‘Confusion and resistance’ slows down UK smart meter rollout

Public Release: 18-Sep-2017

From Eurekalert

University of Sussex

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IMAGE: Smart meter campaign poster in London Underground. view more

Credit: Image by Benjamin Sovacool

Lack of consumer engagement, insufficient information, and inadequate attention to vulnerability has slowed down the UK rollout of energy smart meters, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Sussex.

The £11 billion smart meter programme, which is supported by a £100-million marketing campaign, has not met its targets due to consumer apathy and confusion, especially in the case of vulnerable people, say the researchers.

The UK government planned to install smart meters in every home by 2020 to reduce national household energy consumption by 5-15%, and thereby help meet the UK’s climate change targets. Smart meters are digital gas and electricity meters that connect households to suppliers and feature a home display that aims to help people better understand their energy use. The programme, officially called Smart Meter Implementation Programme (SMIP) is the largest government-run information technology project in history. Yet, a year in, energy providers had only managed to install the meters in seven percent of homes. To hit the target by 2020, suppliers would need to install 40,000 smart meters per day for the duration of the programme.

Professor Benjamin Sovacool, lead author of the study and director of the Sussex Energy Group, pointed out:

‘We have recently seen how the government had to backtrack on its ambitions to make installation in every home obligatory; they are basically admitting a degree of failure. Consumer confusion and even resistance to the programme exist, which is a clear sign that they need to improve consumer engagement and the provision of information about the benefits of the technology. This is especially true when it comes to vulnerable classes of people, such as the elderly and those less educated’.

The paper, published in Energy Policy, argues that discussions around technical glitches have partially obscured societal issues that need to be addressed for a more successful campaign. The researchers looked at two primary sources of data, a systemic review of the academic literature on smart meters as well as participant observation of seven major events on the SMIP during 2015-2016.

Dr Kirsten Jenkins, Research Fellow in Energy Justice and Transitions at the University of Sussex, adds that another benefit to the study is that it helps demystify the smart meter programme. As she clarifies:

‘I come at this paper both as a researcher and as a potential user of a smart meter in my own home, and one that despite initially being told I could upgrade now, was later informed there was no availability in my area. For many the SMIP has remained something of a mystery. Our study makes an important step towards revealing its dynamics and highlighting the necessity of not only technological advancement, but thoroughly considered social integration that is conscious of both new and old social vulnerabilities.’

The new technology is not only supposed to increase awareness around household energy needs, but also make households more energy efficient and reduce energy bills. However, the paper argues that rather than engaging consumers about the potential benefits, the technology has only generated ‘confusion and resistance’ in many households. There is little awareness of the benefits or understanding of how the technology works even in those households where the technology has been installed.

Dr Paula Kivimaa, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Sussex, emphasizes that the actions of users and consumers could greatly compromise the success of the programme. As she states:

‘Given the removal of several important policy instruments targeting energy efficiency and demand reduction in buildings in 2015, the SMIP has a crucial role in advancing these policy targets. However, the failure to engage consumers effectively puts the success of this programme at risk, and, thus requires speedy and effective action on behalf of those in charge of its implementation.’

Dr Sabine Hielscher, a Research Fellow at Sussex, comments that the ‘high expected benefits associated with the rollout of smart meters have been kept alive and their achievements have stayed optimistic within the UK government over the last decade. Although the SMIP has been increasingly scrutinised and uncertainties surrounding expected benefits persisted, it will be interesting to see how the smart meter rollout will unfold over the next few years.’

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The full study is available for free until the end of September at https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1VWWr14YGgTtDm.

Citation: Sovacool, BK, P Kivimaa, S Hielscher, and K Jenkins. “Vulnerability and resistance in the United Kingdom’s smart meter transition,” Energy Policy 109 (October, 2017), pp. 767-781.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

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178 thoughts on “‘Confusion and resistance’ slows down UK smart meter rollout

    • Most people I have talked to about these believe they will be used to ration electricity by interrupting supplies to help support intermittent renewables.

      Don’t want one, won’t have one, End of.

      • Consumer confusion and even resistance to the programme exist, which is a clear sign that they need to improve consumer engagement and the provision of information about the benefits of the technology. This is especially true when it comes to vulnerable classes of people, such as the elderly and those less educated’.

        So, according to the study, people who do not want this additional spy device inserted into their privacy and the ability of the power company to cut you off at the click of a mouse are apparently “confused” and either senile or just stupid.

        Which demographic do you fit into Old England ? ;)

      • Of course, if this is all about “climate change” and saving the planet, if you do not agree to go along you must be senile or unintelligent.

        I love the patronising and condescending way they talk about objectors being “vulnerable” just before insulting them.

      • Yup, I’m with you on this one. I refuse to have one installed on my property, and if they try I’ll do them for trespass.

      • Precisely why I refuse to have one installed no matter how many times they write to me. Not only that the smart meters were only included in the grossly criminal UK Energy Bill as a House of Lords ammendment thanks to the corrupt Labour peer, Lord – consultant for a company manufacturing smart meters – Truscott.

        Bollocks to Climate alarmism.
        Big hairy bollocks to corruptly incorporated smart meters.

      • More realistically, they can monitor your energy use in real time. If they can do that, they can charge more for cooking dinner during peak times – ie dinner time.

      • It is not a belief, it is a certainty. The problem with “renewables” is intermittentcy. Smart meters can prevent grid destabilization caused by intermittent generation by shedding load, i.e., turning off the lights, heat an appliances in your house to protect the grid. Don’t worry a diesel generator and a Tesla “powerwall” can protect you for a mere $30,000.

      • Good for you Old England, in Australia they have attempted to force these bloody things on us. I refused to let them put one on my house and went so far as to limit access to my power board so that they couldn’t do it without destroying my box altogether…but can still access it enough for their general needs. I suggest you all do the same. Everyone I know who have had one of these bloody thing put on their house have had their bills go through the roof.
        Also they are obviously going to attempt to use it as spy device and a control on my usage eventually. We are slated for blackouts this summer so I imagine “They” will begin looking at their smart meter data soon.
        I the meantime I have begun looking at how to steal power off the grid, sick, sad world.

      • I do not trust anything that has the government finger print on it. I do not trust police or government. They both have an ageda, steal and incarcerate as many people as possible.

    • For years I have been told for safety not to run dishwashers and washing machines while 😴 Now it’s SMART?

      • #1 I gather that the ‘Smart’ meters installed to date do – more or less – what it says on the box – until you change energy supplier. Then they are an unattractive and utterly ineffective box in a cupboard.
        #2 Governments encourage folk to change supplier – always going for a better [or less bad?] deal.

        Statements 1 and 2 appear incompatible.

        Painfully – not ‘joined-up government’!

        Standard bollocks from our increasingly incompetent Civil service and information-poor ministers [and MPs] here in the UK.

        And – in case of doubt – no, I am not getting one of these delusion-enhancing bits of control-kit.

        Auto

    • I have used an OWL ENERGY MONITOR for the past five years to tell me all that a smart meter does. It cost about £25 then, and now costs about £34, which is much less than a smart meter costs to install, as well as having the advantage that I am in control of the information.

    • On a recent edition of Money Box (BBC R4 finance programme) they interviewed an academic expert in this area.

      He said that the UK bill was supposed to £11 billion but that savings of £16 billion would result. I think that is over the (25 year?) lifetime of the meters. However that is based on a significant reduction in use, c. 10%. He said that real world experience (in the UK & abroad) shows that savings are actually more like 3% and so that they don’t cost in.

      A main reason for this is that they are so broad brush, they just look at total household usage, so it is hard to see which of the, say, eight items currently plugged in is using most electricity. Hence they are a novelty that is used for a few weeks and then ignored.

      When asked personally, he said that he would not have one installed.

  1. There is a lot of evidence that these things do not work. I would put them in tomorrow if I thought that they did. Far better than going into the cellar and using a torch to check. I admire the UK government in its attempts to go digital, but everything I hear suggests that we are years behind France and other European neighbours. It so hurts to say that…

    • They do help though.
      They eliminate the need for someone to go to your house on a monthly basis to “Read the meter” (does eliminate a few (100-200) jobs which ultimately affects rates)
      They tell the Electric Company when your power goes out (even if you aren’t home) and someone is dispatched to investigate/correct the outage.
      Multiple meters reporting outages helps the electric company determine the potential level of the outage (if they need to go to a Single Service, Fuse, Recloser or substation cutting patrol times and outage times)
      They report usage every 15-30 minutes depending on the type of account.
      They allow you to log into a website and view your usage profile.

      • I have not seen a meter reader for years, as I send all my readings online.

        If people want them, they should pay the £400 cost of them, instead of expecting me and all other bill payers to fork out

      • Paul Homewood

        Well said Paul, the expense of these idiotic bits of tech is ridiculous. I can buy a reasonable laptop PC for £400 and a Chinese Android mobile phone for £150, both of which are far superior to the technology in a smart meter.

        Oh! except, of course, that a Chinese mobile phone won’t cut off your electricity and gas supply remotely.

      • They do have benefits, yes. However, they are not beneficial for the reasons they are advertised. They are beneficial to the efficiency of the electric company, but not significantly to energy use. The only problem that I have is that the utilities want us to pay extra for what is effectively their cost savings.

      • Bryan,
        Exactly correct. We’ve had ‘smart’ meters here in northern California for over 15 yrs now, and all that you’ve mentioned is true. Our outages have decreased as well. The on-line monitoring is interesting, but the meter itself scrolls through 3 screens – total kwhrs used, current kw, and line voltage. So, I can turn on an appliance and go look at the meter to see the wattage it’s using.

      • They “help” violate your privacy from cushy seats in the convenience and comfort-controlled central office. For that, they have been “working” since tge early 1989s… It has only been in the last few years the power-mad set have had the chutzpah to cut locks, beat people up, or kidnap or further extort those who raise objections.

      • “So, I can turn on an appliance and go look at the meter to see the wattage it’s using.”

        You can get a device that goes into the wall socket to do that and it will cost a few dollars, and won’t enable them to cut your power supply off remotely.

      • “They tell the Electric Company when your power goes out (even if you aren’t home) and someone is dispatched to investigate/correct the outage.”

        Maybe. Thanks to some inept street refurbishing by my local municipality, we had several power outages last year. Each time, we had to work our way through the local power company’s (poorly implemented) automated phone system to report the outages. They were able to confirm the outage remotely once we roused intelligent life at the powerco and reported the problem.

        I’m a bit hazy on where this 5-15% power saving is supposed to come from. Sounds like wishful thinking to me.

        Also, it seems to me like remotely controllable smart meters will probably be yet another digital vulnerability to be exploited by hostile agents to harass individuals and/or cripple economies. Might be an OK idea if implemented by VERY smart people with a clear vision of the risks and gains. But is that what we’re dealing with?

      • One problem admitted by the companies, is that if you change supplier, your “Smart” meter may not work with your new supplier.

      • That’s not really true though. The meters and their installation are expensive and the consumers pay for them in their bills. That is far more than the cost of the people being replaced. And power outages are so uncommon as to be irrelevant in the UK. And I can already access a website to provide my readings.

      • They are also bigger than the old meters so won’t fit in the meter cupboard in my block of flats. Your power can be turned off remotely to try to deal with wind power induced grid crashes and avoid switching on all those diesel STOR installations. That would be annoying if you needed your Tesla for an important meeting in the morning, and clean underwear too perhaps. Also reports of fires from bad installation (possibly related to the size issue and having to move the tails).

        https://www.thesun.co.uk/money/4112372/bbc-investigates-smart-meters-safety-house-fires/

      • ‘monthly basis’ – nobody ever comes to read the meter on a monthly basis. Been in my house 3 years and had one card left for electricity I think.

        There are no benefits to having one so that is why they are not wanted. I have 2 wireless displays and as said above, the novelty soon wore off and they are in a box somewhere. If you don’t supply monthly readings – and my companies e-mail reminding me to send them – and get an estimated bill you are a moron. And not mentioned by the report is that they can facilitate variable charging as well as been turned off remotely. I saw somewhere a claim that they cost £200-300 but I think over £400 is nearer the mark.

      • Had 2 smart meters installed out of 3 properties recently. One seems to have helped a lot, without doing anything at all the quarterly consumption is now down to 2kWHr. They sent me a letter recently saying they need to visit and “ask me some questions”. I’m going to bake them a cake with salt instead of sugar and ask some questions of my own while they eat it.

      • “I’m a bit hazy on where this 5-15% power saving is supposed to come from. Sounds like wishful thinking to me.”

        No money saving, just power saving. Electric utilities are regulated monopolies, with guaranteed rates of return. Should the people cut power usage 15%, rates will go up as needed to cover the difference.

  2. It’s crass to push the main/only ‘advantage’ of smart meters as the elimination of estimated meter readings.

    Estimated readings *always* catch up to reality, at the next formal reading. Energy supply companies’ estimation algorithms are relatively accurate.

    UK consumers are misled by suppliers & proponents NOT mentioning the *major* reason for the roll-out is to enable peak time-of-day charges.

    • Just maybe the public is not a senile or unintelligent as these senile and unintelligent researchers seem to think.

    • And most people now log on to their supplier and type in their meter readings every month ! So no estimated bills and no need for a smart meter. I have done this for years. The one supposed benefit of these meters does not exist. More fool the government.

    • In most parts of the US, manual meter readings have gone the way of vinyl LP albums for 20 years or so. It’s only claim to fame is being able to cutoff your electricity when the provider wants to and it’s typically an all or nothing affair. There’s a whole ‘nother level to the game if you want to selectively cut off AC or an electric water heater.

  3. Six months ago, the local electric utility sent notices with montly bills to all its customers that the smart meter program would be starting before long. In this case, in my USA area, it’s meant to provide a more accurate reading. Since I keep my old bills, I can compare August this year with August several years back, and I found in doing so that it does give a more accurate reading and my electric bill is lower in the summer by about $5/month. Not a huge savings, but five bucks is five bucks, right?
    It probably helps that I haven’t required air conditioning for at least the past five years, maybe longer. The bill will go up when winter comes, because the furnace will be running, but when all I run is the fridge, computer, and a microwave, I should have an exorbitant electric bill.
    So, I don’t know what the issue is, but if it saves me a bit of cash, that’s fine with me.

    • Sara. The same people in control of the meter read-outs can also, whenever they feel they can get away with it without too much public outcry, control the power supply to your metered building.

      Big G controlled power company: Here you go, lady, a nice way to help you keep your power bills down.

      Sara: Thank you! I like saving money.

      {3 years later}

      Power Company rep. (answering call): Big P saving the Planet one house at a timehowmayIhelpyou?

      Sara (on phone with power company): What is going ON?! Why did my power go off — no one else on the block’s power is off?!

      Power Company: Sorry, Ms. Sara. We have to turn off your power once you’ve reached your monthly allowance.

      Sara: It — is — only — the — 10th — of — the — MONTH.

      PC: C’est la vie. Try to use 1/3 of the power you usually use next month and you might make it to the 30th. *click*

      • Yes, yes, they can turn it off, now, but this makes it much easier to do — under the guise of “saving the planet.”

      • And (I think this is the last, lol): all they need to “shut it off” is to raise the rates high enough and make that “peak” time last long enough — you will shut it off (or, if you don’t pay, THEN, they will shut if off and they will have a “right” to). Old or frail or sickly? They. Don’t. Care. You can just enjoy freezing to death. “Cheers! Phil.” — Sickening.

      • Actually, if the power company did something that stupid, they’d get more bad publicity than you can imagine. Since it’s a publicly-traded stock, the bad – VERY VERY BAD – PR would drop their stock value in a heartbeat. They haven’t indicated any sort of “allowance” in any of the stuff I’ve been sent, and which I keep, so what you’re talking about is an entirely different matter, and sounds like a government-run utility, not a publicly-sold and traded stock company.
        So, no, unless I don’t pay my bill (for which I’d get notices before being cut off) the notion that I’ve got an “allowance” doesn’t fly.

      • Sara:

        1. The government “runs” the utility company via regulation.
        2. The “allowance” is not a presently existing thing. It is made easier to impose by the smart meter.
        3. The public is easily duped.

  4. I refused to have one. The very nice lady from the energy supplier told me how much money I would save. I asked her if I could bill her very nice company for my time and any time spent resolving problems. She said no, so I said no.

    • That is the issue: the meters only save you money if you spend time watching them – and a great deal of time if you want to make any real savings. My time has a value to it, and that value is far more than a few pennies an hour.

      5% of my bill is around £50. That sounds like a lot, but is only £0.13/day. Thus any time I spend during a day checking the meter and then turning stuff off has to be worth less than say £0.03/hour (assuming a ten hour day). I’m pretty sure every hour is worth more than that to me!

    • It seems a funny premise…

      If the lights are ON you are using energy, if the lights are OFF you are not using energy.
      If twice as many lights are ON, you are probably using twice as much energy.

      Does this really need a digital meter to help folks use less energy? It almost sounds insulting.

  5. As the “benefit” is load shedding to make up for an unreliable grid, some advantage. This sort of thing is why the Brits should vote some people out.

    • They don’t have an alternative, it seems. In addition to homogenizing temperatures and seeing that it was good, they went ahead and homogenized the politics.

    • Exactly. I’ve been chucking Smart Meter spam in the bin for about eighteen months because the longer it takes to roll out, the longer it will be before ‘flexible’ pricing is feasible. I expect to be forced into it eventually but I don’t expect it to be to my advantage in the long term. I’m probably one of those “less educated” consumers.

      • You have done uncovered the real reason they want ’em installed. Raise the price during peak loads, drop it during off peak.

        Unfortunately, they tend to forget the “drop prices” part.

  6. I have had the meters fitted and my bills have gone down. I have not changed my life style or usage. My family have certainly not changed their habits. I believe my old meters were not working accurately and I was paying excessively high bills.
    It’s now easy for the Goverement and supplier to say that the smart meters have helped to reduce my usage without making the slightest difference to my carbon hoof print.
    This is just another massive waste of money.

    • I don’t believe it’s possible to switch off either gas or electric. There is no mechanism on either meter that could do that.
      I believe you are right that a malicious hacker could alter the readings but to what advantages?

    • CommieBob, that assumes that the house in question is entirely dependent on IT hookups for everything, including indoor temperature control and running the fridge. Mine is not. There are far more houses, and more old houses like mine in America than there are in Finland. A scare story like that doesn’t wash.

      • The question is not the age of the house but the age of the appliances. Over the next fifteen years you will probably replace most of your appliances, water heater, and furnace.

        I recently replaced my 50+ year old furnace. I could have bought a furnace with wifi connectivity. I can assure you that I did not do so. The furnace guy thought I was cracked to worry about it but he has never been a hacker.

        Did you know that cars can be hacked? The hackers don’t have to get physical access to your car, they can do it by remote control. link My car is too dumb to be hacked and I’m going to keep it that way as long as I can.

  7. When government (with the support of academia) says, “Do it because its good for
    you.”, followed by “Do it because we tell you to.” many folks balk at that approach.

    Personally, I can identify with passive resistance to any government intrusion
    into my home.

    • Today, it’s “smart meters” and prescription reminder apps; tomorrow, it’ll be implanted microchips and we’ll have all the personal autonomy of cattle on a feed lot. Plenty of lefties licking their chops.

  8. Most people realise it is an enormous waste of money and primarily intended for demand management when the windmills stop.

    I’ve never paid an estimated bill – always only what I’ve used by submitting a reading by phone/internet – and I don’t use any electricity that I don’t need to use.

    I don’t need or want a smart meter, as it gives me nothing at all.

  9. To get a reasonable price for gas and electricity you need to switch supplier regularly. The smart meter is currently used as a tool to chain you to a supplier because the meter has to be replaced if you switch. The government ruling that smart meters have to be of a standard configuration, that any supplier can use, have been put back. That is the reason that I won’t have one, but I haven’t checked to see if I am deluded, I could be completely wrong.

    • Once everyone has a smart meter ,&is saving 5-15%of previous energy use ,supply company income would fall . Thus as generating costs remain fixed (more or less)they will raise the tariffs to the customer .simples !,as well as all the forgoing scenarios.

  10. Smart meters …. aim{} to help people { the government} better understand { control}their energy use.

    The main beneficiary: the installers (at a rate of 40,000 units per day thanks to contrived/mandated demand). Just like the solar sc@mmers. Disgusting.

    END ENVIROPROFITEERING NOW!

    The same spirit which energized her American colonies to say, “Enough!” is still alive in England today.

    The same spirit that fought and persevered and stood firm and WON WWII is</b..

    RESIST TYRANNY, O Great Britain!

    Remember…… and NEVER SURRENDER!

    4 June 1940.

    He did not know that Great Britain would, in the end, prevail.

    He only believed.

    Don’t — give — up, dear liberty-loving British!

    YOU ARE GOING TO WIN THIS FIGHT!

    The Environ@zies have lost the war….. it is only a matter of time until they are heard of no more, swept out with the tide to sink down into the murky depths
    where all the detritus of history lies,

    forgotten.

    In the meantime, dear United Kingdom: stand your ground.

    Truth will win.

    • If the mod would be so kind, please add a > to close that bold, thanks!

      Edit: “….. the installers and the meter producers (the Chinese — again?)

      • How sweet of you, Janet. Thank you.

        But please don’t worry about my lack of hearing…my audiologists will tell you a wonderful new world of hearing awaits me with all the chicklet sized processors, magnets, coils, and cables installed in my head if only I would follow their instructions: Listen! Listen! Listen! What they don’t tell you is that if you relax from all that rehab listening for just a short time, the hard won progress disappears. I’m 74, retired, live alone, and aside from music and wind in the pines, I have no compelling need to invest the amount of time and energy required to sustain the level of hearing that the technology offers. I actually revel in the quiet forest I live in, don’t miss television, and furthermore don’t have the energy to bother with it all. You’d be surprised how easy it is to function without a telephone if you have email capability. I managed to settle my mother’s estate, sell her house after getting it appraised, and dealt with an insurance policy reroofing job…all of this in Arkansas. Those who can’t, or won’t, use email to communicate with me are by my lights simply out of luck. For me it’s a simple matter of costs vs. benefits.

        I like to wear the implant processor when working with the chainsaw, just for safety’s sake. But I found the cabling between the external processor device and the magnet/coil attached to my scalp shorts out when I sweat, so that’s become impractical.

        You may with my blessings instead pray for those others who may be in more dire need of hearing capabilities. The cochlear implant technology is available via medicare supplemented by a decent health insurance plan to cover out of pocket expenses. I was blessed to receive the device. It enables conversations with family and friends. I am by my own choice not utilizing it to its full capability.

        p.s. My apologies to the mods and others for this long winded discourse on my hearing.

        p.p.s. Thanks again to the commenters a few weeks back who addressed my concerns over EMP risks of the implant. I have the man-sized Faraday cage on my to-do list. I doubt it would be of much value in the event of a nucular attack unless I lived in it, which seems impractical.

    • Nice sentiments, Janice. Seems too late for some of us in California using PG&E. They swapped out the old meter “in the dead of night,” so to speak using contractors. I found a nice young feller on my deck fiddling with my meter…a strange unmarked truck in the drive, not PG&E. Before reaching for my shotgun, I engaged him in conversation. The essence of his explanation was he didn’t know diddly regarding my questions. The old meter was convenient for me to monitor things like the well pump cycling, etc., and one could determine usage by understanding all the little clocks. All I had to do was watch the rotor spin to know when my pump cut off, useful in a number of ways. The smart meter is just a dumb black box that flashes some useless numbers in comparison to the old meter.

      I fully agree the real motive is CONTROL, and not by me.

      Assisting trouble shooting in case of unscheduled outages might be the only useful application from my rural mountain perspective. My outages are few, and have been only of short duration, so perhaps something is working. But, I have to wonder if they really monitor down to the individual service level.

      [I’m now functionally deaf and avoid the kind of phone maze I’d encounter if I tried to research these questions myself. A cochlear implant helps with face-to-face conversations, but I’m enjoying being “un-connected” otherwise.]

      • Well, it was a pleasure to “connect” with you, here T. O. Ed Brown. California is a VERY creepy state. I hope, hope, hope, HOPE that the UK still has enough fighting spirit to throw off the enviroprofiteers. In the end, truth will out, though — even in the communist state of CA. Just hard to watch the damage inflicted on the economy and in people’s lives in the meantime.

        Those meter makers and installers are making $$ right along with that punk Musk — off the backs of taxpayers/power customers’. The game’s up at the federal level, though. heh, heh, heh.

        Tesla stock fell significantly today. How sad — NOT.

      • Dear Mr. Brown,

        I am so sorry! In my haste to reply, I forgot to tell you that I admire your spunk and wish you all the best as you soldier on in a world where loss of hearing makes the going at times very tough, indeed.

        Hang in there. You are now on my prayer list (along with 3 other functionally deaf people) for help to cope (and for a miraculous healing, too — doesn’t hurt to ask. “You have not because you ask not.” James 4:2 :) ).

        Sincerely,

        Janice

        P.S. I also admire your self-control. I grew up “out in the country.” If that man had walked onto our “farm,” I would have lost my temper and really laid into him with angry, stern, words.

    • I have no respect for Churchill. Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, basically given his position at the Admiralty. He was a strong supporter of eugenics and supported the 1912 feeble minded persons act which, thankfully, *NEVER* passed in to law. The “great” war would have been very different if it had.

  11. To what other potential uses can these eavesdropper technologies be put? Paranoia is not remote from reality anymore. Just knowing when I’m home and away is an obvious one. Depending on granularity, they may even surmise exactly what activities you have engaged in during a day. They make the power horribly expensive and then kindly give you a device to save on energy bills! Ideologues who unabashedly admit they intend to control you handing out gifts!

    The numbnuts who conceived of them may not be thinking about such, but eventually someone will get a good idea on how to further invade your privacy you with such things.

    • They make the power horribly expensive and then kindly give you a device to save on energy bills!

      Applause! (worth waiting for, :) )

      Yes, indeed. THIS point is the crux of the matter: the reason the power is so expensive that a smart meter is welcomed by some IS BECAUSE OF AGW FANTASY SCIENCE-BASED ENERGY POLICIES (i.e., rate surcharges to fund wind and solar sc@ms — also, no dams built and nuclear power plants built, etc.).

  12. When I move house for the last time (in next two/three years) I won’t buy a house with a smart meter while I still have a choice.
    It’s just an excuse to be able to charge more at peak times or even cut off supplies to a selection of customers to shed excess load while avoiding a backlash. It will be difficult to object if only 10% (say), of people in your area are affected.

    SteveT

  13. I don’t believe customers are confused, as is made out.

    On the contrary they know exactly why these obscenely expensive things are being forced on them, and that is why most don’t want them

    • I have been offered by people at the door and on the phone one of these things and have explained to them why I don’t need nor want one. The people on the phone obviously aware that these calls are monitored “for training and security reasons” haven’t said too much against them but those at the door have often agreed with me.
      They have also had reliability issues, The Daily Telegraph money section has dealt with quite a number of customers who had billing and supply issues

  14. Gee mods, I don’t recall breaking a rule with my very apropos comment.

    [No rules broken. Just an over-active WordPress filter system. Your comment was found and restored. Cheers. -mod]

    • Hang in there, Gary. On the bright side, NOW (smile), your comment has the added attraction (to readers here) of…. “Watch this space! Great things are coming soon!” :)

  15. Smart meters have been in use in Ontario for a couple years now. As a retired person living at home year-round, the only way I can reduce my electricity bill is by doing the laundry (washer and electric dryer) after 7:00 pm or on weekends (when I used to do it anyway). Unless I cook (using an electric range or oven) after 7:00 pm weekdays. Not much choice at other times for turning on the LED lights (when it gets dark).

  16. They seem to need GSM signal so no use here where there is no coverage at all.
    Even if you have outdoor coverage it could be borderline indoors.
    It would be better if they wasted money on filling all these notspots first.

  17. I refused point blank to have one of these meters.
    I told my energy supplier that if they tried to fit one, I would sue them for trespass and criminal damage.
    No more phone calls since!

    • Hip, hip, hooray!
      Hip, hip, hooray!
      Hip, hip, hooray!

      I knew you people were still great!

      Cheering you on from across the sea,

      Janice

    • At the moment, it is entirely your decision whether to have a smart meter fitted, however if it became mandatory your threat to sue for trespass would fail because utility companies have right of access to private premises, and can break down your door if you don’t co-operate.

      • “Peter Plail September 19, 2017 at 4:29 pm ”

        It’s called a “statutory right of entry” and has been around for a very long time. Esther Rantzon in the 70’s ran a skit about it.

    • They replaced my 50 year old meter the other day.

      I asked if it was a smart meter, guy said NO.

      Did I have to pay for it? NO.

      No problem. :-)

      • As regards paying for smart meters – you already pay, the cost of the program goes on all bills, you can’t opt out of paying for it – only actually having it (at the moment!).

    • Energy supplier ‘trespass’ – good luck with that in the UK, they can pretty much break in at will with impunity, if they suspect theft, safety, or just want to ‘inspect’ – like you I am holding out, but as soon as they become mandatory, they will be allowed to break in to fit them!

  18. I;m intrigued by the theme that general public is so stupid that can’t see what a great idea smart meters are, and better communication is needed. Sort of like better communication of CAGW / CCC is needed so the general public will realize the existential threat.

    And I love Dr Kirsten Jenkins title – Research Fellow in Energy Justice and Transitions at the University of Sussex. Is that for real? Is this your tax pounds at work?

    • It’s becoming increasingly obvious that the society I live in is beyond parody. I find myself almost wishing for some sort of cataclysm to flush away ‘jobs’ such as Dr. Jenkins’. I despair that my taxes are helping to fund her :-(

  19. One of the advantages of the old analog meter is that you could run the meter backwards if you could generate your own electricity, and truly net meter your own house. The old meter didn’t care or know which way the electrons were going, although you had to be careful not to confuse the meter maid if your next months meter reading were going backwards and they suddenly owed you money. Then the computer or someone may be taking a closer look at your account. Some may remember this ‘guerrilla metering’ back in the day before utilities were actually approving formal net metering. Perhaps this is one small reason why utilities are moving towards smart meters.

    One of the things I actually do agree with now, is time of day pricing. Electricity is another commodity or product that should have its value set by demand. If I want to do my laundry or dishes at peak time when everyone else has their oven on at 6 pm, then I don’t mind paying more since I can schedule the laundry or dishwasher to do its thing at midnight, which is when the grid has more of a surplus. I realize many people won’t agree with me on this, but if you think about it and realize that peak demand is what costs utilities in building capacity for both peak power production and grid availability, then your basic cost of electricity is going to rise to be able to meet peak demand from 3 – 9 Pm every day for everyone. Pricing for demand is only good capitalism at its finest. And it does make for a more stable grid with less brownout.

    The smart meter is just a digital meter with a clock, and can hook into the internet of things. It doesn’t save you any money unless you get smart and check and see what appliances and devices are costing you money and adjust your electrical habits to get the best bang for your buck by adjusting your living habits to match your wallet.

    • “your basic cost of electricity is going to rise to be able to meet peak demand from 3 – 9 Pm every day for everyone.”

      That’s an accurate description of the situation now, but in a few years time when we’ve all been forced in to electric cars the peak demand will be over night as the cars are recharging. If your smart meter shuts you off because your supplier needs to manage demand you’ll start the next day as a pedestrian.

      • So should the wealthy bloke who has a hot tub and swimming pool heated by the mains, get his electricity at the same rate at peak times when all the poor people are cooking supper? Assuming that the price is the same all day for everyone… Perhaps non essential loads like this example, including the electric clothes drier and other high consumptive loads at peak times should be charged higher prices so that people modify their usage habits so that the grid is operational at supper time for everyone.

        In other jurisdictions around the world, they have what is called Tier 1 and Tier 2 pricing. The first 500 Kw/hrs for the month are charged a base rate so that essential things to live can be mostly met and the additional amount over the 500 Kw/h gets charged a premium, so that the poor are not gouged by their minimum use of electricity. This would be fair to the argument of gouging the poor for cooking supper at supper time.

        I get it, and realize that different countries have different types of smart meters to charge and change consumer behaviour. But I think people also have to understand that if everyone wants equal demand to electricity at any time for no additional cost, then the grid won’t work. This sounds a bit like NIMBYism that some people just think they should have equal access to consume as much electricity at peak times with no price differential regardless of the effect on the electricity generator or the grid infrastructure.

    • I can schedule the laundry or dishwasher to do its thing at midnight,…

      If everyone does that….it’s no longer off peak

      • Yup..that’s the whole point. The more we can level the grid so that we don’t have huge surges in demand for 3-4 peak hours a day (morning and night) and then a substantial drop in demand all night, then the utility that is producing the power and the grid operator have a chance to operate at the most efficient level. Which in the end, at least in theory, should make both the utility/grid more profitable which is good for shareholders, and should also keep the electricity rates the lowest possible for consumers. Or at least competitive.

      • Yes earthling, that’s all well and good, but people are still going to want a hot shower before they go to work while the shirt is in the tumble-dryer because they forgot about it the night before.

        The available savings are limited, and it all still needs a guaranteed supply. Who and what is the guaranteed supplier? Not wind. Not solar. The value of 24 hour, fossil-fueled, electricity 365 days a year is much underestimated by those who haven’t had to live without it. (That doesn’t include the several billion poor of the world who would dearly love to have affordable electricity.)

      • Earthling
        September 19, 2017 at 4:44 pm

        Yup..that’s the whole point. The more we can level the grid so that we don’t have huge surges in demand for 3-4 peak hours a day (morning and night) and then a substantial drop in demand all night, then the utility that is producing the power and the grid operator have a chance to operate at the most efficient level. Which in the end, at least in theory, should make both the utility/grid more profitable which is good for shareholders, and should also keep the electricity rates the lowest possible for consumers. Or at least competitive.

        I agree about giving the power generator and the grid operator the chance to operate at the most efficient level.
        However, the “problem” of “surges in demand” is not a real problem as the scheduling of predictable surges is comparatively easy. The problem is unexpected surges (rare), or more correctly, the failure of renewables to produce when the wind suddenly stops or is gusty.

        The renewable electricity system is a duplicate system that doesn’t work 24/7. All its costs are extras, because the traditional systems can provide reliable power.
        It does require expensive connections and management to keep it synchronised etc. It cannot respond to changes in demand and because of the priorities given by government mandate it makes traditional generation more expensive (ramping up and down) and removing opportunity to lower overall cost by running 24/7.

        Without all the money wasted on these unnecessary renewables the price of electricity could return to somewhere near the traditional level. If they still require mandates and subsidies after all this time they are obviously as obsolete as the windmills of olden days.

        Carbon dioxide is not the problem, its the people making money from it.

        SteveT

      • SteveT…Yes, I agree totally that intermittent renewables are part of the problem in this discussion. It doesn’t make sense that such a sporadic energy source as wind should displace base load generation, and penalize that base load by making it throttle its capacity up and down like a yo-yo making that generation source inefficient and if it is fossil fuel base load, then producing more actual CO2 from inefficiencies. You just destroyed the ‘carbon’ reduction of the wind mills, while doubling the price of the electricity with more expensive renewables.

        A stable grid should probably never have more than 20%-25% intermittent supply connected, otherwise risks becoming a brown out scenario, if not a black out when base load supply cannot match demand real time. If the role of the smart meter in this scenario is to load shed to match the demand supply balance, then obviously the politics of CO2 has gone bizarre. And it has, in some jurisdictions. Just look at SA, where they actually destroyed much of their base load generation and now are going to try and replace that with a Tesla 100 Mw grid battery. Let’s see how that works out this upcoming summer in Oz.

        My point that electricity has different price value based upon time of day demand that also assists in keeping the entire grid stable is just common sense if one understands how our electricity infrastructure works. Perhaps a better simplistic analogy would be water, if every house only had a 1/2″ pipe feeding it, and if everyone twice a day, morning and night, all wanted unlimited water volume and pressure at once, and well, I think you get the idea. The same should be applicable for the bloke down the road with the hot tub and swimming pool who also wants cheap electricity at 6 Pm. I am sure he would soon put a timer on his water heater between 4 Pm – 8 Pm if he is paying double at peak times. Most of these issues are easy to fix with simple technology, while not inconveniencing ourselves to death.

  20. I know there’s vey little worth watching on TV these days, but how sad do you have to be to spend your evenings watching your electricity meter?

    I liked the comment in the report; “Consumer confusion and even resistance to the programme …….. is especially true when it comes to vulnerable classes of people, such as the elderly and those less educated”. They tried the “less educated” line during the Bexit campaign and lost, but at least they haven’t gone to American terminology and called us “deplorables”.

    Arrogant doesn’t even begin to describe them.

    • Well, this deplorable will. You Brits that don’t glom on to smart meters (for sure enabling future electicity rationing when renewables fail) are just deplorable. Welcome to the deplorables club.
      BTW, I am a rather exotic deplorable, since three Harvard degrees failed to fix my deplorableness.

    • I recall an old (1970’s) Monty Python sketch where they had live coverage of traffic from the bridge over a motorway (“freeway” to US audiences). I thought it the height of good comedy at the time that there was either a seller or buyer for live TV coverage of cars moving on roads.

      Yet it took only two or three decades for such camera shots to become a regular part of ‘breakfast-time’ TV.
      Where will it end? I dunno.

  21. The paper to which this article links is hilarious, although I can’t tell whether it’s deliberately ironic, or just very naive. Whichever it is, it makes it clear that the benefits to consumers are minor and spread over a long period; the upfront direct costs to consumers are high; the technology is not particularly reliable; the technology may make it harder to switch energy suppliers; and there are reasonable concerns about personal privacy and the ulterior motives of those pushing this technology.

    I can add that the advertising appears to be aimed at 5 year olds and is misleading about the costs and benefits,

    Sadly UK energy policy is a joke, hardly surprising given the lightweights and in at least one case criminals, who run or have run it in the last 10-15 years.

    • I absolutely love that Subway wall advert.

      ‘It’ll save you money because, unlike the electric company in your granddads time, we don’t bother to read your meter and just guess at how much you used. And we aren’t very good at it.’

      ~¿~

  22. I love this website! It is so stimulating. Lots of topics and lots of good comment. And it’s a lot of fun, too. :)

    Thanks Anthony, for making this an excellent forum for discussion.

  23. I have had a smart meter installed a year ago. It provides me with hourly statistics on both gas and electricity usage, both on the home wifi read-out and on-line via my supply account. It has proved interesting and has helped me isolate the cost of running a recently installed hot tub from other regular usage (it incidentally also showed how the costs rocket when the tub is in use rather than when insulated by its lid, due to heat lost to the air). It has, however, not helped me save electricity (it is no fun using a hot tub with the lid on). In the UK the easiest way to save on power bills is to regularly switch suppliers to ensure you are getting the best deal on energy supplies.
    The utter stupidity in the smart meter push is, however, that when you switch suppliers the smart meters cannot be used by the new supplier. I switched supplier at the beginning of this month and have been told that the new supplier will have to pull out my one-year-old smart meters (one each for gas and electricity) and replace them with ones that they can access. Whoever came up with the specifications for smart meters should be shot.

    • Our ‘smart meter’ to record our heating consumption is a long bit of bamboo cane. I unscrew the cap on top of the oil tank, lower the cane in as a ‘dipstick’, pull it out and see how much heating oil I’ve got left. The cane cost me 43p. Bargain.

      Approx. 80% of the UK’s rural homes still have heating oil. £11 Billion would have been better spent extending gas pipelines.

      • Heating oil is almost the same as vehicle diesel, in fact in France they call their heating oil “diesel”. So when you buy it at 42p/l remember how much they charge if it’s going in a thing with wheels on it,119.9p today when I filled the van up! The van has 168K miles on it, I think I am too frightened to do the sums….

      • GeeJam
        September 20, 2017 at 2:34 am

        Our ‘smart meter’ to record our heating consumption is a long bit of bamboo cane. I unscrew the cap on top of the oil tank, lower the cane in as a ‘dipstick’, pull it out and see how much heating oil I’ve got left. The cane cost me 43p. Bargain.

        I use a piece of leftover dowel. Cost – nothing. Bargain 43p?, you were done, they must have seen you coming. :-)

        SteveT

  24. I get letters from the utility company about installing a Smartmeters (the team will be in your area soon!). I just ignore them. I must “less educated”.

    • They are like the teams of “we’re tarring a drive in the next street and have some left. We can do your drive with it a a really reasonable cost” Travelers. They sound be given the same reply!

  25. The assumption of stupidity really rankles,i had the pests knocking at my door.Do you know cfl or leds will save you money? Yes,i have them. Did you know that only boiling as much water as you need will save you money? Yes,i`m not stupid.
    Do you want a smart meter? Why? Unless i sit in the dark, switch everything off how can i use less than i do now?
    Who uses more than they need to for hell of it?
    Maybe if they offer a discount for having one fitted….i rather think that is opposite of what they have planned.

  26. Some of the models also have a habit of starting on fire. Partly because the installers are just not trained well enough but some are poorly designed as well.

    Doesn’t burn the house down, just some significant exterior damage but who wants a fire hazard installed on their house when the old ones very rarely have this problem.

  27. I have also seen quite a lot of these adverts on the UK internet (you-know-who-tube). They are generally well made, in the TV-technical sense, and have clearly had a lot of money spent in the making.

    Only government(s) can afford to spend so much money in an attempt to sell you something you have zero reason to buy.

  28. Estimated meter readings in the UK are based on the same period in the previous year. So no need at all for smart meters, other than to loadshed.

  29. BTW, I used to live in the UK and lived in council (State) housing installed with 50p gas/electricity meters. My parents at the time sometimes struggled to have a 50p piece to put in the meter as it would not accept any other coins.

  30. OWO NWO Agenda to gather personal data; control electrical grid worldwide. High levels of microwave radiation cause decline in health; Medical issues. Dangerous, unsafe at any level; potential fire hazards and dirty electricity invading homes. My electric company installed Smart Meter dispute my opposition; without my consent. Did not know when I was without power. How smart is that? More costly, do not last as long, rates go up without any better service. Consequences of not being aware, informed; vigilant and pro active. World has a right to very concerned. Profit before People.

  31. Janice – in re: turning off my electricity, I’m in the USA, where the utilities are publicly traded stock corporations, not run by or owned by the US government. The invoices I get for both gas (cooking and heating) and electricity (household equipment) both show this month last year and this year, for a comparison in usage. With the smart meter, I show 8.1KWH in 2016 and 7.5KWH in 2017 for the same billing period, a small but very real difference. The usage per KWH rate is lower, too.

    It’s a completely different arrangement from the UK and other overseas companies, as the state and federal governments here have no control over anything. The utility itself is a corporation, not a government entity. The taxes shown on the invoice are state and municipal taxes. Nothing goes to the federal government.

    Now, I don’t know if my power actually comes from the coal-fired plant 10 miles to the north of me across the state line, or if it comes from a different power generating station to the south of me. I know that the grid serves approximately 1.5 million people in this county, including people in large, expensive, energy-guzzling houses in overpriced McMansion subdivisions, but unless you don’t pay your bill, your power won’t be cut off. Period.

    What you are talking about is an entirely different arrangement. My only concern is that my house is not suited for an emergency power generator in the event of a storm, which means that, as happened with a 2011 derecho in my county, I was one of 650,000 people who lost power for 10 hours when a transmitting station was damaged by the storm.

    But thanks for the heads up on how badly a government can screw up what most people take for granted. Why am I not surprised at what you said about ‘allowance’? Geez, Louise, why not just tell people to go back to using oil lamps and candles?

    • Sara:

      1. The government in the U.S. (I’m in the state of Washington) controls the utilities by regulation.

      2. The “allowance” is not a presently existing thing. It is a danger made easier by the installation of a smart meter.

      3. The public is easily fooled.

      Best wishes to you as you enjoy without worry your smart meter. :)

      • The real danger is the gypsy part=timers running around to every house in the area, wanting to see the gas or electric bill to see if the “numbers are correct” when, in fact, they are running a scam to transfer accounts to a different invoicing company without a user’s consent.
        Janice, you may be paranoid about The Government shutting off your power and/or creating some kind of “allowance”, but I am not. Nor am I easily fooled.

      • Well, dear Ms. Sara.

        You appear to have been fooled into thinking that the high price of your power is “just the way it has to be” (thus, you docilely acquiesce in accepting a smart meter to help you adapt to “the way it is”). You appear, perhaps, I am mistaken, to have forgotten why your energy is as expensive as it is in the first place….

        Am I “paranoid?” I wouldn’t know. Thanks for alerting me to seek help for what is generally considered to be a serious mental disorder.

        Unfortunately, while I realize that there is a possibility that you are correct in your assessment of my mental state, I am TOO FAR GONE to care! I really don’t. And, that I realize (I really do) that this would only confirm your diagnosis doesn’t change my view of myself a wit: I just cannot see it, so, (shrug) on — I — go! :)

        Peacefully certain that I am healthy mentally, complacently continuing on down the road of life convinced that you are mistaken, I remain,

        Your ally for science realism,

        Janice

        P.S. But, thanks for trying, all the same.

        P.P.S. And, again, best wishes as you merrily monitor that meter and save some money on power.

      • You appear to have been fooled into thinking that the high price of your power is “just the way it has to be” (thus, you docilely acquiesce in accepting a smart meter to help you adapt to “the way it is”). You appear, perhaps, I am mistaken, to have forgotten why your energy is as expensive as it is in the first place….

        Am I “p a r a n o i d?” I wouldn’t know. Thanks for alerting me to seek help for what is generally considered to be a serious mental disorder.

        Unfortunately, while I realize that there is a possibility that you are correct in your assessment of my mental state, I am TOO FAR GONE to care! I really don’t. And, that I realize (I really do) that this would only confirm your diagnosis doesn’t change my view of myself a wit: I just cannot see it, so, (shrug) on — I — go! :)

        Peacefully certain that I am healthy mentally, complacently continuing on down the road of life convinced that you are mistaken, I remain,

        Your ally for science realism,

        Janice

        P.S. But, thanks for trying, all the same.

        P.P.S. And, again, best wishes as you merrily monitor that meter and save some money on power.

  32. Smart meters use more energy than they save. The smart meters gives the government monopoly more control and surveillance over your energy use.

  33. Where did £11B come from….
    Utility supplier British Gas, with 11 million customers (well less than 50% of the number of UK households) were looking forward to spending £12 billion installing these things.
    And when they were first mooted (how I wish I’d saved some screenshots 5 or 6 yrs ago), these things were, ever so carefully costed by legions of minions at £344 each. per household.
    Oh the joys of cronyism.

    Latest wheeze to sell them really is the offer of using them to remotely switch off (supposedly) high consumption appliances in times of low supply (At night and when the sun goes behind a cloud by example)

    Te Carrot on offer here is ‘cheaper electric’ which, a similar group of minnions as before, predict will save consumers “up to” £50B between 2020 and 2050
    Take there as being 30M households – that doesn’t even pay for the meters. and that was their “up to” figure.

    Another Governmental mash-up to try to cover up a previous mash up which tried to cover a previous fail etc etc etc
    And all the while consumers get poorer, cronies get more numerous & fatter and the thing they were trying to improve gets ever, shonkier, unreliable and expensive. And these muppets imagine that adding the word ‘Smart’ to all this crap will fix them.

    Previously we had the succession of UK Fails such as steel-making, motor industry, electronics industry, railways, mad-cows, dotcom bubble, diesel engined cars and not leasr, the UK road (haha) network.
    and now the Complete Bollox that is Global Warming.

    In common??????
    They were/are all the over hasty, ill-conceived, rapidly enacted responses to poorly diagnosed problems.
    i.e They panicked.
    They went into panic-mode not just through their own dull witted ineptitude but by driven by vociferous groups who’ve learned how to milk the system and were, to a greater extent, in panic-mode themselves.

    And what makes people dull-witted, inept and prone to panic?
    Oh noes, couldn’t *possibly* be the consumption of psychoactive (depressant) substances could it?
    Not those health giving carbs, tasted up with sugar and washed down with alcohol. No, not those.

    and which of us does NOT enjoy that afternoon ‘power nap’, especially after a ‘heavy lunch’?

  34. The big issue (here in the UK) about Smart meters is that Version 1 cannot easily (or at all) transfer when you switch supplier. I am unclear as to why this is but was assured that Version 2 – originally said to be coming out about now – should accommodate that. But even then I know of no one with one who uses it to reduce their consumption.

  35. I monitor my fuel usage carefully, and keep records. Thus I can demonstrate /exactly/ how my usage compares month by month with previous years (back to 2000), and I can do all necessary stats on these data.
    This prompts me to change my supplier at quite short intervals, like every 12 to 15 months, and I always get the very best deal. Changing is very easy and I believe that it helps keep the energy companies on their toes.
    No smart meter for me, if I can prevent it!

    • But if the government integrated the system, the smart meter could do that for you.
      It could check the marketplace for all deals available and automatically place you on the best deal.
      The only question is how often should that change take place.

      • richard verney
        September 20, 2017 at 3:20 am

        But if the government integrated the system, the smart meter could do that for you.
        It could check the marketplace for all deals available and automatically place you on the best deal.
        The only question is how often should that change take place.

        The industry has been talking for years about trying to get ones current supplier to automatically transfer you to their best tariff for your usage (UK). Best of luck with trying to get put on the best rates across the whole market any time soon.

        SteveT

  36. In the UK electricity is traded in 30 Minute segments, the morning and evening peak prices can be many multiples of the average off peak price due to the overhaul electricity demand approaching the system capacity. This also creates a huge problem for the electricity companies especially so during winter months because they need to pay for expensive standby plant just for a few peak hours.

    So now thanks to “smart meters” they have the capability to charge consumers electricity prices at spot market prices real time and the smart meter can gleefully inform you that you are paying up to five times normal off peak prices. Go smell the coffee.

  37. People aren’t stupid, they are generally pretty good at working out how much something is actually worth.

    People have a “quantum” in mind when they look at stuff, and that quantum is different for each different thing.

    For example, when congestion charging was brought in in London, we were told that average commuting time would reduce by 10%. Sounds good, but my commute was around 25 minutes. So I saved – on average – 2.5 minutes. What could I do with that time? Couldn’t lie in bed as it was only on average. Get to work two minutes early – on average? So what? My quantum for a saving i would pay for would have been 50% or more.

    5% of my annual electricity bill is around £0.13/day. How much effort each day am i going to make to save that? None whatsoever.

  38. There is an old lady living next to me she is 80.
    She had a smart meter fitted, I asked why,
    the reply was I do not Know,
    Some one came to her front door ,said that were fitting smart meters,
    in the area did she want one.
    The said that it would save her money on her bills and she would be in control of the power that she used.
    The meter was duly fitted.
    The day she was due to go on holiday, to Falmouth,
    She was at my door in a right tizzy.
    The power had gone of and she did not know why, was mine still on?
    She had tried to phone the power company, But the phone did not work as it was fed from the mains.
    I go round to her property, I interrogate the smart meter.
    It gave the information that she had not any credits left.
    ( she buys them at the local shop on a card £20.at a time)
    I go and Buy her £20.00 of power credit, go back but the power is still not on.
    The meter on interrogation says that she has £18.56p.of power credit,
    But no power, Safety feature is in operation. press button A. Then confirm by pressing button B.
    This I do< bingo! power on, the kind meter tells me that at the present usage there is 10 days of power credit.
    Holiday is for 14 days, so another trip to the shop.
    So far she has lost power 4 times.
    She does not have a bank account to pay by direct debit.
    She has no computer or smart phone.
    Even if she was able to remotely pay the bill while away, how is the meter going to be reset?
    I have showed her how to reset it. When I was away she approached the neibours who are in their 40's.
    It took them 2hrs and 5 phone calls to get the power back on.
    If you are Old and vulnerable, Smart meter is the last thing you need to worry about.

      • Sorry about that, it was meant to be a comment on the assumptions in the paper highlighted above. I did (60+ chartered engineer, my elderly neighbours did too. Their comment “we remember when Britain stood alone” brought a lump to my throat. They met as children playing on bomb sites in east end of London. I know several other graduates (engineers, historians) who came to the same conclusion as me (and Foot , Benn, Shore etc.) that the traitor Heath had sold us a pup.

        (Heath can be seen skulking in the background)

    • So YOU pay ahead for electricity ini the UK, whereas I pay for electricity based on kilowatt hours used.

      If that’s the only difference, then what is the real issue?

      It’s not age that makes you vulnerable. It’s being uninformed,

      • So do I .
        I have a an account with the energy company.
        That allows me to pay a set amount every month.
        Then at the end of the contract period the account gets settled.
        The lady in question does not have this arrangement and does not want one.
        She is un-fortunately paying over the odds, for energy, as the card payment is top rate.
        With the smart meter she has (issue 1) she also can not change her energy supplier,
        without paying for a different meter to be fitted.
        She is and has been informed of these facts. But!

  39. I live in South London

    I have not been approached regarding smart meters, I got a £1,100 rebate in July through estimation.

    It came in handy!

  40. If the government was serious about rolling out this technology, they would fully integrate them with the electricity market.
    A consumer’s electricity usage would be monitored and behavoiral patterns analysed on say a weekly basis, the meter would also monitor all supply options and deals available and place the consumer each week on the cheapest supply for the consumer’s pattern of usage.
    This automatic switching would ensue that at all times the consumer was paying the lowest tariff and this would generate more competition in the market place.
    However the large energy suppliers would not like that and they would oppose the roll out of these meters.
    It is often claimed that a typical consumer can save themselves between £250 and £400 per year by switching suppliers and getting the lowest tariff.
    Why not get the smart meters to live up to their name and perform that task for the consumer. The consumer would like that and they would then be much more happy to have a meter installed.
    Of course, one cannot expect sensible thinking from politicians.

    • In case you haven’t read any of the above comments, switching suppliers means switching to a NEW “Smart Metre”…..They are NOT interchangeable…

  41. So what you’re saying is that if I somehow exceed some undefined number of kilowatt hours, which no one has informed me of but should have appeared on my monthly bill, my electricity will automatically go off without my knowledge or any notice? And all the food in my fridge and freezer chest would spoil? I do think that Commonwealth Edison has enough issues with its history of taking six weeks in 2011 to restore power to some neighborhoods after that derecho that damaged a transmitting station.

    Okay, that may be true in the UK, but where I am? I don’t think so. We haven’t achieved quite the idiotic state of dumbassery in gubbmint that exists over there.

    i haven’t seen this much paranoia expressed in one spot in a long time. PURPA is less important than it was in 1978, when there was some sort of energy crisis (thanks to Jimmy Carter), and the contracts created under it in the 1980s are expiring or have already expired.

    If it’s such a problem, then explain why electric utilities in the USA give credits to customers whose private power systems can feed power into the power grids instead of using it? Or are you forgetting about free trade and all that stuff that goes with it?

    I have no idea what it’s like in Washington state, but this Big Brother Is Watching Your Meter stuff is going more than a bit beyond the pale. I can just imagine the SJW special snowflakes setting up a freaking howling episode over losing their internet and World of Instant Contact because they can’t charge their iPhones and iTablets and the rest of that crap.

    If you’re really that worried, start your own power generating system and find a way to funnel lightning bolts into the power grid. That’s really wasted energy, you know.

  42. Firstly let me clarify the definition of vulnerable people. Unlike those the governments wishes to label as vulnerable which is the old, it is the young who can be readily conned. The young are the vulnerable ones who have been taken in by the dishonest way the smart meters have been presented as being good for the consumer.
    The smart meters are a way to make it possible for the expensive and unreliable renewable energy to be rationed by huge price hikes at high demand times. Far from making switching easier they make it impossible in many cases and difficult in all.
    Be warned. Smart meters are a disaster for the consumer . Why else are the suppliers so keen for us to change to them?

      • Sara…high demand times or peak energy consumption is the power demand twice a day in the morning when many get up to go to work, cook breakfast, have a shower, start the laundry etc. Same for the other peak energy consumption time of late afternoon to early evening, when the majority are cooking dinner with all in the household active with something consuming electricity like hot water, turn the heat up when coming home, electronics etc.

        There are two identified periods in the day when people on average consume 2-3 times as much electricity as compared to the middle of the night when most people are fast asleep and not consuming as much electricity. When everyone is on the grid at the same time all wanting as much electricity as they want at the same time, creates an instantaneous demand on the generating source to supply that electricity real time.

        Therefore, the utility has to build enough generating capacity, and have an electricity grid capable of delivering this energy without a major voltage drop or an unstable grid that will trip off. This is to deliver all this electricity for just two short periods a day, and then electricity consumption is only a fraction of what it is for daily peak demand twice a day. This costs the utility a lot of money to be able to supply the peak demand for a few hours of the day.

  43. Here, near Portland, Oregon, there was no choice. Portland General Electric sent a note telling people what day to expect a short interruption in service, and the meter was swapped out.

    We were supposed to be able to track our usage online, going to the PGE website to see hourly use. It worked for a while, but doesn’t seem to work at all now.

    The biggest differences were the mass firing of meter readers, and, given the ease of service disconnection (click of a mouse button), heavy handed threats of disconnection if your payment is even a few days late rather than a polite reminder that payment is overdue.

    Mostly, it’s just threats, there are laws about the processes that have to be followed to disconnect supply. I can imagine that lacking these, they would be more than happy to disconnect, since reconnection carries a hefty reconnection fee, even though it only a mouse click … oh, and of course a “security deposit” which, of course, you lose if you are late in payment again.

    Customer advantages? Non to negative.
    Supplier advantages? Staff reductions, ease of disconnection, ease of connection for new accounts.

  44. Other factors aside, the cost of this at £11bn is simply crazy. EDF’s massively overpriced Hinkley C proposal is scarcely more, and it’s been said that a thorium test reactor could be built for considerably less.

    Somehow, the thorium reactor sounds more like a worthwhile use for the money. A lot, more worthwhile.

  45. A (now very) long time ago, I was talking to a fairly senior management person working at the CEGB in England (if you remember what that was, you may be as old as me). I asked why they were still using the old mechanical meters rather than moving to electronic meters.

    His response was illuminating (at least to me, at the time).
    He basically said: “Make me a meter that costs less than five pounds to make, runs for 50 years with no maintenance, that we can then take, blow the dust out, and re-install to run for another 50, and we can talk.”

    I never forgot that conversation. Of course, there are now other advantages to non mechanical meters, advantages for he company, but probably not he consumer.

    • I worked for the CEGB when I left school at 16. I was in the computer dept in the Midlands Region and was involved in the installation of computers in the power stations – the big, reliable ones that produced cheap electricity 24-7. The good old days eh.

  46. A letter from my UK electricity supplier stated if I wanted to stay on a cheaper tariff I would have to gave a smart meter fitted. Reluctantly, I arranged the appointment but when the engineer arrived he said my phone signal wasn’t strong enough so I would have to have a new ‘ordinary’ meter. Funny how the letter didn’t mention this option.

    I also sent the letter to the Advertising Standards Agency as it said the meter would be ‘fitted free of charge’ – yeah right… of course it is.

  47. Quick question for the Brits. Does any energy supplier (actually energy re-seller, but they never call themselves that) propose to use Smart Meters to bill the customer for the customer’s actual usage ? I havn’t found any.

    The propaganda wants you to believe that that’s exactly what they do, but notice I said “bill the customer” meaning send you a bill (which if it’s truly what you’ve consumed, I’d say is fair enough).

    In GB, all too many consumers are suckered into “Direct Debits”, more fool them IMHO. I may need to explain to American friends that this is an astonishing device whereby you give license to the utility company to dip into your bank account for any amount of money that it pleases, whenever it pleases. Yes, really. All control gone: and if the meter is wrong, your only effective recourse will be to withhold payment; too late if they’ve already taken the cash, and good luck with your complaint. They want me to do this with a UK utility company (for pity’s sake) with their legendary “customer service” ?

    So I don’t mean using Smart Meters to DD your account, I mean using Smart Meters to send the customer accurate bills. The latter I could be persuaded by, the former, never. Entering meter readings online isn’t such a hardship that a hugely expensive meter conversion is needed to save the trouble. There must be some other reason, and usually the answer is “follow the money”. What the energy re-sellers really want is secure cash flow i.e. the DD payment mode. My dark suspicion is that smart meters are a front for compulsory DD’s – because with smart meters, there can’t ever possibly be a mistake, can there ?

    • In the UK we are constantly lectured that not enough people are shopping around for the cheapest energy deals, ah but if you want to go to a new supplier you will almost certainly find that direct debit is the only thing they will accept. No thanks I will stick with my quarterly paper bill and pay in good old fashioned cash !

    • “Old Englander September 20, 2017 at 9:28 am”

      Unless things have changed in the UK since I lived and paid bills there, a DD is one payment method, the preferred method of course. However, any “provider” that you pay via DD is obliged to inform you of any rate changes, and you can challenge that. You won’t win of course. In the 1990’s, when the council tax (CT) was introduced, the council gave you payment options. Cash, direct debit or standing order. DD was the first option of course. I chose standing order (SO). So, my SO for the CT was debited from my account on the due date. Due to the nature of SO (And banks. No excuse for transaction delays these days) it took a few days to process. So the local council sent me letters threatening me with court action, with a possible custodial outcome. I “begged” them to take me to court via letter. They never did. Stand up to these corporate bullies, there *ARE* payment options.

  48. I am on pay as you go electricity and gas meters despite this I still get pestered for meter readings , I don’t see the point as unless I put credit in the meter I get nothing. I have no desire to switch energy providers I put £10.00 a every week into my meters no more if the charges go up I just use less and I wish credit card companies would stop sending me offers because I have no intention of ever applying. I wish that we coal fires again or other controllable forms of heating that don’t have standing charges to pay.

    • Donald assuming you live in the UK, when was the last time you saw a coalman making deliveries, must be 30 odd years since I last saw one, milkmen too are a vanishing breed.

  49. Smart meters do not save energy – the “honeymoon” effect. After the novelty wears off consumption returns to normal.
    Smart meters (in the UK and at present) cease to be smart when the supplier changes. Anti-competitive measure anyone?
    The only financial benefit is to smart meter company manufacturers.
    They open the gateway for, if not direct demand management, then certainly demand pricing.

    Just say NO!

  50. these things, avoid them, do not let them be installed.

    You need to see the long con here.
    1. You become a commodity to be traded by energy companies.
    2. All devices will eventually be communicable with the smart meters reporting how much each devices uses.
    3. When or if the UN roll out this climate scam proper, you can bet they will be using the data from these to measure your carbon budget.
    4. The levels of pulse radiation from them long term will most likely give you cancer, given a mobile has to be at least 6mm from your body (warnings from FCC) these things emit far more intense signals than mobiles, and many are on the other side of children’s bendroom walls, and there is no scientifically establised safe level of microwaves for children and in stacked housing there might be 8 outside your home.

    • Unless there are those of you who still believe cell towers dont cause cancer and other illnesses within certain ranges, it’s well established science on microwaves effects on humans, if not cell towers on humans as that research is difficult and often suppressed, ignored, played down.

  51. In Japan, if everyone accepts these things, all of your usage data becomes a commodity, and all your devices will eventually be reporting everything to the meter re usage. Personlly, no thanks

    • this literally means they can tell when you leave your home when you come home, when you use the internet, when you use anything, how long you use them for. Voyeurism. No frikkin way

  52. turned mine down and kept old style as I don’t want to give anyone the ability to remotely shut my power off.
    power is not stable here as it is, screw them.

    • And keep their neighbours awake if they live in flats / appartments, there’s an old boy in my block who wakes people at 4 in the morning when the spin cycle on his washing machine starts, he’s pretty hard of hearings so sleeps soundly.

  53. Where I live we have an easy toll free phone number that we can call in with our meter readings. Very easy and takes about 2 minutes a month to read the meter and call in.

  54. At “more than £200 per household” and some of that spent not on the meter but an a marketing campaign “with £100 million committed over a five-year duration of the program, convincing Barnett (2015: 2) to estimate that it is the biggest advertising campaign in the world,” what an utter waste. The meters, campaign and sell, cost the British more than any energy savings.
    It is a net loss for the British who pay for it, just another example of how worrying about nonexistent AGW helps destroy an economy.
    What is the CO2 footprint of manufacturing, advertising, and installing a meter?
    Reminds me of electric vehicles where the CO2 footprint of manufacturing the batteries plus upstream fossil fuels emissions from power plants making electricity are more than alternative petrol powered cars.

  55. It is a trick pure and simple and I am sick and tired of being pestered about it, three letters, two callers at the door and a phone message. At my last check there is no legal obligation to accept a smart meter. They insult customers intelligence with their bells and whistles gadget, when most reasonably educated 14 year old should be able to work out their electricity usage. Every piece of equipment has a label stating its consumption and failing that a simple plug in meter is available for testing individual items, have owned one for years.
    “Helps people to track their energy usage”, ask any OAP living on a basic state pension, we know how to scrimp on energy use, we’re the ones who wear outdoor clothing indoors during the winter.
    Had a long discussion with one of the engineers who called during which I put it to him that the primary (unstated) reason for pushing smart meters was so that they could cut people off during periods of peak demand due to the fact that they’ve shut so many coal fired power stations down, and the windmills etc., are useless. His reply was that they could cut people off now with the present set up. I replied yes you can knock a breaker out in a sub station and cut a whole area off and then you will have several thousand people all together in one mob making angry complaints, company execs and politicians don’t like that. But with smart meters they can cut off one person here and one person there, individuals over a wide area and their complaints will be voices in the wilderness. He left.

  56. I have one. But that’s because I’m frugal, not hysterical over climate change. I have made savings because readings are sent off to my supplier every day. When it was an “estimated” reading, they were always over-estimating and trying to squeeze more money out of me. This has stopped that. I get daily emails of my usage, so when they do the inevitable of trying to rinse me for more money, I have a paper trail and they get told where to go and refund me.

    I can see why people resist. Why the hell should anyone, who is paying through the nose for a basic human need, be told how much they should be spend?!

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