decent thing about them is that the energy company can take readings when they like without bothering you.

    Those little boxes they give you to monitor usage are a complete waste of time. Picture the scene, Sunday afternoon in the winter. Curtains shut, lights on, heating on, evening meal being cooked, TV on, someone in the shower etc and the little box is screaming you are using too much. What are you supposed to do.

    Then on a Wednesday morning everyone is at work and nothing apart from fridges and freezers etc are being used, the box is saying usage is below average at present. No shit Sherlock.

    Also if your box says you have used £7.52 worth of energy, how the hell is that going to help?

    Needless to say, I threw the box away, but still enjoy not having to give meter readings.
    Yes did the same.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by boris9 View Post
    Don’t quite understand the all the pointless comments.

    Whilst the benefits are perhaps minimal, you can see your energy usage and also save on the hassle of reading meters once a quarter. They cost nothing to have installed so I really don’t see the down side.


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    They really are unfit for purpose right now and are being blindly rolled out because they have to. I had mine upgraded around a year ago, for the last 9 months I’ve had to send them my meter readings as for some reason, which they are not willing to investigate the meters are no longer sending them the readings.

  21. #21
    Master Alansmithee's Avatar
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    I had a smart meter fitted a couple of years ago and guessed what happened?

    It just worked.

    That is the end of my story - I will not be taking questions at this time.
    Last edited by Alansmithee; 1st January 2020 at 16:34.

  22. #22
    Craftsman boris9's Avatar
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    smart meters-good or bad?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    Don't see any pointless comments though downsides have been posted - incompatibility means not always easy to change supplier, data protection issues, suppliers can use information to increase profits at consumers expense etc.
    Have another read mate. You’ll see “pointless” quoted at least a couple of times I suspect.

    Who knew smart meters were such an emotive subject.


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  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by boris9 View Post
    Have another read mate. You’ll see “pointless” quoted at least a couple of times I suspect.

    Who knew smart meters were such an emotive subject.


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    Understood you were saying the comments were pointless, not that others were saying the meters were pointless.

  24. #24
    Master Templogin's Avatar
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    Benefit to the companies: dynamic pricing and load shedding. Also denying supplies to non-payers. Best hope they tap in the correct code.

    Benefit to the user: nil

    If you have already been suckered into one, pick up the phone and tell them that you have got someone in the house who uses a critical piece of medical equipment. I have read elsewhere that you go on a list, and when the supplier decides to load shed your village, the person with the iron lung or whatever gets to keep their supply on, whilst the rest of you curse whoever hid the candles last time. Just don't pick an iron lung as the critical medical equipment!

  25. #25
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    thanks all for your contributions to the thread,the most if not all the big six suppliers all seem to require smart meters to go on their tarrifs.i will have a look about at some of the smaller companies..

  26. #26
    Grand Master Saint-Just's Avatar
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    I switched my power supply regularly over the years, was with E.ON, now with So Energy. Used to get phone calls to get smart meters, told them after a while to shove them where the sun never shines and haven’t had a request to fit one ever since.
    'Against stupidity, the gods themselves struggle in vain' - Schiller.

  27. #27
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    What is this dynamic pricing argument about? Perhaps I am missing the point here. How can they change what they charge you if you are on an agreed tariff??

    Maybe it will help them with their purchasing but that is a different matter.

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  28. #28
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    Your tariff will expire. You will find yourself on a dynamically priced tariff in future.
    Last edited by Templogin; 1st January 2020 at 23:13. Reason: sPillonG

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by alfat33 View Post
    On the contrary, they are costing energy consumers (ie all of us) billions of pounds added to our energy bills. Maybe c£400 per household. Far more than we will ever save by using them.

    That is the main reason Germany stopped its smart meter rollout programme.
    Spot on

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Templogin View Post
    Your tariff will expire. You will find yourself on a dynamically priced tariff in future.
    Then you switch.

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  31. #31
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    Also to note. It was the government enforcing this roll out to happen. Pressure now off as the deadline delayed from 2020 to 2024. See article.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/business-49721436

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  32. #32
    Someone should be going to prison for the first version fiasco, it’s criminal and we paid for it.

    As well as dynamic charging the big benefit to the suppliers is that they will know when you plug in your electric vehicle, enabling them to implement whatever charging or tax scheme they finally come up with for electricity for vehicles, they are just waiting for car use to pass a critical mass level.

  33. #33
    Master Templogin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boss13 View Post
    Then you switch.

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    They may have thought of that already.

    I understand some companies will not allow customers to switch to their best tariffs if they don't have smart meter. This will become more prevalent. In the same way that customers who want to pay quarterly are charged more than those paying monthly by direct debit, it follows that those of us that don't want smart meters, will have to pay more than those who have one. Those with smart meters will have dynamic pricing imposed on them in an attempt to cut demand at peak periods when our electricity infrastructure is increasingly struggling to keep up with demand, and has no fallback when parts of the system fail.

    As has been mentioned already, taxing the charging of e-cars via current drawn would be made easier, and would arguably be more equitable than the current road tax (VED). Data can be slurped and sold to those that want to know more about us, as has also been mentioned.

    If anyone wants further advice beyond the iron lung scenario, it would be to cover your house in solar panels and get a wind turbine in the back garden, with a bank of batteries and an inverter. You're going to get screwed over, it just depends by how much. Stock up on lube.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobDad View Post
    I changed supplier recently, they insisted on a smart meter however they won’t fit them in my area for some reason. I don’t really see the point - we all know that turning things off saves energy and money!


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    Exactly this.

    If it's on it's because your using it!,so you know you'll have to pay.


  35. #35
    Craftsman Pubdweller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Templogin View Post
    They may have thought of that already.

    I understand some companies will not allow customers to switch to their best tariffs if they don't have smart meter. This will become more prevalent. In the same way that customers who want to pay quarterly are charged more than those paying monthly by direct debit, it follows that those of us that don't want smart meters, will have to pay more than those who have one. Those with smart meters will have dynamic pricing imposed on them in an attempt to cut demand at peak periods when our electricity infrastructure is increasingly struggling to keep up with demand, and has no fallback when parts of the system fail.

    As has been mentioned already, taxing the charging of e-cars via current drawn would be made easier, and would arguably be more equitable than the current road tax (VED). Data can be slurped and sold to those that want to know more about us, as has also been mentioned.

    If anyone wants further advice beyond the iron lung scenario, it would be to cover your house in solar panels and get a wind turbine in the back garden, with a bank of batteries and an inverter. You're going to get screwed over, it just depends by how much. Stock up on lube.
    this X 1000000%.

    I refuse to have one because I see it as a gateway to dynamic pricing.

    If you're that thick that you need a smart meter to tell you that leaving a light on uses energy then you shouldn't even be living on your own.

  36. #36
    If your gas smart meter develops a fault it defaults to shut. Their argument being it’s better to be shit than open if there is a fault. No gas for three days, until they could come out and look at it. Thank god it’s not that cold!!!

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by David_D View Post
    Real time use data enables them to apply “dynamic” pricing. Whether that’s related to the increasing proportion of energy generated by renewables, I don’t know but I have a very suspicious mind!
    Exactly this. When the supply grid is on its renewable fed ass, you'll be charged a fortune...

  38. #38
    Master Templogin's Avatar
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    No-one will be forced into having a smart meter. Refuseniks will be financially penalised until they choose one. It worked with plastic bags in Tesco.

    There is also some wheeze with the way the smart meter assumes a supply voltage of 250vac, in its calculation of usage, whereas it is usually around 240vac, or lower if you are running a number of high drain appliances. I can't lay my hands on the evidence at the moment, but the allegation seemed to be that the electricity providers were skimming a little extra for themselves. Of course you will be as shocked as I am at this insinuation.

  39. #39
    Master steptoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boris9 View Post
    They cost nothing to have installed so I really don’t see the down side.


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    They are costing £11bn to install in 26 million homes. The current cost per household is £420. This cost is added to all our bills. The expected average “saving” per household is £10 per year initially, and then once the novelty wears off and the “savings” are barely negligible people will revert to past habits/usage.
    Last edited by steptoe; 2nd January 2020 at 20:41.

  40. #40
    Master Templogin's Avatar
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    It will all be a mere nothing compared to when the nukes come online. EDF must be rubbing their hands in glee with the price they have agreed with the government.

    Getting back to the metering, the biggest irony is all of those perfectly usable meters clogging up landfill.

  41. #41
    Journeyman rsteenekamp's Avatar
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    At least you don’t have to submit meter readings anymore...


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  42. #42
    Master PhilipK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Templogin View Post
    Benefit to the companies: dynamic pricing and load shedding. Also denying supplies to non-payers. Best hope they tap in the correct code.

    Benefit to the user: nil
    Even more invidious benefit to the companies is that they can collect a shedload of data about your energy consumption on a minute-by-minute basis. Using big data/data analytics, they will be able to use that to determine a lot of things about you and your lifestyle, which they will be able to sell to advertisers, governments and other interested parties. Not to mention the security implications if that data is compromised.

    I do think that you overstate the benefit to the user somewhat :-)

    I guess that the sort of people who are happy having a spying device (Alexa/Siri/Google Home/etc) sitting in their house listening to everything that they say may not be too concerned at giving all this information to their energy supplier (and their "partners"), but I have resisted all the - borderline aggressive - attempts to have a smart meter installed at my house.

  43. #43
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    Do smart meters have listening ability?
    What data will they be able to sell apart from when you use power?

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  44. #44
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    What runs at night, intermittently? Your fridge. So they’ll know the wattage and will deduct age quickly - or at least efficiency.
    Then what runs after meals? Dishwasher

    They can continue to break it down this way. And that’s before they get a chance to cross reference it with other apparently innocent data.

    The reasoning you’re following usually ends as ‘I’ve got nothing to hide anyway’.
    'Against stupidity, the gods themselves struggle in vain' - Schiller.

  45. #45
    Master Templogin's Avatar
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    No, there was no microphone in the smart meter someone took apart on YouTube. I think Amazon has cornered the market in surveillance in the home. I had to smile when it was reported that Alexa can be triggered by the opening of a zip. Just the thing that you want in the bedroom!

    But it's so convenient.

  46. #46
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    When all of us have electric cars, my assumption is that meters will be used to confirm what electric is going to rapidly charge the car so an appropriate duty can be applied to vehicle fuel costs. Govt will need to replace the lost petrol/diesel duty as it peters out

  47. #47
    Master Templogin's Avatar
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    I have read that there are plans to offer cheaper rates to e-car owners who allow the grid to suck the power back out of their connected car's batteries at times of peak need. I would be concerned about whether there was value in that when reducing life expectancy of the batteries. It must work out cheaper than the grid buying their own batteries.

  48. #48
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    Totally pointless and pretty much a waste of time. I thought they were supposed to report back your usage to the supplier so no more being billed for estimated usage and hoping that over the course of the year your overpayments cover the extra demand in winter...but EDF, still do the same thing. If I want a bill that matches actual usage, I still have to supply my own reading every month.
    As others have said, the in house "monitor" is a waste of time, space and (funnily enough) electricity.

  49. #49
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    I was due to have a smart meter installed by edf but having read this thread I have cancelled it. Matters are complicated by the fact that I intend to rent out the property soon. Does anyone know if a tennant can authorise a smart meter installation or does it have to be agreed with the landlord?

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