back to article Delayed, over-budget smart meters will be helpful – when Blighty enters 'Star Trek phase'

The UK government has insisted it is "confident" it will meet the new smart meter rollout date, despite the project now running four years late and £2.5bn over budget. Climate change minister Lord Duncan of Springbank told a committee of MPs that "when we move to the Star Trek phase", it will allow the "technology to be our …

  1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
    Coat

    having climate protestors glued to the side of their buildings.

    Stops them blocking the roads & airports, I suppose, but wouldn't it count as "cruel and unusual punishment"?

    1. BazzF

      I think the building will just have to put up with it.

    2. Halfmad Silver badge

      Self-inflicted.

      I do wonder what'd happen if you just left them there and didn't remove them.There seems to be an understanding that police will do so.. so why not call their bluff.

      1. PhoenixKebab
        Devil

        Only after treating them to some itching powder.

      2. Bert 1

        They have their own "release team" which they can call in when they need to leave.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          You sound particularly well informed! Hmmm....

        2. Tigra 07 Silver badge
          Devil

          RE: Bert 1

          "They have their own "release team" which they can call in when they need to leave"

          How do you call the "release team" when you've glued your hands to a bus/train/building? Do they dial with their feet, like monkeys?

        3. Kane Silver badge
          Pirate

          "release team"

          You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

      3. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
        Terminator

        Fine if they're gluing themselves to immovable objects like buildings, not so good when its Mass Public Transit.

        Or perhaps we can find out just how fast a Vegan can run alongside said vehicle...

        1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge
          Trollface

          I say carry on with normal operations. If someone's stupid enough to glue themselves to something heavy, powerful and mobile then more fool them.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            > I say carry on with normal operations. If someone's stupid enough to glue themselves to something heavy, powerful and mobile then more fool them.

            So if - purely hypothetically of course - I decided that I wanted to murder someone called Jimmy2Cows and get away with it, all I need do is glue you to the side of a train. If the police ever caught up with me then I would only have to claim that you were a climate change protester to get away with it.

            Sounds pretty BOFH-tastic!

    3. Totally not a Cylon

      I hope the protesters are using 'environmentally friendly' glue.....

    4. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Sounds like a PFI project I could get behind. I propose a low carbon delivery mechanism based on the pre-Industrial technologies favored by environmentalists. So horse drawn trebuchets to apply protestors to buildings. This simply expands on existing pre-industrial protesting methods, ie glueing oneself to a building is much like a self-enforced version of the old stocks.

      Otherwise, if a 'smart' meter would receive a rates feed from suppliers and either allow me to pick the lowest tariff, or automatically switch to the lowest tariff, I'd sign up for one. But currently there's nothing 'smart' about these meters, or any real benefit for consumers.

      1. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge

        ...or any real benefit for consumers.

        That was never a design requirement.

        Benefit for suppliers all the way.

    5. OssianScotland Silver badge
      Linux

      Well, the protestors will provide additional insulation, so reduce heating requirements and hence energy consumption. It seems a neat solution to a number of problems, as long as they keep quiet when they are utilised.

      I wonder if I can have a couple of dozen for my house this winter?

      1. Stumpy

        Yes, but the SMELL? ...

        (and it'll only get worse when they start to decompose)

      2. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

        Last winter I forgot what I was doing, and added some to the fire. Now HM Prison Service look after my heating needs.

      3. Simonio

        You rwalise they'll be going number two the whole time. Unless they're unfed and allowed to pass (perhaps refusing the greggs tripe pasty) at which point people will ask you to take down the halloween decorations already.

        1. Simon Harris Silver badge

          You rwalise they'll be going number two the whole time.

          Which can be recycled into a fuel source:

          https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2017/11/the-power-of-poo-energy-from-excrement/

    6. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      WTF?

      And where will all this power come from?

      About 1/5 of the UK electricity supply is nuclear, from old nukes that have to be near end of life.

      On shore wind with some windmills hitting 6% operating?

      But the root cause of this clusterf**k is that the UK has no energy policy worth the name

      It's all "market forces"

      Look how well that's done for the UK so far.

      1. AndyFl

        Re: And where will all this power come from?

        I don't know where you got those figures from but they are completely out of date. The UK has dramatically reduced the CO2 content of power over the last few years and wind capacity factors are well over the "6%" you quoted. Nobody could get back their costs at 6% and the turbine would be decommissioned.

        Have a look at https://electricinsights.co.uk to see the historical and current production figures for different generation sources. The quarterly reports on the site are a really good read too.

        Yes, the UK energy policy has a long way to go but it is a damm site better than most of Europe and certainly the USA.

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: And where will all this power come from?

          Nobody could get back their costs at 6% and the turbine would be decommissioned.

          That depends. Older turbines might be generating a lot of money from the sale of ROCs that might still make them profitable. Energy suppliers have to buy those, else face being shut down by Ofgem, and the costs are of course passed on to consumers. An amusing example here-

          https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications-and-updates/robin-hood-energy-limited-final-order

          Where Oftgem was due to shut down Robin Hood Energy for failing to pay £9m it owed for ROCs. That's interesting because RHE was created by Nottingham Council to supply low cost energy and reduce fuel poverty, but by failing to buy ROCs, it left the Council on the hook for the £9m. It's avoided closure by paying, which would have also affected supply to other Councils who contracted with RHE. And perhaps not the best name, given ROCs mean stealing from the poor energy consumers and handing cash to the wind farmers..

          But such is wind. It's still variable and unpredictable, so expensive and unreliable. See also-

          https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2019/10/20/how-much-power-will-be-wasted-in-a-low-carbon-world/#more-41765

        2. James Anderson Silver badge

          Re: And where will all this power come from?

          Still well behind Spain with 40% renewables.

          Add in 20% nuclear, which while technically not renewable the fuel source is for all practical purposes inexhaustible, that makes 60% with no CO2 emissions.

        3. EnviableOne Bronze badge

          Re: And where will all this power come from?

          UK has an auful energy policy which has been a case of punt the decision on a new generation of nuclear down the road as much as we can, as often as we can, since the 60s, and replace that auful Fossil fuel coal, with that oh so abundant and not so fosilly Natural Gas and Wood.

          The figures currently show (Q1 2019) coal 3.5%, Gas 41.9%, nuclear 16%, Renewables 35.8%, oil/other 2.8%

          of the 35.8% - 32% is Onshore Wind 28% is offshore Wind, 28% is BioMass, 6% is Hydro, 7% Solar

          the main constituent of the BIomass is the 2/3rds of DRAX that has switched to burning wood pellets instead of Coal, which is prety much the decline of coal.

          so in terms of the total production about 20% comes from wind (11on 9 off-shore) and 10% from "BioMass", with the 5.8% from Hydro Solar (roughly 2%,2.4%) and Tidal/other the rest.

          Oh an that 40% that comes from Gas, more than half of the gass has to be imported

          1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            Unhappy

            " coal 3.5%, Gas 41.9%, nuclear 16%, Renewables 35.8%, oil/other 2.8%"

            Depressing as f**k if you're in Britain.

            1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: " coal 3.5%, Gas 41.9%, nuclear 16%, Renewables 35.8%, oil/other 2.8%"

              Yup. Rot really set in with the objections to Kingsnorth's modernised coal generation, following a judicial review brought by climate activists.

              Now we have Drax, converted from coal to woodchips burning US forests. How Green! Then there's been our Wind Rush, which has also meant needing more gas generators for when there's no wind. And there's 25,000+ activists who were due to attend COP25 in Chile looking for a new resort.. Because Chile's having political unrest (ie riots) due to rising energy costs. But Chile has a new renewables powered metro train.. Which is one of the cost increases that's triggered the riots. Then there's farmers protesting in the Netherlands due to climate-related agricultural policies, and of course Paris, with their riots due to higher fuel & energy costs.. Fun times!

              Especially for the Green's figurehead, dear Greta. Not clear how she'll get to the new COP25 destination, but currently on a PR tour of the US.. And the US has been busily setting record low temperatures due to negative Global Warming. Which has been especially bad for US agriculture in the Mid-West.. Rains meant late corn planting, now early frosts & snow is killing the corn.

              So predictions for a cold winter look to be coming true, which may be related to our quiet Sun, and a repeat of the Maunder Minimum, which may have triggered the Little Ice Age. If the Eddy Minimun (ie the current name) does the same, then the usual Winter blocking highs may bring very low temperatures, no wind and frosty solar panels.. Which may finally make our dear leaders see the futility of 'renewables'.

    7. PhillW

      Would they not be acting as insulation?

      Could be not install a Boris in each building to provide the hot air heating?

      A Farage in every cellar to provide the bullshit to convert to methane for cooking?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        And a Corbyn in the loft to provide a woolly blanket of insulation from the cold reality outside.

    8. Tigra 07 Silver badge
      Trollface

      RE: Phil

      "having climate protestors glued to the side of their buildings"

      Is that a new type of home insulation? How do we apply?

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: RE: Phil

        How do we apply?

        As said, using glue.

  2. Halfmad Silver badge

    It's about money

    Free money from the government to roll out this nonsense.

    More control and flexibility to get every penny out of consumers, after the government has paid to enable them to do so.

    Consumer has no benefit from smart meters other than knowing when we'll be least fleeced.

    1. BazzF

      Re: It's about money

      If they're as easy to hack as most IoT, then we'll just set our own tarrif.

      1. Suricou Raven Silver badge

        Re: It's about money

        There's a long history of 'hacking' power meters for free electricity. Lots of tricks thought up by inventive criminals. On some older models of meter you could saturate a sense inductor or jam a mechanical movement by placing a strong magnet in just the right place, though meter designers caught on and fixed that vulnerability long ago. There's always the simple method of sticking a concealed tap into the incoming wires before they reach the meter.

        There's a history of countermeasures too. The substation measures power going out, the company adds up the usage of all customers on that circuit, and if they don't match up it's time to send out the meter 'readers' with orders to look for anything suspicious. Some meters also include a magnetically-tripped tamper-detection device, to catch those who still try to use the old magnet-on-the-meter trick.

        1. Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

          Re: It's about money

          There's a long history of 'hacking' power meters for free electricity.

          I was talking to my plumber[1] today. He was telling me about when he worked for the Gas Board and one of his tasks was to replace coin-fed meters with regular read-and-pay-quarterly meters. None of the customers wanted the change, cos they'd all figured out how to get their coins back from the meters, for the noble purpose of recycling them.

          [1] He's installing a new bathroom for me.

    2. DuncanLarge Silver badge

      Re: It's about money

      All those wonderful energy saving lightbulbs that save money by putting out the same light for a fraction of the wattage.

      Not so money saving once you get a smart meter installed. A simple tickbox on a computer in the energy suppliers helldesk is all thats needed to start charging you for Reactive Power. Suddenly that LED bulb becomes much more expensive, not to mention all your switch mode power supplies.

      They say they wont do it, that they will only charge commercial premises for reactive power like they always have. I dont trust them when money is involved. Other parts of the world charge people in reactive power as it costs more. Remember your "saving" is their "loss". They can recoup that by charging you for using efficient tech that has a poor power factor which basically means all LED bulbs, chargers, TV's and so on.

      1. Evil_Goblin

        Re: It's about money

        The only reason for poor power factor is cheap/bad design - decent quality LED products, chargers, TVs etc can and should all have power factors of 0.9 upwards.

        "Efficient tech" with a poor power factor is basically just a con, as if the power factor is that poor, then it isn't actually "efficient".

      2. Phil Endecott Silver badge

        Re: It's about money

        > poor power factor which basically means all LED bulbs, chargers, TV's and so on.

        Yes, maybe and no respectively.

        Devices that take enough power that you’d notice it on your bill will all have power factor correction.

    3. SMITCH79

      Re: It's about money

      I moved my tariff last year and discovered many suppliers would accept us unless we took a smart meter.

      Told uSwitch (or whoever) there wasn't a snowballs chance in hell of that happening so was pretty much locked out of the big 6 (and others).

      Ended up going with ESB Energy (an irish outfit i believe) since they didn't require a smart meter.

      I wonder if thats inline with the regulatory framework?

      ie Only to provide tariffs that are dependant on allowing a smart meter in your home.

      If it is it looks like this is how they'll get us holdouts.

      Wanna switch?, Smart meter bitch!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's about money

        "If it is it looks like this is how they'll get us holdouts."

        E.on Energy send out emails saying they need to change your meter - and there is a big link box to "book an appointment". Only at the bottom doe sit say that if you don't want one then you have to ring anon-free number.

        No mention of the meters being optional. Last time I was fool enough to ring the number they tried the tack that my meter required its end-of-life change. They back-tracked when I pointed out they had done that replacement only a couple of years ago. They had also promised not to keep hounding me about a smart meter.

        I might see if my big six gas supplier would also like my electricity account. If they then insisted I had to have their smart meter - then I could tell them I was moving my gas supply to my electricity supplier. That would be interesting to see the induced metastability in their weighing up gaining or losing an account.

    4. Dolvaran

      Re: It's about money

      Hardly free money - and hardly from the government. The funding is provided by a levy on everyone's energy bills.

  3. tfewster Silver badge
    Trollface

    More ElReg trolling?

    If JEDI stories are emblazoned with Trekkie (or Babylon 5) pictures, an article mentioning Star Trek should surely be accompanied by a Star Wars shot?

    Nice Halloween banner anyway. OK, maybe I'll even read the article now.

    1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Shoooosh

      The ways of the El Reg MADD* are subtle and not for us to understand.

      *Media Acquisition and Deployment Department not Mothers Against Dungeons & Dragons though I think that was thing too, once.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Mothers Against Dungeons & Dragons

        Sadly, I once shared a flat with a guy (that I never saw that much of) who committed suicide (the traditional diverted car exhaust, not in the flat). When his parents came around to collect his stuff, they noticed my moderately extensive collection of AD&D books on a shelf in the living room and so of went "Oh". So I just said "Those are mine - it's just a game", and that was it.

        Ah, goodbye again, Peter Z .... wish I'd noticed something at the time.

        1. steviebuk Silver badge

          Re: Mothers Against Dungeons & Dragons

          Unfortunately the people that really just want to go, will never let you notice.

    2. Excellentsword (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: More ElReg trolling?

      Just let us be consistently inconsistent, please.

      1. Alister Silver badge

        Re: More ElReg trolling?

        I demand that you be inconsistently consistent, it's no more than we deserve!

  4. Blockchain commentard Silver badge

    Capt'n, she cannae take any more. Any more bollocks about how wonderful smart meters are.

    When I put the kettle on, I don't look at the meter. Power up the computer. Still no interest in smart meters. Can't see the point of them since they just show the steady supply of 240 volts AC. If they could do my tax returns, now then they'd be smart. But not before.

    1. DuncanLarge Silver badge

      > When I put the kettle on, I don't look at the meter.

      I plugged in my kettle to my power monitor plug thing and saw how much energy it used.

      I did this once as I knew that due to the nature of the world the kettle would use the same amount of energy to boil the same amount of water every time with only a variance in the initial temperature of the water. I only cared to look once and when I saw the "cost" I was like ooh great making tea is so cheap considering I only boil the kettle once in the morning.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        4.2 KJ / kg / °C - that's the specific heat capacity of water. It doesn't matter how quickly your kettle boils it, it will take the same amount of energy to raise the temperature - assuming 1L of water at 10°C, at sea level (water boils at a lower temperature at altitude), that's 378 KJ, or pretty much spot on 0.1 KWh, which is, for some reason, the unit power companies use. It's actually a surprisingly large amount of energy, because water is funny stuff and has a higher heat capacity than most other substances, because $complicated_chemistry_reasons (hydrogen bonding, mostly).

        The thing is, you probably want the most powerful kettle you can get, so it does it quickly, without losing too much heat to the environment, and if the kettle is insulated, and doesn't light up like a christmas tree, all the better. That's probably going to save you more money over a year than a "smart" meter with no obvious benefit other than to the energy company who can (allegedly) remotely turn off your supply if they think you've not paid your bill.

        1. DuncanLarge Silver badge

          Even with that the saving is only going to be a few pennies a year considering I boil the kettle twice a day. Its not even full! Just enough water to make a pot (2-3 mugs) of tea.

          Oh and it does light up. I actually saved more money by not buying a new kettle because the filter in this one broke. I now just pour the water through a strainer to catch any limescale flakes.

          1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            If you live in a hard-water area, limescale is probably the main issue that's going to reduce heating efficiency, and also the lifetime of your kettle. in-kettle filters are useless, because they quickly get a solid layer on them, as they dry out after use.

            Don't use descaler, just get one of those little wire ball things from a pound shop that bounces around and breaks up the scale when the kettle boils. When it gets solid with limescale, take it out, hit it with a hammer a few times, and rinse it under the tap. You'll never get any appreciable amount of limescale in the bottom of your cuppa, and if you do, just remember not to drink the last bit! Plus, you then have a legitimate reason for having a hammer in the kitchen drawer.

            1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

              Or vinegar. But then I have a glass walled kettle, because it looks nice (ok, I'm practically a goldfish, and just like watching the bubbles! XD ). Cleans it up nice!

              1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
                Boffin

                > Or vinegar.

                Better to use citric acid. Get it as powder. No smell, no need to heat.

                Acetic acid (the acid in vinegar), especially when hot, is very strong. I have seen a couple of things destroyed with hot vinegar, for example, a coffee maker where the acid broke a metal mesh.

                P.S.: concentrated acetic acid is strong enough for the removal of warts. Beware, hurts like crap.

            2. Stoneshop Silver badge
              Devil

              Plus, you then have a legitimate reason for having a hammer in the kitchen drawer.

              Pshaw. As if I need a legitimate reason for that.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Plus, you then have a legitimate reason for having a hammer in the kitchen drawer.

                "As if I need a legitimate reason for that."

                IIRC there was talk of banning sharp pointed kitchen knives more than a couple of inches long. Apparently a common weapon in domestic disputes. The same argument could be applied to any heavy-ish blunt instrument*** to hand in a kitchen.

                ***There was a TV play about a woman who murdered her husband. The police couldn't find any murder weapon - so were convinced it must have been an intruder. Before they left she treated them to a meal of roast leg of lamb - which had previously been frozen meat.

            3. HelpfulJohn

              "Plus, you then have a legitimate reason for having a hammer in the kitchen drawer"

              1: People *need* a reason?

              2: There are *illegitimate* reasons?

              3: Hammers are cool. Next to gaffer tape and WD-40, they are about the only tool everyone needs. There are few things not doable with those three. Maybe feeding the dog, but not much more than that.

              4: Oh. Yes. I just thought of some.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            " I now just pour the water through a strainer to catch any limescale flakes."

            I live in a hard water area. Over the years it killed several modern kettles. The water softener was great - until the sodium ion content was deemed to make it not potable.

            Now I just heat up the (non-metallic) mug of water in the 800w microwave. It is 90 seconds for instant coffee and 2 minutes for (compostable) ground coffee bags.

            I have heard that it isn't good for tea as the water apparently contains superheated hotspots.

            1. HelpfulJohn

              I don't know about your microwave but mine have always tainted any boiled water used in tea with a sort of semi-metallic, semi-plastic overtone. Reheating tea in a microwave gives it the same taste.

              It's not unpleasant, nor strong, just there.

              I used to think it was something connected to hard water but I'm now in a soft region and I still detect it.

              Strangely, it does not affect milky or sugary stuff heated in the oven, just tea.

        2. Electronics'R'Us Bronze badge
          Thumb Up

          Limited power electric kettles

          Ah - some actual science. This rather makes a mockery of the (hopefully defunct) EU proposal to limit the power in an electric kettle which due to thermal losses would actually use more power.

          Speaking of kettles, when I moved here I inherited an oil fired Rayburn which, quite apart from being a cooker heats the hot water tank when it is on (I only turned it off this year for servicing as it never really got warm enough to completely shut it off) so no electricity used for that; it also doubles as an effective iron for tablecloths and napkins placed on top to the hot plate covers and even runs the towel warmer in the bathroom quite apart from meaning the kitchen isn't like an ice cube first thing in the morning in winter.

          I simply fill the kettle and put it on the hottest plate; it does take a bit of time to boil, but the total difference in oil use is so tiny it can't really be measured.

          I do have a lot of electrical appliances, but at least I am not at the mercy of spot pricing for hot water or even cooking.

          The location of my existing meter rather precludes a smart meter anyway (I don't like equipment that is just smart enough to be stupid anyway).

          1. I am the liquor

            Re: Limited power electric kettles

            There was never any EU proposal to limit the wattage of kettles. Sheer misinformation by the anti-EU press. Do you really think no-one working for the EU Commission on these matters understands O-level physics? I guess you probably didn't even bother to think about whether those "news" stories were even plausible; they played to your prejudices so you chose to believe them.

            If you search for "Preparatory Study to establish the Ecodesign Working Plan 2015-2017 implementing Directive 2009/125/EC task 3" you can find out exactly what ideas they came up with for kettles, and it was perfectly reasonable things like better reliability, better insulation, more efficient heating elements, and cut-off switches that switch off promptly and work reliably when boiling small volumes.

          2. I am the liquor

            Re: Limited power electric kettles

            I'm going to take a step back and apologise for castigating you personally for believing those false stories. Some of the articles written on this subject were actually very clever pieces of propaganda, that I'm sure would have taken in many normally critical-thinking people.

            Some of the early articles, like this one from 2014, seem to be based on an actual reading of the EU reports, because if you read them carefully they never actually say that the EU planned to limit the power of kettles. They just use weasel phrases like the EU has "set its sights on" kettles, to give you the impression that it's the case.

            They also don't bother to explain why it would be particularly silly to limit the power of kettles. They let you work that out for yourself. Spotting this "flaw in the reasoning" gives you a sense of intellectual satisfaction and distracts your critical faculties from questioning the article itself.

      2. Warm Braw Silver badge

        The kettle would use the same amount of energy to boil the same amount of water

        I happened upon a shopping channel the other day that was trying to flog extremely pricey ceramic heaters.

        They had extracted a heating element and rigged it up with temperature probes in order to demonstrate that the surface temperature continued to increase after the power had been disconnected (which it presumably would as the interior of the heating element would have a higher temperature). However, the clear implication was that the amount of heat energy available continued to rise in the absence of a source of power.

        1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

          Re: The kettle would use the same amount of energy to boil the same amount of water

          The thing that gets me with those things is that they're touted as being the latest, greatest innovation in heating technology....but in reality it's just a night store heater

          1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

            Lies

            damned lies, and infomercial demonstrations.

      3. Cynic_999 Silver badge

        I have the readout of my smart meter in my living room. On occasion I or another member of the household forgets to turn off a high power device - the oven, a deep-fat frier etc. Seeing the readout after I have settled down for the evening does alert me to the fact that something's switched on. I always glance at the meter before going to bed so I know that nobody has left anything significant on, such as a fan-heater in the spare room etc. Easier & more certain that going round the house checking everything.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Leaving the deep fat fryer on overnight? I'd hope something other than a smart meter will warn you it's left on, such as the thick black smoke and fire... or before that, the burnt chips!

        2. HighTension

          You don't need a smart meter for that though - just an in-home Display with a remote that has clamp meters on your incoming main. (Disclaimer, I work for an IHD company).

        3. matt 83

          Great

          But you didn't need a £13 billion smart meter system to do that. You didn't even have to modify any wiring in your house.

          A £10 digital clamp meter clipped around the cable going into your fuse box would tell you how much energy you were using.

          Add another £10 for a remote display for the £10 clamp meter and you can see how much energy you're using from your living room and you didn't spend billions of Pounds doing it.

          Ok, I'm not aware of any clamp meters that have remote displays but I'm pretty sure a factory somewhere could knock one up pretty cheaply.

          1. MarkSitkowski

            Re: Great

            Fluke 381 Remote Display True RMS AC/DC Clamp Meter

            1. paul clinch

              Re: Great

              £290 on ebay via google. Any more sensible suggestions?

              1. JohnMurray

                Re: Great

                https://www.amazon.co.uk/Power-Monitors/b?ie=UTF8&node=1938287031

          2. paul clinch

            Re: Great

            "Ok, I'm not aware of any clamp meters that have remote displays but I'm pretty sure a factory somewhere could knock one up pretty cheaply."

            So vapourware then.

            1. PhillW

              Re: Great

              Or spend an afternoon knocking one up for yourself?

              Did a variation to divert excess solar into the immersion tank, knocked 1/3 off the econ 7.

              https://learn.openenergymonitor.org/electricity-monitoring/ctac/how-to-build-an-arduino-energy-monitor

              1. Tom 7 Silver badge

                Re: Great

                I would have thought a PiZero would be a better host. SHould be able to run your whole house too!

            2. matt 83

              Re: Great

              no different than SMETS2

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Great

              "So vapourware then."

              British Gas were giving the Owl remote display ones to customers a few years ago for free. Unfortunately my meter had two parallel cables as the electrician apparently couldn't bend a thick one round a sharp corner to the fuse box. The Owl monitor allowed for three clamp probes - but only came with one. Problem solved cheaply when people started to give them to charity shops. Heven't bothered to replace the batteries in quite a while - so its remote display n the lounge is a white elephant.

              I also have a Belkin portable unit that you can temporarily plug between a 13A socket and device. Gives a good once-off indication of the power consumption of any new piece of kit. After that I use electricity as I need.

          3. David Beck

            Re: Great

            Before smart meters Eon gave these out to customers. I still have one in the box as there were too many spiders in the electrics box for my taste so it never got fitted.

            1. batfink Silver badge

              Re: Great

              Yep. I bought an EON one on Ebay for about a tenner and it works fine to show me my usage.

              Can I have the rest of the £13Bn please, for showing a cheaper way of doing this?

          4. David Hicklin

            Re: Great

            "Ok, I'm not aware of any clamp meters that have remote displays "

            NPower gave them out free years ago, might even have it in a box somewhere.....

          5. Stoneshop Silver badge
            Holmes

            Re: Great

            Ok, I'm not aware of any clamp meters that have remote displays but I'm pretty sure a factory somewhere could knock one up pretty cheaply.

            ESP8266, put the clamp meter data on a webpage and open it on your laptop/phone/whatever.

          6. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

            Re: Great

            About a decade ago one of the big six ( can't remember who ) gave these away to new customers. I'm sure it had a remote display.

            It worked perfectly well. It was also completely useless.

        4. Stoneshop Silver badge

          " I have the readout of my smart meter in my living room."

          I don't. And I don't even have a smart meter, just one with a P1 connector with nothing hooked up.

          Still I can see power usage if I want/need to, and take action if it's out of the ordinary.

        5. DuncanLarge Silver badge

          1. Learn to turn off the fire hazards when you are done with them! Who keeps the oven on AFTER they have taken out the food? Get out the compliance stick and learn them some responsibility.

          1.1 Stop using a deep fat fryer, eat healthy. If you must use one then tell the user TO TURN IT OFF WHEN THEY TAKE THEIR FATTY FOOD OUT!

          2. Get a fan heater with a shut off timer or plug it into a timer plug so it can only operate for the set amount of time. If the user removes the plug or fiddles with the timer bring out the compliance stick. Also, why are you heating the spare room? Why do you need a smart meter to check the fan heater in the spare room? How difficult is it to get to the spare room?

          3. Stop looking at a screen to try and figure out what happening in your house. I doubt you live in a huge mansion with 20 bedrooms and 2 wings so why not learn to "do the rounds" and check things are sorted. You shouldn't have to rely on a screen to hint to you that something is up, and if you really want to do that, invest in Nest then you can literally control any socket or device you wish from your smartphone. Show me a smart meter light up paperweight , sorry, I mean screen, that can do that!

          > Easier & more certain that going round the house checking everything.

          What? You just said that you look at the screen to see that there "might be a problem as the display looks a bit off". So, how the hell is looking at the screen, scratching your head wondering why it looks funny, then going on a search around the house to determine the cause any more certain than simply skipping all that and doing the search anyway?

          Its like saying you think its more efficient to see if your front door is locked by ringing next door to come out and check for you, then when they dont bother, going downstairs to check for yourself. You then claim to the world that anyone who goes downstairs to check the door WITHOUT annoying the neighbors first is somehow missing a trick.

          1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

            You're the chap in this cartoon and I claim my £5:

            https://xkcd.com/1715/

      4. Paul Shirley

        I learned to guesstimate accurately enough how much the kettle weighs with the amount of water needed. Next time we'll buy one with a fill gauge to make it easier. Something a smart meter can't help me with in any way.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Next time we'll buy one with a fill gauge to make it easier."

          I went through two of those - different types and brands. Both failed irrevocably by leaking round the gauge window. Now I just microwave my mug of water for instant coffee or (compostable) coffe bags. Also has the benefit of no lime-scale problems.

  5. Alister Silver badge

    However, the department is expecting to "ramp up" the number next year, with up to 70,000 migrations per day

    Hahahahahahahaha!

    Oh wait, they were serious?

    1. MrReynolds2U

      My colleague had BG come out to fit new gas and electric smart meters a few weeks ago.

      The chap said he couldn't get the two meters to communicate properly and left.

      Since then his power has been tripping on a random basis.

      It sounds like the roll-out is going as well as any large-scale tech project does.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I'd strongly recommend your friend gets them back ASAP to check things out. My parents' had their incoming electricity connection replaced by the DNO (local electricity co) and some wombat didn't reconnect the earth properly!

        1. Paul Shirley

          ...and the number of reported fires after botched smart meter installs is frightening.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > Oh wait, they were serious?

      These are migrations not installations. Migration in this context meaning converting the SMETS1 meters so that they no longer go dumb when you change energy supplier. The rate at which this happens is not dependent on the homeowner in any way so 70K per day is an entirely achievable target.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Climate change minister Lord Duncan

    The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) (...) It was led at time of closure by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd MP.[2] Following Theresa May's appointment as Prime Minister in July 2016, the department was disbanded and merged with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, to form the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy under Greg Clark MP.

    ...

    so, am I behind the curve, and there's a very new-old ministry with a new-old minister farting into his new-old comfy armchair?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      OT

      "Amber Rudd MP"

      Apparently after the forthcoming BoJo delaying tactic election we are to become Rudderless.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Rudderless

        God help whatever public/outsourcing company shes becomes an executive director of......

        1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Rudderless

          Please let it be Talk Talk! Oh please let it be Talk Talk!

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Rudderless

            A perfect fit.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Rudderless

          God help whatever public/outsourcing company shes becomes an executive director of......

          are you suggesting she'll make a complete hashtag of the job?

      2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: OT

        after the forthcoming ... election we are to become Rudderless.

        See, Brexit isn't all bad.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: OT

          Unfortunately she seems to have been sound on Brexit, just as David Davies was on HO affairs. They were just in the wrong jobs.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Alien

          Re: OT

          Doesn't that depend on what comes in her place?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: OT

        sadly, she's one of this fine breed that follow the flow, and every so often come up to the surface, merrily. So, expect her to surface in or around the next uk gov. ANY government in fact. Gosh, if the Scots vote on their independence, she will be there...

      4. Arty Effem

        Re: OT

        Given that she only just scraped into parliament last time, she doesn't want to take the risk.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: OT

        > "Amber Rudd MP"

        And don't forget of course that modern take on an old classic:

        Man 1: My wife has gone to the West Indies.

        Man 2: Jamaica?

        Man 1: No Amber Rudd sent her.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Entering the Star Trek phase..

    If everything predicted for post Brexit Britain is true, we'll be entering a new feudal phase, and keep warm by sleeping curled up with the sheep and pigs

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Entering the Star Trek phase..

      Carrie Symonds already is.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Entering the Star Trek phase..

      Isnt that the goals of extinction rebellion?

      1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        Re: Entering the Star Trek phase..

        @AC

        Isnt that the goals of extinction rebellion?

        Nah. They tend to go for the vegan approach (amongst other things) to saving the planet so no farm animals to cwtch up to. Dogs not so clear. You'll pry my cats from my cold dead paws.

        Still, we can all sleep under a nice warm pile of leaves like in Babes in the Wood.

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          You learn something new everyday

          Who knew the Welsh word for cupboard is the same as cuddle? Apart from Welsh speakers, obviously...

          1. John Arthur
            Happy

            Re: You learn something new everyday

            You learn something new every day. I had no idea it also meant cupboard!

          2. HighTension

            Re: You learn something new everyday

            Cwtch is the new hygge.

            1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
              Trollface

              Re: You learn something new everyday

              "Cwtch is the new hygge"

              Sounds like IKEA furniture...

              1. Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

                Re: You learn something new everyday

                What does the IKEA cwtch do?

                1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                  Re: You learn something new everyday

                  It holds the door shut.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Entering the Star Trek phase..

        "Isnt that the goals of extinction rebellion?"

        Possibly another of their aims is to make food production more efficient by everyone going vegan. That then leaves some of their supporters in a Catch-22 situation as all the domesticated meat animals won't be needed - and only a few will survive in zoos as endangered species.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: post Brexit ... curled up with the sheep & pigs

      I don't think it'll be as bad as that. We'll still have furniture, but it'll just be made of woven willow or reeds or whatever. We might therefore call it a "Wicker Brexit", which has a certain ring to it...

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: post Brexit ... curled up with the sheep & pigs

        "Jesus Christ, no!"

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: post Brexit ... curled up with the sheep & pigs

        "We might therefore call it a "Wicker Brexit","

        Who will be the sacrificial Wicker Man? Needs a devout Christian virgin - not many of those about these days.

    4. SVV Silver badge

      Re: Entering the Star Trek phase..

      When it comes to power, they're hoping to Klingon at the forthcoming election.

    5. Andytug

      Re: Entering the Star Trek phase..

      What, you mean they're going to make those Bullingdon initiation rites compulsory for all?

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Entering the Star Trek phase..

      It's not post brexit yet.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Complete and utter waste of money unless you want to spy on people

    I'm sure one of the big cloudy companies will be rubbing hands at the opportunity to record when you turn on the washing machine, doesn't really help with climate change though does it?

    If having a smart meter meant that I could move operation of my heavy-load appliances (car, dishwasher, washing machine, water heating etc...) to after midnight, get a reduced bill and help spread the load supplied by renewables (wind blows at night quite nicely) - then I would. At the moment all the muppets can give me is a little display telling me how much juice I'm using. I already know that, maybe not a minute-by-minute basis but I don't need to know.

    When it does eventually come to demand-pricing, I'm sure behaviours will change but the bills won't drop - peak price will more than offset off-peak anyway so it will be a ball ache simply to try and placate the climate crowd.

    1. Thoguht Silver badge

      Re: Complete and utter waste of money unless you want to spy on people

      Many suppliers now have time of use tariffs. Be prepared to pay over 40p per unit of electricity between 4pm and 7pm, though.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Complete and utter waste of money unless you want to spy on people

        Be prepared to pay over 40p per unit of electricity between 4pm and 7pm, though.

        Fuck that. I'll just go to the pub for a few hours after work and warm my feet by the log fire.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Complete and utter waste of money unless you want to spy on people

          >Fuck that. I'll just go to the pub for a few hours after work and warm my feet by the log fire.

          The pubs will catch on at it will be peak time pint price then, think of it as unhappy hour. Their leccy costs at that time will go up too.

          1. Rich 11 Silver badge

            Re: Complete and utter waste of money unless you want to spy on people

            Yeah, but their leccy costs will be covered by the extra trade, since the lights and fruit machines would have been on regardless. Putting pint prices up would just drive people to the pub not putting prices up.

    2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: Complete and utter waste of money unless you want to spy on people

      If having a smart meter meant that I could move operation of my heavy-load appliances (car, dishwasher, washing machine, water heating etc...) to after midnight, get a reduced bill and help spread the load supplied by renewables (wind blows at night quite nicely) - then I would.

      I don't know about you, but my dishwasher already has a timer setting on it, and usually goes on after midnight anwyay.

      As for cars, well I wish I could afford a 'leccy one, then all I'd have to worry about is where I'd plug it in in a first-floor flat.

      Washing machine? I don't think my neighbours would be too keen if that went on after midnight.

      Water heating? If I heated my water after midnight, I'd either need a well insulated big water tank (which combi boilers don't have), or have to heat it again in the morning when it's needed. See my other post above about the specific heat capacity of water, because doing this is definitelynot more energy efficient.

      What we're really missing are practical ways of using energy more efficiently - efficient heating and use of water is probably pretty near the top in domestic cases, so your best bet is to buy the most energy (and water) efficient dishwasher and washing machine you can, and turn down your water temperature a bit.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Complete and utter waste of money unless you want to spy on people

        The point is, I have no benefit from using juice at night - it costs the same so I will use my appliances when I want to. And if demand-pricing means the overall cost is unchanged or higher then what's the point? I'll stick my dumb meter.

        I don't have issues with neighbours, I can't even hear my own washing machine at night never mind the neighbour who is 200 yards away behind a load of trees.

        Electric water heating is common in flats and US homes and involves a very, very well insulated storage tank so it does make sense to use the power overnight when load is reduced - but only if there's a financial benefit to me.

        1. iron Silver badge

          Re: Complete and utter waste of money unless you want to spy on people

          > Electric water heating is common in flats and US homes and involves a very, very well insulated storage tank

          This story is about the UK. Combi gas boilers are very common in the UK, they have no hot water tank and provide hot water on-demand. Cheaper gas prices at night will make no difference to usage for most people.

          1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

            Re: Complete and utter waste of money unless you want to spy on people

            Combi gas boilers are very common in the UK

            And for those outside the reach of mains gas, there are oil combi-boilers. Fill your tank over the summer and it's often cheaper. Or watch the international oil prices.

            Or, as we do locally, set up an oil-buying syndicate. Bunch of people in a village get together. Several times a year we are asked how much oil we want. Organiser adds them up, phones round the suppliers and asks for their best price on e.g. 20,000 litres. Tanker then turns up full, trundles round the village, and leaves empty. Everyone is happy. Typically we save about 4p/litre compared to charges for a single delivery.

            1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

              Re: Complete and utter waste of money unless you want to spy on people

              Not sure what the hell non-network heating systems have to do with this discussion.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: set up an oil-buying syndicate

              something tells me that setting up anything that involves a few people is already ILLEGAL unless it's got approval of "regulatory authorities", and fuckload of certificates to prove it's harmless to mice. Make it known by calling it a "syndicate" and, for a good good laugh, "muslim syndicate", and you positively ask to be seen (see "how not to be seen").

          2. Old Cynic

            Re: Complete and utter waste of money unless you want to spy on people

            Electrically heated water storage tanks (immersion heating) is also very common in the UK - and currently not benefitting from off-peak tariffs or fancy meters.

            Gas is common as well, as you say, and you might heat water by burning oil, wood, dung, wet dogs - it doesn't change the fact that a lot of people use leccy and aint getting a benefit from fancy meters.

            1. Phil Endecott Silver badge

              Re: Complete and utter waste of money unless you want to spy on people

              > immersion heating ... currently not benefitting from off-peak tariffs

              Err, never heard of Economy 7 ?

              1. A K Stiles
                Joke

                Re: Complete and utter waste of money unless you want to spy on people

                though you may well find that it's more "economy 5" these days (1am to 6am)

                1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

                  Re: Complete and utter waste of money unless you want to spy on people

                  though you may well find that it's more "economy 5" these days (1am to 6am)

                  really?! My Eco 7 has been 0030->0730 (or 0130->0830 during summer) since I moved into my current property 25 years ago.

                  I did have an Eco5+2 setup for a while where I got 5 hours during the night and a 2 hour topup during the afternoon. The meter for that broke and leccy company couldn;t source a replacement (they aren't made any more apparently) so I had to go back to plain old Eco 7. Given the meter situation, it sounded to me more like the 5+2 thing would be phased out

      2. nijam

        Re: Complete and utter waste of money unless you want to spy on people

        > ... efficient dishwasher and washing machine

        For most domestic wash loads, tumble-drying uses more power than the washing machine.

        Just saying, for those who can't dry their washing on a a washing line, for whatever reason.

        1. Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

          Re: Complete and utter waste of money unless you want to spy on people

          Bugger tumble drying. Just hang them in whatever room you have (bedsitter included), with a dehumidifier running. The dry air does the job even when outside is cold, damp and dark.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Complete and utter waste of money unless you want to spy on people

        AIUI most domestic fires are caused by unattended appliances - all the ones I personally know of have been caused by either a dishwasher or a tumble dryer, both things we are now simultaneously being told to run overnight and to not run unattended.

    3. NightFox

      Re: Complete and utter waste of money unless you want to spy on people

      Take a look at Octopus Energy's Go tariff.

      I pay 14.63p/kWh throughout the day, then 5p/kWh for the four hours between 00:30-04:30. Perfect for the car/dishwasher/washing machine - not chancing it with the tumble drier though.

      They're a significantly sized provider too, so not likely to collapse any minute like some of the smaller ones that offer decent demand-driven tariffs. Plus, look at the ratings on impartial comparison sites and they wipe the floor with the others. They're far from perfect, but still market-leading when it comes to CS.

      And I'll shamelessly plug my referral code if you want £50 credit on your account: https://share.octopus.energy/ashen-llama-820

  9. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    The usual requirement for a minister is eternal optimism that next time things will turn out right but we seem to have entered new territory here.

  10. DarkLordofSurrey

    When my meter was changed from an analogue one to digital my bills went up massively, not falling for it a second time...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      As my ancient analogue gas meter occasionally shows zero gas usage per month despite having gas central heating I have little motivation to have it changed. If the energy company can't figure out something is unusual with the meter readings then who am I to rock the boat.

      1. Suricou Raven Silver badge

        Until they do figure it out, project the losses with a back-of-the-envelope calculation, and hit you with fifteen years of unpaid bills at once.

        1. Scott 53

          Until they do figure it out, project the losses with a back-of-the-envelope calculation, and hit you with fifteen years of unpaid bills at once.

          if a problem is the utility company's fault then they can only back bill you for one year.

    2. EverybodyNeedsaCRC

      Ah mine too!! Still kicking myself for that one. Thought we were doing really well on usage. Then realised one month it had stopped. Then another month, it had moved only slightly.

      Did 'the right thing' told supplier who promptly switched it for a digital meter (not smart to my surprise). Since then, my usage has increased significantly, due to the meter now measuring correctly. I was blissfully unaware while the meter must have been slowly failing.

      Should have just gone out to it every now and then and gave it a 'tap' to give it at least some reading.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "[...] due to the meter now measuring correctly."

        In the Netherlands it was discovered that the installed meters couldn't handle the non-linear power consumption of things like light dimmer switches. People were being significantly over-charged.

  11. Locky Silver badge

    You want to change my meter?

    Shut up Wesley

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At that point users will be able to choose tariffs and switch on appliances when energy is cheapest, he said.

    So there you are, the real motivation for dumb meters all along, price gouging at peak time. A pity only the rich will be able to afford peak time electric heating, lighting and cooking while the less well off freeze to death, burn their house down with candles and survive on cold baked beans. The money wasted on this folly (£14bn and rising) could have been used to install more generating capacity.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      The money wasted on this folly (£14bn and rising) could have been used to install more generating capacity.

      Or on a programme of free home insulation...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Apologies for the downvote, but if one more cretin knocks on my door trying to get me to have cavity wall insulation they are going to get a serious amount of rude shouty language hurled at them.

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Fair point. I wasn't really tinking so much of cavity wall insulation, as windows, where a lot of heat is lost.

          I live in a building that was converted in the '80s from an old Georgian building. It has nice high ceilings, but unfortuantely, it also has sash windows on one side which leak like a sieve (and it's a listed building, so they can't be replaced). Any sort of insulation that could be added would be a vast improvement on my energy costs in winter, but it's out of my price range, and the landlord isn't about to go and fix things without money to do so.

          1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

            You could consider simple removable secondary glazing. Panel of glass (or plastic) in a frame that fits snugly in to the space over the winter. Or cheaper, polythene film!

          2. Evil_Goblin

            But they can be repaired, and new seals, ropes/chains and weights is a DIY job which will make all the difference.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "I wasn't really tinking so much of cavity wall insulation, as windows, where a lot of heat is lost."

            My house has three outside exposed walls. It also had single glazing in steel frames. I decided to have double glazing and cavity insulation installed.

            The work was done in two stages over a couple of weeks - in the middle of freezing snowy weather. The incremental improvement over the two stages was very noticeable - all the cold spots in the rooms just disappeared. On an interior refurbishment later - several radiators were removed or down-sized as no longer needed.

            Later I fitted loft insulation to complete the process. That improvement is visible when there is snow on the roofs. The neighbours' roof snow melts much more quickly than on mine.

        2. Paul Shirley

          I just let them book the survey without mentioning we have solid walls ;)

      2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        @Loyal Commenter

        Or on a programme of free home insulation

        This is an area where some lateral thinking often pays dividends.

        I remember a calculation many years ago, something along the lines of "It would cost £xbillion to properly insulate every loft in the UK, the same costs as building 3 nuclear power stations. But it would save the energy produced by 5 nuclear stations!"

        And there was the situation in the US some years ago when some electricity companies were giving out free low-power light-bulbs. Strange? Why would they want their customers to use less electricity? Well, demand was rising, so they were going to need new capacity, and at the time the only real option was a new nuclear plant, which was a) unpopular (this was after 3-mile Island) and b) would bankrupt them!

        There is a lot to be said for providing free energy-saving things - bulbs, insulation etc, and just adding the cost to electricity bills, treating it the same way they would the cost of a new power station.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          "And there was the situation in the US some years ago when some electricity companies were giving out free low-power light-bulbs."

          The same thing happened here but it was some sort of requirement of HMG but that was back in the days of compact fluorescents. Out of one box of 6 one arrived broken. Out of another box one went pop immediately it was switched on. LEDs overtook them before I used them all.

    2. Barrie Shepherd

      The money wasted on this folly (£14bn and rising) could have been used to install more generating capacity.

      'The money' is coming from us via surcharges on bills so there is no waste in the eyes of the government. The bill can go even higher and no one will ever look at the value to the consumer who had no say in this political debacle.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "The bill can go even higher and no one will ever look at the value to the consumer who had no say in this political debacle."

        The water company mandated a change to meters instead of an annual charge effectively based on house size. My bills dropped by quite a bit as I rattle round a large family-sized house. The shocking bit was that the standing charge is five times my metered water consumption.

        When customers cut their consumption of the standard utilities - expect the standing charges to rise to make up the difference.

  13. alain williams Silver badge

    Yet more bollocks arguments

    Why do they just not tell the truth about why they want this in every home:

    * cheaper meter readings (no need for the quarterly visit from the meter man)

    * can switch us off remotely if we don't pay the bill

    * can see what we are using by the quarter hour: great for seeing if we are at home

    1. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: Yet more bollocks arguments

      "no need for the quarterly visit from the meter man"

      I was never in, submitted readings online to avoid "estimates", however after two years I got a letter demanding to set an appointment which we duly did, readings were spot on. (It was claimed they have a "safety obligation", but the reality is they're checking for illegal hook-ups and meter bypasses).

      Two years later, same again.

      Haven't been back for about ten years now. (and have switched twice).

    2. Scott 53

      Re: Yet more bollocks arguments

      can see what we are using by the quarter hour

      Meters save up the quarter hourly readings and then send them all in one go once a day. Your supplier might be able to work out when you were out after the fact, but won't get an instantaneous view of your usage.

      1. alain williams Silver badge

        Re: Yet more bollocks arguments

        But when you are away for a fortnight in Costa-del-somewhere they will know that you are away for a few days ... time for someone's mate Burglar Bill to visit ...

  14. DuncanLarge Silver badge

    What was that you said?

    "Those who stuck with "relic meters" risked "very high" maintenance costs, he said."

    BS, my "relic" meter is only about 10 years old, new compared to others I have had and like the older ones HAD NO ANNUAL MAINTENANCE REQUIRED.

    I have never hand anyone, in all my life, perform maintenance on a meter.

    Working in IT I can almost guarantee the maintenance cost that consumers will pay for the new smart meters that end up charging the wrong amount, getting hacked by the Norks, needing firmware updates to support the latest version of whatever runs the hub they all talk to etc.

    Oh and what about the poor sods who end up with a smart meter taht because a dumb meter because IT CANT GET SIGNAL? Are these people going to have to be punished too? They will have to submit meter readings like us relic meter users so will appear no different to us.

    Already I'm finding I cant change deals and save money because "I must have a smart meter" to get even just a standard fixed rate deal. Offgem, where art thou?

    1. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: What was that you said?

      Got an email from Scottish Power recently stating the meter "was 20 years old and therefore needed to be replaced for accuracy".

      Except my family has owned the house for 42 years, and the meter has a sticker on it from 06/77 confirming a reading when we moved in. Strange they NOW think 20 years is too old but didn't think that 20 years ago before Smart Meters...

      1. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: What was that you said?

        But in 20 years the new Smart Meter is of course still going to be working and readable by every energy company out there!

        Oh wait, the existing companies can only read their own brand of smartmeters so you'd need a replacement if you switched suppliers? Never mind.

      2. VinceH

        Re: What was that you said?

        "Got an email from Scottish Power recently stating the meter "was 20 years old and therefore needed to be replaced for accuracy"."

        Translation: This is the new lie we're going to tell people to get them to accept smart meters.

        1. EvilDrSmith

          Re: What was that you said?

          The Meters (certification) Regulations 1998 specifies the certification period for various makes of meters - varies between 10 years and 25 years.

          Didn't seem to be something the electricity suppliers were too fussed about complying with, until they realised they could use it as stick to beat people into taking smart meters.

          So not so much a new lie as "we let your meter get old and over-charge you (no pun intended), but now we are telling you, because we want you to accept a smart meter (and then we can over-charge you even more)"

    2. Daedalus Silver badge

      Re: What was that you said?

      The trouble with pols trying to push advanced technology is that by the time they've figured out what colour they should be, the boxes are obsolete and they need to do a whole new procurement. Which is great for the jobs of their myrmidons, not so great for the taxpayer.

      I do stuff for people making embedded devices, and time and time again I find marketeers, designers and sales droids ignorant of the fact that their precious hardware will be obsolete and without a supply of spares by the time they put down their champagne glasses at the launch party.

    3. VinceH

      Re: What was that you said?

      ""Those who stuck with "relic meters" risked "very high" maintenance costs, he said."

      BS, my "relic" meter is only about 10 years old, new compared to others I have had and like the older ones HAD NO ANNUAL MAINTENANCE REQUIRED.

      I have never hand anyone, in all my life, perform maintenance on a meter."

      My interpretation of that "very high maintenance costs" nonsense is: "Once we've reached a certain threshold of smart meter installations, we'll allow companies to charge annual maintenance charges for "relic" meters. That'll teach the smarmy buggers who don't want our new tat!"

      Or something like that.

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
        Angel

        Re: What was that you said?

        Bring it on. I'll wait a few years, then sue them for breach of contract, as they won't ever have performed any 'annual maintenance'. Could prolly work a bit of health and safety in there too.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Star Trek phase eh ? As Scotty said, the more they overthink the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Exactly. Every bloody episode of Star Trek I watch, there's SOMETHING goes wrong with the power. It's always "Divert all power from life support to maintain the shields", "There's an unexplained power drain in the EPS conduit on deck 11", "We're recalibrating the dilithium chamber and there's only minimal power for the next 22 hours", "The alien entity is draining our power through the shields, Captain!", "Re-routing the energy flow matrix to stabilise the warp field could damage the plasma injectors"

      If the guy who turns up to fit it is wearing a red shirt, I'm outta there!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Now if only the Enterprise had smart meters fitted this wouldn't have been a problem...

        "Captain, the shields cannae hold for much longer... wait... damn it, Yeoman Rand, you've left your curling tongs on again!"

  16. Flak
    Big Brother

    Smart meters will ultimately lead to time of day charging

    The gap in the logic between 'smart meters save you costs' (which they don't as they only show energy usage rather than controlling it) and actually saving costs is a change in energy tariffs.

    Most pay standard tariffs that apply regardless of the time of day.

    Some may have Economy 7 meters for nighttime electricity usage, which may be cost effective when using electric storage heaters.

    Having smart meters means being able to tell, by household, how much electricity is used at certain times of day and will lead to differential pricing for electricity during the day (e.g. pay less from 10am - 4pm, pay more from 7am - 10am and from 4pm - 10pm, pay least between 10pm and 7am).

    Cost savings will only be available to those who then change their consumption profile.

    Hold on to your cotton socks for a shake up in tariffs - only this will change behaviour - not looking at today's 'not so smart' meter which doesn't tell you very much.

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Smart meters will ultimately lead to time of day charging

      This used to exist (don't know if it still does) - it was called Economy 7.

      The idea was that you (most often) had two meters - a normal one and an Economy 7 one. Stuff you only used at night (most commonly night storage heaters that got heated up at night and used thermal mass to stay warm(-ish) during the day) could be plumbed into the economy 7 meter and everything else ran off the standard meter.

      The downside was that, while Economy 7 was much cheaper than regular supply during the night, it was significantly more expensive during the day so you really, really didn't want stuff using those power sockets during the day.

      (Just looked - apparently it still exists with a 50% reduction in cost during the night but nowadays uses a auto-switching single meter. Which, for people like me with a roomful of computer stuff to run 24/7 and various fish tank/pond pumps to run, would end up costing me about 30% more despite the lower overnight costs.)

      1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

        Re: Smart meters will ultimately lead to time of day charging

        Economy 7 and Economy 10 work for a few people but in my experience not many. They do work for car charging overnight. However, as soon as car charging becomes significant the 'off-peak' times will reduce significantly thus the "He said once electric vehicles become mainstream, people will want to use their smart meters to find out the cheapest times to charge their cars." will become irrelevant, firstly because off-peak will no longer exist and secondly you can't use current smart meters to work out when the supply is going to be cheaper ... you check your tarriff agreement conditions for that!!

        1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Smart meters will ultimately lead to time of day charging

          Economy 7 works very nicely for me. I won't have dodgy stuff like dryers on when I'm out, or in bed, and I've got a nice cheap rate time slot that ends at 7:30, so wash days I get up at 5:30 instead of my usual 6:00

        2. Barrie Shepherd

          Re: Smart meters will ultimately lead to time of day charging

          "He said once electric vehicles become mainstream, people will want to use their smart meters to find out the cheapest times to charge their cars."

          That's a bit of a numbskull comment! Charging in off peak periods will soon cause the off peak period to become the new peak so the generators will ramp up the wholesale power cost - there will be no cost difference so the need for smart meters will be obliterated!.

          Anyway I bet the ability to charge cars at 'economic' cost will soon disappear once electric cars have high penetration. Watch for completely different costs, and additional taxes, for charging point consumption (at home and in the street) as governments suffer a significant loss of revenue from Car Tax, Fuel Duty and associated Taxes.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Smart meters will never reduce consumption because you canna' change the laws of physics.

  18. Struggling to find a different name

    Couldn't have one even if I wanted it

    We've had the blurb saying smart meters are coming but told, elsewhere, they won't work on our system. We're in Scotland and have THTC electric heating. It means we're shafted on price whatever we do. We're told we can get a better deal on Economy 7 but, for that to be as good (comfort-wise in winter) we'd need to invest in new heaters (best estimate of a breakeven in 10 years)*. We could then have a smart meter -but why do I want to know how much money I'm burning? We use what we need.

    We routinely get offers of discounts to get gas and electric together - but there's no gas supply in our house. A new main was run part way along our street for one house, with the road dug up a second time a few months later for a couple others wanting gas. There would be a saving in price if we used gas, though one heck of an investment to get it installed. With the government wanting to phase out gas for home heating we'll stay all electric. It's probably the greenest option so, perversely, will be the most expensive.

    I've considered solar panels but the most optimistic estimates of saving is 20 years to recover the initial investment - assuming no degradation in performance. Installing a battery pack for storage would help with savings, but the extra outlay wouldn't shorten the payback period. As pensioner, I'm not sure I'd see the savings myself and would rather have the money now to enjoy life while my wife and I are still fit!

    Oops - strayed off-topic for a rant!

    *With E7, all heater charging is done overnight and the stored heat has to be eked out during the day and evening. THTC provides heat throughout the day and evening - which is necessary in winter when folk are at home during the day. The older style heaters that never had a good reputation with E7 are fine with THTC. However, you get charged for the privilege of being comfortable.

    1. Adair

      Re: Couldn't have one even if I wanted it

      If you've got a garden look into the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of a heat pump for your heating.

      1. Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change
        FAIL

        Re: Couldn't have one even if I wanted it

        I've got a river - a source that's continually renewing - yet I can't find anyone who'll quote me for installing a heat pump.

    2. goodjudge

      Re: Couldn't have one even if I wanted it

      I got a letter from my provider about installing them for my 2nd floor flat. After being assured I wouldn't get the rubbish 1st generation version that they're still trying to shift piles of, I booked a visit.

      The gas meter is in the ground immediately below the flat. "Too far away" said the assessor. The electric meter is in the communal hall by my front door. "They don't really work through walls" he said. "Sorry for your wasted visit" I said. Two weeks later I get another letter: "we'd like to come on [date] to install your smart meters"...

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Couldn't have one even if I wanted it

        Two weeks later I get another letter: "we'd like to come on [date] to install your smart meters"

        I ditched my last energy provider because I got sick of them constantly trying to get me to have a smart meter - despite me telling them to stop hassling me. They even started phoning me on a weekly basis, despite being told to not call me.

        Sadly, it was pre-GDPR otherwise I could have had some fun with them.. So migrating to someone else (and making it plain to them that I'm *not* having a smart meter) means I don't get any more calls about it. Presumably their CRM is a tad more advanced than the old company.

      2. Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

        Re: Couldn't have one even if I wanted it

        Let me guess.

        The assessor gave his honest opinion.

        His office was being heavily leaned on by government targets. Hence "it'll do no good" becomes "let's do it".

  19. batfink Silver badge

    Who gets the profit?

    £18 per household savings then.

    So, all the rest of the savings must be going to the energy companies.

    If these savings are so substantial, why aren't the energy companies paying for them then?

    This is just a massive fucking handout of public money to the energy companies. Fuck 'em. Let them pay for the infrastructure to generate their own savings/increased profits.

    1. elaar

      Re: Who gets the profit?

      To be fair, most energy companies hate the concept of smart meters as much as the public.

      1. regadpellagru

        Re: Who gets the profit?

        "To be fair, most energy companies hate the concept of smart meters as much as the public."

        Untrue. French EDF loves it since it will allow them to cut people off at no cost when they're late on paiement.

      2. the Jim bloke Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Who gets the profit?

        most energy companies hate the concept of smart meters as much as the public

        Nah, I reckon they still hate the public more..

  20. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I had a gen 1 smart meter installed 2 years ago by Scottish Power, its not worked in over 18 months since I switched suppliers so still have to manually give meter readings, as its incompatible with Shell energy systems.

    Why they ever went around installing these incompatible smart meters is just baffling and a complete waste of money.

    1. Trollslayer Silver badge

      So the government can be seen to be doing something for the perks they get.

  21. Trollslayer Silver badge
    Flame

    FTTP and removal of landlines

    When has the government said this is going to happen in all homes?

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: FTTP and removal of landlines

      I think Johnson said in a few years. As it's Johnson, that was a lie (obvs). So check your calendar for the date where it says "Hell Freezes Over".

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Hell freezing over...

        We will just cut the power to your heating units...

  22. John Lilburne

    Apparently they need a mobile signal, and there ain't one around where the meter is located. Can just about get a signal upstairs, but even then its one bar and crappy reception. Been around 3 times now to install one and each time left without installing anything.

  23. adam payne Silver badge

    People are not obliged to have a smart meter installed and can opt to turn them down.

    Tell that to the energy suppliers who lock the best deals behind the requirement of having a smart meter.

  24. 0laf Silver badge
    FAIL

    How many SMETS1 meters are sitting borked?

    What's the environmental impact of them?

    I've refused one I disagree with the policy so much. And I'm a lazy shit that would love to not bother doing meter readings.

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      I must admit I'm a bit of a nasty sod. Bod turned up to fit one a few years ago. I let him get on with it, and went out to watch when he came to testing. No mobile signal. I knew that. He didn't ask. So he had to remove it and install a new old-style meter, which shouldn't need 'high maintenace costs' for many years yet.

  25. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Eh?

    So we have... "People are not obliged to have a smart meter installed and can opt to turn them down."

    But then... "Onus will be on energy suppliers to ensure consumers adopt the new technology."

    So if the energy companies are made to ensure that customers adopt the technologies, how are they going to do that if I am under no obligation to have one?

    I mean, they can try, but with me, they will fail.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: Eh?

      It's called "outsourcing".

      In this case, the government outsourcing the problems created by magical thinking to someone else...

  26. John Robson Silver badge

    None of the mooted advantages need smart meters anyway

    The whole 'devices can react to the grid' needs to be handled at the device level.. The obvious candidates are the high, and variable, load devices:

    - Electric car charging

    - Immersion heaters

    - Storage heaters

    - Batteries used as time shifting devices (rather than solar energy shifting)

    There is no point in telling my cooker to turn off halfway through roasting a chicken...

    There is no point telling my freezer to turn off

    I have the lights on because I need them on

    My smoke alarms don't get turned off either

    There are a few things I could turn 'further off' than I do, but again, none of that is going to change with a smart meter.

    The first list of devices can easily negotiate with the grid/supplier and have a 'I want to use this much energy in the next 8 hours - when do you want me to use it' discount applied to the bill based on their direct usage - you could even use an economy10 style meter system for those specific devices (and nowadays of course that can easily be done without changing all the wiring).

    The concept of differential cost is excessively punitive to those who can't shift their power usage around (and for those where it represents a larger proportion of their weekly budget) - in the same way that pre pay meters are somehow more expensive than non pre pay meters...

    1. Suricou Raven Silver badge

      Re: None of the mooted advantages need smart meters anyway

      There might be for the freezer. It depends how fine-grained and responsive the control system is. If we're down to a resolution of minutes, it might well be practical for the grid to direct all the nation's freezers, air conditioners and heating systems to turn off for a short time in response to sudden load spikes or loss of generating capacity - just as a temporary measure while the pumped storage or gas turbine stations spin up to operating speed. With suitable financial incentive to make sure manufacturers have reason to support the capability, of course.

      1. Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

        Re: None of the mooted advantages need smart meters anyway

        A decent freezer can cope with many hours of power cut. As can many systems whose purpose is to maintain a temperature within a confined space. A generation of freezers responsive to smart power management is perfectly plausible.

        Though the role of smart meters in that is unclear - unless they're genuinely smart enough to notify the freezer in real time when dynamic power prices rise/fall.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Smart meters aint so smart...

    My folks had a smart meter fitted after a fair bit of bother, only for the installer to turn around and say "I don't have any of the right display units for you to actually use the smart features".

    They also found out that while my parents' village has 100% EE 4G coverage thanks to a shiny new Emergency Services Network mast, it has literally 0% coverage from any other network, so said smart meter is therefore less useful than the old one that came out (which had a larger, clearer digital display)

  28. GrapeBunch Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    ... in Canada? Pity!

    In Canada, smart meters are mandatory. And there are no savings to consumers. The (publicly-owned) power companies save money by laying off (= making redundant) the meter-readers, but electricity rates continue to rise, to pay for boondoggles and executive bonuses (in grateful thanks to the genius execs, who may also have received support from the manufacturers and marketers of the smart equipment, in appreciation of the non-existent savings predicted by smart meter proponents. Predict savings, receive bonus, don't revisit matter when savings fail to materialize). I don't have proof of allegations, just that the publicly-owned power companies, in the most populous provinces, went for smart meters while say in Britain and other places it's taken longer or not gone forward--for the obvious reason that a) it doesn't save money and/or b) insufficient incentives were provided. The utilities commission in New Brunswick (population 776,000) denied in 2018 as an unjustifiable expense smart meters to NB Power, but in bigger provinces the utilities commissions either lack that say or are already smart.

    In some jurisdictions, you can get a smart meter with the transmitter turned off, but you have to pay $65 bi-monthly for Hydro to read the meter (even though they were typically estimating or interpolating the bills even before smart meters). In Canada, the electric company is called "Hydro". Oh yes, you see on the digital readout that the transmitter is turned off. I am reminded of an old Irish song.

    Yes, I am peeved. Call me a dingbat, but smart meters have not been demonstrated to be safe. They are assumed to be safe because the levels involved do not ionize or cook you. It's a bit like in the 19th century industrial revolution, cigarettes could be deemed to be safe because the air was full of bronchial baddies from the burning of coal anyway. A bit like that. I agree, it's not a precise analogy.

  29. Chris King Silver badge
    Alien

    "when we move to the Star Trek phase..."

    Ahh, so they're waiting for a bunch of aliens to turn up and show us how to do things properly, or are they just threatening to send Captain Kirk round to deal with the ones that don't work ?

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: "when we move to the Star Trek phase..."

      Ahh, so they're waiting for a bunch of aliens to turn up

      You're thinking about the use of this much too literally

      It was no doubt coined by some twat who has never watched it, and doesn't know anything about it beyond 'everything is high tech computers and stuff'.

      What is actually meant is an excessively annoying dystopia where everything is interconnected between the devices in the home and the service providers and bills you automatically, and customer service will still suck.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "when we move to the Star Trek phase..."

      "Ahh, so they're waiting for a bunch of aliens to turn up and show us how to do things properly, or are they just threatening to send Captain Kirk round to deal with the ones that don't work ?"

      No, I think the dude was just totally drunk or high on drugs when he faced the MPs.

      After all, he stated "when we move to the Star Trek phase", it will allow the "technology to be our friend" ... How shitfaced can you be when you're spitting out such stupidities ?

      Come to think about it, that's not the right state, when you face MPs.

      1. Thomas Steven 1

        Re: "when we move to the Star Trek phase..."

        More like the Brazil phase

    3. Suricou Raven Silver badge

      Re: "when we move to the Star Trek phase..."

      Star Trek: Where the technology is all super-advanced, but it breaks down every ten minutes in exciting and plot-affecting ways? Where a ship can be crippled by cooking the wrong type of cheese, and control panels explode in a shower of sparks every time the camera wobbles?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "when we move to the Star Trek phase..."

        Which you are free not to watch. It's called entertainment.

        Unfortunately, despite beings one of the most positive sci fi series, for what will inevitably be a very dystopian future on planet earth, it's not real.

        In the actual future, everyone is a whingeing pom...

    4. the Jim bloke Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: "when we move to the Star Trek phase..."

      to a society where energy and materials are unlimited, where money is meaningless, and people only work because they want to..

      (ignoring all the later next-gen crap, dumbed down because viewers couldnt understand the implications of replicators and the rest of the technology)

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    WTF

    I heard this on R4 and was annoyed it went unchallenged.

    "People will want to use their smart meters to find out the cheapest times to charge their cars"

    No, people will *have* to charge their cars *when their cars at at home*. Which is probably not during the day time for most, and will probably require most of the night.

    What utter nonsense. I also call bullshit on smart meters swapping tarifs throughout the day. That just openly makes a mockery of what we already know to be complete horse shit, this notion of "competition" in the energy market.

    And my old dumb electricity meter isn't expensive to "maintain". Literally nothing has to happen for years and years and years at a time, except maybe once a year a man comes to read the numbers, like he will still need to do for my dumb gas meter. That also went unchallenged on the radio. Grrr.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge

      Re: WTF

      And my old dumb electricity meter isn't expensive to "maintain". Literally nothing has to happen for years and years and years at a time, except maybe once a year a man comes to read the numbers, like he will still need to do for my dumb gas meter. That also went unchallenged on the radio. Grrr.

      Not sure what you're trying to say here. I have a smart meter and it reports on both electricity and gas.

      I also don't think most people will need to charge their cars all night. Not as long as they always plug them in when they get home. Most cars are only driven for an hour every day (often less) and it doesn't take ten hours to recharge the battery after an hour's driving.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: WTF

        Do smart meter installs always cover gas as well as electrical supplies (assuming dual fuel supplier)? If so, fair enough, I was not aware of that. All the discussion and promotion/propaganda seems implicitly, if not outright explicitly on electrical smart meters and the money to be saved on electrical bills (still bullshit). Nobody's talking about the savings to be had monitoring my gas supply with a smart meter.

        Looking into it, seems gas smart meters have an internal battery rated for some unknown number of years, so will still need some degree of maintenance. Nah, I'll stick to my mechanical dumb meter for as long as I can. Nothing to replace and arguably more reliable. I'm dubious of electronic gas meters, I had a hell of a job convincing British Gas (I know...) in recent times that my mother's pre-payment gas meter was faulty when it was recording wildly inaccurate gas usage, including when the supply was shut off, likely due to faulty ultrasonic sensors or some other weird external influence. The attitude was all meters were utterly infallible and I'd need to pay them to have it tested/calibrated and that I'd still be proven wrong. Never want that stress again, I can't imagine a mechanical meter reading gas usage when no gas is flowing.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WTF

      @AC

      R4 isn't here to challenge us, it's to broadcast government press releases as if they are facts.

      Reporting that "the government said xyz" isn't technically lying, even though what the government said is a total lie.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I had one fitted about 2 weeks ago. Doesn't work! I had an old mechanical meter replaced it had been around the clock a few times. It sits in my utility and the mobile signal is poor so the new smart meter won't get a signal. The bloke fitting it (was actually pretty good) fitted the best aerial they do to it, but still no joy. If the aerial had more than the 2m of cable, say 4m I could move it to a location in the utility where it could get a signal, but I expect that won't be an option. I did say to the bloke that the whole rollout was an utter shambles which he totally agreed about! What is really crap is that they will only use a mobile connection, really they should have been designed to use what ever you have, broadband or mobile, that would solve a lot of the current issue which mainly are around connectivity.

    1. Paul Shirley

      use what ever you have, broadband or mobile

      Would certainly make it easier to disable the signal or hack it when the inevitable exploits were found!

  32. Missing Semicolon
    Facepalm

    Finally it is admitted

    ..what they are for. "picking the best tarriff" == SURGE PRICING!

    The only way that renewables could possibly work is through "demand management". In other words, the poorest will have to eat cold food as they won't be able to ru the cooker at peak times due to the cost being too high.

  33. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Fusion is the answer!

    I'm just waiting for Boris to announce post Brexit, British Boffins will get extra funding (somewhere between £1 and £350 million per week) to come up with a fridge sized fusion power plant that everyone can have in their home and export excess capacity to the grid. With all that excess capacity, they'll be able to do away with some big powerstations as well.

  34. bin

    OOPS!

    Of course all new Smart Meters will be 4G capable because the 2G and 3G spectrum(s) are going to be liberated - aren't they?

    AND - don't forget that for your provider to be able to hot change your pricing via the meter, they've got to be able to communicate with it in the first place.

    My 'relic' meter is in the garage - no signal........... muahahahahaaaaaa

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Relic Meters

    How is the maintenance cost for a "relic meter" any higher than a smart meter?

    I've had the same meter for 10 years and it's cost me nothing in maintenance. It's accurate and I check it once a month on my way to work.

  36. UberMunchkin

    We have consistently turned down the offer of smart meter installation at our place, not because of any opposition to the concept of a smart meter, but because I don't trust the security on it. Until they can provide a product that has it's security taken much more seriously I'm just not prepared to let them hook up my electricity supply to the internet.

  37. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

    My boss just moved into a new build house,...

    ... and then arranged a smart meter install, as for some reason, they aren't being fitted to new builds as standard.

    Meanwhile, I got one fitted a few months ago,.. and meh. I put it off for ages, as I didn't want to waste my annual leave babysitting the installer, but my wife arranged it for when she was off,... arranged a 'morning' install, and the chap turned up at 11:15 and told her it would take two hours. So make sure you nail them down on the details if you plan a half day off.

  38. Mike 137 Bronze badge

    Thank you Lord Duncan

    "He said once electric vehicles become mainstream, people will want to use their smart meters to find out the cheapest times to charge their cars."

    Once again the blinkered capitalist ignores the fact that most people can't, and probably never will be able to, afford electric vehicles plus the means to charge them at home. The shortage of "affordable" homes with drives or garages and the drastic shortage of homes with any dedicated parking space at all will not go away - it can only get worse.

    1. EBG

      Re: Thank you Lord Duncan

      This is not "blinkered capitalism", is mindless parroting of the cross-party line on decarbonisation. Any and every politician's response to your objection would be that Mobility-as-a-Service with Automated Vehicles means the end of individual car ownership. The charged EV will just appear when you call it up from your smartphone.

    2. Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

      Re: Thank you Lord Duncan

      Happily most people can't, and probably never will be able to, afford those newfangled horseless carriages.

  39. Mike Tyler

    Maintenance b*ll*cks

    We are on our third set of smart meters(both gas and lecy), nice to not have to be in for a meter man.

    But when you swap providers you need a new meter, they still send round a meter man even though after weeks of not doing anything much they finally agree with the old provider on the change over and send an email saying the smart meters are now working, not really the only thing they provide the display seems to be a bit off. Perhaps they should spend the smart meter money on customer service rather than sales.

    The chances of a smart meter switching tariffs to find the best deal ... I think Faster Than Light travel will come first. (don't worry de Pfeffel will sort it out, when he next has IT lessons with one of the smart meter trainers)

  40. Enter Username

    So how much of the supposed £18 annual saving will be needed to power the little display unit that tells you how fast your saving is being dpleted?

  41. N2 Silver badge

    Relic meter

    Never went wrong, never known one go wrong.

    Smart meter: utter shite, had three in nine years and only had one because it was already installed.

    We did have a discussion along the lines of "do we want one of those crappy new meters that go wrong" in the buying decision, but I would much prefer an old sty;e conventional meter.

    It just works.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gas smart meters - what do they do?

    British Gas have just informed me that they are now rolling out smart meters for our gas supply.

    My understanding is that they are powered by battery - not by my house electricity.

    What happens when the battery dies - does it cut off my gas supply? Apart from the usual hacking potential - for what other purpose can the gas company use them besides taking a meter reading whenever they wish? Cut off my gas by accident? It seems unlikely for energy management as the boiler pilot light will go out.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Star Trek phase"

    So you mean 200+ years into the future then?

  44. HelpfulJohn

    Optional?

    "People are not obliged to have a smart meter installed and can opt to turn them down."

    Well, my supplier doesn't agree with this. They've gone from sending me glossy "invitations" every week or so to threatening me with "legal requirements" to "upgrade" my meter due it it "approaching its end if life".

    They still send the expensive glossies, too.

    It may *be* optional but it sure as Hell does not *feel* optional.

    It feels like they are going to send round the Heavies to kick in the door any day now.

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