back to article Information on smart meters? Yep. They're great. That works, right? – UK.gov

The UK government has insisted it is effectively communicating the benefits of its controversial smart meter programme – despite MPs having identified a "lack of clarity" over the "problem" the scheme is trying to solve. In its response to the committee’s “Evidence Check” report on smart meters in September, the government …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

    I dont have a smart meter.

    Having one will not make me need to switch on the lights less

    Having one wont make me drink less hot beverages

    having one wont help me need the heating less

    Having one will not make my kids switch off the lights or use their consoles / laptops / phones less

    Please tell me the benefits to ME, i know the power companies can sack the meter readers

    1. Dominion

      Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

      The benefit to ME is paying an accurate bill monthly (or quarterly) without having to dick around taking and submitting readings myself. Once everyone has smart meters the con trick by the energy companies to give the best rates to fixed monthly payment tariffs is gone. I object to paying estimated bills, or a fixed amount based on a forecast that is invariably inflated when the technology to pay accurately based on actual usage is available.

      Anyone know how much energy companies have got banked from people that have overpaid?

      1. Spacedinvader

        Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

        A beeeeeelion apparently;

        http://www.cityam.com/254997/energy-suppliers-owe-homeowners-1bn-overpaid-gas-and

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

          Having a meter that provides a reading remotely is one thing; someone else having remote control over my supply via a 'Smart' meter is not.

          Remember folks - they aren't compulsory!

          1. F0rdPrefect
            Black Helicopters

            Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

            "Remember folks - they aren't compulsory!"

            Yet!

      2. Lee D Silver badge

        Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

        Phone them up, demand a credit on your next bill, and to reduce the estimate because it's obviously wrong. Them accurately billing has nothing to do with smart meters.

        If anything, it's so they can detect unmetered usage. That costs them a lot, and it's still possible by just cutting a wire to tap into anything you like, electricity-wise. Illegal, yes, but still possible. With smart meters, if their numbers on your line don't tally 24 hours a day, they know there's something up and they could even send data down the lines to see if you're pulling from somewhere you shouldn't be.

        And smart meters aren't currently accurately billing anyway (a lot are locked into the original supplier and can't move suppliers, which means they don't read at all any more and many of the so-called smart meters are just current-reading clamps, not actual meters), plus the savings on one visit a year that would be required to keep your estimate accurate just aren't enough to justify an always-on data connection.

        Smart meters are there to provide even more complex billing systems which you can then practically "verify" if you can be bothered, but they can also just charge you 2.5% extra between 4.14 and 5.47am at any point they want, write it in the T&Cs, update your billing algorithm and blam, you're gonna pay it. Whereas at the moment they **were** until very recently being forced to simplify billing and get you off those kinds of plans onto a flat rate (that "simpler bills" plan is now dead in the water, by the way). This way they can charge a fortune for the expensive peak usage in the future just with a software update, that's accurate to the second, not to the once-a-year-visit.

        Smart meters aren't there to help you. They are there to change the terms and conditions in the future. Software updateable on an always-on device, there's a reason for that. And then they can start introducing the devices that contain the REAL reason - which is to start cutting you off in peak periods and separating out the circuits into "necessary (1A max)" and "optional and we can cut it off (the rest of your 100A)".

        Because that saves a BUCKET load of money as you can just turn off peak demand, basically, and then blame the customer. Oh, and you'll have a "Premium" account available that doesn't cut you off but costs 10 times as much. Again, software-updateable. And - probably the biggest reason for them wanting actual CONTROL of your usage? So they can cut you off the second you don't pay without needing to send anyone around. They can literally just kill the circuit remotely and, if it doesn't get negotiation over the line with your smart meter, assume that it shouldn't be supplying power. Then you can't even bypass the meter.

        Today - "energy meter", a £20 device from Maplin's.

        Tomorrow - "per-second accuracy billing meter", to introduce a myriad of complex tariffs for users that they can't do with conventional meters (remember Economy 7 which has TWO numbers on the meter, etc.? This can provide accurate power usage information down to the second for the entire customer history).

        The day after - an in-circuit upgrade "to provide a better service".

        The day after that - cut you off when the football is on because everyone else has a cup of tea and they don't have enough nuclear running any more to cope with it. By the way, you're still paying for everything you do use.

        The day after that - you don't like the above and want to move companies? No problem. Click. You're without power.

        1. Dominion

          Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

          I can't ring up and demand a credit, because I refuse to sign up to a fixed monthly payment - so I'm never in credit, but by doing so I'm forced to pay higher tariffs. This fake market will be one of the first things to get smashed up when I'm put in charge around here.....

        2. Ray Merrall

          Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

          You can certainly phone up and demand a refund, you can even request a reduction in your payments. But whether you get them or not is another matter. If you can get someone at the company who actually gives a damn or is getting hassled about the number of calls they are not taking, or the time the calls they are on, and they can give you the time to try and sort your account out, you'll be extremely lucky.

          Next, the requested reduction, if the CSR does put the change into the system, the system will analyse it, if it meets the requirements (and it won't) your monthly charges will be reduced, what normally happens is that the system will increase your monthly charge and you will have to phone in again (don't bother writing or threatening to leave (the letters will be put at the bottom of a pile for another CSR to deal with) while the company is attracting plenty of other suckers in with "great" deals.)

          The voice of experience at both ends.....

      3. Phil W

        Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

        @Dominion

        Not sure why you were downvoted, but I agree with you entirely.

        I have tried and failed, to remember to regularly submit my meter readings, not to mention the fact that the gas meter being outside means going out in the cold or pissing rain to do so at this time of year. Having gas and electricity meters that eliminate the need sounds like a great idea to me. Mine is due to be installed at the weekend.

        Having a smart meter is unlikely to reduce my energy consumption. In fact, I intend to pay no attention what so ever to my smart meter, for me the whole point of it is to reduce how much I bother to look at my usage figures not increase it.

        As for concerns over my supply being turned off using the meter? Firstly, can smart meters even do that? I don't know, but even if they can I think it's far more likely to happen as a result of supplier incompetence than through a security flaw in the meter, and the probably of being cut off due to supplier incompetence already exists now.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

          @ PhilW

          > As for concerns over my supply being turned off using the meter? Firstly, can smart meters even do that?

          Oh yes.

          > I don't know, but even if they can I think it's far more likely to happen as a result of supplier incompetence than through a security flaw in the meter,

          So if you're cut off in mid-Winter during a bout of freezing weather, you'll console yourself with the thought that it was just supplier incompetence and not hackers?

          > and the probably of being cut off due to supplier incompetence already exists now.

          Not really. Because you get a chance to challenge the disconnection warrant in court. And the leccy supplier *has* to turn up and *has* to listen to what you say. With remote disconnection you have to convince the call centre droid that what the screen in front of them is saying is wrong. What odds do you give yourself on that?

          1. leexgx

            Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

            only the prepaid smart meters will have remote cut off

            like utilita witch can be used in prepay and monthly payment, they are extremely useful in rented houses or House Multiple Occupation (HMO), with say 6 people in renting as you can easy switch over to new renters or remotely turn off the gas and leccy when they fail to pay the rent,, you just change the password , so they cant topup the account online, so when they run out of emergency credit the meter cuts off (or set account to not renting witch turns off the meter right away)

            1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

              Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

              like utilita witch...

              What kind of witch is Utilita? A Wicked Witch or a Good Witch?

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

            "Not really. Because you get a chance to challenge the disconnection warrant in court. And the leccy supplier *has* to turn up and *has* to listen to what you say. With remote disconnection you have to convince the call centre droid that what the screen in front of them is saying is wrong. What odds do you give yourself on that?"

            Unless I'm mistaken, there's no change in the processes and legal steps involved in a disconnection. The only difference is they don't need access to turn it off. The supplier cannot simply turn off your gas or electricity just because your DD failed to complete this month.

      4. PrivateCitizen

        Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

        The benefit to ME is paying an accurate bill monthly (or quarterly) without having to dick around taking and submitting readings myself.

        So for me, the dicking around submitting readings adds up to about 5 minutes, once a quarter so a smart meter will save ME about 20 minutes a year. Not a lot and potentially wasted by the time I spend reading articles about them.

        More importantly, the accuracy problem remains. If I dont check myself, or have some way of verifying, how would I know the power company isnt simply making up the bill - or a mischievous script kiddie has pwnd the system to rise and lower bills at random?

        If I have a smart meter that I have to check (or even adjust) then a tiny bit of effort will definitely wipe out any value it has offered.

        1. Phil W

          Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

          @PrivateCitizen

          In regards to accuracy, from what I've seen smart meters (or at least the part of them that goes inline with the incoming supply, not the fancy wirelessly connected gadget) still have a cumulative unit read out, just like a conventional meter.

          Have you any reason to believe that this function on a smart meter is any less accurate than that of a conventional meter? Unless you do, you can check the readout on the meter just like you do now.

          If you do believe that the cumulative read out on the inline element of a smart meter is in some way inaccurate or unreliable, then I would raise the question how do you know that the read out on your conventional meter is accurate?

          1. PrivateCitizen

            Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

            @Phil W

            Have you any reason to believe that this function on a smart meter is any less accurate than that of a conventional meter?

            No but that wasnt the real point. I suspect the read out on the smart meter will be just as accurate as the read out on the conventional meter. However having to regularly check this defeats the time saving the OP claimed.

            However there is a side issue - the smart meter can be remotely configured to change the charging rate or the flow measurements etc. This means a malicious party can change things in a way that cant be done with a conventional meter.

      5. IsJustabloke Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

        "The benefit to ME is paying an accurate bill monthly (or quarterly) without having to dick around taking and submitting readings myself."

        Then you should get one....

        I on the other hand have absolutely no problem, submitting my meter readings, my supplier sends me a text, I pop outside, open the cabinet, tap the number into an app on my phone and bosh it's done.... takes me all of 90 seconds, I normally do it as I'm gonna be walking passed them anyway.

        Of course I do appreciate that your time is considerably more valuable than mine

        1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

          "

          I on the other hand have absolutely no problem, submitting my meter readings, my supplier sends me a text, I pop outside, open the cabinet, tap the number into an app on my phone and bosh it's done.... takes me all of 90 seconds,

          "

          But after doing that you will still get the same inaccurate bill each month, with a sudden change in the amount after you are £100's in credit or debit.

          I would far prefer to pay for the exact amount I have used at the end of each month. I think a real-time billing will cause many people to use less. If a person knows that a reduction in energy usage right now will result in a lower bill at the end of the month and so more beer-money, it will have a far greater effect than the thought that reducing average usage over the whole of the year will result in a lower fixed monthly outlay the following year. At present I can leave an electric heater on all night this week and I will not be paying a penny more until next March at the earliest.

          Although I have no idea whether a smart meter would be used to provide real-time billing. Probably not.

          1. Blotto Bronze badge

            Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

            @Cynic_999

            some people just don't get it do they?

            i like to spread my bills over the year, paying the same amount each month regardless, in winter i use more, in summer i use less, overall i pay the same averaged over a year. not knowing how much i will need to pay each month in winter does not help when on a budget, knowing i've likely got it covered from summer or will catch up next summer does help.

            just how is a realtime bill any more accurate than me supplying a reading every month? i assume they won't invoice me daily and take the money out by dd daily or overly frequently, they will likely bill me monthly or quarterly as they currently do, the only change being i won't need to submit a reading? if so i really don't think its worth x billions to save a few the hassle of reading a meter. what next someone to come around and wipe your bum?

            1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

              Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

              @Blotto

              ISTM that it is you who needs your bum wiping if you cannot save during Summer to cover your Winter bills. My experience is that even if you supply your reading every month, your DD payments are only adjusted at the end of the year. As for knowing how much you are using and will be charged at the end on each month - that's exactly what the smart meter will tell you - it keeps a running display of energy usage in both kWh and £s

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

                "ISTM that it is you who needs your bum wiping if you cannot save during Summer to cover your Winter bills."

                Not in that position now, but have been in the past. It can be incredibly hard to save money for a bill 6 months or more in the future when money is tight and the kids need to be fed and clothed. Doesn't matter how good you are at budgeting, if the money is there and and "emergency" occurs, you *WILL* spend that money. If you've budgeted a fixed amount per month and have "banked" it with the gas/leccy company, you won't be tempted to use it and will find another way to solve the "emergency".

                If you've never been in that position for a prolonged period, then it can be almost impossible to imagine what it's actually like. eg see the examples provided by MPs pretending to live on benefits for a whole month and than bragging about how "it's not really that hard after all"

                And, of course, we are all human and therefore different. I see budgeting as being a bit like fight or flight. Something we are born with that's quite difficult to overcome.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

        Just found out that because we never bothered giving npower a metre reading (our fault), over the last six years they've been over-charging us by 100%. They now owe us £6000. I'm sure they've enjoyed the interest they've racked up on that.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

          "we never bothered giving npower a metre reading (our fault), over the last six years"

          I'm fairly sure there is a legal requirement that your supplier must physically inspect the meter every so often, 2-3 years or so. At some point well before those 6 years were up, nPower should have been in contact with you to *insist* on seeing your meter.

      7. Missing Semicolon Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

        It's not hard. Nip outside with your phone, and photograph the meters. Come back in to the warm and enter it on the energy company's web site. It takes 5 minutes.

        On of the reasons we have stayed with Ovo is that they let you set the size of the direct debit, and give you a handy graph for estimating the correct level.

    2. I am the liquor

      Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

      A smart meter wouldn't make me use less energy either. I suspect the same goes for most Register readers. But the number of people I've seen boil a full kettle to make one cup of tea suggests that a lot of non-Reg readers don't have the same understanding of where energy goes as us speccy techie types. Maybe they could do with a helping hand.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

        "But the number of people I've seen boil a full kettle to make one cup of tea"

        Ah, I see you've met my wife.

        I remind her every now and than that the kettle will boil much faster if she puts in just the needed amount of water. A day or three later and that's all forgotten and it's back to the 60 year old habit of putting in "enough to cover the element" like in the old style kettles.

    3. MR J

      Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

      It should help you when you pick what provider to switch to.

      If you never change providers, usage patterns, or only have a single rate type of billing system then no change would be had.

      The benefits COULD happen for everyone who gets a reduced rate during non-peak usage, or those who might even pay rates for perhaps weekdays, weekends, evenings, mornings and that sort of shiznizzle. If you did have one and it had backlighting then you might need to switch on the lights less, but for most people it will make little to no difference.

      If the UK starts having power outages then it will be nice that we might have some form of digital log stating when power dips and spikes happened (thus killing power regulators in computers, televisions, or even the motors(starting caps) in white goods).

      Until I can read the data from my home then these "S.M.A.R.T." Meters just seem like a easy way of getting rid of meter readers. Cant wait for people to start pairing them together to cheat the lekky man.

      Two homes combining two supplies (where you pay a daily standing rate) could get you about a 25% discount on electricity bills, and the full amount would get paid... Is it theft?

    4. veti Silver badge

      Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

      Benefits:

      1. When you move out of your house, you can be billed up to the day you move out. When you move into a new house, you can be billed from the day you move in.

      2. Have you ever had to answer the door to a meter reader? Not any more, you won't.

      3. If you do get disconnected, you can be reconnected at half an hour's notice. Not half a day's notice.

      4. If you do get disconnected, it'll cost you maybe a fiver to get reconnected, not ten times that amount for a callout.

      5. When your consumption suddenly goes through the roof, you'll be able to figure out when it happened and that might tell you what caused it. For instance, we had a customer this month who wanted to know why her consumption had trebled. I was able to point to the precise day it happened. After a bit of thought, she realised it was the day she turned the spa pool on.

      The bottom line is, with smart meters you and everyone else will be billed accurately, for the power you actually use. You wouldn't believe the guesswork, fudging and compromises that go into reconciliation without them.

      1. Red Bren

        Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

        @veti

        I used to work for a utility, so consider myself to have some knowledge of this, although it may be out of date now.

        1. If you tell your supplier in advance of your move and take meter readings on the day you move, you can already do this. It was a regulatory requirement for suppliers to request meter readings when they become aware of a Change of Occupancy (COO) but most home movers don't tell them until after the event. Smart meters won't make a difference if no one tells the supplier of the change.

        2. Many homes have meters located on the outside wall, so don't have to answer the door to a meter reader. There was also a health and safety requirement that meters were visually inspected at regular intervals. Smart meters won't change that.

        3. Speedy reconnection means speedy disconnection in the first place. If your supplier wants to disconnect you, they have to obtain a warrant to enter your premises to do it. This takes time and money (hence the swingeing reconnection fees) so suppliers only use it as a last resort. If they can do it at a click of a mouse, then it will become far more common, and you can bet the reconnection fees won't get any lower.

        4. As I said in point 3, you can bet the reconnection fee won't get any lower - they have you over a barrel as you can't just go to another supplier and ask them to connect you immediately, even if the reason for disconnection has been resolved.

        5. I will concede that a sudden spike or change in consumption would be easier to pinpoint, but it still wasn't highlighted to the customer until she queried her bill, which could have been many (expensive) months after the the change. Now if you told me that the unusual consumption pattern triggered an alert on the system, prompting you to call her to check if there was a reason for the change, she could have taken action to put it right and save money. That would be a consumer benefit.

        "The bottom line is, with smart meters you and everyone else will be billed accurately, for the power you actually use. You wouldn't believe the guesswork, fudging and compromises that go into reconciliation without them."

        Actually, I would but, but this is a benefit for the industry, not the consumer, and there are other factors that cause inaccurate bills, that a smart meter won't fix, such as crossed MPANs.

    5. highpriest

      Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

      This is where I'm confused too. I submit exact meter readings each month. I have had no estimated bills for over 10 years. I also have one of those digital display doodahs (one of those British Gas wireless things) that tell me exactly how much energy I'm consuming in real-time (electricity only) and how much the running total is for the day/week/month.

      Apart from the fact that a smart meter would automatically submit my meter readings (as opposed to me taking the reading once a month and submitting it using an app, all of which takes < 5 minutes), I don't see any advantage to this. Not for me anyway.

      OK, the thing can take a reading every few minutes if you so wish, giving you a much more granular view of your energy consumption and trends, but that's about it really. Oh, it would include Gas as well (I think) so that's a plus.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dear Mrs May

    Heed these words well..

    Flogging

    A

    Dead

    Horse.

    Just ditch the fucking things. The only "people" to benefit will be shareholders.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Dear Mrs May

      It is not dead. For her.

      A remote switch to turn off your lights the moment the goons are breaking down your door is a useful facility in a police state. So do not expect her to get her mitts of such facility voluntarily, you will have to remove them with power tools.

      1. veti Silver badge

        Re: Dear Mrs May

        Oh, for fuck's sake...

        "A remote switch to turn off your lights the moment the goons are breaking down your door" is not nearly as useful as what they have right now, which is a switch right there on the site that does the same thing. Doing it remotely just adds a wholly unnecessary layer of communication/coordination to fuck up.

        Seriously, the level of paranoia around smart meters is un fucking believable. People seem to check their brains at the door in these threads.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: Dear Mrs May

          Right now there are only two physically possible methods to remove power from a house:

          A) Gain physical access to the mains supply supply tails at the meter (inside the property) at the tap (underground or pole-mounted), and cut them while live. Makes a big bang if done quickly, very expensive to repair.

          B) Open the substation contactor, removing power from a street or more. Safer, hard to reverse as they aren't designed to do this often.

          So, the police and GCHQ simply do not have the physical capability to disconnect power from a given house without significant cost, danger to themselves, lots of preparation and very large side effects.

          Smart meters give them the ability to cut any specific supply at little notice, at very low cost, with no danger and very few side effects.

          They also give miscreants that same ability.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Dear Mrs May

          "Seriously, the level of paranoia around smart meters is un fucking believable. People seem to check their brains at the door in these threads."

          The same can be said for the ministers and civil servants behind this scheme too, From what I recall, the UK wasn't all that enthusiastic about this project when the EU kicked it off, hence being well behind schedule in even starting the roll-out. With Brexit looming large, you'd expect the UK government to be stalling a bit until there's no longer an EU requirement to continue with this expensive white elephant. And yet it's all steaming along at full tilt. You'd almost think that either they can't stop once they've started, or they found some other reasons to keep going.

      2. leexgx

        Re: Dear Mrs May

        remote switch off is only on Prepay smart meters like utilita

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: Dear Mrs May

          They say that, yet the very expensive 100A contactor is inside nearly all of them.

          One wonders why. Well, one wonders which reason they'll use.

        2. SImon Hobson Silver badge

          Re: Dear Mrs May

          remote switch off is only on Prepay smart meters like utilita

          AIUI it's part of the spec for all meters to be switchable between pre-pay and contract, and for all meters to have the remote cutoff.

          I would say that the ONLY benefit is that switching between pre-pay and contract is easily done 9and remote) - so in theory it should be less expensive when (say) you rent a flat and find that it has a pre-pay meter, to get that switched to contract (assuming you have a half-decent credit record). As it stands now, unless you plan to be there for a while, I imagine the cost of having the meter replaced will more than wipe out any potential savings.

          The flip side is, of course, that it's going to be equally easy for the supplier to say "Oops, you're 30 seconds late with your payment, we're switching you to pre-pay" CLICK

          1. Julz

            Re: Dear Mrs May

            From the design spec for all 2 phase smart meters:

            "For Operational purposes the meter shall be:

            Capable of sustaining a continuous current of 120A for long periods;

            Fitted with an internal main Load Switch suitable for prepayment and load limiting purposes

            rated to make on fault current and safely break load currents of up to 120A."

    2. alain williams Silver badge

      Re: Dear Mrs May

      The only "people" to benefit will be shareholders.

      How long before the snooper's charter will be amended to let the food standard's agency see how much 'leccy we are using on a minute by minute basis ? Hmmm: I suppose they could check that I am cooking the xmas turkey properly.

      1. edge_e
        Big Brother

        Re: Dear Mrs May

        Dear Chairman May

        FTFY

  3. Kevin Johnston

    Gosh, but it is sooooo useful

    We have just moved and the new house has a smart meter and a wonderful monitor showing how excessive we are being with our energy usage..

    Wow, so helpful...

    Who would have thought that turning on a kettle to make a cup of tea was so damaging to the world? It took less than a week before we unplugged the stupid thing and stuck it in a drawer. How dumb does someone have to be to think this is meaningful information?

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: Gosh, but it is sooooo useful

      To be fair, I have a plug in monitor, and it is useful. True, I don't boil the kettle less, or turn the oil-fired heating off, but it's a useful visual reminder if something invisible (electric fire in the office?) has been left on, as the expected 'background' reading of about 500w shows as 2.5kW - so, useful, but fairly limited.

      Best buy was one of those plug-in meters that monitors individual appliances to show just how much they are using. Stand-by can be quite expensive over time!

      But as far as smart meters go, I'm sure my neighbours in the hills with a large attic don't want to have to explain to the plods why they're using 20kW of lighting 24/7

      1. BongoJoe

        Re: Gosh, but it is sooooo useful

        But as far as smart meters go, I'm sure my neighbours in the hills with a large attic don't want to have to explain to the plods why they're using 20kW of lighting

        Which is why Yr Ploddiau have helicopters...

    2. Rimpel
      Coat

      Re: Gosh, but it is sooooo useful

      Sorry - why did you stick your kettle in a drawer?

  4. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Windows

    Umm....

    The Government worked in partnership with GCHQ on its blog21 on smart metering infrastructure"

    This inspires as much confidence as seeing two men in black leather coats doing a beeline towards your front door at around 06:00 in the morning, while a largish Daimler-Benz is idling on the kerb.

    What exactly is going on here?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Umm....

      I'm not sure if it was the same source but I read an interesting article from GCHQ on the security mechanisms built into the Smart Meter Infrastructure and it's an interesting read with a number of common sense checks built into it.

      I'm still not getting a smart meter but the security side of it does seem to have been thought through a lot better than my supplier was willing to admit/divulge.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Umm....

      Smart meters are a great, and yet another, way to monitor the masses. By watching your consumption they can tell whether you're in our out, bathing, showering, watching TV*, hoovering, sitting idly in the dark...

      THIS is why GCHQ are involved. Not enough is made of this aspect of smart metering.

      And of course the bloody govt. have to make up stuff and obfuscate when they're asked why they're so fond of smart meters. They can't exactly say, "it's another feed into the database we keep on everyone. We already know when and who they communicate with, which web sites they visit, when they go shopping and what they buy, we also need to know what else they're doing... in their houses... when the doors are shut..."

      Watching your energy consumption at this level of granularity can reveal a massive amount about your current and past activities.

      *They can even tell which channel you're watching, the varying consumption of your TV as it adjusts the screen backlighting creates a unique signature they can match against channels broadcasting at the time.

      1. AndrewDu

        Re: Umm....

        "They can even tell which channel you're watching,"

        No need to use the Smart Meter for that, the Smart TV is already sending back that information. Plus anything you say in the room it's in, of course...

      2. IsJustabloke Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Umm....

        @Ac

        How do you make it through a single day?

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Umm....

          "How do you make it through a single day?"

          Tinfoil is relatively cheap when bought in bulk direct from the manufacturer.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Umm....

        "They can even tell which channel you're watching,"

        No they can't. Well not if you basically record everything to your PVR and watch it days or weeks later at times that suit you.

        Hmmm. Now that I think about it, perhaps they can. That webcam on the connectyed TV will broadcast the details back to the mothership... but mine isn't connected up so it can't.

        Since I've had a Solar PV (1.8Kw) array installed I monitor my consumption and generation quite keenly. Even at this time of year the old style meter runs backwards during the daylight even if it is pretty cloudy.

        My guestimation is that my electricty bill over a year will be close to zero if not less than zero.(ie they pay me). There really is no incentive for me to install a 'smart meter'.

        1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          Re: Umm....

          "

          Since I've had a Solar PV (1.8Kw) array installed I monitor my consumption and generation quite keenly. Even at this time of year the old style meter runs backwards during the daylight even if it is pretty cloudy.

          "

          A 1.8kW solar panel in the UK will generate about 1700kWh per year (if you are lucky)

          (source http://www.theecoexperts.co.uk/how-much-electricity-does-average-solar-panel-system-generate)

          1700kWh of electricity bought from a supplier will cost about £250 in my area

          (source - my electricity bill)

          A 1.8kW PV panel will cost about £3000

          (source http://www.theecoexperts.co.uk/2kw-solar-panel-system-costs)

          Therefore you might break even after 12 years. Assuming the PV panel is still functioning at close to full power (unlikely).

          Of course there may be additional benefits in government subsidies, but you cannot rely on the taxpayer being milked to give you some free energy forever. If electricity costs rise (almost certain), you will break even a bit sooner. But there are also interest charges if you are paying for the panels in instalments.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Umm....

            Of course there may be additional benefits in government subsidies, but you cannot rely on the taxpayer being milked to give you some free energy forever.

            Well, when you install a qualifying PV array, the "feed in tariff" is paid for twenty five years, with an inflationary uplift every year. The current (and still unmerited) subsidies give about a 5% rate of return, but early installations got up to 33p kWh, and through 2014-2015 the rate of return was about 20% (hence all the foot in the door sales, and offers of "free" PV.

            The circa £6bn quid wasted on PV in this country has of course been added to everybody else's electricity bills, as will be done with the billions on smart meters. I was at an energy user's working group yesterday - everybody there agreed that smart meters were a waste of time and money, but as always, the idiots of Westminster won't admit they are wrong. And it isn't like they're paying.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Umm....

              'Well, when you install a qualifying PV array, the "feed in tariff" is paid for twenty five years, with an inflationary uplift every year.'

              Unless it becomes politically expedient to cut it. Don't base your own budget on what governments offer. They're not to be trusted, especially beyond a general election.

      4. veti Silver badge

        Re: Umm....

        I don't know who you think you are, but who do you think gives a flying fuck about when you're in the shower or boiling the kettle?

        And how do you think they would tell the difference between those two things? Assuming you're not dumb enough to buy an IoT-enabled kettle, of course.

        And given that the meter only reports data daily, not constantly, the info isn't real-time anyway.

        Get over yourself already. Nobody cares that much about your movements.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Umm....

          "Nobody cares that much about your movements."

          His doctor might care.

      5. Scott 53
        Thumb Down

        Re: Umm....

        "*They can even tell which channel you're watching, the varying consumption of your TV as it adjusts the screen backlighting creates a unique signature they can match against channels broadcasting at the time."

        Er, no. The meter sends a read every 30 minutes, not in real time, so all the spooks can tell is that you used 0.5kW h in a 30 minute period.

  5. barstewardsquad
    Stop

    Energy supplier resonse

    I received an email from my supplier today in response to a query after they said my old meter was being phased out, and implied a new new smart meter was the only available option.

    <snip>

    There is no legal obligation for an individual to have Smart Meters fitted, this lies with the supplier.

    All energy companies are tasked with fitting as many Smart Meters as possible by 2020.

    I have made a not on your account and you will not receive any further correspondence regarding Smart Meters.

    </snip>

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: Energy supplier resonse

      "I have made a not on your account and you will not receive any further correspondence regarding Smart Meters."

      Which is bullshit, because I got told the same thing and they still sent me another email last month asking me to 'choose the best time' for my new meter to be fitted.

      This time I just put it straight in the bin.

      1. Red Bren
        Joke

        Re: Energy supplier resonse

        "they still sent me another email last month asking me to 'choose the best time' for my new meter to be fitted.

        This time I just put it straight in the bin."

        Did you print it out so you could throw it away?

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: Energy supplier resonse

          [I just fucking *knew* someone would pick me up on that, but then it is El Reg :)]

          I refuse to use the word 'Trash', although that is what the folder is actually named.

          It's a bin. It might be a 'digital' bin, but it's still a bin.

          1. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Energy supplier resonse

            "I refuse to use the word 'Trash', although that is what the folder is actually named."

            Quick survey time...

            "Trash" on macOS,

            "Wastebasket" on openSUSE and Scientific Linux.

            Wastebasket is the winner on the systems I have here.

      2. IsJustabloke Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: Energy supplier resonse

        "Which is bullshit, because I got told the same thing and they still sent me another email last month asking me to 'choose the best time' for my new meter to be fitted."

        new meter <> smart meter

        I had a new meter fitted just recently because they meters have an end of Life by which they must be changed, they didn't fit a Smart Meter, they asked I said nope they fitted a standard meter.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: Energy supplier resonse

          Ah ok, in future I will specify 'Smart' meter so as to avoid confusion :)

      3. SImon Hobson Silver badge

        Re: Energy supplier resonse

        Which is bullshit, because I got told the same thing and they still sent me another email last month asking me to 'choose the best time' for my new meter to be fitted.

        In which case, the correct response is a complaint that they are misusing your personal data and hence committing a breach of the data protection regulations. If you have explicitly told them not to use your data for that purpose, it becomes an offence if they carry on.

        So there's another avenue to attack these things. Tell our suppliers we don't want one and not to ask again - then make a complaint when they ignore that request. Shouldn't take too many complaints for the ICO to spot a pattern and issue "guidance" to the industry.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Energy supplier resonse

      I had BG try to offer it. Once. Before I fired them (for a different reason).

      I told them that I have participated in the consultations, etc early on and I know all the REAL reasons for fitting them so they can take it and politely install it where sun does not shine.

      They did not bother me after that (until I fired them).

    3. You aint sin me, roit
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: Energy supplier resonse

      When I was with eon they sent me a letter saying that they were fitting smart meters "in my area" and, as it was a legal requirement to have a smart meter fitted by 2020, I should arrange for them to do mine.

      At the time I was providing security consultancy* on a smart meter prototype project - which also provided an IoT hub (just showing how I'm prepared to prostitute myself for cash) - so I knew a fair bit about them... and decided I wouldn't accept their "offer".

      * Too secure for purpose as it turned out: they went for an insecure solution, I washed my hands of the whole project.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Energy supplier resonse

        as it was a legal requirement to have a smart meter fitted by 2020

        Well, it is for them. Only this very day British Gas Business got fined £4.5m for failure to complete the installation of AMR meters (a sort of smartish meter) for business customers, E.ON got fined IIRC £7m for the same crime months ago, and Npower are shortly to find out their fate on the same charge.

        British Gas installed 42,000 meters against a target of 43,000. So the penalty is £4.5k per meter fitted late. From the suppliers point of view, they don't want to have the blasted things, but faced with being fined millions, how would you respond in their shoes?

  6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "The government has insisted it is effectively communicating the benefits"

    I'd have thought that not communicating any benefits is being effective.

    1. Len Goddard

      Honest

      There are no benefits and the government has said nothing about them. Can't get more honest than that.

      1. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

        Re: Honest

        Len, you've got that wrong, I'm afraid.

        If there are no benefits to the user of a new product but installing and using it will result in a financial loss, then keeping quiet about this isn't being honest.

        The correct terms are "being economical with the truth" or "hiding the facts".

        Which one you choose depends on whether you want to be polite to the product's sponsor or to say what's really going on.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: Honest

          Polite? I would call them 'Slimy Bastard Snake Oil Salesmen' myself.

  7. Kyorin

    So, on the one hand you have the government urging people to switch to get the best deal, but if you have a SMART meter, in most cases it becomes a dumb meter as soon as you switch to a different supplier. Well thought out, my left foot!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      that's because

      (a) All the Smart Meters installed to date have been to different specifications

      (b) the "magic fairy dust network" called the DCC which is used for Suppliers to talk to Meters managed to limp "live" only last month (at least it went live in the correct year even if not the correct season)

      (c) the Smart Meters installed to date (at best SMETS1) are not compatible with the new "magic fairy dust network" called the DCC (which wants SMETS2 meters).

      (d) HAVE you seen what suppliers are being charged to connect to the DCC? The "reference" version of connection software being £1M. I can't remember if that was a per-annum figure because I spent the rest of the hour time flailing about on the floor.

      (e) I can't go on, it's too depressing

  8. StaudN
    FAIL

    Consistent at least...

    with Brexit.

    Planning is optional: "Smart Meter means Smart Meter" anyone?

    1. JoshOvki

      Re: Consistent at least...

      Red, white and blue Smart Meters!

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Consistent at least...

        "Red, white and blue Smart Meters!"

        Sacre Bleu!

  9. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    "has been informed by a range of UK and international evidence and seeks to drive uptake and support behaviour change to deliver maximum benefits for consumers from smart meters.”

    International evidence from countries that have entirely different regulated and unregulated energy markets. I also like the way that the canned .Gov relating to the benefits still fails to actually state what those benefits are. This is one screwed up programme - but that's DECC and Ofgem for you.

    Shhh... let's not also mention the XOSERVE gas transformation programme that is 1.5 years late and about 30m over budget.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What consumers aren't informed...

    is that (depending on supplier) your data is passed to and used by Crapita (SmartDCC) and subject to RIPA. Fortunately my energy company (OVO) were very helpful in reducing the automated meter reading to monthly over WAN and a promise that the IHD/SAN network is secure and considered my domain and data.

  11. Mark C 2

    Typo...

    "The Government worked in partnership with GCHQ on its blog21 on smart metering infrastructure"

    Small correction..

    "GCHQ intervenes to prevent catastrophically insecure UK smart meter plan"

    http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2451793/gchq-intervenes-to-prevent-catastrophically-insecure-uk-smart-meter-plan

    Minor detail I know, but...

    1. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: Typo...

      I've been posting that on here for sometime* and I'm glad that someone else has posted it too. Who would have thought that having the same key for everyone was a security risk. My 7yr old niece spotted that was a dumb thing to do, did it really need GCHQ? (although I'm glad they spotted it and did something about it)

      *http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/2/2016/11/01/smart_meter_rollout_delayed_iagaini_and_none_of_that_11bn_is_refunded/#c_3016441

      http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2016/08/17/smart_meters_delayed_again/#c_2947691

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Smart Meters will save lives...

    ...every year dozens of people are killed or severely disabled in the UK attempting to bypass conventional meters to 'extract' electricity - getting your power for free will be much safer with Smart Meters.

  13. I am the liquor
    Big Brother

    ""The Government worked in partnership with GCHQ [...] to provide clear messages to the public on smart meter security,”"

    Ugh, classic political doublespeak. They didn't work with GCHQ to actually _do_ anything about security, just to "provide clear messages" on it.

    1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Yes, GCHQ are famous for their ability to provide clear messages. I can totally see why anybody would go to them for advice.

  14. Graham Anderson

    21st Century Economy7

    Smart meters will hopefully allow demand based pricing. This already happens with big business customers, but cheaper off-peak energy could encourage running washing machines and dish washers through the night.

    As to the people pointing out how easy it is for you to submit your readings, bully for you. My Mum is in her 80s, and to get the cheapest energy deal we have to provide monthly readings online. Which means I have to call her, get her to go through the not-very-easy-to-access meter cupboard and then *I* have to enter the readings online. I asked if we could get her a smart meter and we were told not yet. The leccy meter in her place and mine are both older than me.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 21st Century Economy7

      cheaper off-peak energy could encourage running washing machines and dish washers through the night.

      OK. Get yourself an E7 meter, fit your house with timers, run all your appliances at 02:00. Fine by me. But why should the rest of us have to fund a £19bn plus programme for that?

      Also, very important to note that your fixed rate tarriff is an average against your expected demand profile. Translating that through mathematics and into English, if you have off peak electricity cheaper than your flat rate tariff, you have to pay more than the flat rate for the standard or peak rate periods. As of today you need 40% of your 'leccy in the off peak period for it to be worthwhile, but as a result of distribution code change DCP228, chances are that will be 50% or greater as from April 2018. Can you really use half your power between 02:00 and 07:00?

      The other thing is that smart meters aren't about E7: in government's fanatical carbon-obsession, they expect the system to move away from predictable winter peak demand, to crunches between renewable generation and varying demand, so that the pricing jumps around unpredictably. So their ideal world is where we have a "dynamic smart tariff", and that means you and I pay the going rate on an ex-post basis. Not tariff table, little or no notice, just whatever the market decides is the going rate.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: 21st Century Economy7

        Cheap off-peak....

        Beautiful example of the falsity of this.

        We used to have a two rate meter, and put washing and dishwasher on timer for night-rate electricity. But the premium they add to the day time cost on that tarrif meant that the extra we were paying for the day time consumption was greater than the saving for the night time. So we went back to single tariff.i.e. You can only get cheap off peak electricity, which would be to everyone's advantage, if you pay significantly more for routine day time use, so there's no incentive.

        1. Graham Anderson

          Re: 21st Century Economy7

          Yes, the current E7 system is rubbish. But British Gas are already offering "free time" that isn't a traditional E7 tariff - https://www.britishgas.co.uk/products-and-services/gas-and-electricity/free-electricity-tariff.html

          We have big peaks in energy demand, and an upcoming generation crunch. If you want to dismiss any efforts to smooth demand, fine. Looking at the National Grid data, peak runs from 1600 - 2200 ish, which looks an awful lot like domestic usage to me. http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk

    2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: 21st Century Economy7

      Quote :Smart meters will hopefully allow demand based pricing. This already happens with big business customers, but cheaper off-peak energy could encourage running washing machines and dish washers through the night.

      Do that next door to me and you wont have any power at 2am or any other time of day for that matter

      Why?

      Because those things make a heck of a lot of noise sometimes... even the thump thump pause thump of a neighbours dryer woke me up at times until she was persuded to put it in the kitchen where theres a solid floor and room does'nt ajoin my place

      With all the money thats been wasted on solar/wind power and the smart meters , we could have a bigger amount of generating capacity.... and thats whats really driving smart meters... the ability to disconnect us if we start drawing too much load

      1. SkippyBing Silver badge

        Re: 21st Century Economy7

        'encourage running washing machines and dish washers through the night'

        That's fine if you live in a mansion, personally I find the thump thump thump of the wash cycle followed by the turbine like whine as the drum gets up to spin cycle speeds a bit too noisy to sleep through, what with it being just downstairs.

  15. ted frater

    I still cant have any meter!

    Others have a PV array in addition to the wires that connect them to the grid. We also have a PV array we built ourselves last year. a 3.5KV costing us some £1800, along with an "Outback power systems" inverter. we have this coupled to an alkaline "Alcad" battery bank which came ex BR signalling safety setup. In addition to our 6kva Lister SR2 gen set.It works very well and only the past 2 weeks has the gen come on a couple of times. Rest of the year were on all solar.

    In addition i need occasionally lots of power, so also have a 25kva gen set.

    needless to say i came to this isolated off grid homestead some 43yrs ago and got then a price for grid leccy. They quoted £1000 for 800 yds of 11,000V overhead to a 5kva s/p tformer.

    didnt have that money so bought a 6/1 startamatic for £100, and ran that for some 7 yrs. Moved on from then to other gen sets.

    got a price 3 yrs ago for leccy 10 kva 3p same run, £45,000!

    Buy a lot of solar panels for that! so even if we wanted a smart meter we cant have one.

    Perhaps I should ask to have one fitted see what they say!

    its nice being outside the system tho the down side im responsible for it all.

    Ted in rural

    Dorset.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: I still cant have any meter!

      "43yrs ago...quoted £1000 for 800 yds of 11,000V overhead to a 5kva s/p tformer.

      3 yrs ago for leccy 10 kva 3p same run, £45,000!"

      Sounds about right. House bought 50 years ago, 3-bed semi, detached garage, £4,000, sold a couple years ago for £190,000. Yeah, it sounds like silly money to us "oldies", but compared with what we earned back then, it's about the same.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do you trust the government and energy firms?

    During these times of austerity (a big lie in my opinion), it's amazing how the apparently cash strapped government can magic up vast sums of cash for their wheezes like HS2, Trident, the refurbishment of the House of Commons and Buckingham Palace. Presumably they are subsidising smart meters too.

    I think it's OK to be wary of anything the government seem to be over keen about, which includes the switch over to digital, the spread of broadband, CCTV, erosion of civil liberties, vaccines, space ports, robots, AI, cashless society, and now smart meters.

    Can anyone else see where this is all going?

    Don't forget you can refuse these smart meters. I'm not in the slightest surprised that the average Joe Public is blissfully aware, suckered in by the dodgy Gaz & Leccy adverts.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Do you trust the government and energy firms?

      "Can anyone else see where this is all going?"

      Yes, lack of ability to come to your own decision on a case-by-case basis.

  17. stu 4

    Just leaves the cameras and microphones then we've done Herr May

    * Deals with tesco/sainsbury/etc to access every citizens purchases and infer most of their life (number of kids, whether working (times of supermarket), whether really ill, etc, etc, etc) CHECK

    * RIPA to monitor all internet usage 24/7 of every citizen ? CHECK

    * Smart meter to monitor all citizen's power usage 24/7 ? CHECK

    Now we are about the start on our smart lighting/security law esteemed leader:

    Our device is a light, camera and microphone rolled into one that fits in the bayonet fitting found in every home of our loyal workers. Every room in the home must have one for your own security against er.. burglers.. and terrorists and stuff.. and oh yeh.. to protect the children.

    Of course in reality esteemed leader, it will enable us to extend our already world leading unaudited or controlled CCTV network into every home or place of work giving us almost complete coverage of every citizen.

    Heil May!!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No money for the genuinely sick and disabled, but billions down the drain on this rubbish. Oh well we can add that to the £250 billion wasted on PFI, £375 billion wasted bailing out feckless bankers, and £75 billion on the 'war on terror' that gave us ISIS. More neoliberal madness as the sociopaths running this mess want even more monitoring tools.

  19. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

    Hmm. I'm still looking for the "smart" bit.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Careful what you wish for

    For those people wanting to use these meters to pay for what they use as they use it..... We used to have oil fired heating. It was delivered by tanker on request. At the time, you paid for the delivery at the time as well. So big bill in April to fill the tank then May, June, July, August, September all go by with no bill, then WALLOP, £200 bill to fill up in October, another in November, maybe again in December and January. I'd much rather pay £50/month all year round regardless of what I'm using - I can budget for that and I don't have to find a big chunk of money in December when I'm paying for Christmas too. If I had to do that with leccy at the same time it would cause a real problem. And yes, of course you could save up during the year, but you need the money at the time, and there's nothing more guaranteed in life than something unexpected cropping up just when you've managed to save a few quid...

    I really cannot see any benefit to anyone now we can submit our own readings online. I have to agree that more frequent rate changes (and remote switch-off) look by far the most likely suspects in this.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Careful what you wish for

      You can't budget for bills of differing amounts throughout a year. Sounds like it's the education system that's screwed! Or your parents were inept at bringing you up.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I am freezing due to the replacement of my perfectly good gas fire with one which has a new safety feature. Use to be able to light with a match if the igniter failed. Now I have to wait for a replacement safety feature. Fully expected this. The more complex a system is, the more potential for failure.

    I was offered a smart meter and refused it for this reason. Also, my supplier admits I am a frugal user ( JSA "heat or eat" category) and there is nothing more I can switch off. I think I am smart enough. Submitting a reading is no biggie either.

    The real clincher is government consultation with those worms, the domestic spies at GCHQ. I expect it's really about how smart meters can be used to further compromise our privacy, rather than securing it.

  22. Mike Shepherd
    Meh

    "could leave the taxpayer out of pocket by £4.5bn"

    I thought these suppliers were all private companies now.

  23. Bill_Sticker

    Smart meter downside

    Increased Unit sensitivity for higher unit readings and bills - Check

    New 'Smart' unit MTBF, @7 years instead of @25 for the old type - Check

    Higher unit cost of each new meter going straight on your electric bill - Check

    Higher costs of electricity because of Carbon taxation - Check

    Can they really cut off your supply remotely? - Check

    Hey, they're new and sparkly. So why does everyone suddenly look depressed?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Smart Meters have been introduced as part of a much much bigger picture. Smart Grid!

    The Smart Grid is expected to save millions, while allowing more renewable energy sources onto the grid.

  25. This Side Up
    WTF?

    Complete and utter bilge!

    Consumer Engagement Strategy "has been informed by a range of UK and international evidence and seeks to drive uptake and support behaviour change to deliver maximum benefits for consumers from smart meters.”

    Which tells me exactly nothing. Typical post-truth politician-speak.

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