I had a power display from a clip on sensor to my incoming mains cable which British Gas sent me. It was interesting for a while to see what the difference was if I switched this off or that off but that novelty soon wore off. It could even tell me the cost of the electricity we'd used which again was nice for a while but the novelty didn't last. There's very little in the house that uses serious amounts of power that isn't contained in the kitchen/utility area and so easy to spot. I guess there's the hair drier but I think it's unlikely to leave that on as it's too noisy (no immersion heater as no water tank). We're on Economy 7 and do use the washing machine overnight so no savings there. I also don't have a problem with phoning in/sending in meter readings once a quarter (four times a year - is that really such a struggle for people?) and don't get estimated bills as a result.
If I did succumb to the dark side and get one of these meters I can't really see any benefit and only the downside of having one.
They're not Compulsory and for anyone who wants to double check that they're not see the following:
Now personally I won't be taking one or two as (I mentioned above) I prefer giving my meter readings over the phone/web but the SmartEnergyGB website (https://www.smartenergygb.org/en/faqs) FAQ page has some wonderful insights/answers. For example
......What is a smart meter?
......Smart meters are the new generation of gas and electricity meters. They are being installed in homes across Great Britain at no extra cost, to replace the traditional meters, including prepay key meters, most of us currently have ticking away under the stairs, or outside our homes.
Now call me cynical if you like but won't the cost of the meter and installation just get added to the bill they send me? It might not be that obvious they probably won't add a Smart Meter charge to my bill. It will probably just be that all the tariffs come with slightly higher prices. I just can't see the energy firms just stumping up for this roll out out of their own pockets. Smart Meters cost £340-£400 each I believe.
.......How secure are smart meters?
.......The smart meter security system is very secure. Security has been at the heart of the whole smart meter rollout programme from its very inception and right through the design process. Smart meters have their own closed, dedicated communications system that employs technology widely used by, for example, the banking industry. Smart meters have been designed with top cyber security experts, including the government and GCHQ, to ensure that security best practice has been incorporated at every stage.
Well Thank goodness for GCHQ then because according to an article on the inquirer.net (I couldn't find it on El Reg) the original plans for the meters had one single decryption key for all the meters.
Now I may not be a top security boffin or even boffing a top security boffin but I do know that's not a really good idea. Apparently neither do GCHQ think it's big or clever as it was them who thankfully had things changed.
......What are the technical standards that smart meters have to meet?
......Smart meters are covered by strict UK and EU product safety laws. These ensure that smart meters all have the same high quality and safety standards, regardless of your energy supplier.
So everyone is clear now on the technical standards after reading that? So we move on to:
......What health and safety tests have been carried out on smart meters?
......The smart meters used in Britain have undergone one of the most rigorous safety testing regimes in the world and exceed every UK and EU safety standard. Public Health England, the government's agency on public health, has said that exposure to radio waves from smart meters is well within guideline levels, and is many times lower than the exposure from wifi and mobile phones.
So everyone is clear now on the exact health and safety tests after reading that? So we move on to:
......Does a smart meter mean my energy can be cut off more easily?
......No. You’re protected by strict regulations against your energy supplier switching off or disconnecting your gas or electricity supply. This protection remains as strong with smart meters as it is with traditional meters.
So from that can I deduce that there won't be a provision in the meter to cut off the supply remotely? Well no I can't because it doesn't mention anything (technical or otherwise) about the ability of the people I pay for my energy (or some nefarious player) to remotely disconnect my supply.
This has cock up written all over it and I won't be having it in my house thank you.