Smart meters

There has been discussion about Smart meters in the press and in Green Christian’s own (members only) discussion group.

GC member Mark Boulton writes:

I’m referring to those smart meters managing our electricity (though I have to say that voluntarily installing a meter for the water supply to my last house saved a substantial sum of money as well as encouraging us to be more careful with our use of water).

I consulted a good friend of mine who works with the independent group of experts – The National Infrastructure Commission – which was asked to consider how the UK can better balance supply and demand. A brief quote from the foreword to the report:

‘ Our energy sector is changing fundamentally. Two-thirds of our existing power stations are expected to close by 2030 as our coal, nuclear, and oldest gas fired power stations reach the end of their lives. This report makes recommendations to help ensure that our electricity system is fit for the future.

The Commission’s central finding is that Smart Power – principally built around three innovations, Interconnection, Storage, and Demand Flexibility –

—  have the potential to displace part of the need for new generating capacity,

 

— could save consumers up to £8 billion a year by 2030, help the UK meet its 2050 carbon targets, and secure the UK’s energy supply for generations’.

My colleague considers: ‘ they are absolutely essential to the national climate change strategy and I give credit to successive governments for sticking to the delayed national roll-out in the face of ill-informed carping from the Daily Mail etc. Multi rate time of day tariffs are coming – I am working on a trial which shows people saving money and energy with them, will send you the paper when published’.

If you want to delve deeper then look at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/smart-power-a-national-infrastructure-commission-report


Web Editor:

I found using the portable Owl Meter (or which I still have two available for loan) taught me a lot about which appliances were costing me money – water heating especially. But reading the paragraphs above I can see how much more smart meters connected to the electricity supply will help reduce electricity use.

Posted in Energy
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8 comments on “Smart meters
  1. Jean Wright says:

    I have a smart meter for electricity only – I live many miles from a gas supply. I have panels on my roof which supply me with free power from dawn to dusk and I am on economy 7 from midnight. My supplier is Eco Tricity. They arranged for the meter to be installed. It is now much easier to control my use of electricity, and I am very happy with it. I also save by using fallen timber from my holding after winter storms to fuel my Rayburn cooker. It is old but helps to heat the water and 2 radiators, very useful in power cuts. The meter is outside in the old meter box but I have a small screen indoors so no need to go outside in cold or rain. I would recommend the smart meters.

  2. Mark says:

    Glad to see a couple of smart meter users realising there are benefits. They will give you a much better idea of your electricity consumption and ought to encourage you to make even greater savings. I remember folk we provided the old ‘owl’ meters to, telling me how surprised they were to find out just how much electricity some appliances used.

  3. John Murray says:

    A smart meter makes you realise how much electricity is being used even when you think nothing big is switched on. I seem to be using about 200 to 300 watts all the time- mostly I guess on the computers (3) which run all day on stand-by and ditto with TV, virgin media box, oven, coffee machine, and to a small extent chargers for phones, vacuum cleaner, etc. However, I have PV panels which definitely help- when the sun is shining!

  4. Mark Boulton has his views on the subject of ‘smart’ meters. I have looked at a number of independent reviews by scientifically qualified people who all say smart meters are dangerous to peoples health, especially children and pregnant women. Now I appreciate that this is refuted by thames water studies but I ask myself two questions. Are these reports truly independent and even if they are and I emphasize even if should we not err on the side of caution with a technology which we do not need. Indeed you could say the supposed need has all been brought about by the utility companies wanting to cut staff at a time when we are told a certain project will ‘create thousands of jobs’. Also governments have told us DDT is safe likewise many chemicals used in agriculture and look what happened. Think neonics! I now who I would rather trust.

    • Tim says:

      Please provide links to the independent reviews by scientifically qualified people to which you refer.

      • Hi Tim Sorry to be so long in replying. As to links it’s pushing my computer skills to the extreme to do that. But try stopsmartmeters.org.uk or type in dangers of smart meters to find plenty of websites. I’m not a fan of daily mail but just pouring scorn on their reporting without looking at the evidence doesn’t seem a mature response. It suits the powers to harp on about all the jobs it will create to approve fracking sites say but to be cutting jobs elsewhere ie meter readers. I don’t need a so called ‘smart’ (what an intimidating word, assuming that if you reject it your not smart) to tell me not to waste water electricity etc.

  5. There is an important issue which is being overlooked here. Research done by the Scottish Government has shown that money saved on gas and electricity bills is usually spent on even more carbon intensive activities. This is one reason why the Scottish approach has been to move electricity production to renewables (usually about 60%, bit often 100% of requirements).

    You could also argue that people on prepayment meters have been able to see usage in real time for many years, but this does not seem to have impacted their usage.

    I think that smart meters are a useful guide, but they are unlikely to lead to any significant decrease in anyone’s personal carbon footprint for the reasons I have given above.

    My own experience of smart meters is that in older properties they can be unreliable because the gas and electricity meters will often be at opposite ends of the house and there can be difficulties communicating between the two meters.

  6. helen barrett says:

    We had trouble with our smart metre as it didn’t seem to differentiate between power we were using, power coming in from the supplier, and power generated by our solar panels, power we were receiving from our solar panels!

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