back to article UK energy minister rejects 'waste of money' smart meters claim

Claims by a former Conservative Party energy adviser that the government's £11bn smart meter project will be “a ghastly mess” have been dismissed by current energy secretary Amber Rudd. Meg Hillier, Labour MP and head of the Public Accounts Committee, questioned Rudd yesterday over the much-criticised scheme, which will also …

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Purpose

The purpose of smart meters isn't to enable people to save money but to enable remote-control by the by both the government and the utilities.

The government will be able to switch off your power before they raid your home and the utilities will be able to switch it off as soon as you fail to pay one of their bills on time, and then add an exorbitant charge to restore it.

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Anonymous Coward

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That's why I have

- Solar Panels feeding a load of 12v Batteries

- 18hp Stanby Generator

As my Electricity Supply comes about a mile along overhead lines, it does get interrupted from time to time. The last was by an HGV demolishing one pole after skidding on some ice. Took them two weeks to find another wooden pole.

If they impose these things I'm quite prepared to go 'off grid' as far as my supply goes.

Then I would be only connected via my phone line. Never had any Gas despire BG saying that I did for a long time.

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There are many people in New Zealand who would disagree with you, as they are saving large on the electricity bill by paying spot rates for power, a feat only possible through the use of smart meters.

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FAIL

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many people in New Zealand ... are saving large on the electricity bill by paying spot rates for power

How many is "many"? I suspect it's actually a few people who can organise their lives around power prices and that the sort of low-income people who really need this kind of thing cannot be that organised. Very simple things like not heating your home during the day aren't always practical if you aren't out at work, and running the washing machine during the cheapest period could save a lot of money, so long as your wash cycle doesn't take three hours and you don't have the sort of family that means you have to run the thing at least twice a day.

And then there's the extremely obvious point that has been missed by practically everyone (apologies if this has already been mentioned further down) that the energy companies are not in the business of making losses. If a large enough number of people reduce their bills, the companies will simply have to put the price up across the board in order to maintain profitability.

Yes, it can work, but only if the numbers taking up the opportunity are low, and everyone else pays for them.

M.

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It is also probably to reduce the horrendously complex settlement system for consumer electricity bills, in which it can take two or three years to arrive at a final, correct allocation of costs.

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Can't comment on New Zealand but in the UK electricity market only 1% or 2% of electricity changes hands at spot rates. The vast majority is covered by forward pricing agreements.

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"The government will be able to switch off your power before they raid your home and the utilities will be able to switch it off as soon as you fail to pay one of their bills"

It's quite easy if not quite legal to use a small 3G jammer to stop that happening! And getting revenge can be interesting: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/05/02/stolen_sim_woman_jailed/

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Re: Purpose

The government will be able to switch off your power before they raid your home and the utilities will be able to switch it off as soon as you fail to pay one of their bills on time, and then add an exorbitant charge to restore it.

Governments raid houses in the early hours of the morning, they have plenty of money for dogs, guns and portable lights - the best your money can buy.

For the utility suppliers, smart meters are as welcome as turd in a Christmas card. They're complex, unreliable, untested, expensive technology that does jack shit for us. We're doing this because the knob-ends of Parliament say we have to, on pay of vast fines. The energy regulator will still set the criteria by which you can be cut off, and it is no easier with a smart meter than a dumb meter (other than that we wouldn't need to worry about a forced entry if you pretend you're always out). Curiously, perhaps the only group to benefit from smart meters are the lower social orders who are most commonly cut off. For the first time since forever, these people will be able to be on the full range of energy supply tariffs, instead of being on the expensive manual prepayment meter tariffs.

The journey for the non-payers is thus easier, they can be put on pre-payment more cheaply, and if they get (automatically) cut off for lack of credit, they reconnection fee is zip.

This is a benefit to the section of the community most commonly disconnected or in arrears, but they won't see it that way. Whether you think the total £20+bn programme cost is justified for that modest benefit to a small subset of society will depend purely on your politics.

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That's just incompetence.

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...and that the sort of low-income people who really need this kind of thing cannot be that organised

Fair cop; not everybody is able to respond to pricing signals and thus cut down their costs. So lets have two more examples.

There are services aimed exactly at the sort of disorganized people of which you speak. Like Glowbug. They do pay-as-you-go electricity. They are a lot cheaper than the traditional pre-pay meter from the old-school large electricity companies. You can get a little light-up thing that changes colour and displays your current status, see here: Glowbug: How it works

There is another retailer that gives you a free hour a day of electricity. They have a "fair use" policy, but they actively encourage folks to have do their laundry and run the dishwasher etc in the free hour.

energy companies are not in the business of making losses

All these retailers are in business to make money. The differentiate on many things incluing how much money that want to make, which is mostly about their cost base.

I suspect our electricity industry is structured differently to the UK. The companies that sell electricity to (most) consumers are retailers. Retailers buy electricity at spot price, and sell it for, literally, whatever they want. There are (last I looked) about 27 retailers in New Zealand. Its a competitive space. So different retailers are doing different things, some choose to have shops, others have no physical presence. Some operate through local dairys. (Dairies in New Zealand are like the corner shop in the UK).

Rather than "simply have to put the price up across the board in order to maintain profitability" the unpopular retailers who want to stay in business need to either compete on price, or compete some other way, or they will end up eventually with no customers. There are other parts of the electricity industry, but they are relatively unaffected by this retailer competition.

The smart meter revolution has allowing the consumer to now have a choice, whereas previous it was one rip-off versus another rip-off. This isn't some theoretical clap-trap. This is happening for real.

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The purpose is to introduce the rolling power cuts - like we had in the 70s - when the demand exceeds the supply.

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"Yes, it can work, but only if the numbers taking up the opportunity are low, and everyone else pays for them."

Just like the solar feed in tariffs :(

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Good luck handling the radiation related health issues that can arise from these 'Smart' meters.

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Re: Purpose

Horseshit.

Firstly you do not get to buy spot power prices as anything short of an industrial user in NZ. I used to administer one of the systems for submitting bids, so unless you're a milk factory or aluminium smelter, you're buying at retail.

Pre-buying retail power (powershop? Unless they've gone under) is perfectly fine, but like almost all power retailers they buy at wholesale, usually in advance (ie not spot), then sell to the plebs at retail. Powershop and the ilk let you buy in advance, and pass some savings on to you. However, when I was last living in NZ there was almost no point in shopping around for power prices. I've always had gas, and there are usually only one or two companies that supply gas, and the discount they give you for a combined tarif is lower than any savings that can be made from pre-buying power, or the cheapest supply options.

The only way you're "saving large" buy pre-paying is because you where on a rip-off tariff before. But that's pretty much the norm for NZ utilities. Don't get me started on the fucking phone lines. You should save roughly 20-30% if you go from a "pre-pay, bad credit" to a "pre-pay". Most would give me 10-15% off for simply paying on time.

A power audit can certainly help people cut down on their bills. My experience of NZ houses and UK flats is that about two thirds have some sort of "power leakage" where if you turn off everything, you still are chunking through the power. NZ ones mainly shitty wiring and some power theft, UK ones mainly power theft with some shitty wiring. But once you've worked out what optional appliances can be switched off, and defrosted the freezer etc, then you can't do much to change your usage. There's a limit to what you can turn off, and what appliances you are willing to replace. Smart meter won't save you anything by itself, only a change in behavior.

Mind you, there are times in the past when I'd like to have had a smart meter. Mainly when the previous person lied about the meter reading to the power company (who accepted that for 12 months he used ~2 months worth of power) and then the power company tried to charge us for ~18 months of power for 6 months of usage during the warm part of the year.

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...except that the meters being installed do not allow spot rate charging. Dream on. These meters are entirely for the benefit of the suppliers at your own expense. The government suggests that you will need to monitor the meter and make adjustments to the way that you consume the energy to save perhaps as much as £20 a year. You can save multiples of that just by fitting led bulbs and improving your insulation or even by changing your supplier.

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Re: Purpose

..except that the meters being installed do not allow spot rate charging.

They can handle half hourly charging, which is the same basis as wholesale electricity markets operate. In theory this could be "spot", but don't forget that end users need to pay transmission system charges, distribution charges, subsidy recovery charges, social obligations costs, balancing and settlement costs, billing and overheads. Its those "other" costs that mean your average retail charge is double the average wholesale cost. And because of things like the incompetently managed solar PV and wind subsidies and obligations this element of your bills will keep rising for the next four years as a minimum.

But nobody buys spot power unless they can afford to be without power when the price skyrockets at peak times. It doesn't leap if you've got a forward contract, but being unhedged and uncontracted in the wholesale market at times if system imbalance would result in paying prices of hundreds of pounds per kWh, because you'd be the person paying for the entire annual cost of short term peaking plant.

So in practice, an energy supplier could offer you a wholesale tracker tariff through your smart meter, that offers a smoothed and hedged version of the wholesale cost and then adds all the extras. Why any residential energy user would want such a complicated system I can't say. Can you imagine trying to check a bill where the usage is reported for every half hour, and the price can vary for each half hour? That'd be a 4,300 line energy statement every quarter.

In reality, time of use tariffs actually offered to residential users are not trackers, and are usually only three time zones per day, typically with some seasonal variation. For me, that's still too complicated. I like the current system, where the supplier offers me power at a simple flat rate, I pay the bill, and the lights come on. Sadly governments of all persuasions are committed to the ghastly mess of smart meters whose best use case is to make the simple more complicated. There's no positive business case for the suppliers - the low cost of manual meter reading is too low to pay for this vastly expensive scheme. And the costs of expected greater bill accuracy is minimal (a zero sum game across customers with credit and debit differences when paying estimated bills).

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Firstly you do not get to buy spot power prices as anything short of an industrial user in NZ. I used to administer one of the systems for submitting bids, so unless you're a milk factory or aluminium smelter, you're buying at retail.

You don't live in New Zealand any more, do you, MonkeyCee.Perhaps you did, ten years ago, five years ago, maybe even three years ago, when it was true, only big boys could buy electricity on spot. Then came smart meters, new and innovative retailers, and now anyone in a smart meter area can buy on spot because spot is a choice offered by at least one retailer.

Welcome to the brave new world.

The whole point of this thread is that apparently smart meters are a waste of money, and only benefit The Man. Well, in at least one country with smart meters, that is out and out bullshit. Or more accurately, it may benefit The Man, but it benefits consumers as well, offering them choices that prior to smart metering simply weren't on the table.

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...except that the meters being installed do not allow spot rate charging

I find that unlikely.

All that is needed for spot rate charging is a meter that can record consumption in time periods that match the spot price brackets. The charging and calculation is done by the retailer who formulates the bills sent out to customers.

Ofgem state (link):

Over the coming decade, the roll-out of smart meters to homes and businesses has the potential to transform how the retail market operates to the benefit of consumers. These meters will be capable of measuring the amount of energy used in short time periods.

The entire electricity industry globally works on the idea that the day is divided into half hour slots, and thus I find it... unreasonable that the UK is going to have fitted meters that are any less capable than the standard meters every country with smart meters uses. What Ofgem says makes me think your smart meters will be just the same as ours

Whether an electricity supplier chooses to offer this kind of tariff is, of course, open to question. The New Zealand experience is that when smart meters arrive, new entrants arrive to try something different to what the existing marketplace offers.

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Re: Purpose

"I suspect our electricity industry is structured differently to the UK. The companies that sell electricity to (most) consumers are retailers. Retailers buy electricity at spot price, and sell it for, literally, whatever they want. There are (last I looked) about 27 retailers in New Zealand. Its a competitive space."

Well, NZ is a vastly different power market than the UK, for a variety of reasons. Firstly, every country is unique, so power market (and economy yaddda yadda) are always going to be different. Both NZ and the UK+Ireland are nations of islands, both produce oil and gas, and both are roughly the same area, and similar climate (YMMV) but broadly speaking higher demand winters, lower demand summers. But there are massive differences in scale of population (total and density), industrial uses, and resource dependance.

NZ produces a vast amount of it's power from hydro. 57% last count, and that's declining from 70+. IMHO they shouldn't have been mothballing off generating stations, but that's part of the whole marketisation exercise. The running and variable cost of inputs of it's generation are quite different to a thermal plant, less warmup, your "fuel" is either off or on without* extra cost. Quite a lot more maintenance that's less convenient than thermal plants, but in general hydro is really very very good, and about as nice as you'll get for a renewable. It's just not very transportable, and you can't really plonk down in an arbitary spot. If we could knock up a Manapouri for every major industrial site it solves a lot of transmission and load balancing issues. I'm sure someone who does actual engineering might know better, is building a powerstation next to each major energy user the best way to solve things?

NZ has also until very recently had most of the major players in the generation and supply of wholesale markets belong either to the government, or the government be the majority shareholder. What happens in 5-10 years time, after sufficient "competative pressure" has been brought to bear, will result in higher prices and less security of supply.

NZ is on it's own for supply. It can import fuel, and extract plenty for local consumption down to retail level (innapropriate heating with LPG causing deaths) but it has no access to other countries power markets. Hence generation and supply was run by the government for many years. Parts still are. The splitting it into various parts has been either a huge failure (if you're a consumer) or a great success (if a shareholder). With a stalinist diktat run feethly socialist power construction and generation NZ had the second lowest price of retail power in the OECD. Now it's nearer the middle, not because other countries got cheaper. That's the competitive market for you, same product, twice the price. Only in this case, your tax dollars already paid for every single part of it.

Now, since it may seem as I'm knocking you, you DO have a very valid point. For the people who are already being fucked by the power companies (it's the poor. It's always the poor. That's why they stay that way) then replacing their pre-pay meter with any plan that charges like a normal retail customer is a massive step up. Doesn't require a smart meter for that. Can also see why you'd use them as a pilot group, since it's always going to be better afterwards, and you can get some feedback on how much a fucking pain installing smart meters is.

*water rights and usage in NZ is a whole 'nother can of worms.

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Re: Purpose

"The government will be able to switch off your power before they raid your home..."

Thus providing the targets with some warning of the imminent arrival of the men in black (or blue). Time enough to destroy or flush any incriminating evidence, break out weaponry, etc.

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Re: Purpose

About 5 years ago now. Still in contact with buddies in Transpower, and their various contracted out comms stuff.

It's not really "smart meters are a waste of money" there are many good reasons for them, and replacing shitty pre-paids should be top of the list. It's that there is an idea that smart meters will reduce demand, by making us all more aware of our usage. so we should all have one, is poxy. Having it mandated by government, not paid for out of taxes but by raising the costs of electricity supply, and then told that it's for our own good is what the objections are.

Smart meters can and should be used in new builds, when replacement is required, and when the current meters are anti-competitive or predatory. I think they also should be available for anyone who wants one, certainly if different tariffs are available to different customers.

You could save money on your power bill by changing behavior, and by reading the damn thing and comparing prices. Price watch sites have been around for 10+ years, and before that any budget advisor/CAB/friend would help you if your math was shit. The information about your power usage is already available, and there has been years of poking and propping to get you to work out your best option.

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The purpose is to introduce the rolling power cuts - like we had in the 70s - when the demand exceeds the supply.

Seems unlikely -- they managed rolling power cuts in the 1970s without smart meters, I can't see why you'd think that they would need smart meters to do it today.

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"they managed rolling power cuts in the 1970s without smart meters, I can't see why you'd think that they would need smart meters to do it today."

Were you there in the 1970s? These are some of the things you might have noticed if you had been there.

In a 1970s home, heating that would operate without electricity was perfectly normal. Not so now; how many homes, offices, etc, have heating that will work without electricity.

In a 1970s shop, cash tills might still be mechanical. Shops with electric tills, that wanted to continue trading during a power cut, could invest in emergency lighting and battery-backed cash tills. In the 1970s, not being able to process card transactions wouldn't be a major issue.

In a 1970s office, it might still have been possible for some work to have been done in the absence of grid power, especially if safe emergency lighting was available.

In the 1970s, most people's telephones (at home and elsewhere) would still work even if the mains failed. No one was reliant on a mobile phone system that would quickly collapse if there was a wide area power failure.

In the 1970s there was no Internet (there was barely any X.25), and so (for example) there was no concept of connected "distribution centres" and "just in time" deliveries for the stuff we rely on every day (food and fuel, to name but two).

In the 1970s there were no cities with "computer optimised" traffic management, so it might still be possible to get from A to B in reasonable time when the power's off.

In the 1970s there hadn't relatively recently been riots and looting in the streets in many of the UK's major cities.

There's lots more where all that came from.

If you can lose a few GW of domestic demand on a rolling basis in an "emergency" (which might perhaps need emergency legislation, or might just happen and be legalised afterwards) you might, perhaps, be able to avoid nationwide chaos.

'Course the smartmeter rollout and the installation of new Grid capacity are both so far behind the curve that we're going to see the worst of both worlds - barely-managed wide area outages, indiscriminately cutting everybody off, regardless.

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The problem is that as always the concept of something new (spot pricing) is being presented as a great advantage to consumers however, I found the following on a web site in New Zealand:

A spot-price contract can bring significant savings but also can expose consumers to financial risks. If you are thinking of signing up, before proceeding, carefully consider all the risks and rewards and whether your financial position gives you the ability to manage the risks.

If you are unsure - seek independent advice.

So yet again consumers are being sold something that is more likely to see them screwed than one that actually gives them real benefits. One only has to think of all those who found that the value of their investments went down significantly when they needed to go up or found themselves with wonderfully cheap interest only mortgages that the linked investment accounts can't pay off.

As the original comment on this said, the people who really need stability and certainty of price so as to be able to adequately budget and pay for their power will find themselves railroaded through mis-selling in to contracts that result in them being cut off and chased by debt collectors.

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THose cuts were not managed well, As a party member, my house was turned off like the rest in my street. This way I can keep my power on while the riff-raff next door crowd around a candle

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I generally agree but you are incorrect on one point..

"In a 1970s home, heating that would operate without electricity was perfectly normal. Not so now; how many homes, offices, etc, have heating that will work without electricity."

Central heating was reliant on timers back then, as now.

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Re: Purpose

Central heating was reliant on timers back then, as now.

Back then central heating was a luxury. In 1970 less than a third of homes had central heating.

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Anonymous Coward

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Some would also say that the New Zealand utility industry - effectively a set of State Owned Enterprises - forces this behaviour by it's inherent inefficiencies.

(Posted as anon because of my role conflicts of interest).

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You make good points - but fwiw, our meter only provides readings 48 hours later (apparently because we are in a new apartment block).

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I always laugh at the idea that I can save money by spending it e.g. save pounds per year by replacing your boiler. LOL ! so, let me get that straight 400 quid plus of boiler will save me how much - hmmm.

As for smart meters - I used to work on them at IBM and they were all about the consumer voting in to get their electricity reduced at times of high-demand. It's also going to mean the death of the meter man as it'll be remote,possibly, drive-by (depending on the tech they use). But, so what - that'll save the companies money but it won't be handed on. This is nothing more than big companies lobbying the government with their usual corrupt back-handers.

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The power cuts hit at home frequently, I was too young to work.

But nearly every night there were power cuts, we had hurricane lamps to light the house and we read books. Imagine that now the H&S bunch would complain about the lamps and most kids aren't sure what book is.

The cost of replacing meters should be part of running costs. In the decades I have owned various properties I have never been asked for access to replace or even test the meter, many of which are 30-50 years old. I can't think of many organisations that sell goods by a measured quantity who aren't required to test their scales etc on a regular basis.

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Just for laughs:

In a 1970s home, heating that would operate without electricity was perfectly normal.

Central heating systems have always relied on electrical pumps, but I'll grant you that more homes had stand-alone gas fires or even (shock!) open fires. Hot water was also more likely to be stored in a gravity-fed cylinder than made on-demand by an (electricity-needing) "combi" boiler.

In the 1970s, not being able to process card transactions wouldn't be a major issue.

In the 1970s I can't remember card transactions being "processed" at the till - the details were recorded on those roll-over carbon machines and processed later, so absolutely no difference at all if there's no power.

In a 1970s office, it might still have been possible for some work to have been done in the absence of grid power, especially if safe emergency lighting was available.

These days, of course, the absence of water for hand washing or toilet flushing is actually an H&S issue and can close offices and schools, many of which have stores of water for such purposes which are supplied to outlets by - you guessed it - electrically-powered "booster" pumps.

In the 1970s, most people's telephones (at home and elsewhere) would still work even if the mains failed. No one was reliant on a mobile phone system that would quickly collapse if there was a wide area power failure.

Not sure how valid this argument is as many cellular sites have some amount of battery and/or generator backup (the bigger sites anyway), as do central exchanges. If you have a wired phone, chances are that it will work through a power cut.

In the 1970s there were no cities with "computer optimised" traffic management,

I refer the honourable gentleman to the 1969 film, The Italian Job where a large plot point revolves around a city-wide computerised traffic management system being compromised.

Ho hum. Have fun!

M.

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"In the 1970s there were no cities with "computer optimised" traffic management, I refer the honourable gentleman to the 1969 film, The Italian Job "

My learned friend will not mind being reminded that we're talking about the UK, and that the traffic system in question was not (the hint is in the title). Perhaps "*very few* British cities had "computer optimised" traffic management" would be better. Look up SCOOT from the TRRL (pioneered in the 1990s).

"card transactions ... paper... absolutely no difference at all if there's no power."

Yes and no. Vastly more card transactions these days, and many (most?) card transactions *require* online authentication. Without on-line authentication, business is greatly disrupted.

"many cellular sites have some amount of battery and/or generator backup (the bigger sites anyway),"

As you say, typically this is bigger sites. In many parts of the UK, coverage and capacity are only adequate because of small lower power cells which don't have any meaningful battery backup.

"If you have a wired phone, chances are that it will work through a power cut."

If it's routed through BT equipment in a BT exchange, probably.

If it's a cable phone? Don't count on it.

If it's LLU voice? Don't know, could guess, would prefer definitive info.

We'll find out soon enough.

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Back then central heating was a luxury. In 1970 less than a third of homes had central heating.

and a solid fuel boiler with convection/'gravity' fed radiators counted as central heating.

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"In a letter to Rudd this month Henney had said the only beneficiaries will be the meter manufacturers."

Given standard IoT security this is wrong. Terrorists could also be beneficiaries. This is the line to push. It will stop the roll-out stone dead (assuming it isn't effectively stone dead anyway). And their security won't be able to be improved because encryption.

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Mushroom

Supporting terrorism

Don't forget to mention paedos, too. You're sure to win the argument then

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Facepalm

Re: Supporting terrorism

After all, even Politicians occasionally think about the children (I won't comment further).

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It will stop the roll-out stone dead

It's a National Security issue in any case. We all see the "panic buying" at supermarkets just because they are going to be closed "tomorrow". We didn't have Just In Time back then but I saw for myself how quickly a community can fall apart.

Take the bad UK winter of the 80's. My car was amongst a few that would actually start. No diesels would and most petrol had poor batteries. My friend owned a Fruit 'n' Veg shop. Sold all his milk within minutes of opening. I get his call - can I make it into town? Three trips later: boot full and rear seats filled with hundred's of pints of milk we are finally prevented from selling milk because an adjacent shop complained.

Three decades ago shops had stock. Our shops had two days worth of milk. We were snowed in for four days. A little moderation from all and I'd have not had to make any trips.

Store tins. Don't tell your friends you have them because they *will* kill you when their kids get hungry.

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I think it *will* be a ghastly mess

LCD type panel meters that read one's electricity use, have been around for a while....so, if one wanted to monitor one's energy use, making such a meter "smart" won't make more people change their energy habits.

Of course, linking a smart meter to your broadband and an app, could be useful....but you'll be able to do that with various other solutions, if you wanted to....and there's the rub.

Having this system "foisted" onto consumers (who will end up have to pay for it, in their bills) really doesn't make any sense to me, esp if every consumer is "forced" to have it installed and the device(s) then just sit there, consuming energy themselves (paid for by consumers) and people take no notice of them.

And supposing people don't have broadband - how will they work then? And for people who are "renters" (nor home owners) how will said metering link in to the irregular placement of one's broadband router - by wifi perhaps?

And how long before these individual "smart meter" devices are hacked by 3rd parties?

I can think of better, more sensible ways to spend £19bn....

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Re: I think it *will* be a ghastly mess

No wifi required. It works along the power lines.

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Re: I think it *will* be a ghastly mess

Given that with a system powered from renewable sources, some form of system regulation will be needed. smart meters will be part of the "demand side regulation" (as opposed to having loads of dispatchable generators)....they will enable rapid re-pricing of supply...who is going to continue running the dryer/washer/dishwasher when the unit cost has just clicked into 75p/unit?

And it will, of course, be a costly, patchy, bodged and unworking mess. Just like a lot of .gov ideas...

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Re: I think it *will* be a ghastly mess

I can think of better, more sensible ways to spend £19bn....

Two or three Generation III+ nuclear power stations for a start.

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Re: I think it *will* be a ghastly mess

@JohnMurray

who will know when the rate has jumped to 75p per unit and what will you do about it when your out and unable to connect to the washing machine/dishwasher/tumble dryer/oven etc to turn off whatever is consuming the leccy? suck up the 75p to wash the dishes or spend an hour+ and whatever transport costs to get home turn it off & go back to work?

in order for smart pricing to work all the devices in our home will need to be smart and we will need some type of policy based scheduling to turn on the high demand services at low prices and some type of override to make the machines work when we want them regardless of price. This is why smart meters are bunkum, they do nothing to help reduce energy use, they will just encourage us to buy more stuff to save a few pennies on our leccy bill.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No wifi required. It works along the power lines

"No wifi required. It works along the power lines"

You think so?

Says who?

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Re: I think it *will* be a ghastly mess

They use cellular data.

So they don't work in many existing buildings.

The smart meter at work doesn't work at all, which is interesting. All the LCD segments are solidly lit, we have no idea how much we've used until the bill comes.

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Re: I think it *will* be a ghastly mess

Richard 12 wrote: They use cellular data.

That's probably fine for uploading metering information but I cannot see how the technology could be used for downloading price data (etc) in the short term, i.e. to take account of demand. While a celluar system can easily be demonstrated as controlling a domestic meter on the bench I can't see that upscaling to control up to >50 million meters, even with lots of cells around the country, unless of course the data can be downloaded in advance for later enactment against a clock; That, of course, would require the meters to have real - time information available, in which case the question arises - from where?

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Re: I think it *will* be a ghastly mess

You downloading live video or viewing National Grid data is not the same as having to download live price data to millions of consumers at the same time.

Sorry, but you have no idea what you're talking about is unnecessarily confrontational and FWIW factually incorrect. As with emails please think before pressing send. :)

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Re: I think it *will* be a ghastly mess

Quite right.

So:

https://ec.europa.eu/energy/intelligent/projects/sites/iee-projects/files/projects/documents/e-track_ii_final_brochure.pdf

In the long, not-so-far-away, future.........

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Re: I think it *will* be a ghastly mess

The smart meter at work doesn't work at all, which is interesting

Our smart meters (at work) work very well, and my boss can access some very fine-grained data on electricity and gas use...

...but still they send a meter reader around once or even twice a month!

M.

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