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Chat => Tech Chat => Topic started by: broadstairs on December 11, 2017, 05:43:24 PM

Title: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: broadstairs on December 11, 2017, 05:43:24 PM
My electricity supplier is pestering me to have my meter replaced and obviously they want me to have a smart one, however my wife hates the idea and I can see zero benefit. Apparently they are saying that my current meter is getting to its end of life, however its not that old and was replaced only a few years ago.

So I am interested in knowing any experiences here from having one, particularly what if any issues have arisen with one? I have no idea what technology they use, is it wireless via the home internet, does it use the mobile phone network, or like my water meter is it read by a guy driving past in a van? I know they do cause problems if you switch in that not all meters from all suppliers are the same.

Stuart
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: Dray on December 11, 2017, 05:57:06 PM
They're phoning me all the time asking when I want them fitted. I don't and I'm beyond repeating that so I just hang up. If they somehow angle a way of having them fitted I'll have to move to another supplier, Bulb for example who don't yet use them.
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: roseway on December 11, 2017, 06:22:35 PM
I'm also receiving repeated nagging, both from the supplier and from the installer (Siemens). I don't trust 'smart' meters, I've heard too many horror stories.
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: gt94sss2 on December 11, 2017, 06:30:50 PM
We don't have them at the moment and if I was offered one, I would turn it down until the latter half of next year

The first generation of smart meters are known as SMETS 1 (Smart Metering Equipment Technical Specifications), They communicate with your supplier over the 3G network.

As you've picked up, if you change supplier, its likely they will turn back to dumb meters and lose any 'smart' functionality.

SMETS 2 meters are due to rollout in 2018 (some suppliers are trialling them now). They use their own central data network which all suppliers have (or will have) access to. So, when you switch, your new supplier should be able to see your usage and meter readings etc.

Hence, if you don't want to change meters often wait for SMETS2 meters. There was some talk of trying to upgrade SMETS1 meters to be more like SMETS2 but many think they will need to replaced with new ones.

More generally, I believe electric meters have a shorter lifespan than the older mechanical models..
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: sevenlayermuddle on December 11, 2017, 06:40:10 PM
What put me off was some very faint, easily missed, grey on white lettering on the reverse of the letter they sent me.   So far as I recall it said, by accepting a smart meter, I was agreeing to these hard to read changes in T&C.  If they are still doing that, the changes are worth reading, even if a magnifying glass and bright torch are required.

One change that alarmed me iirc off was that they wanted to have the right to remotely disconnect me.  No explanation was offered as to how that new term differed from their existing rights, but they must have had a reason for trying to make me agree to it.

I also seem to recall there may also have been some wording suggesting that I must keep the display panel in an operational state in a visible place.   I’d have wanted the option to remove the batteries and consign it to the back of a cupboard if I found I wasn’t liking it.

Since I am deeply mistrustful of the energy network operators, I have so far refused to accept one and so far, been successful.  But I fear that when an old ‘dumb’ meter reaches end of life, they may well be entitled to replace it with a smart one, your only option being to do without the gas or electric supply. :(




Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: gt94sss2 on December 11, 2017, 06:45:30 PM
I have so far refused to accept one and so far, been successful.  But I fear that when an old ‘dumb’ meter reaches end of life, they may well be entitled to replace it with a smart one, your only option being to do without the gas or electric supply. :(

At the moment at least, energy firms can't insist customers have a smart meter installed and you are entitled to a'dumb' one if you wish.

I also mean't to post this link in my earlier reply to Broadstairs about how the new SMETS2 meters will transmit data - they won't use your own internet connection - but how they operate differs slightly depending on where you are: https://www.smartdcc.co.uk/media/341298/15595_dcc_fact_sheet-coverage_v7.pdf
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: JGO on December 11, 2017, 06:57:16 PM
A former colleague's  experience was not good; basic smart meter installation failed due to poor mobile phone signal strength, and when this was fixed,  adding the personal metering unit failed. Several phone calls to India showed it was not compatible with the basic smart meter.

I wonder if it is the old problem of power engineers trying to work on electronics ?  Had a problem as TV and FM aerials were installed when these houses were built. The installer didn't appreciate that 50 Hz and 500 MHz don't behave the same !-
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: broadstairs on December 11, 2017, 08:19:54 PM
Basically they have now said that if I dont make an appointment they will make one for me and it may not be convenient! They also said if I dont want the smart part I can ask the installer to disable it!

I will flatley refuse to have any meter with smart capability enable or not.

Stuart
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: skyeci on December 11, 2017, 08:23:42 PM
British gas chased me for months to install. when I kept repeating it's not compulsory to have one they have now supposedly removed me from the list so we will see.
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: gt94sss2 on December 11, 2017, 09:32:33 PM
I will flatley refuse to have any meter with smart capability enable or not.

You have to be a bit careful here - they are entitled to replace the meter (it doesn't belong to you) but they can't insist that its replacement is a smart meter.
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: banger on December 11, 2017, 09:42:47 PM
My new offer tariff has a smart meter discount if I get one fitted which I think is a bit cheeky because having being offered one a couple of times and refused I now have to go for a more costly tariff without smart meter.
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: NewtronStar on December 11, 2017, 10:45:34 PM
Have had a electric smart reader installed for 8 year it shows info about your carbon usage and daily usage KWatts per hour and monthly usage for the year, Unit rate price and the price per day and hour and so on, as far as I know the smart meter does not have any way to communicate with the outside world the electricity usage is monitored via your electricity supplier just like it was done years ago.

And we still get a NI Electricity person ring the doorbell to check out the readings 4 times a year I guess this is to find/stop fraud.
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: Chrysalis on December 11, 2017, 11:00:57 PM
90% of the benefits seem to be to the supplier.

1 - Automatic readings sent so no risk of under billing you.
2 - Possibility to remote cut people off.

The mobile app that allows you to view live usage can be convenient if meter is in a bad place. But thats about the only advantage I can think off.
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: sevenlayermuddle on December 11, 2017, 11:04:19 PM
You have to be a bit careful here - they are entitled to replace the meter (it doesn't belong to you) but they can't insist that its replacement is a smart meter.

No but if there is a sound reason that the meter needs to be replaced and they can honestly say, hand on heart, that dumb meters are no longer available, you then have a choice...

Accept a smart meter

Or

Agree to terminate the contract, meaning that your supply will be terminated.
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: j0hn on December 11, 2017, 11:16:15 PM
You have to be a bit careful here - they are entitled to replace the meter (it doesn't belong to you) but they can't insist that its replacement is a smart meter.
Pretty much this, with a slight twist. You have absolutely no right to refuse them to change the meter. It belongs to the supplier. Suppliers have targets to change meters and they may terminate your supply if you refuse a meter change.

You also can't refuse a smart meter. You can however insist the smart meter that they install is turned into a "dumb" meter. This means the supplier does their part and meets their targets as installing a smart meter in dumb mode counts towards their targets.

Which have a pretty good article on this.

https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/do-i-have-to-accept-a-smart-meter

Considering the government have a target of 2020 to do every home in Britain (they are massively off this target), eventually they will force a smart meter on everyone.
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: sevenlayermuddle on December 11, 2017, 11:49:45 PM

You also can't refuse a smart meter. You can however insist the smart meter that they install is turned into a "dumb" meter


Says who?

Quote
Which have a pretty good article on this.

https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/do-i-have-to-accept-a-smart-meter


The which article says merely that (if you refuse)...

Quote
they will probably offer to install a 'dumb' meter or set up a smart meter to work in 'dumb' mode

As stated for third time in this thread ( ::) ) your only real recourse, if there is a good reason for the meter being changed, is to terminate the supply contract and live in darkness.   Don’t blame me, I detest smart meters, but that is I believe the reallity.
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: adrianw on December 12, 2017, 04:06:57 AM
I have BG smart meters for gas and electricity. I happy with them, as I no longer need to crawl under a desk to read the gas meter.

Installation was something of a nightmare, as the block of 4 flats and a house has a 3 phase supply. Several visits over a few months required, one missed, a visit by a quite senior manager, followed by 2 men turning up and fitting the meters.

The detailed consumption figures are useful.

That inter-supplier compatibility (SMETS2 upgrade) will not be available for some time is annoying, as switching supplier will almost certainly mean that the meters become dumb.
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: Ronski on December 12, 2017, 06:40:40 AM
We had smart meters installed in early 2014 when with OVO Energy, they became dumb meters when we moved supplier a year later. The smart panel that came with them was pretty dumb, it just displayed usage cost wise, I wanted it to display units used and meter readings which it didn't, so I still have to get under the stairs to read them.

Only problem I've ever really had was when I changed from OVO, depending on which button you push on the gas meter you either get cubic meters or KWH, and the meter reader had been using cubic meters which they then converted to cubic meters! That took a while to sort with long phone calls and emails of pictures of the meter, but was all sorted in the end.

I was annoyed that the meters couldn't send signals to new suppliers, it just seemed a huge waste of money, and the other thing that annoys me is that the company which pays our FITS payments refuses to accept the export reading on my smart meter, so we're underpaid for the electricity we export back to the grid!

If they ever get it right then I think smart meters are a good idea in principle, although I doubt the meter readers think that as they'll be out of a job.
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: petef on December 12, 2017, 07:16:02 AM
My electricity meter was replaced last month. The installer used a dumb meter as the mobile coverage is poor.
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: broadstairs on December 12, 2017, 08:22:42 AM
I find all this insistence on smart meters a tad ridiculous. If they honestly think people will in general watch the indoor meter and reduce their usage they are living in cloud cuckoo land.

My wife will always do as she always has and use things as she wants. Since having a water meter we have had the water company asking why we use more water than a four person household (there are only two of us) and I explained they should ask my wife who would be very short with them.

As far as I'm aware you do not HAVE to have a smart meter you are perfectly entitled to have a dumb one (OK perhaps a dumbed down smart one) and that's fine. The fact that they dont all work with all suppliers is plain stupid and a total waste of time and money, and that in the end is our money as the cost of all this is borne by the consumer.

My issue with the current electricity supplier is that they tell me my current meter is near end of life and needs changing, this is rubbish. It was changed about 7-8 years ago. They simply dont wear out as this current one is digital. The one we had in the previous house was at least 22 years old when we left and it was never changed and it was an old style with the rotating disk. So this end of life thing is complete bulls**t.

Stuart
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: Ronski on December 12, 2017, 10:18:58 AM
My wife will always do as she always has and use things as she wants. Since having a water meter we have had the water company asking why we use more water than a four person household (there are only two of us) and I explained they should ask my wife who would be very short with them.

 :o There's 4 of us, 3 women and me, we use slightly less than the average 4 person household. I'll resist temptation and not ask what she does with all that water  ;)

As my two daughters have got older we have increasingly used more water  :(
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: sheddyian on December 12, 2017, 10:45:18 AM
I actually quite like them!  :paperbag:

I requested a smart meter when I changed suppliers to SSE about 18 months ago.

It has encouraged me to reduce usage - when you get up in the morning and find you've already used 50p of gas & electricity, you wonder why, and start looking into it.  (Well, I did  :-X )

For example, the TV setup has lots of things plugged in that all mainly sit in standby.  Although standby in modern devices is much more efficient than it used to be, it still adds up.  A few of these devices need to remain in standby (Youview box for TV recordings, for example) other things don't.  So I split the devices into two multiway extension leads so there's one I can switch off when not in use, the other can sit in standby.  This made a saving of overnight electricity usage.

(Yes, I could have done that anyway, but I was prompted to do it by realising how much electricity was being used overnight)

I also like that I can see graphs on the SSE website, showing electric and gas usage by the hour.  Again, this means I can see if it's unexpectedly going up, or if a change I've made has affected things.

It's not been without problems.

The little display unit isn't very sensitive.  Even sat on a shelf outside of the cupboard where the meters are, it sometimes complains of weak signal.  "take the display around your house and try switching things on and off to see their usage" is not possible.  I've currently got it on the desk next to me, it's telling me I'm using 297 watts of electricity and 3Kw of gas (central heating is on)*.  It's also telling me there's a weak signal, yet I'm maybe 6 metres from the meters  ???

Early on, it kept telling me there was a new tariff, of 0p per unit.  I thought this was a promotional thing, but a few hours later it would be back to showing the correct tarriff.  This happened intermittently for a few months.

Agree entirely with the points about the incompatibility between suppliers with the current smart meters though, it's a mess that should have been avoided.

Ian (miser)

____________________
* Oops, left TV on!  Switched off, it's now 244 watts of electricity.
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: sevenlayermuddle on December 12, 2017, 11:22:15 AM
I do agree that monitoring energy usage can be informative, but you do not need a smart meter to do that, you could just buy your own energy monitor.  I seem to remember, you can even get a ‘gas’ version that uses an optical sensor to track your gas meter.

https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/energy-monitors/article/energy-monitors-explained

Personally, I prefer just to check out usage of individual appliances, using a plug-in power meter.   That way it is easy to tell the difference between things that use nearly nothing, and those that are really worth switching off.   

Results can be surprising, like my surround sound amp, which consumes surprising power even at low volumes.   That makes me think twice about using TV to listen to radio, as disabling the amp is more bother than I want.   But that does depend upon continuing availability of PP9 batteries for my collection of 1970s Roberts radios... :)

(Post edited to add ‘Which’ link)
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: Dray on December 12, 2017, 12:38:14 PM
One of the problems with metering is that you discourage yourself from using it. I remember the kids coming home from playdates with their friends saying the granny had told them not to flush the loo.  ???
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: sevenlayermuddle on December 12, 2017, 01:07:54 PM
One of the problems with metering is that you discourage yourself from using it. I remember the kids coming home from playdates with their friends saying the granny had told them not to flush the loo.  ???

Indeed, there was a 'certain generation' of my own family, that I suspect would have reacted inappropriately, though hopefully not to Granny's extreme.

Back in the 1970s and 80s, before we had central heating, Dad used to switch off the gas at the supply valve every night.  He  did so for safety reasons rather than cost, but I do remember there was always a smell of gas under the stairs, where the gas meter lived.  Always wondered whether over-use of the valve had affected its sealing properties?

Same could apply to other modern habits, like eye-waterlingly expensive car keys, ignition locks and starter motors, that fall apart prematurely because people keep turning the engine off&on in traffic queues, meaning several dozen twists of the key per journey, rather than just the two twists per journey that the designer probably had in mind (applies to cars as old as mine, not  the new stop/start cars).
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: WWWombat on December 12, 2017, 01:12:32 PM
Monitoring energy use has helped us knock about 20% of electricity usage.

Using a better, wireless, thermostat has helped knock 20% off gas usage. We're now trialling use of wireless thermostatic radiator valves.

But all this comes from some serious meter reading and spreadsheet-mangling, which means I'm the only one in the family to pay attention. A smart meter that detailed the right data would help me, but also make it more accessible & visible to the rest of the family.

We did try to get a smart meter fitted... but they apparently don't install them in flats. Signal problems, in many cases, so they just don't bother now.
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: 4candles on December 12, 2017, 03:24:21 PM
If they somehow angle a way of having them fitted I'll have to move to another supplier, Bulb for example who don't yet use them.
Bulb's current plan is to roll out 2nd gen meters from mid 2018.
They state that customers can opt out totally, or opt that readings are not collected more frequently than once per month.
Interesting thread - What is the point of smart meters? (https://community.bulb.co.uk/discussion/1556/what-is-the-point-of-smart-meters)


My own view is that the whole idea is an obscenely expensive white elephant.
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: Black Sheep on December 12, 2017, 05:44:54 PM
Quick reply ...... we've had a smart meter installed for about 6 months now.

Novelty factor was trying to keep the daily usage below 'historic daily use'.

Lasted about 1 week doing this, got fed up with it and it has now become a nuisance, as it gives an audible sound if todays usage goes over the 'historic daily use' marker.

We like to think we're careful with our spend, and if an item is 'on' ... it's on for a reason.  :) 
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: burakkucat on December 12, 2017, 06:20:00 PM
b*cat remembers from the time when HM QE2 opened Calder Hall (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sellafield#Calder_Hall_nuclear_power_station).  :)

A politician of the day said: "Electricity production . . . It will be so cheap it won't be worth metering!"  ::)

b*cat is still waiting for his un-metered electricity supply.  :-\
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: 4candles on December 12, 2017, 06:25:48 PM
b*cat is still waiting for his un-metered electricity supply.  :-\
ISTR we were promised the paperless office too!   :no:
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: sevenlayermuddle on December 12, 2017, 07:10:09 PM
Regarding central heating savings...

I have always liked my room thermostat to be set at 20 C.

About a year ago I noticed, using a digital thermometer, that the room temp was 1 or 2 degrees above the thermostat.  I dug out another thermometer as a ‘second opinion’, both agreed. ???

Upon inspection, it turned out the knob on the room thermostat was mounted on a splined shaft.   Removing it, and replacing it in a slightly different angle on the shaft, the room stat agreed with reality. And, still set at 20, my gas bills dropped accordingly.   No need for high tech thermostats, or energy monitors, just a bit of sensible deduction. :graduate:

My house must now, of course, be slightly colder.   But as long as the room thermostat is set at 20, I seem to convince myself that it’s warm enough.    :)

I’d point out that in making the adjustment, mains voltage wiring was temporarily exposed.  Do not attempt same unless you have knowledge and competence to suit.
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: adrianw on December 12, 2017, 07:19:11 PM
People vary. I like 20 C when sitting down. When doing things around the house 18 C suits me.
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: phi2008 on December 12, 2017, 08:26:43 PM
I don't have a smart meter and had assumed they wouldn't be dumb enough to roll out smart meters that couldn't cope with a supplier switch - then I read about SMETS 1 ...  ::)
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: adrianw on December 12, 2017, 11:19:20 PM
There is an aura of arrogant incompetence around the whole smart meter planning and roll out.
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: adrianw on December 12, 2017, 11:33:29 PM
b*cat remembers from the time when HM QE2 opened Calder Hall (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sellafield#Calder_Hall_nuclear_power_station).  :)

A politician of the day said: "Electricity production . . . It will be so cheap it won't be worth metering!"  ::)

b*cat is still waiting for his un-metered electricity supply.  :-\

The politician was probably riffing off  Lewis L. Strauss, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, 1954 speech to science writers

It is not too much to expect that our children will enjoy in their homes electrical energy too cheap to meter; will know of great periodic regional famines in the world only as matters of history; will travel effortlessly over the seas and under them and through the air with a minimum of danger and at great speeds, and will experience a lifespan far longer than ours, as disease yields and man comes to understand what causes him to age. This is the forecast of an age of peace.

See https://cns-snc.ca/media/media/toocheap/toocheap.html

Strauss was not necessarily thinking about fission, but possibly the still sought grail of sustainable fusion. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Too_cheap_to_meter

I was taken around JET in its early days. It was impressive.
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: sevenlayermuddle on December 12, 2017, 11:44:49 PM
I was going to re-emphasise the option of a home energy monitor, as mentioned earlier in thread, and as championed by Which as a safer alternative to a smart meter.  In fact, I was thinking of buying one...

https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/energy-monitors/article/energy-monitors-explained

But after a few hours research, I’m not so sure.  All they may be measuring is current flow, which leads to two sources of huge inaccuracies...

1) They don’t seem to measure voltage, probably just assume it to be 230V.  Amazon reviews on one that I looked at seem to confirm this, suggesting you have to specify your own voltage manually, despite the fact it can vary from hour to hour.

2) If they don’t monitor voltage then I don’t see how they can allow for varying phase angles.   AC Power consumption (for which you are billed)  can be less than the product of current and voltage, if the two are not in phase. 

Anybody know better?  Are these monitors really any use?
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: adrianw on December 13, 2017, 12:02:57 AM
I had a "free" energy monitor, supplied several switches ago. It seemed to work, the results were believable, but I never checked how accurate it was.
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: phi2008 on December 13, 2017, 12:13:15 AM
It is not too much to expect that our children will enjoy in their homes electrical energy too cheap to meter ....

I'm not sure we'll ever get electricity from power stations that is too cheap to meter(though about a gram of deuterium(in fusion) can power a household for a year)... couple of interesting things I came across a while ago - one was someone who got a Tesla Powerwall(big lithium battery) and used it to store charge from their solar panels, worked quite well but _currently_  large lithium batteries are pretty expensive. The other was a story on chemist Daniel Nocera -

Quote

Artificial-leaf technology converts carbon dioxide to fuels and more

...

Recently, one group has demonstrated that it is possible to combine water splitting and CO2 conversion into fuels in one system with high efficiency. In a June 2016 issue of Science, Daniel G. Nocera and Pamela A. Silver, both at Harvard University, and their colleagues reported on an approach to making liquid fuel (specifically fusel alcohols) that far exceeds a natural leaf’s conversion of carbon dioxide to carbohydrates. A plant uses just 1 percent of the energy it receives from the sun to make glucose, whereas the artificial system achieved roughly 10 percent efficiency in converting carbon dioxide to fuel, the equivalent of pulling 180 grams of carbon dioxide from the air per kilowatt-hour of electricity generated.

The investigators paired inorganic, solar water-splitting technology (designed to use only biocompatible materials and to avoid creating toxic compounds) with microbes specially engineered to produce fuel, all in a single container. Remarkably, these metabolically engineered bacteria generated a wide variety of fuels and other chemical products even at low CO2 concentrations. The approach is ready for scaling up to the extent that the catalysts already contain cheap, readily obtainable metals. But investigators still need to greatly increase fuel production. Nocera says the team is working on prototyping the technology and is in partnership discussions with several companies.

Nocera has an even bigger vision for the basic technology. Beyond producing hydrogen and carbon-rich fuels in a sustainable way, he has demonstrated that equipping the system with a different metabolically altered bacterium can produce nitrogen-based fertilizer right in the soil, an approach that would increase crops yields in areas where conventional fertilizers are not readily available. The bacterium uses the hydrogen and CO2 to form a biological plastic that serves as a fuel supply. Once the microbe contains enough plastic, it no longer needs sunshine, so it can be buried in the soil. After drawing nitrogen from the air, it exploits the energy and hydrogen in the plastic to make the fertilizer. Radishes grown in soil containing the microbes ended up weighing 150 percent more than control radishes.

Nocera admits that he initially ran the fertilizer test just to see if the idea would work. He envisions a time, however, when bacteria will “breathe in hydrogen” produced by water splitting and ultimately use the hydrogen to produce desired products ranging from fuels to fertilizers, plastics and drugs, depending on the specific metabolic alterations designed for the bugs.

...

Full article ... (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/liquid-fuels-from-sunshine/)
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: adrianw on December 13, 2017, 12:43:59 AM
That is interesting.

Back on the nuclear tangent. In the 1980s I worked for a CEGB region which had no nuclear stations. In a training exercise a group of us had to come up with ideas for disposing of radioactive waste. We came up with the, to us original, idea of encasing it in glass bricks for household heating. Since then I have seen that idea, and barmier ones (dumping it into small spinning back holes) in various works of fiction.

The hardware engineer's worst nightmare - a programmer with a screwdriver.
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: phi2008 on December 13, 2017, 12:53:38 AM
Here's the Powerwall video - can use it for mains(from solar charging), and of course if you have an electric vehicle it's even more useful. Think when I had a quick Google a system might cost Ł10,000(battery+solar) or more so quite some time would be needed to recover the cost -




Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: tonyappuk on December 13, 2017, 01:51:21 AM
Like I too have been badgered but when I say we have no mobile phone service they go away. Tony
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: tickmike on December 13, 2017, 02:49:46 PM
As I have said on this forum You Can Refuse to have any smart Meters

 I have sent them all an email with account number and name and address and they do not bother me again.

You can check your rights about smart meters by doing a search about it, you want the suppliers regulatory body.
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: sheddyian on December 14, 2017, 11:22:22 PM
I was going to re-emphasise the option of a home energy monitor, as mentioned earlier in thread, and as championed by Which as a safer alternative to a smart meter.  In fact, I was thinking of buying one...

https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/energy-monitors/article/energy-monitors-explained

But after a few hours research, I’m not so sure.  All they may be measuring is current flow, which leads to two sources of huge inaccuracies...

1) They don’t seem to measure voltage, probably just assume it to be 230V.  Amazon reviews on one that I looked at seem to confirm this, suggesting you have to specify your own voltage manually, despite the fact it can vary from hour to hour.

2) If they don’t monitor voltage then I don’t see how they can allow for varying phase angles.   AC Power consumption (for which you are billed)  can be less than the product of current and voltage, if the two are not in phase. 

Anybody know better?  Are these monitors really any use?

I used to have a free electricity monitor device from British Gas (a rebranded "current cost" commercial product).  You clipped a sensor around the live incoming cable from your electricity meter, which went to a battery powered transmitter device.  The receiver, an LCD display unit, showed how many units of electricity had been used, were currently being used etc, and showed some basic graphs comparing current usage to historical.

I later got an adaptor cable for the display that allowed me to connect it to a Raspberry Pi, and using some free 3rd part software "Measure It" http://lalelunet.github.io/measureit/ (http://lalelunet.github.io/measureit/) I could plot graphs of usage etc.

I found these a little difficult to read, and noticed that the values reported by the display unit tended to fluctuate a lot.  Something I don't notice with the smart meter display and historical data.

I'm unsure if this is an accuracy issue, or a better way of interpolating or averaging the data in the graphs.

But, out of the two, although setting my own system up on the Raspberry Pi was fun, I prefer the data given by the smart meter.  You switch a light off, within a few seconds you can see a definite drop in consumption on the smart meter display unit.  This was much less clear with the previous monitoring device.

Ian
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: sevenlayermuddle on December 15, 2017, 12:43:41 AM
Have to say, I’m not surprised to hear that readings sometimes fluctuate with the monitor.   I’m more surprised that they don’t fluctuate with smart meter too.

For example, an electrically operated divertor valve in the central heating might choose the same moment to flip off or on, or the boiler may trigger itself of/on, or its flu extractor fan.  Or a bathroom fan might switch itself off, if you’d been in that room recently.  Or the neighbour’s cat might trigger a security light, or some rechargeable device (phone, whatever) may become fully charged and trigger its charger ‘off’.   Let alone the fridge thermostat which could make a huge difference,  or a PC may start downloading software updates, or an incoming email might cause a disc to spin up,  and so on, and on....

Personally, for easily definable items like lights bulbs, I just look at the product label.   If a bulb says 60W, or 5W, whatever then that’s what it is.  I have double checked a few with stand alone metering, always been near 100% accurate, despite some urban myths reported in certain newspapers.
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: BritBrat on June 29, 2018, 08:41:18 PM
Old thread I know, but I keep refusing a smart meter.

Some reasons:
I want one that allows switching while maintaining being smart.

The companies are pushing these out because they could be fined if they do not meet the targets in 2020. and maybe I could negotiate a good deal to have a smart meter installed.

When supply can be switched easy I can see a lot more competition entering the market.
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: Chrysalis on July 03, 2018, 12:32:04 AM
There is also that these can be remotely read instead of needing a manual reading, and this is especially more important now that they can only backdate bills to a max of 12 months.
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: displaced on July 04, 2018, 09:44:15 PM
Old thread I know, but I keep refusing a smart meter.

Some reasons:
I want one that allows switching while maintaining being smart.


Yeah, I only found that out after getting one fitted!

Still, there's apparently some shenanigans going on to allow us with 'gen 1' meters to keep 'smartness'.  And apparently 'gen 2' meters won't have this problem.

I dare say that this will either get sorted soon or companies will offer to replace smart meters with the newer models to maintain smart features when changing contract.

Reasonably happy with ours, insofar as one can be.  The monitor is much more accurate (as it should be) than the clip-on 'smart monitor' we'd previously had.

The monitor also let us show off our house's party-trick.  We have a combined long living/dining room.  The two halves each have 4x in-ceiling light fittings towards the corners of the ceiling.  We had some dimmable halogen (?) spots in there which were 100w each.  Watching the meter whilst turning all eight on was good fun.

They're all now smart LED bulbs which barely make the meter move when on at 100%.  Plus, I get to say "Alexa, set the Living Room lights to magenta" which is fun.
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: sheddyian on July 12, 2018, 12:24:57 AM
Having recently moved, I used to have a smart meter and now I don't and I find it frustrating not knowing how much electricity I'm using at any given time!

I'm with bulb energy (who seem good) and they've stated they are delaying rollout of smart meters until the gen2 meters are available (my old meter at previous address was gen1).

Ian
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: sevenlayermuddle on July 13, 2018, 12:00:18 AM
My own supplier does seem to have at last given up.

After mumerous unsolicted “appointment” letters, arranging for installation, all of which I declined, I eventually voiced a formal complaint of harassment.    Despite initial threats along the lines of “the government will force you to have one by 2015”, they then went quiet and have not actually bothered  me for several years now.

I do of course respect the decision that some folks make, for whatever reasons, to accept a Smart meter.   More power to their elbows.    :)

I hope these same folks will respect my own decision, based upon my own research of tech, and reading of small print in T&C,  to not have one.  :)
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: Chrysalis on July 18, 2018, 04:32:15 PM
I think the real reason they pushing is they simply always want to have access to live data.

I get meter readers knocking on my door every month, if I supply readings or let them be estimated it seems to have no impact, it just seems they want it verified by their own people.  A smart meter removes that problem for them.
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: nallar on July 19, 2018, 01:38:06 PM
I'm hesitant to have a smart meter.

It's hard to get metering wrong with an electromechanical meter. Multiple smart meters have been found to incorrectly overread or underread with high levels of harmonic distortion.

https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/hardware/millions-of-smart-meters-may-over-inflate-readings-by-up-to-600-percent/
https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/7866234/
https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/7339771/
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: Ronski on July 19, 2018, 03:41:30 PM
That's worrying, I bet mines not under reading.
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: chenks on July 19, 2018, 04:06:37 PM
It's hard to get metering wrong with an electromechanical meter.

you'd be surprised how easily electromechanical can and does go wrong.
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: sevenlayermuddle on July 19, 2018, 05:26:36 PM
I'm hesitant to have a smart meter.

It's hard to get metering wrong with an electromechanical meter. Multiple smart meters have been found to incorrectly overread or underread with high levels of harmonic distortion.

https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/hardware/millions-of-smart-meters-may-over-inflate-readings-by-up-to-600-percent/
https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/7866234/
https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/7339771/

Interesting reading, but I suspect these publications are confusing digital meters with smart meters. I for example have a digital electricity meter.   It is read by a man that knocks on the door several times a year, in between visits I get estimates and/or supply my own readings.  It contains no communications components, it is just a dumb meter, albeit one that is entirely electronic and has an lcd display. 

The term “Smart meter” is generally used to refer to a meter that communicates its readings directly with the supplier, and allows the supplier to do other things that are useful to them, such as remotely disconnect or recconect the individual supply to your home.

It is fair to assume that all smart meters will be based on modern digital instruments, but not all such instruments are “smart”.   Whilst you can refuse a smart meter, I doubt whether you’d be able to refuse one that is digital, as long as it is “dumb”.
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: nallar on July 19, 2018, 11:06:10 PM
Interesting reading, but I suspect these publications are confusing digital meters with smart meters. I for example have a digital electricity meter.   It is read by a man that knocks on the door several times a year, in between visits I get estimates and/or supply my own readings.  It contains no communications components, it is just a dumb meter, albeit one that is entirely electronic and has an lcd display. 

The term “Smart meter” is generally used to refer to a meter that communicates its readings directly with the supplier, and allows the supplier to do other things that are useful to them, such as remotely disconnect or recconect the individual supply to your home.

It is fair to assume that all smart meters will be based on modern digital instruments, but not all such instruments are “smart”. 

Most people currently have electromechanical meters, so changing to a smart meter is also a change to an electronic meter. You're correct that it's possible to move to an electronic meter without any "smart" functionality.

Quote
Whilst you can refuse a smart meter, I doubt whether you’d be able to refuse one that is digital, as long as it is “dumb”.
That's right - once the current one is outside of its certification period or if it is shown to be inaccurate you can be required to allow it to be replaced.
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: johnson on July 21, 2018, 02:34:36 AM
Sure most have see this but thought I'd post it anyway:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44903471

Quote
Customers have financed the smart meter programme by paying a levy on their energy bills, while suppliers have frequently blamed the levy for rising costs.

However the report claimed most of the eventual savings would be made by energy firms, rather than consumers.
Title: Re: Who here has a Smart Meter for electricity or gas?
Post by: sevenlayermuddle on July 21, 2018, 10:42:45 AM
Verging slightly off topic...  I got a scam call a few days ago, from somebody claiming to be from an energy utility, “just checking whether if I had been upgraded to a smart meter yet”.

Caller was reasonably well spoken, bright and enthusiastic, native UK accent.   I am regarding it as a scam, because he indicated to be representing a supplier (not specifically identified) with some knowledge of my account, yet  addressed me by name of better half which is phone book, whereas energy utility bills have always been in my own name.

No idea what the scammer’s payload would have been.   Maybe relatively innocent, just wanting a “finders fee” if he persuaded some random consumer to switch supplier.   Or maybe something much more sinister.   

Worth bearing in mind, if you get such a call out of the blue.