back to article Smart meter benefits even crappier than originally thought

The UK government has been accused of burying a report on its hated £11bn smart meters project by releasing revised spending data just hours after the election of Donald Trump. The scheme will require energy suppliers to offer 53 million meters to homes and small businesses by 2020 and the implementation is to be rolled out in …

  1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Just cancel it now

    and HMG will have enough money to buy the Navy some missiles.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just cancel it now

      some missiles, some hospitals... Nah, scrap the hospitals, they'll get paid for from you-know-what...

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      "and HMG will have enough money to buy the Navy some missiles."

      No they won't.

      Because the govt is not paying for them.

      You are.

      It's like a "free" mobile phone when you have a contract.

      No, it's not.

  2. OliP

    "someone" told my mother that she HAD to have one installed as she's now of pension age.

    "someone" arrived yesterday to install it - and told her it was going to save her £100 a year from this year!!

    the engineer demanded the wifi password during the install, again mother has no idea why - no explanation offered and no documentation left with her for me to go over after the fact.

    If i cut it off from the wifi - what happens?

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Change the WiFi password as part of your routine security protocols at her house...

      1. Baldy50

        Your assuming it hasn't already back doored it!

        1. Wade Burchette

          "Your assuming it hasn't already back doored it!"

          Well, then. To be sure, the old router can have a little "accident", which requires the purchase of a new one.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Increase in the Standing charge likely.

      She'll likely see an increase in the standing charge/tariff, if you break the t&c of supply, with a move to an out of contract evergreen tariff (expensive). Differs across sector. May also be other charges.

      1. David Pollard

        Re: Increase in the Standing charge likely.

        IANAL but I'd imagine that reprisals for changing the WiFi password would be breach of contract on the part of the supplier, in that they have both failed to make it clear that such a change would incur a penalty; and also failed to provide instructions on what to do if a password change should becomes necessary. In addition, as I understand it, unreasonable terms and conditions are disregarded should a case come to court.

    3. getHandle

      She's been conned!

      We had smart meters installed - the electric works as a hub for the gas and, presumably, uses mobile to report back. No wifi required. Sounds very dodgy to me!!

      1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
        Go

        Re: She's been conned!

        @Olip,

        The good news is that your mom's smartmeter is now part of the Mirai botnet. If she asks nicely, they will probably cut her a small annual check in return for her not changing that WiFi password.

    4. Commswonk Silver badge

      If I cut it off from the wifi - what happens?

      Why not ask for a copy of the contract making obligatory for your mother to have broadband for the benefit of the electricty supply company? On whom does the contractual liability fall if for any reason the broadband service fails?

      What you describe sounds extremely dodgy. IMHO a formal complaint ought to be made, rather than just flagging it up on this forum.

    5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "If i cut it off from the wifi - what happens?"

      With eny luck you get in touch with someone who can be asked WTF this was about. And give them a good bollocking. Then you have a name when you raise your complaint with OFGEM. And the ICO.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ah,

      that would probably be "someones" (a pair or the buggers) of the ilk who came to my door last weekend trying to fob me off with smart meters, when told politely that I didn't want them and was under no legal obligation to have them installed, I was hit by a load of 'agressive' scripted BS, then I was eventually told by these "someones" that the law will be changed to make the things mandatory anyway...and they'd see me then.

      I got the distinct impression that this pair would use 'bully boy' and/or bullshit tactics on vulnerable people to get them to sign up, your story confirms this, and as you're probably in another part of the country it seems a suspiciously common tactic. In my case, there is no point complaining to my local MP or MSP about this as they're both useless tosspots, as for reporting this to anyone else, it's my word against theirs..(I really should set up a camera with both video and audio recording facilities at the front door porch)

      1. Jos V

        I think this page says it pretty clearly:

        https://www.smartenergygb.org/en/about-smart-meters/what-is-a-smart-meter

        ----------

        Smart meters and the wireless system

        Inside your home, smart meters use their own secure, wireless network using radio waves, just like mobile phones or TVs do. (It won’t use your wifi and you don’t need wifi in your home for it to work).

        Your smart meters will link to a similar wireless network outside your home. This network is run by the new Data and Communications Company, which is overseen by the energy regulator Ofgem.

        There are strict new regulations and codes of practice to keep smart meter data private and secure.

        ---------

        British Gas says it pretty much the same:

        Do I need to have a good mobile signal to have a smart meter installed?

        Yes, and at times a poor signal might be the cause why a property cannot be upgraded yet. As we use a variety of mobile networks our Smart Energy Expert will assess which is the best for you.

        Do I need to have Wi-Fi to have a smart meter installed?

        No, as smart meters use Zigbee to communicate to the smart energy monitor and GPRS (similar to mobile phones) to send meter readings back to British Gas.

        1. PNGuinn
          Childcatcher

          "No, as smart meters use Zigbee"

          Oh Noes!

          Won't anyone think of the lightbulbs?

          WTF??

    7. 2+2=5 Silver badge

      > the engineer demanded the wifi password during the install, again mother has no idea why - no explanation offered and no documentation left with her for me to go over after the fact.

      Least case scenario is that he wanted to stream Spotify or whatever while working. Worst case scenario is that he has a sideline selling compromised routers to people who will drain your mother's bank account.

      Next steps for you:

      1) Change the router password immediately. (And re-flash it back to factory ROM if possible and you're really paranoid).

      2) Make a written statement to the police saying that you think a crime may have been committed

      3) Make a written complaint to the energy supplier (address it to the CEO), copying Ofgem.

      4) Optional - copy your MP as well - they need to be aware of this kind of shit arising from their decisions

      1. OliP

        i popped round last night and had a look at what had gone on.

        as far as i can tell - he connected his mobile phone to the wifi, not the smart meter.

        he may have done this as the house has little to no mobile signal - would he have had to register the box back with head office via an app / internet connection ?

        Either way - i've lodged a complaint with their energy provider.

        Apparently the documentation is to follow in the post rather than being left by the engineer.

        All sounds very dodgy, agreed. But difficult to know how much is accurate from the mother and how much she just doesnt want to tell me.

    8. CommanderGalaxian
      Stop

      He just wants the wi-fi password so him and his mates can come back later, sit outside and think they are kool l33t haxors, all while surfing dodgey pr0n.

    9. Spanners Silver badge
      Coat

      Your Mothers WiFi

      Get it on its own SSID with nothing else in it or able to be as you've put a MAC address filter in too.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Simply...

    @ofgem = #Fuseless.

    Ofgem is a narcissistic organisation, that doesn't give a .... regards dire industry Customer Service Levels (actively tries to cover up/surpress complaints) and is obsessed by thinking competition is the answer, even though Ofgem is clearly unable to create any competition. The Energy sector needs complete reform, it's rotten to the core.

    Ofgem itself needs to be investigated in the role it played in surpressing direct complaints regards @CoopEnergy, which is now 20 months of pain for @CoopEnergy customers, because of a lemon of a billing system, which ofgem ignored, but knew wasn't fit for purpose (still isn't) pretty much on day 1 on its implementation.

    Anyone that thinks Smart Meters will reduce Consumer Energy Bills is deluded, Smart meters about complicating/obfuscating bills so much, that consumers never know the true cost of their Energy use.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Simply...

      Ofgem is a narcissistic organisation,

      Yes, a bunch of aggressive, bearded, sandal wearing communists (and that's just the women).

      actively tries to cover up/surpress complaints

      Incorrect, they have VERY detailed guidance to ensure that reported complaint numbers are as high as possible. And there have been multimillion quid fines repeatedly dished out to companies found to be in breach of standards.

      and is obsessed by thinking competition is the answer,

      Yes, although this has come from government policy making departments. Ofgem is just an over powerful administrator and in this respect is doing what it has been told by all recent governments.

      Ofgem itself needs to be investigated in the role it played in surpressing direct complaints regards @CoopEnergy,

      How is fining Coop energy £1.8m last month for customer service failings "suppressing direct complaints"? And that ignores the millions of pounds Coop will have had to pay to the Energy Ombusdman for complaint escalations.

      Anyone that thinks Smart Meters will reduce Consumer Energy Bills is deluded,

      They do have a clearly measurable effect in the short term as a very small reduction in electricity use, whether that persists in the long term is unknown (I doubt it). But politicians and greenies have persuaded themselves that these are a good thing - I'd agree they are deluded, but no more so than over money sinks like HS2, Hinkley Point, or Heathrow R3.

      Smart meters about complicating/obfuscating bills

      Not an objective, that will be merely incidental as the government want to push complicated and expensive time of use tariffs onto as many people as possible, whilst they fight the 1970's battle of peak demand. In aggregate, peaking power isn't actually that expensive when averaged across the whole system, but government having spared no expense in screwing up energy policy, and they see TOU tariffs as a brillant way to hide their ineptitude in providing security of supply. Also, it is very important to accuse suppliers of incompetence and profiteering as a smokescreen to try and hide that serial incompetence.

      Hint to the Commentariat: Expect double digit price rises from most if not all suppliers early in the new year as they have to pass through rising wholesale and system costs that they are all exposed to. Now could be a very good time to consider taking the cheapest two or three year fixed price deal, and possibly to make sure that's with somebody you expect to still be around in three years.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Simply...

        CoopEnergy's £1.8M works out at £7 a customer in compensation, this is for month and months of inconvenience, there are plenty of Customers that have complained through formal complaiints against @ofgem,through @Energy ombudsman, yet never received a penny, and been vocal about it.

        From this its easy to conclude, ofgem have no cross checks between ofgem formal complaints, ombudsman complaints, and evidence of payment to those affected customers by CoopEnergy, on whether this headline figure is actually paid or not.

        It's all just headline bullshit, to make it look like they are doing something, ofgem is completely incompetent as a regulator. It's not a fine at all, when you look into the detail, most goes to the (useless) gravytrain ombudservices in fees.

        Ofgem is just complete Customer Merry-Go-Round, that offers absolutely nothing, to resolving Customer issues, without the customers wasting vast amounts of time for what amounts to £7.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Simply...

          Ofgem is just complete Customer Merry-Go-Round, that offers absolutely nothing, to resolving Customer issues, without the customers wasting vast amounts of time for what amounts to £7..

          Well sign up with a not-for-profit supplier run by a local authority, see how you get on...

  4. sorry, what?
    FAIL

    Oooh, I bet that Smarts!

    I, for one, would happily forego the "benefit" of so-called Smart Metering and actually pay that extra 7p a day just for the peace of mind that some passing twonk can't hack my energy supply at my meter.

    Being a weak point well away from the supply generation side of things, I'm convinced the energy providers won't be all that fussed about trying to sort out such hacks (as long as they still get some money from the poor consumer).

    Especially after the gov forces them to spend so much of our hard-earned cash, sorry "their well deserved profits", on the metering programme.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oooh, I bet that Smarts!

      Why not hack it yourself & change the software so that it calculates an amount far below what you actually use? If the gas company ever tries to complain then you can claim no knowledge of the vandalism & rebuke them with their own marketing bullshit that the meters were supposed to be secure. Have a nice day!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This:

    "By all means let the energy companies continue to install smart meters at their own pace and cost."

    So the cost will STILL be passed onto the consumer.

    Absolute fucking con and waste of resources. I said a few years ago, the govt dare not let this fail as it would just be yet another failed project.

    The govt will do *everything* it can to carry on the roll out purely to save face.

    As these pieces of garbage are not mandatory, refuse to have one. I have...

  6. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    "... assumptions, calculations and estimates for a business case that never made sense from day one."

    Reminds me of the time when there were plans to build a maglev train between Hamburg and Berlin. The only way to meet the projected numbers of passengers would have been every resident of Hamburg travelling to Berlin at least once a week, and vice versa.

    "Just tell me the results you'd like to see, and I'll design the calculations accordingly."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The only way to meet the projected numbers of passengers would have been every resident of Hamburg travelling to Berlin at least once a week, and vice versa.

      Not far off the logic for both HS2 and Heathrow R3.

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      "Just tell me the results you'd like to see, and I'll design the calculations accordingly."

      Sounds very much like the comments my Dad used to say about clinical trials in Germany and the US for new drugs..

  7. Runty Dog

    rate hike alert

    -when this was done in the states, it was sold as a way of lowering consumer costs, increasing reliability, blah, blah, blah. Before the savings kicked in, and before all the meter readers could be laid off, the requests for rate hikes came rolling in. "Why yes", the elected representatives said, happy with the sudden increase in campaign contributions. I'd bet a couple of pints that the 'savings' will result in a rate increase for peak usage, such as when it's cold, or at night, when it's dark.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Give us all a share of 11billion

    I don't know how many energy users, but there are about 20million households in the UK. Give every household £550 to be used for future energy bills or other energy saving measures.

    I think smart meters sound suspisciously like a very useful tool for government spying agencies to have very easy access to monitor every house in the country bypassing the usual restrictions.

    It would also be very easy to add an overload/detonate feature to the power circuits if they did not like the way you vote.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nobody wants to mention...

    Nobody wants to ask why these smartmeters have an expensive and (at first sight) unnecessary remotely controllable off switch in the electricity side? I can see how that might help with reducing electricity consumption, but not in the way normally discussed in public.

  10. IT Poser

    No shocks here

    The only point I can see for having smart meters is so that the electric company can charge me the spot price instead of the average for a month. While they could be useful tools in theory, in the real world it is just another way to get more of our money. The 'smart' should be used for generation and distribution to maximize the benefits in the supply chain. The old system worked perfectly well for covering the consumer end.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No shocks here

      The only point I can see for having smart meters is so that the electric company can charge me the spot price instead of the average for a month.

      That might work for generators, it doesn't work for suppliers. What suppliers actually do (and is little understood by customers, and not at all understood by politicians) is to act as a risk manager for residential customers, providing (as far as practical) a flat rate price in a volatile market where the wholesale costs vary half hourly, with big seasonal swings, where transmission costs are allocated by peak demand, where distribution charges vary by location, time, peak demand and connection capacity, plus an overlay of government costs like the Renewables Obligation, Warm Homes Discount, Energy Company Obligation, Smart Metering, etc etc. The suppliers buy forward contracts to guarantee they have the necessary energy to sell, they hedge demand, weather, gas prices, and currencies. And if they get the forecasting and hedging wrong, they are "out of balance" in the wholesale markets, and not only do they have to pay penal prices for the extra spot capacity they have to buy, they also have all of the costs of the balancing systems thrown at them. If a supplier gets those complexities wrong, they'll find themselves losing so much money that they'll be out of business in days.

      In theory you could set up a supplier selling "spot" to consumers, and avoid some of these risks as a supplier - but then the customers take that risk, because no generator would seek to sell all their capacity on the spot market as there's too much risk. If you're buying forward capacity as a consumer, that works like a take or pay contract. if you're under your forecast then you paid for energy that you didn't use, if you're over then you could be looking at the excess being charged at £35/kWh on a winter peak, or a whole lot more.

      So do suppliers want you to pay a wholesale tracker rate? Not at all. We make money by managing wholesale market risks to a flat rate. The people who want you to be faced with either time of use tariffs (or worse still "dynamic pricing" that's a step closer to following wholesale prices) are the clowns of DECC (now BEIS) and Ofgem, because it suits their agenda of forcing customers to adapt to the system they've built, rather than building a system to deliver what customers might want.

      Another commentard make the observation that in energy markets don't appear to work, and he's right, but perhaps for the wrong reasons. Markets don't work here because government want the market to produce a specific answer they've pre-decided is the right answer - a market outcome is not what the policy makers want. However, the conclusion that if markets don't work we should re-nationalise the lot is similarly flawed, because the problems stem exactly from public sector ineptitude in policy and decision making. The market (mostly) doesn't want to pay for expensive "solutions" chosen by a climate change industry that has captured all recent governments; Government demands that you do pay for those. Until you've squared that difference, neither markets nor state ownership will produce an adequate answer.

      1. IT Poser

        Re: No shocks here

        I think we have a difference in terminology. In Pennsylvania suppliers were* further broken down into generation, transmission and distribution. The PA electric choice program gives me the option of selecting different generators but I am stuck with PJM(no complaints worth mentioning) for transmission and Duquesne Light Co(long story involving lawyers and shut-offs for DLC being not being over-paid) for distribution. The problem is that if I sign up with a non-default generator there are hidden costs that greatly increase the generator's charges. Some people have seen 400%+ increases for picking the wrong offer in the 'market'. While I can almost successfully navigate the mess grandma has no chance and can easily fall victim to Scammer Electric Supplies sales tactics.

        I am not saying there isn't a reason for smart devices in the electrical grid. What I am saying is that a smart meter on my home just makes it easier for SES to make more ill-gotten profits. If I were to install solar panels(not financially logical at the current price points of panels and local storage for my house) I would need a smart meter to account for my generation. For most customers there is absolutely no point in using the more expensive metering system.

        * After looking at my recent bill(I normally only look at the total owed for actual usage every month) it appears that breakdown was changed to customer charge, supply, transmission, and distribution. The lion's share of the bill(72% on this bill), the customer charge and distribution go to the local grid operator.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The smug git feeling

    As I watch my meter (old style) go backwards every day during daylight. Even today it generated close on 8Kw from my PV Array. So far today I've used 7Kw. Price increase? What price increase?

    1. inmypjs Silver badge

      Re: The smug git feeling

      OMG you generated a whole quids worth of electricity.

      Just need another 3.3 million solar arrays like yours and we could get rid of Hinkley B (except their meter runs in the same direction 24 hours a day).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The smug git feeling

      Yet another smug git who doesn't understand the difference between kW and kWh; between power and energy.

    3. HieronymusBloggs Silver badge

      Re: The smug git feeling

      "today it generated close on 8Kw from my PV Array"

      Apart from the fact that the number of kW is meaningless without knowing how long it was for, where did you get the free PV array?

  12. JimboSmith Silver badge

    NIMH - Not in my house. I can afford the £7* /year so stuff having one of those. Top marks for the timing of the release of the report though. Textbook example.

    *or less.

  13. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Now thats a little worrying

    The article picture doesnt seem to show the current tariff the customer is being charged. I've been hoping to use a pi-zero and camera and ocr to read the tariff from the smart meter screen (I've seem in on a few meters) in the hope of actually being able to use the tariff as part of the home energy management system these things should have had in mind from the start!

  14. David M

    Two reasons

    I thought there were only two reasons for having smart meters: 1. so all the meter readers can be sacked, and 2. remote 'off' switch for when the subscriber gets behind on payments, and to temporarily disconnect people during periods of peak demand when it turns out that we didn't build enough power stations.

    1. Gerry 3

      Re: Two reasons

      Close, but not quite right. Yes, remote disconnection will be used to give you your own private power cut when it's cold and dark and we find we really do need all the power stations the bean counters said we it was cheaper not to build.

      However, there won't be any saving on meter readers (which would have been minute anyway, how much does it cost for a two-minute minimum wage visit every year or two compared to the £400 cost of installing smart meters?). There will still have to be periodic 'safety' visits (translation: to make sure you're not bypassing the meters to get free energy).

      The real second reason is price hikes and Confusion Marketing. You'll have to pay more for an Uninterruptable Tariff to stop the Smart Meter cutting you off when there's not enough juice to go round, and you'll have to pay more per kWh if you use lightbulbs after dark, or don't cook Sunday lunch at 2am while you do the washing and tumble drying.

      Dumb People have Smart Meters. Smart People have Dumb Meters.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Two reasons

        "Dumb People have Smart Meters. Smart People have Dumb Meters."

        I like that line so much I'm stealing it!

        *Slides a frothy pint down the bar to you in gratitude*

        1. Fizzle
          Pint

          Re: Two reasons

          I'll drink to that too!

          Great line.

          1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: Two reasons

            I'll drink to that too!

            Hic, haec, hoc!

            1. Ralph Online

              Re: Two reasons

              Huius, Huius, Huius, Huic, Huic, Huic, Hunc, Hanc, Hoc.... and that's the lot from me!

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

        3. Gerry 3
          Happy

          Re: Two reasons

          Thanks !

          Feel free to use that strapline as often as possible. The more people that become aware of the Smart Meter Scam, the better.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You do know the 'Smart' meters are part of Theresa 'Orwell' May's terrorist prevention plan.

    Or is that spying on the people plan, I get all confused...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What exactly can I do to reduce my gas and electric bills that I don't already do?

    Can't turn the fridge off.

    Not willing to sit in the dark.

    When it's cold enough and I mean really cold (I'm the type of person who will sit wrapped in a blanket with a jumper on much to the annoyance of the cat) I will turn the heating on.

    I could sit and stare at a fancy screen or app showing me my usage all day long but there is literally nothing I can do about it.

    Who are these people that can save 11p a day? I don't know anyone that leaves the heating on when they go out or the lights on unless it's for security. If you do leave the heating on and go out, you're out so there is really nothing you can do about it (if anyone mentions IoT then you don't understand security and might as well leave your front door open while you're at it)

    These smart meters are not for saving money for consumers but for saving costs for the companies and why we taxpayers have to pay for that is one big joke. When the electricity starts getting rationed because none of the utility companies have invested in capacity upgrades then we'll all see why they were installed in the first place.

    Also if someone could explain to me how privatisation works that would be grand as I see the industry privatised, tax payer subsidised and tax payer pays for expansion. (e.g. HS2, Nuclear Power plants) while a company takes a nice big profit with no benefit for the tax payer or consumer.

    1. 2+2=5 Silver badge
      Joke

      > Not willing to sit in the dark.

      I mis-read that and thought: "well, sitting in the bathroom in the dark isn't so bad."

    2. Gerry 3

      Shut Those Shop Doors !

      Most shops seem to leave all their lights on whether they're needed or not, as well as trying to heat or cool the entire High Street because they leave their doors wide open in all weathers. Smart meters won't make a jot of difference here, it's their customers that have to foot the increased energy bills.

      It would cost virtually nothing to pass a simple law banning heating or cooling of retail premises when the doors are left open. That would save far more energy than smart meters ever will.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      All the suppliers want is for you to use one

      Ask your energy supplier what is a typical uncertainty of measurement for one of their smart meters, refer to ISO/IEC Guide 98 . Every measurement has uncertainty. It also relates to the individual meter, smart or non smart. After all if you use a rule guaranteed accurate at 20 degrees C. It does not mean that your measurement made at 20 degrees C is correct, there are other factors to take into account. If you wish to explore this topic further go here:

      https://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/gcos/documents/gruanmanuals/UK_NPL/mgpg11.pdf

      It is not the same as accuracy and will send the recipients of any enquiry into orbit since most of them will have never heard of it and it requires quite a high level of maths to understand the calculations fully. Since most these meters use some form of wireless communication with the Energy Co the uncertainties may be very large. If they use mobile band methods, GCHQ has indicated that the mobile band relying on legacy protocols are vulnerable to evil doers. All I’ve be able to ascertain is that if these meters go above 50% of their planned accuracy they are rejected so I’ve been told the remaining 50% of the accuracy band is to take into account the individual uncertainties. Go for one if you wish, after all you are paying for them via your standing charge.

      But this gent will be steering clear of these meters!

  17. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    I admire the staff who produced this report.

    They must have been working very hard to find reasons to keep the projected savings positive.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Privatisation and savings

    Hahhahhhhhhhhaaaaaahhaaaaaaaaaaaahhaaaa snort!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some people get sick after smart meters are installed in their homes or even on the walls outside them. The industrial associations and the government agencies deny the truth of that but there is evidence that the electromagnetic impulses do negatively affect some people.

    Maybe I'm a worrywart, or maybe just a wonderwart. In either case or both I wonder if the strength and nature of the pulse can be changed from a water meter or electric meter agency or from someplace else. I've read about EMI weapons that can alter people's emotions and thinking and do physical harm. I've also read about how The Powers That Think They Be would like to rid the world of 90% of its humans. And I've read that this is the United Nations' Year of the Pulse. They explain that they want to celebrate peas and beans but that desire seems far removed from what they celebrated in 2015: Divine Electricity. You know who that is. So does anyone else worry and wonder?

    1. batfink

      AC - in answer to your question: No.

      And El Moderator - where's our black helicopter icon gone..? I think I've detected someone in need of one.

      1. Hey Nonny Nonny Mouse

        Well that's just rude and ignorant of you, the OP's comment clearly marks him out as a tin foil hatter and not a black helicopter crank.

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      "Some people get sick after smart meters are installed in their homes or even on the walls outside them."

      If you encounter problems like that, ring +44 1242 221491 (ext. 33847).

      Tell them that "Ronnie" told you to call and that the RMC-1138 unit in your meter needs to be recalibrated, that should solve the issue(s).

  20. Cyberhash

    I have been saving my own farts in glass bottles for the past 20 years and i can offer anyone a PAYG type contract for future gas needs, whilst saving the planet with the costs and destruction caused by recycling glass. All i need is your BANK DETAILS !!

    1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

      Better selling this as a franchise. Sell the bottles to the franchisees to fill or, obviously at extra cost, with a 'customer self-fill kit' to allow tight or high-volume customers save money on refills. Then there's the markets for customised filling pipes, portable filling equipment, sanitising products, deodorisers, IoT connected fill gauges, the Asian, Caribbean and Amazonian snake-gas imports ... blimey there's a profit in this!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I'm imagining a field full of cows plumbed into a central gas vessel...

        1. HieronymusBloggs Silver badge

          "I'm imagining a field full of cows plumbed into a central gas vessel..."

          Could be hazardous:

          http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-25922514

  21. Christian Berger Silver badge

    I could understand smart meters...

    if I was getting the data from them, and not some shady business trying to build some pseudo business model on them. I can also understand the network operator to get real time anonymised data so they can control the network, but personalised data must only be sent in very coarse aggregation. (i.e. total sum of kWh or credits per month/year)

  22. Chris1984

    Never worked

    Had them for about a year, the gas meter has only ever connected about 5 times, apparently its too far away, which means it never updates. Looks like been paying 3x too much for gas as well!

  23. dervheid

    They can stick them

    where the sun don't shine.

    Had two letters from our supplier, offering a 'free' smart meter, and requesting we make an appointment to have one fitted.

    Both have been promptly recycled.

    As will any further 'requests'

  24. Slabfondler

    British Gas installed smart meters in our home, I was not there at the time, and when I arrived home my wife showed me the new "monitor" which cannot connect to the meters. We've since changed supplier, and they keep asking me to provide meter readings, I try to get the readings of the meters themselves, and the new supplier rejects them saying they must be incorrect. WTH do I do now?

    I'll give BG some credit for spotting an issue with the electric supply to the house being a bit dodgy, that evening two fellows from the electricity supplier came to the house and fixed it.

    But to return to my issue, who do I contact if I have an issue with my meters?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      But to return to my issue, who do I contact if I have an issue with my meters?

      Your new supplier should report any concerns to the mater asset manager (likely to be British Gas). Because Ofgem and DECC botched the roll out concept, and made suppliers responsible for buying, installing and operating smart meters (instead of the regional electricity distribution company), the supplier who you are with when the smart meter is installed usually remain responsible for the asset for its whole life, even when you change supplier. Complaining directly to British Gas won't help, because their responsibility is to your current supplier, there's no ongoing contract between you and them.

      If your existing supplier won't sort it out, phone them up again, tell them you are registering a complaint (they have to record these to retain their licence to operate), and if they won't take action ask for a deadlock letter so that you can escalate to the Energy Ombudsman (if after eight weeks they haven't sorted it you don't need the deadlock letter). If it gets investigated by the Ombudsman, they can be forced to fix the problem, and regardless of outcome the supplier gets charged about £400 as a case fee. This cost, plus the much higher visibility on Ombusdman complaints tends to provoke some action.

  25. Tezfair

    natual consumption reduction

    With people switching to LED lights, TFT screens (TV etc), tablets rather than PCs there is a natural drop in consumption anyway so the actual savings with smart meters is reduced to start with.

    I brought a monitor type maybe 5 years ago. I will admit that I changed a few things around the house, mainly older florescent tube fittings as they were pretty hungry, but light bulbs were changed to led as needed.

    I know the house has a 300w load 24/7 with things like fridge / freezers, aquarium, IT stuff, heating, appliances like clocks phones etc, however i'm at a point where further savings are negligible.

    The monitor sits in a drawer now, and has been for maybe 2 years as it was costing me a fortune in AA batteries!!

    1. Alfie Noakes
      Thumb Up

      Re: natual consumption reduction

      "The monitor sits in a drawer now, and has been for maybe 2 years as it was costing me a fortune in AA batteries!!"

      ...that's a good point - I wonder if the DfBEIS factored the cost of batteries in their energy (un)savings?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: natual consumption reduction

        ...that's a good point - I wonder if the DfBEIS factored the cost of batteries in their energy (un)savings?

        Probably not. A more substantial battery problem is that the gas smart meters are mostly (if not universally) powered by a sealed battery with a life expectancy of ten years (also generally the certification life). As a sealed unit this means that the gas meters will need to be swapped out every ten years, and recalibrated, or thrown away and replaced.

        In theory the old style "classic" meters certification rules give a ten to twenty year removal and recertiifcation timescale, although in practice those can be left in use for 25 years or more and still work fine, whereas the smart meter simply stops working when the battery is dead.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sold your data soul for £11

    I doubt it will even save that much over other options but then it never was about saving money, it was about making money and collecting personal data and when it comes to that it's win/win/win and lose for the people.

  27. Archtech Silver badge

    So the benefits are...

    1. Your household electricity supply can now be controlled, or cut off, by any random person who is able to hack into the smart meter network.

    2. The supply company (and any random person who is able to hack into the smart meter network) can infer details of your lifestyle, possibly including which TV programs you watch, when you go to bed and get up, etc.

    3. The amount of electricity you are using is no longer visible on a plain, easily-read meter; instead it is held by electronic circuits about which you know nothing.

    4. The supply companies can sack large numbers of low-skilled employees who have previously been earning a small but decent living from doing a socially useful job.

    5. PROFIT!!!!!! (Not for you, obviously).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So the benefits are...

      2. The supply company (and any random person who is able to hack into the smart meter network) can infer details of your lifestyle, possibly including which TV programs you watch..

      What, you mean like this?

      And I quote

      '..The utility company collected the information from Smart meters which come with a smart energy monitor, which gives households a better understanding of their energy use by showing them exactly what energy they are using on entertainment devices.'

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So the benefits are...

      You are paying for these meters by means of a surcharge on your bill, my suoolier has re-introduced the standing charge. I doubt when we get to 2020 [the EU deadline], whether the surcharge will go away.

  28. Archtech Silver badge

    OWL

    I have had a nice little OWL meter for some years. I know it's not perfectly accurate, but it gives me a very good picture of how much juice we are using - 500-odd watts for a few lights and small appliances and a couple of desktop PCs; when it kicks up to 2 or more Kw that means someone is having a shower or using a major appliance. And so on.

    Frankly, it's mildly interesting for a day or two, then you just take it for granted. And there is no earhtly reason for that data to be broadcast beyond the four walls of my house. (Although of course it is, but there's no special reason for anyone to go to the trouble to listen in to it).

  29. steelpillow Silver badge

    Integrated and smart oh yes

    Just what we need, fast rollout of integrated and smart DDOS attack vectors. I know, let's combine it with the latests White Hat IoT DDOS shutdown counter-ware so the nation can black out every time someone doesn't like somebody else.

  30. Adrian Tawse

    What!

    £11bn for 53M users! That is enough to pay all their energy bills for many years. This is the economics of the mad house.

    1. Archtech Silver badge

      Re: What!

      No, to be more exact it is the economics of the ruling elite that no longer feels it needs to bother camouflaging its methods of sucking out ordinary people's last remaining wealth.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Smart meter benefits even crappier than originally thought

    Just ask them their typical uncertainty of measurement figures for these meters as per ISO/IEC 98. that will send someone into orbit [see articles 9 to 11 in the Directive]. You need to ask for the uncertainty of measurement for these meters in the smart and analogue modes. That for the smart meter should be greater than that for the meter in the analogue mode. As the average person has no knowledge of uncertainty of measurement and gets it muddled up with accuracy be prepared to be sent on a pass the parcel exercise or be fed a load of bunk-ham. The government is embracing the EU Directive prior to Brexit and readers may find the data here of interest.

    http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/qid=1403084595595&uri=COM:2014:356:FIN

    The Energy Efficiency Directive can obtained here:

    http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2012:315:0001:0056:en:PDF

  32. Spanners Silver badge

    When I retire

    One day, SNP/Brexit/.Global warming/etc permitting, I would like to go back to Orkney. Bizarrely, there are PV arrays on some houses but there are wind turbines everywhere and it is the only county in the UK to be "power neutral" and they are still building them.

    I imagine that they use more than they generate at times and less at others. I never heard anyone whining about them - certainly none of my relatives or friends. I remember that, before I left, it was often outsiders who tried to persuade us that these things were nasty. Happily, they seem to have failed. Renewables are cheaper than fossil fuels - at least when your renewable is doing 25mph on a "calm" day and 90 on a stormy one!

    I want my smart meter to show how much I am putting *into* the grid, not taking from it. It will still be very much isolated from the rest of the network...

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