Re: Consumer benefits are not falling!
> Consumer and contract law might have to be changed if the consumer has no idea how much the bill is going to be until it comes in.
Ah, but they will - that's what the in-home display is for.
> You can't treat to sell without disclosing the price, and if the price is going to be variable, possibly minute by minute, then the consumer is totally fscked.
I think you'll find that variable pricing is OK - provided it is very clear up-front AND the consumer has a means of knowing what they will be paying before they use it. AIUI, it's not so much "your lecky now costs 50p/unit" as "starting at <next half hour point> the lecky will be 50p/unit".
> Even more legally dubious would be to vary the price tariffs on a pre-pay meter. If you've already paid for your energy, the supplier can't just change the price of the already paid for goods.
But you haven't pre-paid for the goods. You have paid for credit which is then used to pay for the goods as you use them.
All that said, the current design of the smart metering thing is a complete and utter fail-magnet.
Contrary to what someone has said before, part of the spec is for remote disconnection (and remote re-connection) - though in theory that is a last resort when "pricing demand management" has failed. Eg, if making the lecky 10 times more expensive hasn't reduced demand enough when the wind isn't blowing (and hence all the windmills in the country are doing SFA useful), then they can impose rolling blackouts - like in the 70s but more fine grained.
There is zero need to report back the detailed usage by 1/2 hour periods. All that needs reporting back is a tally of usage at each charging rate. FFS we've been able to handle multi-rate metering for at least 4 decades now - don't the f***tards in charge not understand that ?
And I take all the "guarantees" about security and privacy as being worthless. When was the last time we had a big project like this that didn't leak like a sieve ?
The last point is that will cause real problems - some of them fatal. All the bullsh*t seems to be about shifting usage to when the windmills are actually working - so running the washing machine and tumble drier at night. What an insanely stupid idea.
Firstly, when manufacturers are saying to never run tumble driers when you are asleep in case it catches fire and burns your house down - how on earth can it be a good idea to encourage just that.
And given the number of people who don't live in nice detached properties, just how would you like it if you are nicely asleep* when the washing machine in the flat above you goes onto spin cycle ?
* Actually you won't be asleep, the cycles leading up to the spin cycle will have woken you up.
If I ever found myself in that position, I'd be complaining about the statutory nuisance, and I;d be doing the best I could to get the weasels responsible to be dragged in for conspiracy by encouraging the anti-social behaviour.