back to article UK's climate change dept abolished, but 'smart meters and all our policies strong as ever'

The closure of the UK government's Department of Energy & Climate Change should result in a major rethink of the organisation's shambolic and costly £11bn Smart Meter programme, campaigners have urged. Last week DECC was merged with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to form the newly anointed Department of …

  1. storner
    Trollface

    "all households and businesses should be offered a smart meter by 2020"

    Offered? So we can say "no, thanks"?

    1. barstewardsquad

      Yes you can say no.

      Yes you can decline your supplier's gracious offer to replace you old meter with a "smart" meter that will work with their systems. It may not however work with any other supplier, and may not be upgrade-able to become compliant with other suppliers.

      Supposedly there is a new standard that is coming out that will allow meters to be used across all suppliers.

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Yes you can say no.

        Supposedly there is a new standard that is coming out that will allow meters to be used across all suppliers.

        And you can bet that will lead to them being even less secure and protected than the current crop are, if that is actually possible.

        Remind me why we as consumers might actually want these things again? I'm sure the convenience isn't ours, especially as most normal people won't have "Gaz and Leccy running out of control" to use their moronic advertising wording...

        1. VinceH Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Yes you can say no.

          "especially as most normal people won't have "Gaz and Leccy running out of control" to use their moronic advertising wording..."

          Well, Gaz and Leccy sound like they might be the neighbour's chavvy kids - but I'm not sure how a smart meter would stop them running out of control.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      British Gas rang me to make an appointment "to fit your new smart meter". What new smart meter? I didn't ask for one. No thanks, says I. Oh, but everyone has to have one by 2020. No thanks, says I again.

      FFS they are really trying hard to con people into thinking they must have one right now.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        At work I was given a letter from our supplier, asking me to replace our meter(s). No out of working hours option, and a 4 hour (!) window during the day for when their engineer might turn up.

        Either they don't understand the cost to businesses of downtime, or they aren't trying very hard to get the installations done.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Smart meters have nothing to do with saving energy

    They have everything to do with getting rid of meter reading staff & getting the wage bill down

    And even more to do with someone in an overseas call centre checking a box on a web form & cutting off your supply instantly if you have difficulty with the bill

    It effectively turns an ordinary meter into a prepayment meter

    1. alain williams Silver badge

      Boon for burgulars

      and overseas call centre staff seeing that your power use suddenly dropped on Saturday when you went away on holiday ...

    2. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      All for doing away with meter reader

      The idea of a chap or a chapess trotting from home to home reading a meter seems about as necessary as having the egg-man or the ice-man calling round.

      We are never in when they call and really don't like the reader traipsing through our flat. As they can seldom get access, we are forced either to read it ourselves (and I can't for the life of me get it right) or endure estimated after estimated bill.

      For this reason alone, I'd be happy for a smart meter. I just don't need it to be very smart. I don't want to read what I consume while I am consuming it, I just want it to phone home with accurate readings.

      1. John Sager

        Re: All for doing away with meter reader

        If 'phone home with an accurate reading' was all it was designed to do then there would be a lot less resistance. However the subtext is 'demand management' i.e. cut you off, or perhaps a bit more cleverly, temporarily switch of some appliances. That is, or should be, a no-no. I've no problem with improving energy efficiency as long as it's done in an economically realistic way (no stupid restrictions on kettle consumption). But however good or bad the energy efficiency of our appliances is, in the rich, civilised country that we apparently are, then the energy infrastructure should be robust enough to cope with the demands placed upon it both now and in the future.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: All for doing away with meter reader

        "For this reason alone, I'd be happy for a smart meter."

        Why? All that's needed is that the meter be readable from outside the house and that's been the norm for new builds and renovations in Australia/NZ for 50 years.

        remote display != smart meter

        1. Kernel

          Re: All for doing away with meter reader

          "Why? All that's needed is that the meter be readable from outside the house and that's been the norm for new builds and renovations in Australia/NZ for 50 years."

          Your info is out of date (NZ) - when I was renovating and completely rebuilding the switchboard about 4 years ago the smart meter was allowed to stay where it was - inside and not accessible from outside the house.

          The only problem was when the lines company wanted to add a second smart meter for their own purposes - what with the retailer's meter, the ripple control relay and the vast collection of RCDs (5) and cct breakers (17), there just wasn't room for anything more.

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: All for doing away with meter reader

        "The idea of a chap or a chapess trotting from home to home reading a meter seems about as necessary as having the egg-man or the ice-man calling round."

        We used to have both and egg-man and an ice-cream man. We miss them.

      4. Dave 15

        Re: All for doing away with meter reader

        The Americans have been remote reading meters for decades... no need to have all the rest of the functionality for that trivial action

      5. M. Poolman
        Facepalm

        we are forced either to read it ourselves (and I can't for the life of me get it right)

        And yet you post on ElReg?

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "They have everything to do with getting rid of meter reading staff & getting the wage bill down"

      I haven't seen a meter reader in more than 2 years. They show up occasionally to verify that what I'm giving them is accurate and then disappear again - fewer than 5 visits in 15 years.

    4. PassiveSmoking

      They can in theory disconnect your services without a smart meter. However they never actually do cut you off because:

      a) If there is somebody dependant on medical equipment at the address and they disconnect the electricity, they could be liable should they die as a result of being deprived of that equipment.

      b) If they reconnect the gas supply while an appliance is on and there's nobody in the house, they could trigger a gas explosion.

      1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

        "They can in theory disconnect your services without a smart meter."

        As long as you let them in to do it, or they get a court order and use the local police to make entry, and then someone "skilled" disconnects you. With a new meter, someone in a call centre (or a software auto script) clicks a box on a Web form.

    5. E2

      .... and

      .. they have everything to do with " demand management"

  3. Ellis Birt 1

    Consumer benefits are not falling!

    "...while the consumer benefits are falling."

    Have they not seen the Gritish Bas 'free electricity' adverts on the TV?

    Smart meters allow such 'demand control' measures which will only increase as more homes get smart meters.

    1. Cynical Observer
      Unhappy

      Re: Consumer benefits are not falling!

      OK..... I'll bite,

      Please, rather than making bald statements such as Smart meters allow such 'demand control' measures which will only increase as more homes get smart meters. and offering no reason behind the assertion.... please, do develop the argument.

      The free energy on Saturday/Sunday - which by the way is only available to dual fuel customers (always a sodding catch isn't there!) is just a glorified Economy 7 billing scheme. There's a Cheap Period, there's a not so cheap period. The concept is not new - though I will grant that the granularity is more defined than before - but does that merit £10billion in costs.

      I'm willing to listen, even to be persuaded - but you will have to work for it.

      1. Ellis Birt 1

        Re: Consumer benefits are not falling!

        The wholesale price of electricity varies throughout the day and each day, depending on spot demand. Large consumers can choose to shut down power-hungry plant when electricity is at its most expensive.

        They can go further than that and give control to the National Grid in return for discounts. A cold-store, for example may switch their chiller off during half time of an international football match.

        The effect of a 'free' period will be that some consumers do their washing, baking, car charging, etc during their free period, reducing overall demand during the week.

        Going forward, smart meters could be combined with smart appliances, stopping the washing, or allowing the fridge to warm up a little more during peaks of demand and rewarding us for doing so. One consumer drawing 500W less cannot make much difference, but 10,000 drawing 500W less each is 5 Megawatts, more than Didcot B power station generates.

        Without smart meters, home owners cannot benefit from such measures, meaning we have to build more power stations.

        1. David Pollard

          Re: 5 MW?

          "Didcot B can produce 1,360MW, enough power to meet the needs of 1 million households."

          http://www.rwe.com/web/cms/en/320906/rwe-npower/about-us/our-businesses/power-generation/didcot/didcot-b/

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: 5 MW?

            "Didcot B can produce 1,360MW"

            Or put another way, the same as the _peak_ output of 680 2MW windmills (the biggest land-based ones you can get), but more realistically the average output of 1800-2400 of them.

            Multiply _that_ out by the number of large power stations around the country and figure where the hell all these windmills are going to be placed.

          2. Dave 15

            Re: 5 MW?

            And Didcot A ... according to the Europeans a terrible polluting green house gas producing object ... is now producing cheap electricity in China (along with the same pollution) making sure they can compete better with us than we can with our expensive Russian Gas fired replacement (which doesn't really make a lot less pollution if all be told).

        2. Cynical Observer

          Re: Consumer benefits are not falling!

          @Ellis...

          I may have missed this.... but I thought the smart meter push was to domestic customers in the main.

          So paragraphs one and two - essentially arguments about large customers don't apply to this discussion. We are focusing on why a domestic customer should feel motivated to using a smart meter.

          Free Period - Back to Economy 7 concept. I've granted that finer granularity would be attainable but I still doubt that it merits the £10billion.

          Allowing Fridges to Warm up - That scares me witless if you think about people storing medicines at home. OK Insulin can be stored at temperatures under 25C for 4 weeks (had to Google it) but there may be other use cases to be addressed. What other complications present themselves with appliances being manipulated unexpectedly. Food that started to cook... but was delayed - or was never cooked hot enough for long enough to make it safe to eat?

          And the point that all of this leads to.. which remains the unanswered - is that any sort of smart control is only one step away from a remote kill switch - used at the suppliers discretion for non-payment or other reasons.

          Without smart meters, home owners cannot benefit from such measures, meaning we have to build more power stations.

          Of course they can - A dumb meter with two charge bands can deliver cheap evening or weekend tariffs. Customers can choose to operate the appliance in the window of opportunity. Cash is a fairly good motivator of human behaviour.

          I'm still willing to listen - but it does need to be a really strong argument. And that rather sadly is something that HM Gov has also yet to present.

          1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Consumer benefits are not falling!

            Sigh - as I've said elsewhere. It's not about cutting off the power (none of the meters have the 100A contactor required).

            It's about dynamic, live pricing. It's too hard to track your usage minute-by-minute at the centre, so your smart meter does it. The "smart" bit is the ability to have the tariff updated OTA as the wholesale price changes.

            Rather than Economy 7, where the "cheap" period is predictable, the price will vary without warning or pattern according to the wind speed, amount of sunlight, which power station has conked out, etc.

            You will end up watching the display to find out when you can afford to run the tumble drier.

            Or banging off the oven on Sunday 'cos you can no longer afford to roast the Sunday joint.

            They won't turn your stuff off. You will, 'cos the bill is getting scary.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Consumer benefits are not falling!

              "Or banging off the oven on Sunday 'cos you can no longer afford to roast the Sunday joint."

              Or when it's half cooked because the price has just gone up? Invite Sam & Ella round for lunch.

            2. Cynical Observer

              Re: Consumer benefits are not falling!

              @Missing Semicolon ;

              From the British Gas website - as they are the ones curently touting free weekend electricity

              Q. Will I be on a different tariff when I get my smart meters?

              A: No, you can stay on the same tariff. Though we’ll be introducing some smart meter specific tariffs in the future, so look out for those.

              From smartenergygb.org

              In the future, we can look forward to being rewarded with cheaper tariffs at off-peak times. This means we will pay less to mow the lawn or run the washing machine when electricity is not in high demand. It will also mean less pressure on the grid at busier times when we’re all rustling up our dinner, or putting on the kettle whilst the adverts are on TV.

              Scottish Power

              What smart meters mean for you

              See how much gas and electricity you're using

              See how much activities are costing you in pounds and pence

              You could change your behaviours to save and reduce your carbon footprint

              No more manually submitting meter reads

              No more need for someone to come and read your meter

              No more estimated bills, so they'll be accurate ones every time*

              Not one of them - and to be fair I got fed up looking for any others - mentions wholesale pricing. In fact all of the focus seems to be "No more estimated bills" and "Shape your own behaviour" which is a paraphrase for "Let your power bill scare you into making changes to your lifestyle." In the mean time it suggests that much like today, tariffs will be struck at the start of a supply agreement, probably with a tiered pricing structure but would anyone be surprised if they will follow declared time slots.

              In the mean time - here's a question. If we all have smart meters, and they power companies can flip the pricing based on demand, are we going to pay more when all those kettles go on at half time in an FA Cup final, or during the Corrie Ad break. Is my cuppa suddenly going to cost more than my cuppa earlier in the morning?

              Still listening - waiting for the clinching argument if favour of the change.

            3. King Jack
              Megaphone

              Re: Consumer benefits are not falling!

              @ Missing Semicolon

              "the ability to have the tariff updated OTA as the wholesale price changes". You mean the same way petrol prices fall at the pumps weeks or months after the price of oil falls. Believe me the price will fluctuate one way only; Up, making them massive profits.

            4. BristolBachelor Gold badge

              Re: Consumer benefits are not falling!

              @Missing Semicolon

              "It's not about cutting off the power (none of the meters have the 100A contactor required)."

              The meter I've had installed in Madrid (Sagemcom CX2000-9) has a latching relay that turns off the supply either based on the actions of the supplier, or if my consumption goes over 8A on any of the 3 phases. The 8A limit is something that I can choose to change, by paying a fee and then higher standing charge (demand management!). It does "remember" that you were cut off after a power cut too.

              I don't know what they are fitting in the UK, but if one meter has it, I don't know why another couldn't.

            5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Consumer benefits are not falling!

              "It's about dynamic, live pricing. It's too hard to track your usage minute-by-minute at the centre, so your smart meter does it. The "smart" bit is the ability to have the tariff updated OTA as the wholesale price changes."

              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. 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. 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.

              1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

                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.

            6. billse10

              Re: Consumer benefits are not falling!

              "The "smart" bit is the ability to have the tariff updated OTA as the wholesale price changes."

              I'll bet you £50 that "as the wholesale price changes" part doesn't happen, not OTA on change. That means tracking spot pricing and passing that variation on to consumers, which won't happen.

          2. Commswonk Silver badge

            Re: Consumer benefits are not falling!

            Allowing Fridges to Warm up - That scares me witless if you think about people storing medicines at home.

            It's not just that; a fridge that is at or close to its set temperature will only use a modest amount of power per hour to stay cold. If it is allowed to warm up it will take a lot more power in the following hour or two while it gets back down to its set temperature. Now think of a large number of fridges all taking more power than they would have done if they had simply been left alone.

            Freezers, needless to say, take even more. The exercise would be completely pointless.

            And your partially cooked food point is really terrifying...

        3. dajames Silver badge

          Re: Consumer benefits are not falling!

          One consumer drawing 500W less cannot make much difference, but 10,000 drawing 500W less each is 5 Megawatts, more than Didcot B power station generates.

          You can generate as much as 5MW with a single wind turbine (a large one, admittedly) so that would make Didcot B very modest indeed, were that really its maximum output.

          Methinks it might have been more amusing had you written "more than Didcot A power station generates", as Didcot A has been closed since 2013 (but could produce 2000MW while it was in service).

        4. Down not across Silver badge

          Re: Consumer benefits are not falling!

          Going forward, smart meters could be combined with smart appliances, stopping the washing, or allowing the fridge to warm up a little more during peaks of demand and rewarding us for doing so.

          Well f**k that. I wan't my appliances to do what I tell them to do. I pay enough for the juice as it is so I'll have uninterrupted supply thank you very much.

          According to DUKES 2015 maximum demand in 2014/2015 was 70% of UK capacity. Apparently UK still imported 5.7% of the supply (in 2014).

          Maybe if they stopped shutting plants down and run them at peak efficiency.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Consumer benefits are not falling!

            "Maybe if they stopped shutting plants down and run them at peak efficiency."

            That works fine until one breaks.

            Running at 70% of peak capacity is a good thing. It means that you can afford for a station or 2 to be down for maintenance.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Consumer benefits are not falling!

          It seems unlikely that a large power plant can barely supply half the small town I live in. We would need a LOT of such power plants if that was the case.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Boffin

        To Cynical Observer...

        May I explain:

        The biggest advantage to having Smart Meters is to allow for smart electricity: this is electricity that just works better than normal electricity does. So for example, 1 volt of smart electricity is better than 2 volts of normal electricity by 75% (give or take). The same goes for amps too except that because amps are like speed and volts are like acceleration, you'll always get more smart amps in a battery than smart volts in a wire. Smartness means the electricity flows through wires faster, often avoiding corners and dead ends, so music is louder, bossier and better quality and TVs can get more channels. Beyoncé's latest album was recorded using smart electricity and that allowed her to use 0, 1 and 2 in the binary stuff that goes on CDs. You might see blue dust under your CD player: that's older non smart players causing the 2s to literally fly off the disk.

        Before decimalisation,the European Union tried to introduce Smart Feet but they fell a bit flat. Smart meters are the post decimalisation version so they are literally 1,000 times smarter. There are other smart things too: smart cars (cars that are smarter), smarties (clever and colourful buttons to literally tie clothes together) and smart watches, that actually look worse and don't tell the time as well as traditional watches (aka 'watches') do.

        Elon Musk (whose porn name is Nole Skum) has invented a very smart car named the Tesla, and there's talk in the US that the Tesla will become the official unit of Smartness, the word not being used for anything else currently. One Tesla will be as smart as Steven Hawking on a good day, or 3.2 times smarter than Wales.

        1. Cynical Observer
          Facepalm

          Finally......

          @ephemeral...

          I finally see. It's the electricity generated from powdered unicorn horn....

          Why didn't anyone say before now. I can finally use it to power the Retro Encabulator

          1. ecofeco Silver badge

            Re: Finally......

            Turbo. Turbo encabulator.

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Finally......

            "It's the electricity generated from powdered unicorn horn...."

            No, it's made from the methane in unicorn farts.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: To Cynical Observer...

          "Tesla will become the official unit of Smartness, the word not being used for anything else currently."

          I was with you all the way and then you fell at the last post.

          Upvoted anyway :-)

        3. Dan McIntyre

          Re: To Cynical Observer...

          Whoever you are sir - have an upvote.

          My colleagues and I love this.

    2. King Jack
      Facepalm

      Re: Consumer benefits are not falling!

      I bet you can make greater savings than 'free energy' just by switching to a cheaper supplier. I am saddened to see the 'Free Energy' bullshit has worked on the gullible. BG is the most expensive energy you can buy. No wonder they can afford to give it away.

      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: Consumer benefits are not falling!

        I might try to take advantage of it. If only there was a way to store electrical energy...

        But they will probably stop the free energy thing as soon as battery sales go up. Tesla makes some nice batteries, I believe..

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Consumer benefits are not falling!

          "But they will probably stop the free energy thing as soon as battery sales go up. "

          Things like powerwalls are dubiously economic even if the input power is free. On the other hand if the UK moves to rolling power cuts (as seems increasingly likely) then they'll sell like hotcakes.

  4. graeme leggett

    3% energy saving

    What's that in terms of fossil fuel using power stations?

    1. Kevin Johnston

      Re: 3% energy saving

      At a rough guess, a bag and a half of nutty slack.

    2. Paul Shirley

      Re: 3% energy saving

      If enough of us switched supplier every year and the meters aren't transferable, I wonder if this is the first real example of an energy saving product that never covers it's own manufacturing costs?

    3. Another User

      Re: 3% energy saving

      That is likely to be a skewed result. a) A smart meter was a novelty. This will quickly wear off. And b) participants in a beta programme are generally more interested because of a)

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: 3% energy saving

        I just got around to replacing some halogen bulbs in the living room - seven of them at 70W each - with seven 5.5W LED bulbs (they've finally got bright enough in the form factor we can live with) and at the same time four 50W halogens in the kitchen with four 4W bulbs... ok, there's still the fridge, oven, and washing machine, but I reckon I'm over 3% right there.

        The person who manages my demand is *me*. The job of the power company is to calculate an average price for me which works for both them and me. This is called 'budgeting' and it seems to be a foreign concept to economists, who really ought to know better - they seem to work on the basis that price is the only driver when selecting whether and how much to use a service. I won't choose to sit in the dark because the power is expensive, or stop baking a loaf of bread half-way through, nor let the fridge warm up.

        If the power companies aren't able to manage a peak demand, they need to get their act together and build some bloody nuclear power stations. I'll pay - over time.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Devil

          Re: 3% energy saving

          Wheres all that too cheap to meter power gone, I think I heard them people talking about it WRT Windscale or something

      2. Down not across Silver badge

        Re: 3% energy saving

        B) Or something like

        Commodity balances for electricity (Table 5.1)

        5.4

        In 2014, total electricity supply was 359 TWh, a fall of 3.8 per cent on 2013

        .

        Of this, just over 93

        per cent of UK electricity supply was home produced and almost six

        per cent was from imports, net of

        exports. For electricity, supply is totally driven by demand – the impacts of improving energy efficiency

        and warmer temperatures, left final consumption in 2014 at its lowest level since 1995 (see paragraph

        5.10).

        Table 5A below summarises the trend in total generation and supply over the last three years.

        Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/447632/DUKES_2015_Chapter_5.pdf

  5. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Devil

    "Smart meters and all our policies will remain as strong as ever."

    There's gravy on that there train!

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

      Re: "Smart meters and all our policies will remain as strong as ever."

      "Smart meters and all our policies will remain as strong as ever."

      Is that supposed to be a positive qualifier, given how weak and useless they have been so far?

    2. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Re: "Smart meters and all our policies will remain as strong as ever."

      I worked for one of the Big Six energy companies when smart meters first raised their heads, so to speak, and there was universal glumness. We knew we'd have to eat most of the costs, and the end consumer, save for a handful, would not give a toss and wouldn't adjust their usage or even look at the thing from one year to the next. Our telephone survey confirmed my own thoughts: people only brightened at the thought of no more estimated bills.

  6. jphn37

    This forum has continually argued against these meters (mostly) because they are technologically deficient. Yep. Hit the reset button, and without the EU update your meters to 21st Century standards (which aren't yet set). So make a standard that's exportable, please, because the whole rest of the world is going to get "Comcast"-ed into buying set-top boxes that are deficient in every way.

    But you gotta admit, it's time to update electrical meters. A KW hour at 1 pm is worth more than a KW hour at 1 am.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "A KW hour at 1 pm is worth more than a KW hour at 1 am."

      If you have fast-acting nuke plants (LTFRs can load-follow, which means no need for OGT stations) then unless the actual distribution network is overloaded, that's not necessarily true.

      In any case if, you've checked your power bill recently you'll probably notice that "line charges" account for more than half of the bottom line figure (but power charges have not decreased over the days when line charges were rolled into the unit price)

    2. Commswonk Silver badge

      But you gotta admit, it's time to update electrical meters. A KW hour at 1 pm is worth more than a KW hour at 1 am.

      True, but I have no intention of sitting up until the wee small hours to put on a load of washing or cook dinner, and I very much doubt if Mrs Commswonk would do it either.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Windows

        "True, but I have no intention of sitting up until the wee small hours to put on a load of washing or cook dinner, and I very much doubt if Mrs Commswonk would do it either."

        The solution, of course, is an "Internet of Things" remote controlled switch operated at set times by an app on your phone and controlled by a Google cloud system in another country.

        But maybe not, I'll be fucked if I'm going to have a fucking washing machine doing a full spin cycle and dancing around the kitchen at 3am when I have to get up at 6:30 to go to work!

        Icon - what I look like if I don't get my sleep ------------------>

      2. Nigel 11

        Solar panels

        Get yourself some solar panels and the test becomes much easier. You then run the washing machine or dishwasher when the sun is shining and there are kilowatts of electricity available to you that won't cost you anything. If they do variable-tarriff smart metering, it is probable that the same rule of thumb will work well (because there is lots of solar electricity generation feeding the grid these days).

        What the government should be doing is investing in energy storage so that the large amount of exported electricity hitting the grid on sunny days becomes a solution rather than a problem.

        In passing does anyone know why NiFe batteries are not on anyone's radar? Their disadvantages (bulky/heavy, electrically leaky, lowish self-limiting maximum discharge rate) are not significant if the application is to store solar energy in fixed battery banks for a mere few hours or days on a scale ranging from a garden shed to a power-station-sized warehouse. The advantages are cheap and abundant raw materials (nickel, Iron, caustic potash), extremely long service life, and being extremely forgiving of "abuse" such as overcharging, overload, or discharge to "flat". They are reputedly as good as new after a decade sitting around in a discharged state. They can be short-circuited and will survive the experience. They're expensive to buy right now, because they are not manufactured in anything like the same volume as lead-acid batteries (which have a service life of only a few years even if they are used optimally).

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Solar panels

          "You then run the washing machine or dishwasher when the sun is shining and there are kilowatts of electricity available to you"

          Have you quantified how much power you get off a rooftop panel? (Hint: It's not enough to run a washing machine with integral heater, except on the very biggest installations)

          WRT NiFe: you've stated why they're not in use: Compared with lead-acid, they're vastly more expensive. There's probably more potential in flow batteries.

          1. Nigel 11

            Re: Solar panels

            I have a 2.75kWp roof array, South facing, almost perfect inclination. On a sunny day in summer it outputs 2.4kW (precisely as predicted in advance by the supplier from its geometry). The washing machine is rated at 2.5kW. So it is (almost) enough to run a washing machine, despite being less than the 3 to 4 kWp which all but the smallest houses have roof space for. (I have three panels less because of a loft conversion and not wanting to have panels over the windows).

            re NiFe: the raw materials are all cheaper than for lead-acid. The higher cost is because there is no mass manufacturing. But if they were being used for grid-scale storage, whether in millions of garden sheds all over the country or in power-station-size warehouses, that would generate the economy of scale, and the hugely longer service life makes the long-term economics better. Manufacture of NiFe is pretty low-tech, compared even to lead-acid, let alone LiPo. Elon Musk is doing a good job with Tesla / Powerwall / LiPo. It's obviously in his automotive interests to do everything he can with LiPo technology, and I wish him well.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Angel

        IoT

        Your IoT washer will do it for you, Sortted!

      4. jphn37

        But a "Smart" meter would be able to communicate with your fusebox at your choosing and turn on a breaker or the device itself when prices drop to $0.0X per kwh. That's what current rollout meters do not do, but which wouldn't even be hard to program; trigger a relay when a datum point is reached?

        Anyhow, that's how I'd do it if I had the skills. Six or eight programmable relay leads and IoT protocols for those who want a "wired" (WiFi) house.

        And I'm American, so I don't know Mrs. Commswonk, but we'd ask her son, or granddaughter to do it for her, right?

        Anyhow, please don't "shoot" me. I'm just thinking aloud. I just haven't heard of a good, robust, secure SMART meter yet, and it's 2016, which just kinda strikes me as ridiculous as Comcast set-top boxes.

  7. tiggity Silver badge

    Samrt Meters - no thanks

    Ignoring all the (various) security implications...

    I still fail to see why seeing some live estimate of what I am spending on fuel will make the slightest difference to my fuel use ...

    I can however see it having an effect on energy wasting muppets with wasteful activities such as patio heaters, having house heating at scorchio levels etc. who might finally get a clue that they may as well just cut out the middleman and burn bundles of notes, but most people tend not to be wasteful of fuel use as they already know its very expensive so smart meters seem overkill for a tiny percentage of wastrels.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Samrt Meters - no thanks

      Sticking an electricity meter monitor around the meter wire will do just as well, only without the security problems.

    2. Commswonk Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Smart Meters - no thanks

      I can however see it having an effect on energy wasting muppets with wasteful activities such as patio heaters, having house heating at scorchio levels etc

      Well I can't; to the best of my knowledge patio heaters run on bottled gas so "smart metering" them might be a bit of a challenge. Come to think of it smart metering only applies to electrical supplies so anyone who has the house heating a bit high by burning gas is only going to find out how much the pump is consuming.

      1. Fuzz

        Re: Smart Meters - no thanks

        "Come to think of it smart metering only applies to electrical supplies"

        No smart metering is for gas and electrical supplies (but only gas of the piped variety).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Smart Meters - no thanks

        "to the best of my knowledge patio heaters run on bottled gas"

        Our company has electric ones on the Balcony, as do most of the Pub's round north london

  8. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face

    Hard to believe it's been ten years since David Miliband decided to patronise us all with his Utopian plans for carbon credit cards and citizens environmental contracts. What we need is some kind of government wiki where we can debate these ideas in a mature, sensible fashion.

    Like last time.

  9. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    In Saturday's Times Matthew Paris was musing on the Conservative party's nut-cases (that might not have been the exact term he used) who will never be content with anything - Brexit won't be exit enough etc. It struck me that one way to deal with them would be to "promote" them to a department with a death march project and then, after the next PAC/NAO report condemning the lack of progress, publicly label them as incompetent and replace them with the next in line. It might seem cynical to do this rather than put someone competent in charge but the definition of a death march project is that it's unsalvageable so this simply re-purposes them.

    I think Leadsom has been set up to fail with both smart meters and the rural payments scheme on her plate.

    1. Commswonk Silver badge

      I think Leadsom has been set up to fail with both smart meters and the rural payments scheme on her plate.

      That may or may not be true, but I'm not sure that I would place much store in Mathew Parris's musings. He penned a fairly nasty piece in the Spectator which mainly served to define him as a bad loser. It attracted some critical correspondence to the Editor.

      Anyway if Andrea Leadsom wants to get a bit of credit she could do much worse than simply ditching the smart metering scheme sooner rather than later*. And the rural payments scheme can easily be described as an inherited mess over which she could exercise no control.

      * Like, er, immediately.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        What, and risk a fine from the EU? If she drops it, it's got to be unofficially until Brexit day. Completely ignore targets and remove pressure from electricity companies to roll it out.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          "What, and risk a fine from the EU?"

          The thing about most EU legislation and rules is that they are onply implemented if the national government WANTS to implement them. Blaming them barnpots in Brussels is just a convenient excuse.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            "The thing about most EU legislation and rules is that they are onply implemented if the national government WANTS to implement them."

            Well, not quite. Each member state has to implement the legislation, but has leeway in how strictly in waht form they are implemented. The French tend to lean towards the "meh!" end of the scale while the UK is more germanic than the Germans, hence all the "blame" being put on Brussels. Not to mention that as the 2nd biggest economy in the EU, the UK has a significant influence on creating the EU legislation in the first place (in fact it's often UK lead legislation that our own gov. then "blames" on Brussels)

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              "he UK hasd a significant influence on creating the EU legislation in the first place"

              But we'll still have to follow it if we want to retain the same trading rights with the EU. But it's all about control, isn't it?

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      "It struck me that one way to deal with them would be to "promote" them to a department with a death march project and then, after the next PAC/NAO report condemning the lack of progress, publicly label them as incompetent and replace them with the next in line."

      Why do you think TM put The BoJoTM in the FO?

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "Why do you think TM put The BoJoTM in the FO?"

        To start WWIII?

  10. ZanzibarRastapopulous

    Article 50

    If you say that you aren't doing something because you'll be leaving then you will have invoked article 50 and you then have 2 years to complete the exit.

    It is therefore wise to pretend that nothing has changed until article 50 is formally invoked.

    Yes this is stupid, but then so is Brexit.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Smart meter, as in Smart TV !!

    What exactly is Smart about these meters, do they actively save me money, do they adjust my supplier to the cheapest available on watt by watt basis, or do they simply tell me I'm using electricity, which I already know... ...no it's ok I know the answer, they don't do anything useful for me at all, just make the meter reader redundant (I assume someone still reads the meter, though they keep trying to get me to do it !!)

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: Smart meter, as in Smart TV !!

      On the other hand, from an engineer's point of view - a truly smart meter should be able to locate and negotiate the best rate from suppliers on a minute to minute basis...

      1. Paul Shirley

        Re: Smart meter, as in Smart TV !!

        "locate and negotiate the best rate"

        Suddenly it's more clear why none of the energy companies have compatible meters. Wouldn't want the suckers actually getting any benefit.

  12. moiety

    "'smart meters and all our policies wrong as ever'"

    FTFY

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shockingly Inaccurate

    Posting anon because I work on the project and would probably get into all sorts of trouble otherwise.

    DECC are not the people in charge of Smart Meters, DCC are (https://www.smartdcc.co.uk/).

    Communication with the DCC is via a defined standard (https://www.smartdcc.co.uk/implementation/design-and-assurance/interface-specifications/dcc-user-interface-specification/)

    Smart metering equipment must comply to GBCS so is intrinsically inter-operative (https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/380611/GBCS_v0.8.1.docx). There also SMETS and CHTS if you really want to party on with your standards hat on.

    No-one has a proper smart meter, they don't go live until next month.

    1. Richard Barnes

      Re: Shockingly Inaccurate

      So, since you're a man in the know, would you have a smart meter yourself?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Shockingly Inaccurate

        Umm...not a MAN in the know, guess again. Yep,I'd happily get set up with smart meters.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Shockingly Inaccurate

      "No-one has a proper smart meter, they don't go live until next month."

      In other words everyone who's already been sold a 'smart meter' is going to have to go through the entire exercise again?

      Doesn't seem that smart to me....

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Shockingly Inaccurate

      "Smart DCC Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of Capita plc and is regulated by Ofgem."

      We're doomed!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shockingly Inaccurate

      "they don't go live until next month."

      It's next month. Have they gone live? What do readers think?

      Here ya go:

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/08/17/smart_meters_delayed_again/

  14. Kane Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Spy boxes in our homes...

    'Although, DECC has insisted that GCHQ has been working in close partnership with the department "since the very early design stage of the rollout"'

    A chilling statement if ever I heard one.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Spy boxes in our homes...

      Aye, and I'll bet it's not to make sure best practices are followed in terms of data security and hardening against hacking.

  15. Dave 15

    smart meter

    What is smart about it? So it tells me how much energy I am using... so what I can tell by the speed of the spinning wheel now. Worse it takes power to tell me something I don't need to know.

    TBH its a bit like the energy comparison on a washing machine... I need to wash my clothes, I will change the machine when it breaks, I will buy the cheapest... regardless.....

    Oh, and my current washing machine uses hot water from my hot water tank, heated directly by gas... more efficient than the EU mandated cold fill on modern machines...

    Think logically.... my gas boiler burns gas to heat water and the machine uses it. Your shiny new machine uses a power station to heat water to steam, which it uses (not very efficiently) to drive a turbine, which (not efficiently) generates electricity which is then transported by a lossy (electric cables lose energy) system to my house where my washing machine uses a not particularly efficient system to turn th electricity to heat.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: smart meter

      "a not particularly efficient system to turn th electricity to heat."

      I'm not sure about this last bit. Turning other forms of energy to heat seems to be something that happens particularly easily, especially when you don't want it. (Burnt fingers from the gear on my strimmer).

    2. dajames Silver badge

      Re: smart meter

      TBH its a bit like the energy comparison on a washing machine... I need to wash my clothes, I will change the machine when it breaks, I will buy the cheapest... regardless.....

      Buying the cheapest is seldom, if ever, the most economical course of action. You need to consider Total Cost of Ownership: the cost of the power used, the cost of spares, the cost of waiting in for the repairman, the cost of waiting for the replacement to be delivered, the cost of disposal of the old machine ... it all adds up.

      You're right, though, it is a bit like the smart meter discussion ... the decisions are all based on carefully considering only a few of the relevant data, and that without understanding them.

    3. Old Tom
      Boffin

      Re: smart meter

      "Oh, and my current washing machine uses hot water from my hot water tank, heated directly by gas... more efficient than the EU mandated cold fill on modern machines..."

      Yes but does it 'run the tap' until the hot water comes through? Most of the hot water taken in will be the neo-ambient water in the pipe from the hot tank or combi-boiler.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: smart meter

        I think Which checked and found most washing machine never get to the temperature set on the dial anyway.

    4. Avalanche

      Re: smart meter

      "Oh, and my current washing machine uses hot water from my hot water tank, heated directly by gas... more efficient than the EU mandated cold fill on modern machines..."

      Citation needed. As far as I know there is no such EU mandate.

      1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

        Re: smart meter

        > Citation needed. As far as I know there is no such EU mandate.

        I have no citation, but you are correct that there isn't a mandate as such. However, AIUI, the energy rating system is weighted such that hot-fill machines suffer a severe penalty such that while they may be using completely free hot water (think of those with solar thermal panels who don't use the boiler at all in weather like today) they get weighted a lot worse than those that use poor efficiency coal-fired* electricity.

        * Yes, coal fired because until we have enough of everything else, we'll still be burning coal to make lecky. So it really is a comparison between "burn gas locally" and "burn coal, convert heat to steam (with losses), convert steam to motion (with losses), convert motion to lecky (with losses), transmit lecky (with losses),a nd finally convert lecky to heat (fairly efficient).

        PS - in our house it's a combi (yeah, I hate it), and there's about 4 foot of pipe between boiler and washing machine take off - but it's cold fill only. There is an argument, valid for many houses, that with the reduced water consumption of modern machines, you'll seldom dray enough hot water to even flush the pipes.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: smart meter

        Annex 1 of Directive 2004/22/EC defines the mandatory requirements of meters, and that does not appear to include smartness. The directive was created only to have all meters across the EU respect the same basic norms, so it went for a low common denominator.

        I think at some point, even ElReg journalist will be amazed at how many things they dislike and blame on the EU will stay after Brexit.

    5. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: smart meter

      I don't think it's an EU directive, it just is more technically unreliable to make a washing machine mix 50-60ºC water from a combi boiler with cold water to get a 30-40ºC wash, plus you run the risk of ending up with shrunken doll's clothes. Many hot fill washing machines never take hot water in for the colder washes anyway, they heat up cold water.

  16. JulieM Silver badge

    They are trying to get me to have a Smart Meter

    My current meter -- a key-operated Actaris -- was installed a few years ago to replace a card-operated Sangamo. The muppets from the electricity board hadn't been and read the Sangamo for so long, it had been seriously undercharging me.

    I won't be able to top up the new smart meter at my local corner shop, either -- I will have to go to a Post Office for that.

    Only problem is, Post Offices open after I have left for work, and close before I am home. There is one 35 minutes away from where I work, but I only get an hour for lunch -- and who knows how long before it gets closed down? Something's got to pay for the next round of tax cuts for the rich .....

  17. mintus55

    Demand Response

    The proposed "smart meters" are not really smart, just accurate.

    A true smart meter would allow demand response / feedback from behind the meter to in front of the meter, and in theory this would allow users to be paid not to use electricity at peak times when the wholesale price is higher than the rate the consumer is paid.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Politicians saw 'Smart' and thought Ah Ha that must be good and will save energy! (because they aint!) Wrong - Smart meters save nothing - only wages as already noted. Its what people do with it (energy consumption info) that will save - if anything and if they can be bothered. Studies show that once novelty wears off saving efforts fall. Also swapping a perfectly good meter for another before EOL just creates (early) land-fill (think DTV switch off!)....and of course they either consumer energy themselves (E-meters - what energy & CO2 cost 27Mu x 1-3W??), or create toxic e-waste (wither 28 Mu LiThyCl batteries every 5-15yrs? (15? yeh right!) for gas & water). Don't get me wrong - I work in the industry - and I wish all well but to me its ill thought out, over hyped, ill-informed, lacks security and user (privacy) control, lacks interoperability and is another gravy train, where early lobbyists got in early to lock down system and reduce scope for new tech intro and innovation, allowing creation of a new set of incumbents and vested interests.

    One other thought - for vulnerable households we have protection where if a bill isn't/cant be paid there are protections and ultimately a due process before a household can be cut of - with legal support, due process and police assistance for access.....now with a kill-switch.......just saying nice & convenient for the greedy energy co's! Also cant wait for law suites when 'wrong' kill switch hit and some poor old lady on home dialysis cops it (actually thinking about it can wait given gravity!) because next door (or someone in next town) should have been closed off (this *never* happens with Mobile services, BBand, Subscription TV etc. does it?!), "what do you mean it's in Warrington, Northants?- Isnt it in Warrington, Cheshire?!")......pass the popcorn!

  19. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    Main benefit of having a Smart Meter...

    ... Is avoiding the more expensive tariffs which those who refuse smart meters will be put on.

  20. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    A translation...

    Dan Lewis, senior advisor on infrastructure at the Institute of Directors, said costs of the programme are reported to be escalating further, while the consumer benefits are falling.

    costs of the programme are reported to be escalating further

    trans: the costs are beginning to get near what independent analysis predicted all along

    while the consumer benefits are falling

    trans: we still can't think of any benefits for the consumer

  21. MR J

    I want one!

    I have solar panels and an electric car. Being able to look up my exact usage during specific times of day would give me the chance to see if battery storage is viable, and it would also give me the chance to see if Economy7 would work for me. Generally speaking I don't think either would give a savings - but it would be nice to know. Sure I could go outside and record usage to do the Econ7 stuff, but the battery storage check just wouldn't be possible.

    Moving to these meters could be great too IF they combine Pre-Payment, Regular, and Econ7 all into one unit. Some customers are stuck on Pre-Pay meters and the cost of getting it changed can be quite high - plus suppliers sometimes lock a PROPERTY into that type of meter due to previous tenants (something I think should be illegal!).

    What I don't get is why this had to be some crazy new specific program. These things have a natural rate that they are replaced at, why did it need some special rollout scheme?. My gas meter has a regulator on it that was recalled due to leaking gas (on the supply side) but my supplier said they don't deal with problems like that - but they were willing to put me in a new smart meter (for gas)... They should have just given It some sort of phased in requirement. x% of replacements this this year must be smart, then just increase the requirements every year. Knowing what I have seen of the way these things work in the UK, there's probably a lot of money exchanging hands to keep the price of these units jacked up high while the gov is asking for them to be deployed, when the gov gives up the desire to have them then suppliers will sell them for the same price as the old kit.

    1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      Re: I want one!

      Read this carefully ...

      You do not need a smart meter to get that information. Really, it just doesn't need it, and all the outright lies (which is what most of the publicity stuff is) won't change that.

      A clip-on meter will give you a good idea, though a better quality one will work all the time and take into account power factor.

      Your inverter on the solar panels will tell you what it's generating - that's a standard function, but may not have been explained to you, or perhaps the f***tards stuck it somewhere stupid (like the attic) where you can't get at it - ask the installers to make it possible for you to read this information, it may need a remote display.

      Besides, even if none of this covered it, none of what you ask for actually needs what the meters being talked about can do. Few are worried about the accurate and real time usage information - yes that's useful. The variable rate tariffs are perhaps a bit controversial given that they are intended to be price rationing - ie hike the price until the poor cut back on usage.

      But, the smart metering is about huge data collection - knowing your consumption by the half hour for every day of every year can tell a lot about your habits, and would be "quite valuable" to certain types (think what advertisers could do with it, or criminals). Yes we're assured it will be secure - but we don't trust that (the law can be changed, and it's too juicy a target) and collecting it isn't needed as all that is needed is (say) monthly totals for each register* (ie how much you used at each rate).

      * Register is the industry term for the "totaliser" bit - the numbers you can read. We've have multi-register metering (think economy seven) for many decades - but that didn't need the intrusive and security risk data slurping these smart meters have built in.

      There is one actual benefit - though that is in itself also a downside. These meters can be remotely switched between pre-pay and credit modes. This means it's quicker and cheaper to switch someone from pre-pay to credit mode. The downside is that it's also quicker and easier to switch from credit mode to pre-pay - so find yourself struggling with the bills, hey presto you find you're suddenly part of the pre-pay crowd with all that entails. Of course we all believe the "strong safeguards" will be properly applied don't we ?

      And on that last one, we all believe the "strong safeguards" will never fail to prevent an incorrect remote supply disconnection when someone clicks the wrong button on some system somewhere and "click" - that's your power off and it's now down to you to persuade them that they've made a mistake.

  22. flearider

    how about

    putting the 10b into refreshing the lines .. how much do we lose on a daily basis ?

    i prepay .. it's easy i know what i spend every week and it never seems to change ..

    £20 for leccy .. as thats what the house runs on cooking and everything 4pc's 4 tv's....

    gas £20 a week summer or winter it's used for hot water and heating ..

    would a smart meter save me anything no ..

    but seeing as i am prepaying should i not get a discount ?rather than paying a little more .. ??

  23. therebel

    "Research by British Gas showed that smart meter customers have reduced their energy consumption by an average of about three per cent for both gas and electricity"

    Pathetic! You would probably save 3% by getting a newer tv and replacing a couple of light bulbs.

    Haven't they already proven these ththis to be insecure and an easy way into your home network?

  24. inmypjs Silver badge

    Real time personal guilt meters

    Technically illiterate eco green toss pot politicians can't resist the idea of forcing everyone to install and pay for real time personal guilt meters.

    Surprised they are not calibrated in PBD/h (Polar Bears Drowned per hour).

  25. Ray Foulkes

    Smart meters in France - hilarious

    In April, ERDF (the electricity distributor) changed my existing meter for a smart meter (after some nagging at me). My original meter was electronic and had an external "antenna" which was read by the passing meter man who placed a device over the antenna. After installation of the "LINKY" smart meter I received a message saying that a technician would call on a certain date "to read my meter". Since I had a LINKY I contacted them and explained that, despite the fact that I wouldn't be home it wasn't a problem since they could read it remotely. The reply was a hoot. Not only can they no longer read my meter from outside the house, there is no set date when "LINKY" will be linked so to speak. Meanwhile I am back to the last century of either trying to coincide with the meter reader or filling in paper slip that he leaves and posting it. Just how dumb can you get?

  26. Ted's Toy

    No more gov sponserd climate change?

    As the title of this article states state sponsored climate change is abolished, It is now up the citizens to do it instead?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's all about rationing!

    Expect 'smart' turnoffs to cope with the woeful energy strategy from the windmill-lovers in Parliament and the EU

  28. Zippy's Sausage Factory

    How "involved" are GCHQ?

    Security? Maybe.

    Allowing GCHQ read/write access to your meter and allowing them to shut down your entire house if they feel like it? You might think that - I couldn't possibly comment...

  29. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    All this means is that the current 3.6 million meters will have to be swapped out for post-Brexit-law compliant ones sometime in the next few years.

    Like when they change my water, gas and electric companies.

    "But I already *have* a smart meter".

    "Not one of ours you don't".

  30. SciGuy

    Turn it off then on again

    Smart meters are but one element of a nation wide system strategy which aims to smooth demand for renewable resources and to, in extremis, turn off supply when demand is high and output is low.

    Until we have enough power generation to easily cover demand in a long, cold winter, this ain't going away.

  31. manish.hathi@sky.com

    3% energy saving when extended to 53 million digital meters could have a sufficient positive effect on the climate change to provide a case for reducing expenditure against flood defences?

  32. TGC

    NiFe question

    Not sure this is the right thread, but I have 25KWh of NiFe storage just installed, and even in float, they seem to 'bubble'. Anyone has had the same before?

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