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Smart Meters
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Potemkin Villager



Joined: 14 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2018 9:17 pm    Post subject: Smart Meters Reply with quote

This report casts some doubt on the "smartness" of smart meters.

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-44903471

However it does not give much of a clue about how smart meters are to lead to savings in the absence of a tariff system where the price per unit varies according to supply and demand. I saw an interview with Mr Smart Meters on Beeb news and ha came across as a bit of a con man (who is doing very nicely thank you).
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Little John



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2018 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smart meters have got precisely f*ck all to do with making savings for customers. Anyone who thinks they ever did is an idiot in my opinion. I know that is harsh. But it's true.

They are about, at best, greater efficiency for the companies, leading to increased profits or, at the very least, maintained profits. At worst, they are about the state trying to manage growing demand in an increasingly tighter supply situation.
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clv101
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2018 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Little John wrote:
At worst, they are about the state trying to manage growing demand in an increasingly tighter supply situation.


Growing demand? UK electricity consumption peaked back in 2005 and is around 15% down from that peak today.
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Little John



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2018 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Demand is, inevitably, going only one way in the end. Especially so with the advent of electric vehicles. What savings have been made over recent years cannot and will not last. But, you already know this.

Last edited by Little John on Sun Jul 22, 2018 4:11 am; edited 1 time in total
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clv101
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2018 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That demand fell, as both population and economy grew suggests to me that over the coming decade+ when we can expect both the population and economy to grow slower (or even shrink in the case of economy), the decline can be maintained.

I don't expect electric vehicles to have any significant impact anytime soon.
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Little John



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2018 4:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why would companies wish to make less money?

If they would not wish to make less money, why do you suppose they would introduce a technology that, all other things being equal, if it delivers what it claims to deliver, which is to say reduced consumption, would make them less money?

If companies do not wish to make less money, but are nonetheless installing a technology that would, all other things being equal, reduce demand and so make them less money, this can mean only two things; either they will put up charge rates per unit of electricity to compensate for the loss in revenue due to reduced demand. Or, they do not intend (or will not be allowed) to increase charges to compensate for reduced demand because this reduced demand and reduced profit is being imposed on them by the state.

If the state are imposing reduced demand and reduced profits on the energy companies, what is their reason for doing that?

Why am I having to spell out these questions to you CLV?


Last edited by Little John on Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:56 am; edited 2 times in total
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adam2
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2018 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The smart meter project has been far from successful, and I suspect that it might be dropped.

I never believed that smart meters would save most consumers money as was implied, suggested or claimed.
If implemented as planned, smart meters would not reduce the cost of producing electricity. Neither would they reduce the cost of distribution.
So the cost per unit would be either unaltered or increased to cover the costs of the smart metering project.

It was suggested that consumers would be better able to monitor their consumption and perhaps reduce it. This might be true to a very limited extent, but the potential seems limited.

One of the claimed advantages of smart meters was that the price per unit could be varied in order to shift consumption away from the peak.
This has not been achieved beyond the relatively crude "peak/off peak" tariffs that are available with traditional metering.

One advantage, that HAS been realised to a very limited extent is a reduction in abstraction. There are various ways in which electricity meters or the cables thereto may be interfered with in order to obtain power without payment. Some such tampering can be detected by smart meters.

Another theoretical advantage of smart meters is the prompt detection of power cuts in order that investigation and repairs can be started more quickly. AFAIK this has not yet happened.
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fuzzy



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2018 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think they will drop them. The current generation may not have the disconnect switch active, but this is what the gov wants them for. Rolling electric blackouts per postcode when the gas fizzles out. Presumably even the gas ones could be turned off since gasmen could visit each property individually and flush pipes and reconnect individually.
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adam2
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2018 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can see the attraction of being able to cut customers off remotely, either for non payment or for load shedding, but it remains to be seen if this will ever be achieved.

The present system of load shedding whereby ALL consumers in a given district are cut off, does have the merit of extreme simplicity and fairness.
Also fairly easy for people to understand.

Load shedding via smart meters sounds fraught with problems, out of say 100,000 meters, perhaps 1000 wont receive the "off" signal and the customers so served will gain an unfair advantage.
Of the 99,000 that DO turn off, perhaps another 1,000 will fail to turn on again. And how long will it take to visit each of those 1,000 customers ?
Remember that the next evening might require that a DIFFERENT 100,000 customers be cut off and that ANOTHER 1,000 smart meters might fail to turn on again !
And of course, a fair part of the population will expect to be exempted from load shedding, just how long will it take to decide who gets what priority, and then handle potentially MILLIONS of appeals ?
It was bad enough last time, when in fact nothing could be done.

I also have doubts about the long term reliability of remotely operated 100 amp switch contacts that are compact, never inspected, but expected to operate reliably when called upon.
Even if only one in a million of them catches fire each year, that is still another 20 fires a year, perhaps half of which might be fatal.
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Potemkin Villager



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

adam2 wrote:


I also have doubts about the long term reliability of remotely operated 100 amp switch contacts that are compact, never inspected, but expected to operate reliably when called upon.
Even if only one in a million of them catches fire each year, that is still another 20 fires a year, perhaps half of which might be fatal.


Benefits include killing customers!

Considering all the downside it is hard to conclude that the only beneficiaries of "smart" meters are the electricity suppliers. I had mistakenly thought that the switching function could be preset to disconnect say an immersion heater if the price rose above a preset level or switch it on if price fell below a preset level.
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careful_eugene



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2018 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought that the main reason for installing a smart meter was that you could see how much electricity or gas was being used at a given time and identify which appliances cost the most to use. This would then encourage people to either reduce the usage of said appliances or buy more efficient ones which would have the effect of reducing energy bills. I accept that this scenario probably only occurs in a small number of households. The other reason / benefit of having a smart meter would be that no one has to call round to check the meter reading.
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Little John



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

careful_eugene wrote:
I thought that the main reason for installing a smart meter was that you could see how much electricity or gas was being used at a given time and identify which appliances cost the most to use. This would then encourage people to either reduce the usage of said appliances or buy more efficient ones which would have the effect of reducing energy bills. I accept that this scenario probably only occurs in a small number of households. The other reason / benefit of having a smart meter would be that no one has to call round to check the meter reading.
Do you suppose that energy companies would accept a lowered level of profit due to a lowered level of consumption from their customers? If you don't, would you accept as inevitable that said energy companies, if they are allowed to, will simply put up the charges per unit of electricity to compensate for said reduction in consumption? If all of the above is true, then what, precisely, is the benefit to customers, overall?
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adam2
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

careful_eugene wrote:
I thought that the main reason for installing a smart meter was that you could see how much electricity or gas was being used at a given time and identify which appliances cost the most to use. This would then encourage people to either reduce the usage of said appliances or buy more efficient ones which would have the effect of reducing energy bills. I accept that this scenario probably only occurs in a small number of households. The other reason / benefit of having a smart meter would be that no one has to call round to check the meter reading.


Yes, but.
A fair proportion of the population are unable to understand the information, despite this being provided as simply as possible.
In particular, a lot of people are unable to grasp the cost implications of relatively small but long hour loads.
Examples include a 60 watt incandescent lamp, the energy use of which "hardly shows up" on a smart meter display. The user then concludes that profligate use of such lamps is of no consequence.
The running cost of such a lamp is ABOUT a penny an hour "not worth worrying about a penny"
The fact that long hour use of a single such lamp could cost £40 a year, which could be reduced to about £5 by use of an LED alternative, is completely lost on such people.

Another example is use of an electric shower. "it makes the meter display go right up into the red part" Such persons cant grasp the idea that this high loading is brief and in fact reasonable in cost.
So instead they take a bath in water heated by an immersion heater because "anyone can see that this uses less"
As a result, a shower that uses 10KW for say 6 minutes is replaced by an immersion heater that uses 3KW for 90 minutes.
The shower would have cost about 15 pence. The bath would have cost about 70 pence.
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Little John



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2018 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with all of that Adam. But, it is worse than that, even.

If, say everyone committed to the energy saving measures your suggest (and I am not suggesting they shouldn't), then the energy companies will simply adjust their charges to compensate for the reduction in consumption levels in order to maintain profits.
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emordnilap



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2018 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Little John wrote:
If, say everyone committed to the energy saving measures your suggest (and I am not suggesting they shouldn't), then the energy companies will simply adjust their charges to compensate for the reduction in consumption levels in order to maintain profits.


Precisely. The likes of us are subversives because we try to minimise consumption - but we're few and far between. If there were more of us, we'd be classed as terrorists (ie, we're employing economic terrorism).

Electricity, post, health, mass transit, education and many other natural monopolies should never be in private hands.
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