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UK energy minister rejects 'waste of money' smart meters claim

Commswonk Silver badge

Tridac wrote: As for reading: Don't know how many meters they intend to install, but they could never read them all at once in real time. Assume 1 second per read and say 20e6 meters would take 231 days to read them all !!!.

A couple of erroneous assumptions, I think.

(1) If the proposed system uses cellular technology as we know it read times are likely to be well in excess of 1 second. Setting up each individual call will take longer than that.

(2) I haven't checked your calculation in detail but I think you have assumed that "nationwide" only one reading will be taken at a time. That would be silly; the separate companies will each be uploading readings from different sites within their region so in fact multiple readings per unit time will be perfectly possible.

I am still at something of a loss to see how a cellular system (as we know it) can download changing tariff information to customers, unless some existing and developing systems can broadcast to multiple recipients. I was thinking about this whilst out walking the dog and (perhaps perversely) the now - apparently - out - of - favour TETRA functionality would seem to be far better suited to the application than a normal cellular system is. TETRA allows a broadcast function so that sending to multiple recipients is perfectly straightforward. Polling individual customers to obtain meter readings is also likely to be much quicker than any "dial up" system, although whether it would get down to the "1 second" suggested above is something I would be reluctant to comment about in detail.

Without downloading tariff information to users how are users to know that switching the washing machine on now would be a bad idea, and that it would be better to leave it until later? This perhaps raises another issue; will meters display kWh consumed or "price units" consumed? If I use (say) 10 kWh how will my supplier know if it was at a cheap or expensive rate without having to upload metering information every hour or so, which would be silly.

I didn't think much of the idea of smart metering from the outset; the more I think about it the more I think the idea is complete crap.

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