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    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeMay 10th 2013 edited
     
    Estimated to cost £11bn for 30m homes or £366 a house, they must be fantastic as that is almost a years worth of energy for me.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-22480068

    Bet British Gas a feeling a bit silly.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeMay 11th 2013
     
    Bet British Gas a feeling a bit silly.


    Doesn't it mean their smart meter customers have to give up the smart features if they want to move supplier? So if they want smart metering aren't they tied to BG for another year or at least face limited choices?
    • CommentAuthorFred56
    • CommentTimeMay 11th 2013
     
    We have EON smart meters and I cannot see where they save me any money and I'm an enthusiast. The gas reading is dodgy and goes in fits and starts. We only went for them so we could have the monitor.
    In practice, my wife takes no notice of the monitor but she does watch the weather and checks the PV inverter panel - if it is set fair she puts a load in the washer (we save our washing for sunny days) or something in the oven. We also have a slow cooker and use that during daylight. A smart meter is not essential, just a bit of common sense.

    The government and industry are not interested in saving energy, just charging more for it. I am certain my smart meters will be rendered redundant because I doubt the have demand related surcharging.

    I have made inquiries about switching supplier but no others I approached could support the smart meters.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeMay 11th 2013
     
    There already appears to be some iffy practices going on. Last year I was called out of the blue by someone who wanted to make an appointment for an engineer to come and replace my electricity meter because it was "too old". My meter and indeed my whole house was only five years old at the time :-) Turned out they were pushing smart meters.
    • CommentAuthorTriassic
    • CommentTimeMay 11th 2013 edited
     
    I've had smart meters from day one of the trial. The gas meter packed up after 12 months and could not be replaced as they didn't have spares! So I'm back to reading the meter myself.
  1.  
    At £366 per household would it be more effective to give away highly efficient TV's,fridges, freezers, lights etc. This would also do away with the need for the £14 billion somerset nuclear plant. Also it would reduce maximum demand and some standby/spinning reserve.

    Richard
    • CommentAuthorGaryB
    • CommentTimeMay 12th 2013 edited
     
    I agree with Richard.

    I have halved my electrical consumption in 3 years using this approach.
    • CommentAuthorrhamdu
    • CommentTimeMay 12th 2013
     
    So-called smart meters are becoming obsolete before they are even rolled out.

    As far as I can see, the main purpose of smart meters is to introduce spot pricing of energy. This would make tariffs even more complicated and impossible to compare. It relies on market forces to influence consumers' behaviour - fat chance.

    Peak load shedding would be much better achieved with smart appliances, or simply smart plugs, not smart meters. That could genuinely reduce the need for new power stations and pylons, and maximise our utilisation of renewables.
    • CommentAuthorbarney
    • CommentTimeMay 12th 2013
     
    On the other hand, that old maxim of - If you can't measure it, you can't manage it - is pretty true.

    There is nothing like a kWh display and one which shows real money ticking away to get mum or dad shouting at the teenagers to turn things off when they finish using them

    From there springs the behaviour changes and the downward pressure on energy use.

    regards

    Barney
    • CommentAuthorrhamdu
    • CommentTimeMay 12th 2013
     
    Posted By: barneyThere is nothing like a kWh display and one which shows real money ticking away to get mum or dad shouting at the teenagers to turn things off when they finish using them
    You can have an energy monitor without a smart meter. I have one. It has two main limitations:

    (1) the monitor doesn't know the actual cost of electricity. It uses whatever rate you key into it. Not necessarily a disadvantage. You could key in 50p/kWh to scare those teenagers proper!

    (2) it doesn't apportion consumption between appliances. I think this is a more important deficiency. Consumers really need to know how much each appliance uses, not just instantaneously, but long-term. You want to be able to compare, say, a phone charger using a trickle of electricity all the time, with a toaster, more powerful but only used a few minutes a day.
    • CommentAuthorbarney
    • CommentTimeMay 12th 2013
     
    For sure - although I thought a smart meter would give you basic monitoring functions.

    For demand at an appliance or circuit level, then that's going to need lots of metering CT's added to houses.

    It won't take Mr and Mrs Average long to work out that the meter is busily flashing away when they switch on the dryer and washing machine - it's a bit slower when it's just the TV and the PC's - and late at night when it's just dad in the kitchen locking up, he might well notice consunmption and wonder what it is.

    Spot pricing was always going to happen - it's both the stick and the carrot to get consumption down for the more savvy consumers.

    regards

    Barney
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeMay 12th 2013
     
    Posted By: rhamduPeak load shedding would be much better achieved with smart appliances, or simply smart plugs, not smart meters.
    Yes, but there are only really two ways to motivate that to happen: regulation or spot pricing. Personally, I'd prefer spot pricing.
    • CommentAuthorskyewright
    • CommentTimeMay 12th 2013 edited
     
    What technology does the back to base communication use? If it was to assume availability of a cellphone signal, that would be a very big assumption up here in the Highlands & Islands (& maybe elsewhere too?).
    •  
      CommentAuthorted
    • CommentTimeMay 13th 2013
     
    The Smartmeter technical spec omits the details of exactly how the desired communication ability is to be delivered and merely describes the functionality.

    DECC are evaluating bids from several communication companies to licence to provide the service. One bidder is Arqiva (sponsors of last night's BAFTAs) who are proposing long-range radio as a solution for areas with poor mobile phone signals.

    See http://www.arqiva.com/smart_meters_and_grids/smartreach/ and http://smartreach.com/successful-smart-metering-trial-in-scotland/
    • CommentAuthorrhamdu
    • CommentTimeMay 13th 2013
     
    Posted By: Ed DaviesYes, but there are only really two ways to motivate that to happen: regulation or spot pricing. Personally, I'd prefer spot pricing.
    Spot pricing isn't the only way to motivate consumers. Utilities just need to offer some incentive such as a lower overall tariff when consumers agree to instal load-shedding technology.

    ConEdison tried this in New York and reportedly it worked well. It didn't involve smart meters, just radio-controlled thermostats. http://www.good.is/posts/battling-heat-waves-by-making-the-grid-smarter/
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeMay 13th 2013 edited
     
    Fair point Rhamdu - the lower-overall-tariff method would work. It'd work for electric heating (both space and hot water) and perhaps for refrigeration and EV charging. It'd be pretty complicated for anything else but maybe other things are sufficiently time-sensitive or low-enough consumption for that not to matter. The borderline cases are, I think, cooking, dishwashers and washer/driers. They're the sort of thing you'd usually prefer to run when electricity is cheap but sometimes need when it's expensive and once you start you want them to run to completion.

    Mentioning cooking here might seem odd but maybe there's something to be said for encouraging the use of slow cookers during the day to reduce consumption during the evening peak.
  2.  
    Hi It's all interesting stuff. Moving the peak demand is interesting as it means the generators do not need as much generating capacity just to meet the peak. But moving the peak is not as easy as using less overall. The main things that can be reduced at peak times are lighting, Television, refridgeration. The avearge home could probably cut 300 watts off peak demand by utilising the best efficiency products available. The things I have done over the years are TV from 150 watts to 30-50 watts, Fridge freezer 2 kwh/day to 1 kwh/day i.e. 80 watt average to 40 watt average. Lighting now all CFL with some LED probably 250 watts to 40 watts. So these things are quite easy and save money (my TV has paid for itself in five years).

    If all homes did this then 30 million X 300 watts = 9 GW off peak + less energy used. Peak at this time of year is about 40 GW so it would make a big difference. See http://gridwatch.templar.co.uk/

    Smart meters seem expensive for what they can do

    Richard
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeMay 13th 2013
     
    While it's partly about shaving the top off the peak there's also the matter of adaptation to more variable sources. Things like if the wind and/or PV produce less than expected during a particular period there's the opportunity to turn off people's immersions and freezers for an hour or two while they wind up some more gas stations. Or if a day turns out sunnier than expected turn on some heat pumps to store some energy - reducing the demand later. Ie, it's partly about reducing the amount of spinning reserve needed rather than total capacity.
    • CommentAuthorPaul_B
    • CommentTimeMay 13th 2013
     
    Ed,

    I was thinking along the lines of increase demand for battery charging cars as this becomes more popular. The grid and electricity system need to be more flexible than they have been traditionally in order to design for an average than huge peaks and troughs. I'm getting more concerned that general Joe Bloggs wants to save money but doesn't want to change the way they live, so carrots and sticks are going to be the order of the day

    Paul
  3.  
    Hi, I am a fan of the SMART grid. SMART meters seem to give little benefit for a cost of £11 billion. £366/home. I think that demand management gives far more bangs for the bucks. Energy efficiency/frugality probably gives the biggest bang per buck. Although I am not a big fan of regulation this one seems "sensible" :-

    "Under EU legislation, every new fridge, freezer and fridge freezer sold in the UK must have an energy label (pictured right) that gives its energy rating. From 1 July 2012, any new model manufacturers make will have a rating of A+, A++ or A+++, with A+++ being the most energy-efficient."

    From :- http://www.which.co.uk/energy/saving-money/guides/energy-labels-explained/fridge-and-freezer-energy-labels/

    So my A+ fridge freezer rated at 1 kWh/day will still be available but nothing with larger consumption. The A+++ version will use half of this i.e. 0.5 kWh/day.

    If all the older fridges/freezers are replaced over time then GW's will be knocked off peak demand AND overall consumption will fall AND people will save money. My fridge freezer payback is 10 years and allows me to freeze all my home grown produce so win win.

    Richard
    • CommentAuthorskyewright
    • CommentTimeMay 13th 2013
     
    Posted By: tedDECC are evaluating bids from several communication companies to licence to provide the service. One bidder is Arqiva (sponsors of last night's BAFTAs) who are proposing long-range radio as a solution for areas with poor mobile phone signals.

    Thanks ted.

    "This Scottish trial covers meters located outside and deep inside buildings, in basements and in flats across rural and dense urban areas. Lochwinnoch is only 20 miles from Glasgow but is the type of rural location that alternative communications networks find hard to reach."

    I did a quick google for Lochwinnoch. Looks like gently rolling landsacpe just along a valley from Glasgow. I suspect there are a good many places a bit harder to deal with than that. However it does sound to be technology that's already in use in difficult places, so maybe it will all be fine. :bigsmile:
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeMay 13th 2013 edited
     
    There was a bit in today's Telegraph about turning off fridges to same energy. Seems there are not enough fridges to make much difference and as they become better insulated then the advantages become less and less.
    So to be of any use nearly all the fridges in the UK have to be running at the same time, and that has to be at a time of peak demand, then you could save 12 GW (based on 100Wp and a fridge and freezer for every house), or about a third of the UK peak load in (does depend what time of year it is). Now if we decided to do that kind of switching (an unlikely scenario anyway), we would be into real grid instability problems.
    So let us get a get more realistic and just disconnect all domestic fridges at the peak times and stagger the switch on when the peak has passed. So if 10% of fridges are active during peak times, and they run for 10 minutes at a time, then we have 1.2 GW we can save, a couple of large CCGTs, but only for 10 minutes, or about the half the time it takes a turbine to come on stream. So all that would happen is that we would, in effect, take 200 MW out of use for an hour.
    Just to make it really hard, generators get paid to be taken off line (really galls the REF :bigsmile:), but that is how the market works, so if load shedding was done at the relatively small scale there would not be any saving for the domestic user as 200 MW easily falls within normal variation.

    What has to happen is being in a situation where where a 3 kW load can be guaranteed to be turned off, and that only really leaves stored hot water, and then you have to be sure that the heaters are on, which means denying service for several hours before, which only really lengthens the peak time.

    Alternatively more pumped storage is needed to smooth out the peaks and troughs and rely on industry to play a bigger part (already plays the biggest part).

    Just for a laugh, how much would we be willing to be paid to not use a kWh and how much extra would we be willing to pay for a kWh at peak time, let's do it as a percentage rather than a price. Can add in cash values later.
    Without thinking too hard about it I would except 140% to not use but only and extra 25% to use at a peak time.
    • CommentAuthorrhamdu
    • CommentTimeMay 15th 2013
     
    Posted By: SteamyTeaJust for a laugh, how much would we be willing to be paid to not use a kWh and how much extra would we be willing to pay for a kWh at peak time, let's do it as a percentage rather than a price.


    Not sure I quite understand the question. But I would need very little incentive to shift fridge-freezer kilowatts from peak time; a bit more for the dishwasher (we're a bit anal about never running it until it is completely full); even more for the washing machine (we need to be awake when the clothes are ready to hang up; hey, at 30C it doesn't use many kWh anyway!)

    Lights, TV and computers need to be used when they need to be used. Not negotiable. But we are willing to invest in more efficient devices, avoid 50 inch plasma screens etc.

    I use a car club, so I can't really comment on how tariffs would affect my charging pattern, were I to resume the ancient practice of owning a vehicle.
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