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  • FIRST POST
    • beeringo
    • By beeringo 4th Oct 16, 9:41 PM
    • 42Posts
    • 38Thanks
    beeringo
    Smart Meters - Ask me anything!
    • #1
    • 4th Oct 16, 9:41 PM
    Smart Meters - Ask me anything! 4th Oct 16 at 9:41 PM
    Hi all,

    Just thought i would help here with any burning questions you guys might have about the UK Smart Meter rollout. I've seen a lot of spurious information and speculation out there on the interweb along with (thankfully!) a lot of informed savvy people!

    I've worked at the cutting edge of the industry for 5 years, for a Smart Meter manufacturer as well as a well known Electric/Gas transmission network operator, and have lived and breathed smart meters throughout, from a very technical backgound. For the past few months i spend a lot of my time in London with the DCC (the government's central organisation for the Smart rollout) sitting on various forums. It's a passion of mine both professional and personal!

    Feel free to ask anything - i might just be able to help
Page 2
    • poppellerant
    • By poppellerant 5th Oct 16, 12:32 PM
    • 1,264 Posts
    • 718 Thanks
    poppellerant
    I have had a SMETS 1 smart meter with OVO since 2014. If I changed to another provider who cannot read my smart meter's data, can I reasonably request a SMETS 2 smart meter from the new provider?

    As a customer, I allowed the smart meter to be installed under the belief this would be the last meter I'd need for 15 years (the life of the gas meter's internal battery). I feel somewhat short changed now knowing this is already old technology and knowing new providers will probably encounter difficulties reading from it.

    What are the differences between SMETS 1 & 2? It sounds to me like they use completely different protocols.
    • D_M_E
    • By D_M_E 5th Oct 16, 12:50 PM
    • 2,340 Posts
    • 71,250 Thanks
    D_M_E
    Will smart meters herald the end of final bills being generated weeks or months or, in some cases, years after the customer has either switched suppliers or moved home?

    Will we see an instant final, accurate, bill generated?

    Will we see an end to the current situation where a customer moves out and the energy supplies are left powered up - will we see supplies cut off and the next occupier having to contact the supplier to turn on the taps again, and would this have to be the previous occupier's suppliers or can the new occupier choose any supplier from the moment they move in?

    In Italy, you can go into the ENEL shop - the national electricity company - and tell them a date and time for the electricity to be cut off and they will do the cutoff remotely. If you then go back to the shop 5 minutes after cutoff they will give you a final bill which you can pay there and then. Will we see a similar system here in the UK?
    • 4legs
    • By 4legs 5th Oct 16, 12:51 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    4legs
    Smart Meter - Initial and Remote Calibration
    Hello

    I have a problem believing the sincerity of Energy Company's are we getting something for nothing or do we over time pay for them say with a slight increase in tariff or most alarmingly the ability of the EnCo's fiddling their calibration remotely..can you confirm this can be done!?
  • archived user
    I think that it would be helpful if you declared who you are actually working for? If you currently have any links to SmartEnergy GB or any other commercial organization then these need to be declared law forum rules.

    I worry because some of your statements appear to be at odds with recorded evidence given by industry experts to The Science and Technology Select Committee:

    For example, on who pays:

    14.The Government’s Smart Metering Implementation Programme requires energy suppliers to offer 53 million meters to homes and small businesses in Great Britain by 2020.

    The costs of providing smart meters, some £10.9 billion, is being borne by consumers through their energy bills (an average of £215 per home, including installation costs).

    You said:

    Quote:

    The vast majority of the money spent on the roll out has been paid by government, so yes we have all paid for this through taxes technically but there is nothing more to pay in future through our energy bills for infrastructure.

    Have the selected industry experts lied to a Parliamentary Sub-Committee?
    • jack_pott
    • By jack_pott 5th Oct 16, 1:09 PM
    • 4,693 Posts
    • 6,070 Thanks
    jack_pott
    As a means of getting people to cut their energy consumption, how does the cost of smart meters compare with the cost of banning regressive tariffs, and making progressive tariffs compulsory?
    • beeringo
    • By beeringo 5th Oct 16, 1:35 PM
    • 42 Posts
    • 38 Thanks
    beeringo
    Reading your reply, you imply that there are plans to make the first generation of smart meters compatible with the central database, so I would ask why are there also plans to replace the things?

    Another point - the meters are set to call home and send a reading daily by default, but the customer can choose to make this once a month and will be able to choose how much and what information can be shared with the supplier and will not be allowed to use the collected information for marketing.

    Given one of OFGEM's recent outbursts in which they propose allowing suppliers to access such information, will we in fact see the sharing of this information, and what safeguards are built in to the system to ensure customers' data stays private, and are suppliers obliged to inform customers of their rights with regards to such data collection?
    Originally posted by D_M_E
    So, the reason why there are still plans to replace is ultimately up to the strategy of the supplier. They have obligations on the number of smart meters they need to have on their estate by 2020 (i don't know the exact numbers). As you know once you chance suppliers the meter becomes 'dumb' so doesn't count towards obligations. They have two choices, wait and see if the SMETS1 meters are successfully adopted which carries risk if they aren't, or simply choose to replace with SMETS2 meters.

    With regards to data collection - i haven't heard of any method in which a consumer can choose the frequency in which data is sent? Could you tell me where this is from?

    Personal data. The energy suppliers already have all the information they need to operate right now, smart meter or not. Smart Meters do not require any extra information to be collected. So the only difference between smart and non-smart in this respect is rather than phoning or punching in readings online it's done automatically and with a higher frequency.
    If you're talking about what is sent over the air - with SMETS meters all this information is encrypted.

    Do let me know if i've misunderstood the question!
    • beeringo
    • By beeringo 5th Oct 16, 1:42 PM
    • 42 Posts
    • 38 Thanks
    beeringo
    It doesn't matter what safeguards are built in. If the suppliers have this data it is no longer private.


    For me, if it ever comes to pass that "smart" meters are mandatory the supplier will get the bare minimum data that I can get away with. And they won't be hooking it up to my broadband either. They'll have to make their own communications arrangements.
    Originally posted by GingerBob
    I'm a little confused - the suppliers already have all this data and have had it for many many years. They have always known your personal information and how much electricity and gas you use. Of course they have to keep this data safe, but smart meters change nothing around this, they essentially just pass your readings on to the supplier.

    Smart meters would never use your broadband, they have their own communication mechanism, either cellular (mobile) or long range radio (same masts used for TV).

    And you're right they are not mandatory
  • archived user

    With regards to data collection - i haven't heard of any method in which a consumer can choose the frequency in which data is sent? Could you tell me where this is from?

    !
    Originally posted by beeringo
    Frequency of meter readings

    The Supply Licence Conditions give consumers control over the frequency of meter readings their supplier can collect from their smart meter. Suppliers are allowed to collect daily readings from customers unless the customer objects, in which case the supplier provide the option for consumers to opt-out to less regular reading intervals (down to a minimum of monthly readings). If the supplier wishes to take

    6 See E lectricity Supply SLC 47.3 - 47.9, G as Supply SLC 41.3 - 41.9

    ..... more regular readings (ie half-hourly readings) consumers must opt-in to this collection.

    Source:

    https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/Global/CitizensAdvice/Energy/Summary%20report%20on%20energy%20suppliers’%20comm unication%20with%20consumers%20regarding%20smart%2 0meter%20data%20(1).pdf
    • GingerBob
    • By GingerBob 5th Oct 16, 2:02 PM
    • 3,613 Posts
    • 1,657 Thanks
    GingerBob
    I'm a little confused - the suppliers already have all this data and have had it for many many years. They have always known your personal information and how much electricity and gas you use. Of course they have to keep this data safe, but smart meters change nothing around this, they essentially just pass your readings on to the supplier.

    Smart meters would never use your broadband, they have their own communication mechanism, either cellular (mobile) or long range radio (same masts used for TV).

    And you're right they are not mandatory
    Originally posted by beeringo

    The data we're talking about here is the meter readings. Electricity and gas consumption data supplied every 30 mins / 60 minutes would provide a honey pot of information to all and sundry that I would not be happy about providing. They'll get it monthly from me.
    • beeringo
    • By beeringo 5th Oct 16, 2:12 PM
    • 42 Posts
    • 38 Thanks
    beeringo
    I think that it would be helpful if you declared who you are actually working for? If you currently have any links to SmartEnergy GB or any other commercial organization then these need to be declared law forum rules.

    I worry because some of your statements appear to be at odds with recorded evidence given by industry experts to The Science and Technology Select Committee:

    For example, on who pays:

    14.The Government’s Smart Metering Implementation Programme requires energy suppliers to offer 53 million meters to homes and small businesses in Great Britain by 2020.

    The costs of providing smart meters, some £10.9 billion, is being borne by consumers through their energy bills (an average of £215 per home, including installation costs).

    You said:

    Quote:

    The vast majority of the money spent on the roll out has been paid by government, so yes we have all paid for this through taxes technically but there is nothing more to pay in future through our energy bills for infrastructure.

    Have the selected industry experts lied to a Parliamentary Sub-Committee?
    Originally posted by Hengus
    Hi Hengus,

    Apologies i didn't make that point clear at all - as such i've removed it from my original post. By 'Rollout' i refer to SMETS2 meters, as it is referred to in the industry, and the point was made about money spent so far. I admit it doesn't read well. As you may or may not know the great expense so far has been getting the centralised systems set up, along with the DSP and CSP. The Infrastructure itself.

    I'll think i'll steer clear of the who pays what debate other than the points i made in the original post - its a bit of a political minefield and it's not my area of expertise!

    I am a self employed contractor if you must know - no ties to Smart Energy GB.
    • D_M_E
    • By D_M_E 5th Oct 16, 2:16 PM
    • 2,340 Posts
    • 71,250 Thanks
    D_M_E
    [QUOTE]Frequency of meter readings

    The Supply Licence Conditions give consumers control over the frequency of meter readings their supplier can collect from their smart meter. Suppliers are allowed to collect daily readings from customers unless the customer objects, in which case the supplier provide the option for consumers to opt-out to less regular reading intervals (down to a minimum of monthly readings). If the supplier wishes to take

    6 See E lectricity Supply SLC 47.3 - 47.9, G as Supply SLC 41.3 - 41.9

    ..... more regular readings (ie half-hourly readings) consumers must opt-in to this collection.

    Source:

    https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/Global/CitizensAdvice/Energy/Summary%20report%20on%20energy%20suppliers’%20comm unication%20with%20consumers%20regarding%20smart%2 0meter%20data%20(1).pdf
    posted by Hengus[QUOTE]

    It would seem that members of this forum are more clued up on some aspects than the industry experts are.
    • beeringo
    • By beeringo 5th Oct 16, 2:36 PM
    • 42 Posts
    • 38 Thanks
    beeringo
    I have had a SMETS 1 smart meter with OVO since 2014. If I changed to another provider who cannot read my smart meter's data, can I reasonably request a SMETS 2 smart meter from the new provider?

    As a customer, I allowed the smart meter to be installed under the belief this would be the last meter I'd need for 15 years (the life of the gas meter's internal battery). I feel somewhat short changed now knowing this is already old technology and knowing new providers will probably encounter difficulties reading from it.

    What are the differences between SMETS 1 & 2? It sounds to me like they use completely different protocols.
    Originally posted by poppellerant
    Apologies for the quick answer - there are quite a few posts on here now!

    You can reasonably request a SMETS2 meter, but there won't be any available to ANY supplier to fit until absolute earliest 12th December, realistically for most suppliers they'll start installing in earnest mid-late next year.

    It is a bit of a waste indeed SMETS1, but the value of the lessons learnt from this period for manufacturers, suppliers, industry bodies has been very useful. It was a 'don't run before you can walk' decision to see how things went.

    There are more security requirements for SMETS2 amongst other things (i have a comparison table somewhere if you are really interested i could dig out). The comms in the home (the HAN) is the same protocol (ZigBee) but the Wide Area Network comms differs. In the central and south region of the UK will use the O2 network ONLY - cellular (where the SMETS1 meters tended to be any network sims), and in the north it will be long range radio (just over 400Mhz).
  • archived user
    Rather than get embroiled in another debate about smart meters - which in my opinion are a 20th Century solution to a 21st Century problem - I would urge MSErs to read what is in the public domain. In particular, the latest report from The Science and Technology Select Committee outlines many concerns: not least, 'what is the aim of this roll-out programme?'

    Early adopters take care: this is the view of one of the Expert Witnesses:

    Q94 Matt Warman: Realistically, in 10 years’ time, do you think that one of those first-generation meters will still be considered good enough by the Department, the industry and so on?

    Daron Walker: Yes, I think so. As far as the consumer is concerned, the SMETS 1 meter pretty much does everything that a SMETS 2 meter will do. The main difference is around the fact that currently it operates outside the DCC. It has the ability to do time of use and to talk to an IHD. There is the ability to extract data through a consumer access point. All of that is embedded in the first generation of meters. Fundamentally, where innovation will happen is in the home, making use of the data. We do not see massive innovation in terms of the smart metering system itself; it is more about taking the data and innovating with that. The smart meter will be able to send pricing signals inside the home. If you want to sign up to a time-of-use tariff, devices in your home will be able to listen to the fact that the price is different at a given time of day. It is absolutely right that these meters will still be on the wall in 10 years’ time.

    As the Report so clearly states - the left hand is not sure what the right hand is doing:

    67.It is unclear whether the Government’s primary aim of the smart meter rollout is the establishment of a smart energy system (and the realisation of the corresponding benefits of this for efficient energy generation, both now and in the future), or to save individuals money on their energy bills.

    The Government needs to do more to communicate the national benefits of smart metering alongside the potential cost savings and efficiencies for individual consumers. This was a weakness of the Government’s evidence check statement, and relates to a lack of clarity over the ‘problem’ that smart meters aim to address.

    In its response to this report, the Government should provide further information on how it expects smart metering to affect the required energy generation capacity of the network and the mix of energy generation sources.


    The SMETS2 Specification Document now runs to over 800 pages of which 79 pages lists definitions - and the perceived benefit to you and me is an average saving of 7p per day. My smart thermostat saved me over 2500kWhs of gas in the past 12 months.

    I will leave it to the OP to try to persuade you that smart meters are the way forward.
    • lstar337
    • By lstar337 5th Oct 16, 2:46 PM
    • 3,396 Posts
    • 1,862 Thanks
    lstar337
    Electricity and gas consumption data supplied every 30 mins / 60 minutes would provide a honey pot of information to all and sundry
    Originally posted by GingerBob
    This does make me laugh!

    Sure dude, they're lining up around the block to find out when you boil your kettle. Careful now, you never know how they'll use that information against you. Keep your eyes peeled for targeted Tetley ads!
    • lstar337
    • By lstar337 5th Oct 16, 2:51 PM
    • 3,396 Posts
    • 1,862 Thanks
    lstar337
    The comms in the home (the HAN) is the same protocol (ZigBee) but the Wide Area Network comms differs. In the central and south region of the UK will use the O2 network ONLY - cellular
    Originally posted by beeringo
    Ah well no point bothering with one at my house then, O2 coverage is terrible.
    • olbas_oil
    • By olbas_oil 5th Oct 16, 3:04 PM
    • 202 Posts
    • 96 Thanks
    olbas_oil
    Ovo Meters
    I am currently with OVO, but may well be changing when my contract ends in a couple of months. If I got a smart meter fitted now (presumably SMETS1), which companies would be able to use this meter without it becoming dumb?
    • beeringo
    • By beeringo 5th Oct 16, 3:09 PM
    • 42 Posts
    • 38 Thanks
    beeringo
    Rather than get embroiled in another debate about smart meters - which in my opinion are a 20th Century solution to a 21st Century problem - I would urge MSErs to read what is in the public domain. In particular, the latest report from The Science and Technology Select Committee outlines many concerns: not least, 'what is the aim of this roll-out programme?'

    Early adopters take care: this is the view of one of the Expert Witnesses:

    Q94 Matt Warman: Realistically, in 10 years’ time, do you think that one of those first-generation meters will still be considered good enough by the Department, the industry and so on?

    Daron Walker: Yes, I think so. As far as the consumer is concerned, the SMETS 1 meter pretty much does everything that a SMETS 2 meter will do. The main difference is around the fact that currently it operates outside the DCC. It has the ability to do time of use and to talk to an IHD. There is the ability to extract data through a consumer access point. All of that is embedded in the first generation of meters. Fundamentally, where innovation will happen is in the home, making use of the data. We do not see massive innovation in terms of the smart metering system itself; it is more about taking the data and innovating with that. The smart meter will be able to send pricing signals inside the home. If you want to sign up to a time-of-use tariff, devices in your home will be able to listen to the fact that the price is different at a given time of day. It is absolutely right that these meters will still be on the wall in 10 years’ time.

    As the Report so clearly states - the left hand is not sure what the right hand is doing:

    67.It is unclear whether the Government’s primary aim of the smart meter rollout is the establishment of a smart energy system (and the realisation of the corresponding benefits of this for efficient energy generation, both now and in the future), or to save individuals money on their energy bills.

    The Government needs to do more to communicate the national benefits of smart metering alongside the potential cost savings and efficiencies for individual consumers. This was a weakness of the Government’s evidence check statement, and relates to a lack of clarity over the ‘problem’ that smart meters aim to address.

    In its response to this report, the Government should provide further information on how it expects smart metering to affect the required energy generation capacity of the network and the mix of energy generation sources.


    The SMETS2 Specification Document now runs to over 800 pages of which 79 pages lists definitions - and the perceived benefit to you and me is an average saving of 7p per day. My smart thermostat saved me over 2500kWhs of gas in the past 12 months.

    I will leave it to the OP to try to persuade you that smart meters are the way forward.
    Originally posted by Hengus
    It's great that you have a strong opinion on the subject and are bringing this to the table but the point of this thread was to answer questions that i may be able to answer. I'm not trying to persuade anyone. I believe i expressed one opinion in that i don't think we will be paying notably more money for our energy thats it - time will tell.

    I agree that moving forward a great lumbering beast of a government controlled system allows technology to streak ahead - smart heating for example, similarly why introduce IHDs when a mobile app would be a much better use of money? All valid questions.

    The analogy of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing... i don't see how this applies. The first paragraphs describes the adoption of SMETS1 assets into the DCC and how they will be part of the enduring solution (if a supplier hasn't already swapped it out). The second urges clarity on the purpose of the rollout, and clarity on the direction.

    It seems to be saying 'we've got this system, SMETS1 and SMETS2 meters, fit for purpose.. now what was the purpose again?'
    • beeringo
    • By beeringo 5th Oct 16, 3:12 PM
    • 42 Posts
    • 38 Thanks
    beeringo
    [QUOTE=D_M_E;71406933][QUOTE]Frequency of meter readings

    The Supply Licence Conditions give consumers control over the frequency of meter readings their supplier can collect from their smart meter. Suppliers are allowed to collect daily readings from customers unless the customer objects, in which case the supplier provide the option for consumers to opt-out to less regular reading intervals (down to a minimum of monthly readings). If the supplier wishes to take

    6 See E lectricity Supply SLC 47.3 - 47.9, G as Supply SLC 41.3 - 41.9

    ..... more regular readings (ie half-hourly readings) consumers must opt-in to this collection.

    Source:

    https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/Global/CitizensAdvice/Energy/Summary%20report%20on%20energy%20suppliers’%20comm unication%20with%20consumers%20regarding%20smart%2 0meter%20data%20(1).pdf
    posted by Hengus

    It would seem that members of this forum are more clued up on some aspects than the industry experts are.
    Yup - you got me... There's not a day goes by in this industry that i don't learn something new! Unfortunately that's the knock on effect with making the thing so complex.
    • Sterlingtimes
    • By Sterlingtimes 5th Oct 16, 3:32 PM
    • 1,629 Posts
    • 3,951 Thanks
    Sterlingtimes
    The new meters will use the centralised government regulated data centre and will therefore replace any products that came before it (the Smart Gateway possibly - but OVO may take data from the central platform and present through this - i'm not familiar with it so not sure).
    Originally posted by beeringo
    Thank you, beeringo.

    The Smart Gateway collects data from the Smart Meter (WIFI, radio) and then uses the Internet to pass the data to Ovo, so the central platform, via 3G radio, would be bypassed in this instance. There is a good level of granularity on the data collection. Below y axis is kW and x axis is time today.

    Solar installed 21 November 2014 > Centre of England > 3,780 Wp > 14 *270 Watt Trina panels > 14 * Enphase micro-inverters > managed by Enlighten Envoy Hub > 19° west of south > 35° pitch > tree shading to east > iBoost > Wattson Anywhere monitoring > Ovo Smart Gateway > Schneider Electric (Drayton) MiGenie smart thermostat.
    • beeringo
    • By beeringo 5th Oct 16, 3:34 PM
    • 42 Posts
    • 38 Thanks
    beeringo
    Will smart meters herald the end of final bills being generated weeks or months or, in some cases, years after the customer has either switched suppliers or moved home?

    Will we see an instant final, accurate, bill generated?

    Will we see an end to the current situation where a customer moves out and the energy supplies are left powered up - will we see supplies cut off and the next occupier having to contact the supplier to turn on the taps again, and would this have to be the previous occupier's suppliers or can the new occupier choose any supplier from the moment they move in?

    In Italy, you can go into the ENEL shop - the national electricity company - and tell them a date and time for the electricity to be cut off and they will do the cutoff remotely. If you then go back to the shop 5 minutes after cutoff they will give you a final bill which you can pay there and then. Will we see a similar system here in the UK?
    Originally posted by D_M_E
    What is certain is that when moving out or changing supplier that final read will be taken at the exact time and date, stored and sent to the old supplier, BUT it's going to be up to the reliability of the suppliers own systems to get that bill out to you fast.

    Switching off the supply when a tenant leaves remotely definitely WILL be possible, with both Gas and Electric (not water). Again that function is optional for the supplier.
    A new tenant would have to contact the old supplier to get back on or change supplier as it would be that supplier's security certificate still on the device.

    A better system is possible. Technically there is no reason why the ENEL system you described couldnt be implemented here i.e. the meters have the functionality, its just the back end systems that would need to be refined.
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