Home  5  Books  5  GBEzine  5  News  5  HelpDesk  5  Register  5  GreenBuilding.co.uk
Not signed in (Sign In)


Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

PLEASE NOTE: A download link for Volume 1 will be sent to you by email and Volume 2 will be sent to you by post as a book.

Buy individually or both books together. Delivery is free!

powered by Surfing Waves

Vanilla 1.0.3 is a product of Lussumo. More Information: Documentation, Community Support.

Welcome to new Forum Visitors
Join the forum now and benefit from discussions with thousands of other green building fans and discounts on Green Building Press publications: Apply now.

    • CommentAuthorowlman
    • CommentTimeJul 17th 2018
    Over the past few days I've had messages left from my electricity supplier requesting access to do a "Meter upgrade".
    The last one a phone call today went like this:-

    "Hello Sir, we're in your area next week, and we'd like to do a meter upgrade."..... ( my eyebrows start to raise )

    Me; Why?

    "Its a universal meter, sir"

    Me; I'm curious, please explain.

    "It'll allow you to change suppliers"

    Me; One check of your records will show that I already did that; changing to your company two months ago, using the existing meter.

    "This is a universal meter"

    Me; What do you mean by that?

    "It'll allow you to change suppliers"

    Me; But I already did that. ( I'm just giving her the runaround by now )


    Me; tell me, is it a Smart meter you wish to fit?

    "No sir it's a universal meter"

    Me; ( I'm getting bored by now ) I assume its a SMETs 1, and I don't want one.

    "It'll allow you to change suppliers more easily"

    Me; No it won't, It'll allow YOU to take reading remotely, but when my contract with you ends the chances are it'll revert to standard metering which is no different from the one I have now. Feel free to call me if and when you start a rollout for SMETs 2 but the answer may be the same, and I may even wait for SMETs 3 and maybe some improved security.

    "SILENCE, then some indecipherable conferring in the background, -- line dead."

    Question is:-
    Are these companies on some sort of commission for the number of installs. Are they trying to get rid of a shed-load of SMETs 1 meters on the unsuspecting, before rolling out SMETs 2. I had a look at the Ofgem website but apparently they don't take calls/complaints about individual suppliers.
    • CommentTimeJul 17th 2018
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeJul 17th 2018
    Just say no
    Posted By: owlmanAre they trying to get rid of a shed-load of SMETs 1 meters on the unsuspecting, before rolling out SMETs 2.

    The final post on this forum suggests that, yes, there's a fairly imminent (5 months) deadline - delayed since July due to cyber-security concerns - beyond which the SMETs 1 meters won't count towards suppliers' targets.

    I guess they want to get rid of as many as possible!


    Out of interest, we've just paid up for our self-build to be connected to the grid (Western Power). I'm guessing, based on the above that our install will likely be a smart meter unless we opt out. Would the forum recommend we do that and hold out for the SMETs 2 release?
    • CommentAuthorsam_cat
    • CommentTimeJul 18th 2018
    100% hold out for SMETS 2.
    • CommentAuthorgyrogear
    • CommentTimeJul 19th 2018 edited
    Posted By: tonyJust say no


    • CommentAuthorJeff B
    • CommentTimeJul 21st 2018
    On BBC news website this morning:


    Oh dear....
    • CommentAuthorgyrogear
    • CommentTimeJul 21st 2018
    Big Brother wants your data for his Big Data...

    • CommentAuthortorrent99
    • CommentTimeJul 23rd 2018
    Big brother also wants to be able to cut you off remotely if you don't agree with the government...
    • CommentTimeJul 23rd 2018
    Big Brother has always been able to turn up with a warrant and forcefully disconnect supply.
    • CommentTimeJul 23rd 2018
    The question is, will your russian big brother be able to disconnect you and everybody else with a smart meter remotely without a warrant?
    • CommentTimeJul 23rd 2018
    Last time it happened (to 500,000 customers) was when Sizewell and then Longannet mysteriously went down in close succession. Adjust hats to 'tinfoil'! B^>
    • CommentAuthorgyrogear
    • CommentTimeJul 23rd 2018 edited
    <blockquote><cite>Posted By: djh</cite>The question is, will your russian big brother be able to disconnect you and everybody else with a smart meter remotely without a warrant?</blockquote>

    Certainly can - anything can be hacked !
    despite THIS:

    (they would, would they not...")

    As for your leccy supplier, HE can certainly selectively disconnect one or more of your electrical users, and for a whole street's-worth or quarter's-worth or townsworth for that matter. Without a warrant.

    Such as one's DHW cylinder, or one's electric oven, for example.

    It is called "smart grid management".

    And it don't require any warrant at all...

    • CommentAuthorJeff B
    • CommentTimeJul 24th 2018
    My brother-in-law has just had a smart meter installed after being told that he could expect to make savings on his electricity bill. I don't know all the details yet (e.g. what sort of meter it is) but it sounds horribly like the situation described by the OP Owlman.

    Is there an opt-out clause or is he stuck with it now?
    • CommentAuthorgyrogear
    • CommentTimeJul 24th 2018 edited
    In France, there are some cases where folks have been to court and succeeded in getting their old meter back.

    But the power companies have far more resources than the average citizen in this respect.

    He should perhaps try sending a registered letter, asking for his old meter back.

    As I understand it from a couple of hundred kms away, in the UK they are not obligatory, and only about 25% of consumers take them. Rather, the obligation is on power cos to inform consumers that they are available...

    In France they are trying to force them down our necks, but some people (we...) are fighting back !

    • CommentAuthorFred56
    • CommentTimeJul 24th 2018
    Note the OFGEM announcement today about demand based pricing. They want it by 2023 so I would expect that energy companies will soon make it a condition of them supplying you that you accept a smart meter. Some do this already.
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeJul 24th 2018
    I have yet to see a smart meter that can do anything smart, avoid them.
    • CommentAuthorskyewright
    • CommentTimeJul 26th 2018 edited
    Posted By: tonyI have yet to see a smart meter that can do anything smart, avoid them.

    The Horstmann meter we've had for nearly 25 years controls supply to out storage radiators and the bottom element of our DHW tank using a side band on the (R4?) LW signal. Scottish Hydro (now SSE) choose the hours of supply (withing contracted limits) to best suit their system and taking into the weather into account. So far as I'm aware that's much 'smarter' than any current 'Smart Meter'.
    Ironically the tariff that uses this meter is now a 'legacy' thing, i.e. Not available to new customers, only supported for existing users. The tariff was only ever available if certain geographic areas (where it helps optimise use of the locally produced power resources such as hydro),

    Edited to switch 'format' to html.
    • CommentAuthorgyrogear
    • CommentTimeJul 26th 2018 edited
    The "smart" meters they are forcing on the French are only smart from the producer's viewpoint, not the consumer's...

    They measure KVA and not kWh.

    Traditionally in France electricity is sold per kWh

    So our contract taken out in 2007 was based on "6 kWh" (as set at the main circuit breaker by the supplier) , you got 30 Amps worth : 30 A x 230 V = 6900 VA, even though the breaker is marked "30 A". The bill stated: "subscribed power = 6000 Watts".

    So one's meter would actually tolerate an excess power draw such as when a radiant floor cuts in etc.

    Then very sneakily, in 2012, EDF started changing bills to "kVA" : this no doubt to prepare for the conversion to smart meters...

    So the "Linky" smart meter contains a circuit breaker that is set, for example, to six kVA.

    And my bill now states" subscribed power = "6000 VA"

    So once your smart meter is installed, even though you change no habits of usage, when the meter sees the power draw go over 6kVA, it will cut out, period.

    So bang goes the tolerance, and you now have to upgrade your contract, it is called "ripping off the consumer".

    The main reason is, the smart meter measures both the reactive and the active power components, so the more motors one has in one's installation, the greater the increase in the billing.

    Previously, the reactive power was generated at a transformer station at the town limits, and was "offered" for "free" (even though it was actually included in the bill...).

    So when they talk about "smart meters", they ARE smart, but not for the consumer !

    • CommentAuthormarktime
    • CommentTimeJul 26th 2018
    Your experience sounds odd but I don't know how things operate in France. Nonetheless, it was more likely that your earlier contract was indeed for 6 kW as that is the measure that is used to define the supply contract. That you had a 30A supply breaker was because that is the nearest standard amperage breaker that would allow you to operate with a 6kW load. The next breaker down is 25A for a supply contract of 5.75 kW, which incidently, is what I have here in Spain. That 30A allowed a 6.9kW load was an unintended free benefit for you.

    Changing the nomenclature from kW to kVA changes nothing in the contract to supply and if your meter does indeed have a 26A circuit breaker then you have nothing to complain about and certainly you are not being ripped off. On the contrary, if you were contracted in the past to a maximum of 6kw and you chose to exploit the installation of a 30A breaker with a 6.9kW load, then who is "ripping off"?

    Perhaps in order to have a circuit breaker that you can manipulate manually it might be useful to change your main breaker to 25A.

    This is by no means meant to be a criticism but rather offering clarity about a subject which appears to raise the hackles of some of our readers.
    • CommentAuthorgyrogear
    • CommentTimeJul 26th 2018 edited
    Hi, thanks for your feedback.

    Just a few clarifications as I agree with you, it is a thorny subject...

    Posted By: marktimeearlier contract was indeed for 6 kW as that is the measure that is used to define the supply contract.

    Indeed: it was the supplier that set the condition. The supplier also owns the CB, and he chose to install a 30-amp. The supplier also determined the required power subscription, on the basis of his assessment of my description of the home.

    So pardon me, but I "did not chose to exploit" *anything* and I was certainly not ripping anybody off !

    Now the suppplier alters the contrat (unilaterally...) so that the contract is defined not in kW, but in VA, which is how the meter also does the reckoning.

    Therefore the thing sold has been redefined, and I retiterate that in my opinion this is "sly" practice.

    The whole point of my post is that, "smart" meters are "SMART" because they are a way for the supplier to claw back the overmargin : in real terms they oblige around 10% of clients to subscribe to a higher tariff, at around 60 Euros a year.

    With 37 million electric meters in France, that means around 220 million euros of extra pay to the suppliers: it is simply a way of ripping the customer off.

    Imaging that Peugeot etc. started charging car-buyers extra for the 11 liters of gas in the tanks of all those new cars, when in reality everybody knows that it is already included in the price of the new car...

    In addition, the smart meter collects private information which is then packaged and sold on, for data-mining.
    All of the advantage is for the suppliers and distributors, and not for the client. Even if the latter "saves 12 quid a year", he still is surrending his private information which will then be profiled, and no doubt worth much more than 12 quid to the electricity companies...

    For the record, ENEDIS, the power distributor here, has been obliged to withdraw from the Tour de France caravan because of the hate they are getting.

    I don't think anyone thinks that 'smart meters' are being rolled out for the benefit of the consumer. They are to the benefit of the power cos. sold with marketing speak as a consumer benefit.

    Unfortunately utility companies can change the contracts unilaterally - it says so in their contract with the consumers!! The various watchdog / ombudsmen are supposed to stand-up for the consumers but rarely do because of the utility companies lobbying power. And the only option the consumer has is to go off grid (which some do). On the other hand the elec. cos. have been forced to accept micro-generation which IMO as the price of PV drops will become more of a pain for them. (especially if/when local storage becomes financially viable).

    The issue of supplying kW or VA and the loss of the marginal gain in capacity should not be a problem for many, only those running very close to the limit all the time. I would doubt that 10% of the consumers would be affected as stated above. The in-rush current for motors should be within the capabilities of the CBs unless the load is very close to the limit. When I had a problem with tripping on motor start up I complained and the elec.co. changed the main CB and solved the problem, they said sorry but CB go 'soft' after some years and will trip occasionally. (I was running a 3ph 7A motor on a 10A supply).

    A bigger problem that I have is the data collection made about the consumer and what is done with that date. I think that the consumer should have the right to prevent that data leaving the elec. cos. domain and should have the option to restrict the collection of any data not needed to run the service, or at least data collection should be bundled so that individuals can not be targeted. Fat chance of that I suppose!
    • CommentTimeJul 26th 2018 edited
    Are the elect cos in fact gearing up (or already) to do a Facebook/Amazon?

    Their biz is not supplying a service to the public, but phishing for vast data, extracting aggregate (and personal) profiles (enthusiasms, weaknesses) therefrom, and selling same to whoever wants to manipulate social behaviours, whether in the form of buying stuff, or voting differently (or not voting)?
    • CommentAuthorjfb
    • CommentTimeJul 27th 2018
    I would think that is unlikely Tom. While they no doubt would like to make money out of any info they can gather I dont see how that can be anywhere near the Ievel of information that is being provided freely for social media sites.
    • CommentAuthorgyrogear
    • CommentTimeJul 27th 2018 edited
    updated for statistics...

    Posted By: Peter_in_HungaryI would doubt that 10% of the consumers would be affected as stated above.

    In fact a survey by French consumer group "UFC-Que Choisir" (400,000 members) found that 37 % of households were consuming beyond their sign-up power level...

    <blockquote><cite>Posted By: fostertom</cite>Are the elect cos in fact gearing up (or already) to do a Facebook/Amazon?</blockquote>

    Yes ! In France at least...

    The chief executive of Enedis (national power distributor) has already stated their vocation to become a Big Data operator, and that the French approach should allow scooping up 20% of the world market...


    "Notre métier évolue et nous sommes désormais un opérateur de big data qui va bientôt gérer 35 millions de capteurs connectés".

    "Our functions continue to evolve and we now consider ourselves a Big Data operator, with -- in the near term-- 35 million smart recorders under our control".

    I hope that that is explicit enough !

    • CommentTimeJul 27th 2018
    Posted By: jfb... info they can gather I dont see how that can be anywhere near the Ievel of information that is being provided freely for social media sites
    Ah but what they can gather is invaluable, similar to Home Automation, Smart Thermostats etc, which SM can't gather (except via Siri etc) - so can be sold to SM, or vice versa - at any rate pooled to take manipulation of social behaviours to yet higher levels.

    The Libertarian catchphrase - "Who will stop me?"
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeAug 16th 2018 edited
    I don't think anyone thinks that 'smart meters' are being rolled out for the benefit of the consumer.

    Indeed. British Gas rushed out smart meters well before the government even decided they were a good idea. It's my view they did this for two reasons.. 1) To try and force the adoption of their system as "the standard", 2) They thought it might be a way to reduce the number of people switching away.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeAug 16th 2018
    This is interesting. It's talking about the smart meters used in Italy and Sweden where roll out was completed some years ago (2006-2009).


    The technical lifespan of meters and communications equipment is 10–15 years, which means that the devices deployed during the mass-rollout between 2001 and 2006 will soon need to be replaced.
    • CommentAuthorRex
    • CommentTimeAug 21st 2018
    I am at a loss as to how a SmartMeter actually saves me money. If I want a cuppa, I have to boil the water. No amount of Smartmeter information will boil the kettle faster. (OK, I could use less water but we already use a little as necessary.)

    What about heating. If I want the house at 20C, then I have use use as much energy as it takes to achieve that temp. Yes, I could turn the temp down, save a few pounds and buy and expensive wool sweater to keep warm, but that is just deferring the cost somewhere else.

    I already have LED lights and we turn all items on standby, off at night.

    So where is the saving?

    Toodle pip
    • CommentAuthorgyrogear
    • CommentTimeAug 21st 2018 edited
    Well, the saving is that you don't have to personally bother yourself with selling your private data to Big Data, the electric co. does it for you...


The Ecobuilding Buzz
Site Map    |   Home    |   View Cart    |   Pressroom   |   Business   |   Links   

© Green Building Press