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How to benefit from smart meters?

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Spectric

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I know we have a lot of rain but no really big rivers like the Yangtze or Colorado so we are not ideally suited to large scale hydro but should be looking at tidal schemes as we know we get two high and two low tides a day so with that mass of water it could produce a lot of power.
 

Titan_uk

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Despite being pestered many times for a smart meter - shell even kindly made an appointment for an install that I never requested, which resulted in me using more fuel to go shopping :) I've resisted.

I live alone and turn things on when I need them and off when I don't. I see absolutely no benefit to me and think it will only enable the supplier to charge me more when I make breakfast in the morning before work and again in the evening when I come home at 'peak times', something that won't change my habits even if I had one.

Tin hat time.. it's all a government conspiracy to encourage us to work shifts to save electricity!!
 

Phil Pascoe

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I know we have a lot of rain but no really big rivers like the Yangtze or Colorado so we are not ideally suited to large scale hydro but should be looking at tidal schemes as we know we get two high and two low tides a day so with that mass of water it could produce a lot of power.
Eleven years later this one's gone nowhere -

I seem to remember talk of the Severn Bore being used but it was kicked into touch I believe because birds and animals lived there.
 

sploo

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By all means bother - but don't try to pretend it's going to be the answer to any shortages.
Today; no. But it is feasible to get a long way there. Much of the technology exists, and is in use (even if it's a percent of a percent).

The major stumbling block is storage (to buffer energy in "good" hours, to cover the "bad" hours). Again there are solutions, but all have downsides.
 

sploo

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Despite being pestered many times for a smart meter - shell even kindly made an appointment for an install that I never requested, which resulted in me using more fuel to go shopping :) I've resisted.

I live alone and turn things on when I need them and off when I don't. I see absolutely no benefit to me and think it will only enable the supplier to charge me more when I make breakfast in the morning before work and again in the evening when I come home at 'peak times', something that won't change my habits even if I had one.

Tin hat time.. it's all a government conspiracy to encourage us to work shifts to save electricity!!
Between <word for a male chicken followed by "up" that I'm not allowed to use on the forum> and conspiracy; it's usually the chicken.

There isn't really anything shady about smart meters themselves, and the idea of reporting the energy usage (so you don't need to send people out to read meters) is in itself a good idea.

The information shown on the provided displays can be useful in tracking down energy "greedy" devices in a home; but in reality I suspect few people really walk around randomly switching stuff off.

Perhaps the bigger long term benefits can be in real-time processing of energy data, looking at trends, and apps to suggest "green" periods for using power.

I work in this field, so I'm arguably biased towards the positives; but it also means I see enough of the negatives to not have completely rose tinted specs.
 

AlanY

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I remember back in the late 60's when 'off-peak' electricity was pushed for everything from night storage radiators to swimming pool heating. The 'off-peak' period stretched from something like 7pm to 7am with an afternoon period added on. By the early-70's, the suppliers were trying desperately to get people on to a 'white meter' tariff which provided just 8 hours of 'off peak' energy and, by the mid-70's (when I started work in the Electricity industry) it was down to a 7 hour period (Economy 7).

My point being that, as the 'off-peak' periods of supply are identified and people move usage habits to take advantage of those 'cheaper' periods, they rapidly move from being 'off-peak' to being 'peak'. Soon, there will be no such thing as 'off-peak' (if we are not already at that point) and I cannot see the UK ever again having such an excess generating capacity to make for a viable 'off-peak' charging regime. Quite the opposite and I fear that smart meters are really intended as a means of reducing usage (by means of remote disconnect/reconnect) to meet capacity limitations inflicted by this 'Renewables' nonsense. I, for one, will keep my back-up diesel generator.
 

AlanY

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@Phil Pascoe The link below shows interesting figures for Scotland. Basically ~95% of electricity consumption up here is provided by renewables. The only power problems I've had in the last 20 years was when a mouse chewed through the mains lighting ring for the rear half of the flat about a month ago. It's always either windy, sunny or rainny here, sometimes all three at once

That is an interesting statistic. Did your Scottish Government happen to mention what percentage of the Scottish Renewables generation capacity was funded by the green levy paid by all UK energy customers?
 

sploo

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I remember back in the late 60's when 'off-peak' electricity was pushed for everything from night storage radiators to swimming pool heating. The 'off-peak' period stretched from something like 7pm to 7am with an afternoon period added on. By the early-70's, the suppliers were trying desperately to get people on to a 'white meter' tariff which provided just 8 hours of 'off peak' energy and, by the mid-70's (when I started work in the Electricity industry) it was down to a 7 hour period (Economy 7).

My point being that, as the 'off-peak' periods of supply are identified and people move usage habits to take advantage of those 'cheaper' periods, they rapidly move from being 'off-peak' to being 'peak'. Soon, there will be no such thing as 'off-peak' (if we are not already at that point) and I cannot see the UK ever again having such an excess generating capacity to make for a viable 'off-peak' charging regime. Quite the opposite and I fear that smart meters are really intended as a means of reducing usage (by means of remote disconnect/reconnect) to meet capacity limitations inflicted by this 'Renewables' nonsense. I, for one, will keep my back-up diesel generator.
"Peak" and "off peak" may end up also being related to renewables. E.g. run your dishwasher today by draining electricity from your EV car's battery (because there's little renewables on the grid right now so the unit cost is high), then recharge your car tomorrow from your solar panels (because the weather forecast is sunny, and based on your diary you don't need the car until late tomorrow)... that sort of thing.

As EV cars get more popular there's obviously also going to be issues with everyone coming home and wanting to recharge - so that'll need managing (with cheaper overnight tariffs to encourage people to charge at off peak times).
 

D_W

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There are a number of objectives from the Smart Meter rollout in the UK:
1. Get rid of the entire Meter Reading workforce.
2. Replace the entire metering asset stock at the cost of the Customer.
3. 'Transform' computer systems and infrastructure at the cost of the Customer
4. Develop consumption records at a granularity that enables Customers to be profiled
5. Develop 'Time-of-use' tariffs
6. Encourage the Customer to think about usage patterns with a view to reducing consumption

I am not a great fan of smart metering or the way in which it has been introduced in the UK. There are no significant benefits to the people who have been forced to pay for it whilst there are for the Supply companies and myriad consultancies that do benefit from it but do not have to pay for it. Also, in the not-too-distant future I suspect the remote disconnection/reconnection facility will be utilised to balance the grid as more reliance is foolishly placed on renewables. When the wind don't blow or the sun don't shine...

I may be feeling grumpy this morning.
I think much of that is here, too (The long term aim). Since our utilities are called deregulated, but for practical purposes still can't just do whatever they want in most places, collecting and selling data from use patterns is probably highly profitable (And wouldn't be part of the rate agreement).

I'd imagine that the electric company can tell what you're using not just by how much current, but how the current is consumed in small instants - e.g., a dryer and an oven don't consume power the same way, but perhaps down further to the device level for certain things that are much more like than ovens and dryers). The interesting thing about many of the power companies here is they're publicly listed (companies with stock on the stock market) and they try other avenues to make money (building infrastructure or trading energy) outside of the retail delivery of power - being able to add anything (collecting and selling data) that isn't part of the state rate agreement is pure profit.
 

Stevekane

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I did read a while ago that it would be more efficient to have smaller power stations but more of them sited locally, I dont recall the reasoning for them being near to the consumer, but they put forward to idea that Rolls Royce who already produce very reliable and effcient small scale nuclear reactors used in submarines etc could provide these. Last week there was a brief report saying that RR had been asked to look into it. Goodness knows what the anti nuclear lobby would think of it but I suspect that nuclear is all of a sudden looking much more attractive with our energy needs and global warming looming.
Steve.
 

AlanY

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"Peak" and "off peak" may end up also being related to renewables. E.g. run your dishwasher today by draining electricity from your EV car's battery (because there's little renewables on the grid right now so the unit cost is high), then recharge your car tomorrow from your solar panels (because the weather forecast is sunny, and based on your diary you don't need the car until late tomorrow)... that sort of thing.

As EV cars get more popular there's obviously also going to be issues with everyone coming home and wanting to recharge - so that'll need managing (with cheaper overnight tariffs to encourage people to charge at off peak times).
Sorry, Sploo. I read your reply and burst out laughing. This is pure fantasy.
 

AlanY

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I think much of that is here, too (The long term aim). Since our utilities are called deregulated, but for practical purposes still can't just do whatever they want in most places, collecting and selling data from use patterns is probably highly profitable (And wouldn't be part of the rate agreement).

I'd imagine that the electric company can tell what you're using not just by how much current, but how the current is consumed in small instants - e.g., a dryer and an oven don't consume power the same way, but perhaps down further to the device level for certain things that are much more like than ovens and dryers). The interesting thing about many of the power companies here is they're publicly listed (companies with stock on the stock market) and they try other avenues to make money (building infrastructure or trading energy) outside of the retail delivery of power - being able to add anything (collecting and selling data) that isn't part of the state rate agreement is pure profit.
Customer profiling based on half-hourly readings will offer similar opportunities here. too. Not least, of course, for those parties interested in knowing when your house is unoccupied so they can sell that information to people keen to visit and remove all your valuables.

Which is why, when I am forced over to a smart meter (probably when the current meter certification period expires) I will refuse consent for meter readings to be taken any more frequently than monthly.
 

hairy

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Smart meters allow flow both ways, so "they" can discharge your EV battery if you sign up for that I think?
 
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D_W

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Customer profiling based on half-hourly readings will offer similar opportunities here. too. Not least, of course, for those parties interested in knowing when your house is unoccupied so they can sell that information to people keen to visit and remove all your valuables.

Which is why, when I am forced over to a smart meter (probably when the current meter certification period expires) I will refuse consent for meter readings to be taken any more frequently than monthly.
I think it goes even deeper in a commercial sense. When your dryer electricity consumption changes (during the cycle in a way that matches a failing dryer), you could literally be fed ads both from places selling new dryers as well as commercial (probably overpriced) repair chains.

When smart meters came out here, people started wrapping the antennas or where they thought they were and then there was a bunch of tinfoil hat stuff, but buried in a lot of that is sometimes some kernel of truth. In the case of the maters, the foil wrappers didn't want anyone to know what they were doing in their houses beyond how much power it used. I get their concerns (and a lot of those people are doing nothing interesting, but they get offended easily). The sale from the power companies was the capability of the meter, but eventually there was admission that the meters and consumption patterns will be able to tell what you're doing and what's actually being used (probably down to the brand and maybe even model of the device being used).

Reminds me of a trailer park boys episode where the boys get an old windstream and grow weed in a trailer while stealing power. Except in that episode, the electric company knows which mains are seeing unusual use but not which trailer (it's a TV show, so obviously they have to make it out like the power company and police have to hover around the neighborhood like dips unable to solve the case).

At any rate, I'd guess devices have a signature, and the smart meters can probably tell what you're using, when, how and probably even how far it may be from the meter.
 

sploo

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Sorry, Sploo. I read your reply and burst out laughing. This is pure fantasy.
We're working on stuff like that already.

HCALCS (HAN connected auxiliary load control switch) exist to switch devices such as EV chargers automatically.

There's already live data on the energy mix (e.g. renewable levels) of the grid; e.g. National Grid: Live Status

Weather reporting data API services are widely available.

A huge percentage of the population already use some form of electronic diary / calendar.

All of the basic building blocks already exist. Nothing fantasy about it.
 
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sploo

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Customer profiling based on half-hourly readings will offer similar opportunities here. too. Not least, of course, for those parties interested in knowing when your house is unoccupied so they can sell that information to people keen to visit and remove all your valuables.
That's going full tinfoil hat paranoid.

But hey, I'll pass it along to our marketing team; they might be able to monetise a "find out when to burgle your customers" service...
 

sploo

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Smart meters allow flow both ways, so "they" can discharge your EV battery if you sign up for that I think?
Maybe.

Obviously it would require consent in terms of the agreement with the bill payer; likely some favourable tariff for being able to take up to a certain amount of power from your EV car.

A bigger stumbling block might be that a lot of chargers use an AC to DC rectifier (from mains to your battery), but you can't pull DC from the battery and put AC back onto the mains as they don't have an inverter.
 
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