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    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeJul 8th 2014
     
    NO! consumers can save energy, smart meters cant, they use more as they need power to work.

    HMG want to roll out smart meters and are hoping that they will save money (£26 pa by 2020)

    In Holland they discovered that the energy savings were small and that these were as a result of behaviour change of the consumers, seeing what was going and wasting less.

    Is this another lead balloon or should we support it?
    • CommentAuthorGotanewlife
    • CommentTimeJul 8th 2014 edited
     
    Yes support it! Few users deliberately and needlessly increase their energy bills but they can't do anything about something they don't know about; streaming the info onto a screen is bound to result in less energy usage. Even if the effects are much smaller than estimated it is still a good thing and, who knows, it could be used as an enabler for other initiatives.
    • CommentAuthorbarney
    • CommentTimeJul 8th 2014
     
    The old concept of "You can't manage what you can't measure"

    Gradually the smart meter will probably enable choice of when to use an appliance based on tarrif or to elect not to use a particular item at a stated time to get a reward - demand side management essentially

    Regards

    Barney
    • CommentAuthorRob_14
    • CommentTimeJul 8th 2014
     
    Installing smart meters is a cost that will be borne by consumers through their bills. Will the benefit be worthwhile?

    For most of us who read this forum, no, because we have already invested in energy monitoring and/or are waste conscious already.

    For those in fuel poverty? No - because they probably use less energy than is good for their health.

    For everyone else? Probably not – they can afford their bills and they don't have sufficient interest or motivation to seek energy savings.
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeJul 8th 2014
     
    Blarney, choosing when to the energy does not save energy, yes it can reduce peak demand but that is another story and does not save energy, indeed it uses more due to the controls involved and the meter itself.
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeJul 8th 2014
     
    Rob, yes, we are up against apathy big time and the elephant in the room of energy poverty, smart meters as you point out don't help indeed they most likely feed the elephant.
    • CommentAuthorbarney
    • CommentTimeJul 8th 2014
     
    Really Tony ? - take a look at grid side losses (square law relationship of power through transformers, distribution etc), spinning reservelosses, frequency control losses etc etc.

    They are all a function of dealing with very peaky consumer side load profiles.

    Carrot and stick will help people save a few pounds and flatten the load profiles - which will save "energy"

    Regards

    Barney
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeJul 8th 2014 edited
     
    <blockquote>In Holland they discovered that the energy savings were small and that these were as a result of behaviour change of the consumers, seeing what was going and wasting less.</blockquote>

    Isn't that the idea here as well?

    I think there might be better things to spend the money on. Google suggests they cost around £70 each to install. Would it be better to give people £70 grants off loft insulation or a A++ fridge/freezer?
    • CommentAuthorSeret
    • CommentTimeJul 8th 2014
     
    Displaying real-time usage data has been proven to result in a useful reduction in usage for many consumers. You don't need a smart meter to do this though, and the money being spent on rolling out smart meters is highly unlikely to be recouped through savings on the consumer end. They're mostly useful for the power companies, as they make billing more accurate.
  1.  
    "streaming the info onto a screen is bound to result in less energy usage. Even if the effects are much smaller than estimated it is still a good thing "

    That's a pretty vague statement on which to base spending £1.75 bn (£70 x 25m homes) that possibly be better spent elsewhere. The answer would be to do a reasonably long term trial to see what happens in reality and whether there is any change in behaviour. Oh, hang on, didn't I read that was what they did do but then mandated everywhere before the trial had ended and which seemed to be showing that there was no benefit?

    Reeks of greenwash this. A 'tech' gimmick rather than a real impact.

    Shevek - evidence? I got a smart meter add on a freebie, couldn't get it to work and have no idea what happened to it. At a whole house level it strikes me that this really doesn't tell you much - I don't believe many people are going to run around switching things on and off to see what the impact is.

    More useful perhaps is an individual appliance meter. Cheaper too - something like - http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/13a-plug-in-energy-saving-monitor-n67fu

    I used one to find out that my printer (a second hand laserjet 4000) appeared to have a standby consumption of 30W (bought one of these http://www.belkin.com/uk/F7C009-Belkin/p/P-F7C009%3bjsessionid=DF71AFEEBEC273F4AEC1CB17ECC0316F/ to use with it after that). Also added one to the iron which we'd previously left on over a weekend a few times.

    The meter also told me that it really wasn't worth worrying about standby on the TV, and that one computer was fine in sleep mode.
  2.  
    All domestic consumption meters need to be replaced from time to time - the mechanical ones wear out and lose accuracy - so it's not really an additional expense to put smart meters in. As for their energy consumption, it's so small as to be irrelevant. Even the mechanical ones consume some energy - probably more than the electronic ones actually. Even if the smart features aren't used, it's a good idea to put them in place so that, as was mentioned earlier, grid loads can be optimized when necessary. Managing the grid effectively is as much about accurate prediction of demand as anything else - and smart meters can help with this process. Of course, the tinfoil hat brigades are already out in force stating that these meters emit "cancerous rays". We've had unholy battles over here due to the introduction of electronic remote-readable meters (they don't even have a "smart" option). People can opt-out for an extra $100 a year or so to cover having someone read the meter.

    Paul in Montreal.
    • CommentAuthorTriassic
    • CommentTimeJul 8th 2014 edited
     
    Posted By: Paul in Montrealthe mechanical ones wear out
    my smart gas meter only lasted 6 months before it packed up and was replaced with a traditional meter. Mind you the meter reader is happy, he's been 3 time so far this year!
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeJul 8th 2014
     
    Got any jobs going for meter readers?
    • CommentAuthorborpin
    • CommentTimeJul 8th 2014
     
    Meter reader came when I was out. Son pointed reader to meter but the guy said it wasn't there. Came back and said 'oh wasn't looking for that sort' (small white with LCD display). Dumb ass.
    • CommentAuthorskyewright
    • CommentTimeJul 8th 2014 edited
     
    Posted By: Paul in MontrealEven if the smart features aren't used, it's a good idea to put them in place so that, as was mentioned earlier, grid loads can be optimized when necessary. Managing the grid effectively is as much about accurate prediction of demand as anything else - and smart meters can help with this process.

    If they are smart enough. AIUI load management isn't an inherent part of the current UK spec?

    Ted will know...

    The main feature that seems to be of interest to the to the suppliers is remote meter reading.

    Some of the current generation of Smart Meters apparently can't even handle the presence of micro-generation & can't be installed if the premises have, say, grid-tie PV (or have to be removed if already present when micro-generation is installed)!
    • CommentAuthorSeret
    • CommentTimeJul 8th 2014
     
    Posted By: Paul in MontrealWe've had unholy battles over here due to the introduction of electronic remote-readable meters (they don't even have a "smart" option).


    That's pretty much all the "smart" meters in the UK are, AIUI.
  3.  
    Posted By: SeretThat's pretty much all the "smart" meters in the UK are, AIUI.


    There's two sub-types of "dumb" smart meter here - drive-by reading types and true remote-reading (that transmit on cellphone frequencies). It's this latter type that people are scared of. Our gas meters are the drive-by reading type, but the electric meter is a true remote-reading type. As I have a cellphone and wifi in the house, I'm not the slightest bit concerned about emissions from the meter.

    Paul in Montreal.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeJul 9th 2014
     
    As I recall the plan was for smart meters to be a standard spec so you can switch suppliers and retain the smart meter. Is that the case?
    • CommentAuthorSeret
    • CommentTimeJul 9th 2014
     
    Posted By: Paul in MontrealAs I have a cellphone and wifi in the house, I'm not the slightest bit concerned about emissions from the meter.


    Quite. I suspect the people who're kicking off about it haven't made that mental leap. They're probably raging about it online while sitting on the sofa with a tablet, a laptop, a cellphone and a cordless phone.
    •  
      CommentAuthorted
    • CommentTimeJul 9th 2014
     
    The spec for SmartMeters in the UK allows them to power off the household either by a remote signal or as a result of exceeding a programmable level of capacity. These are really the issues that should be of concern to people rather than RF emissions.

    As far as inter-operation of meters across multiple companies is concerned the problem is that the functional spec does not include any definition of the communication protocol that should be used. DECC have proposed a common "sorting house" approach that will translate incompatible data. The application of a small amount of common sense would have prevented the need for that.
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeJul 9th 2014
     
    Did we not discuss all this a while back. Seems that there is still a lot of confusion about what a 'smart' meter is all about.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeJul 9th 2014
     
    I won't be switching to a smart meter until they can provide one that works with multiple energy suppliers.

    I was cold called about 18 months ago by my energy co to tell me my ordinary meter was old and "needed replacing". They offered to come and replace it with a smart meter free. Since we only built the house 5 years ago I wasn't impressed by their tactics. Could it be they figure that by changing people to their proprietary meter it will discourage people from switching energy suppliers?

    I've already got an efergy add on smart meter and I've since changed supplier twice.
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeSep 5th 2014
     
    It looking like so called "Smart Meters" are going to be rolled out nationally soon.

    I still cannot fathom out why! Is recording energy use and having a visual display of it even with energy saving advice going have influence the masses who don't care already? Those most in need can't afford them (there is quire a high standing charge on the, insanity).

    It is not the smart meters that are going to be saving energy (they do use more in order to perform their function), it is the householders who will be doing and benefiting from the energy savings. It has already been shown that these savings are short lived and well below the unrealistic claims that are being made. Once householders have got used to having them not much in terms of savings results and these are enormously difficult to quantify because of weather, behaviour, and so on all having an influence on things too.

    Never mind the elephant in the room, it just turned into a white mammoth!
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeSep 5th 2014
     
    And they will be selling our usage data to third parties.
    Personally, I look forward to getting a monthly spreadsheet of my usage emailed to me. Bet it does not happen.
    • CommentAuthorrhamdu
    • CommentTimeSep 5th 2014
     
    Smart meters are one way of implementing demand management. Unfortunately, letting utilities control your meter also opens the way to all kinds of anti-consumer crap.

    Having said that, demand management (which generally means peak-lopping) is a Good Thing. It reduces the need for new power lines, pylons, power stations etc so it should mean cheaper electricity. It can reduce the distribution losses Barney mentioned, so, yes it can save energy, a little. Sure, it also uses some, but I really don't think very much.

    Possibly more important, it promotes the transition to a grid based on decentralised, renewable electricity generation. Carbon emissions can be reduced, if demand can be controlled to match the intermittent nature of solar, wind and tidal generation.

    Unfortunately there is no political mileage in CO2 reduction, so smart meters are being promoted as a money-saver, without much evidence that they will be.
    • CommentAuthorowlman
    • CommentTimeSep 5th 2014
     
    The sure fire way to encourage consumers to save energy is to introduce a tariff system that costs more the more you use. That will focus the mind much better than any smart meter.
    As far as I can see it's just an industry scam to make the monitoring of usage easier for them, and, as ST suggests with the added benefit of something saleable as a side line, and they've wrapped it up in an "energy saving" package to fool the politicians, who will grasp at any straw going.
    The many who don't give a monkey's about insulation for instance, are not IMO, going to give a toss about a meter reading, after all they can do that now if they are really interested.
    Nah, a big bl...y stick and hit 'em where it hurts, in the pocket, is the only real energy saving measure.
    So in the end because the "baby kissers" run scared of any such measure no real energy saving will ever be achieved.
    :devil:
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeSep 5th 2014
     
    I fully agree with peak demand but we DONT NEED SMART METERS TO DO IT!

    All we need is a willingness to allow utilities to switch off freezers at their behest and to let them switch on say washing machines during the night, a web or even mobile phone linked switch will do that.

    Th proposed smart meters are not smart enough to even switch anything on or off, remote read and info only.
  4.  
    Perhaps for people who already have some interest in saving energy it may make a difference by making them think more about it, but mainly I see it as a gimmick. What is really needed is a programmable system that can automatically control devices.

    For example I might want to load up my washing machine or dishwasher and let the 'smart grid' decide when to switch it on when demand was low and thereby save money.

    Ed
    • CommentAuthorTriassic
    • CommentTimeSep 5th 2014
     
    Posted By: owlmanare not IMO, going to give a toss about a meter reading,
    We've had the meter reader round three times this year to read our smart meter. The new meters are a load of $4!? if you ask me, the smart gas meter packed up within 6 months, a waste of time, costs money, not saves money!
    • CommentAuthorowlman
    • CommentTimeSep 5th 2014 edited
     
    Posted By: tony....... a web or even mobile phone linked switch will do that.

    Or; the right timer MCB in the consumer unit, plus a bit of simple dedicated wiring.
   
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