Smart Meters

Hi Bulb

Please may I be issued with a smart meter? I’ve heard that this is available through yourselves.

Many thanks

Mel

@M3lashl3y We aren’t offering smart meters just yet but will be rolling out smart meters to our members from mid-2018. This is because currently only first-generation smart meters are being installed in the UK right now. If we installed one of these on your wall and you changed energy supplier you wouldn’t always be able to use the smart meter’s functionalities. We think it’d be a bit unfair to do that to our members, so we will begin installing second-generation meters as soon as we can get them and they will be able to communicate with any supplier.

I sincerely hope you’re not going to insist that we must have a smart meter installed. The evidence so far suggests that only minimal savings (if any) are made, with many people finding that they actually pay more. There are issues with security and reliability, not to mention them occasionally bursting into flames, as seen on a recent BBC Watchdog programme.

For the smart meter programme to work properly, it is dependent on the national installation of the ‘smart grid’ and 5G, which means transmitters on every lamp-post and hugely increased exposure to pulsed microwave radiation in the home, which increasing numbers of people are becoming sensitive to.

The whole £11b installation scheme is a colossal waste of money for the consumer and a gold mine for the service providers who can make £££ from selling the usage meta-data to advertisers. Already some providers are insisting that we must have them installed (not true); some are even telling customers that their old meters are unreliable and dangerous, therefore they must have a smart meter to replace them - again not true, and frequently the exact opposite is the case!

Personally I would much rather you continued to invest in cheaper energy for your customers instead of promoting smart meters. I don’t want one, and at the first sign of pressure to have me accept one, I’ll be switching my provider again.

@Grum, from discussions in other threads, Bulb have confirmed that the installation of a smart meter is entirely optional.

However, I fear you’ve been reading too much of the rubbish on stopsmartmeters.org.uk/

The evidence so far suggests that only minimal savings (if any) are made, with many people finding that they actually pay more.
The evidence so far suggests that visibility for consumers does in fact lower energy consumption. Please provide links if you know of studies that suggest otherwise. Some of the original 1st generation Smart Meters did appear to be faulty, perhaps reading apparent power rather than true power, however I've not actually seen any information on this for meters installed in the UK. The second generation meters that will be installed by Bulb (and others) in 2018 are 2nd generation (SMETS2) meters which are subject to the same accuracy tests as standard meters. Bursting into flames is nothing to do with smart meters as they're subject to the same electrical regulations as standard meters and typically made by the same companies.
For the smart meter programme to work properly, it is dependent on the national installation of the 'smart grid' and 5G, which means transmitters on every lamp-post and hugely increased exposure to pulsed microwave radiation in the home, which increasing numbers of people are becoming sensitive to.
Most smart meters will continue to use the same 3G/4G LTE network as millions of people around the country do for their phones. No transmitters required on lamp-posts and a negligible increase in transmitted data on existing networks.. 5G has nothing to do with 1st or 2nd gen smart meters in this country. The smart meter will also communicate to other HAN devices in your home on the 2.4GHz spectrum, the same as existing WiFi devices. Sensitivity to the electromagnetic spectrum is an interesting one. I won't deny it's a thing as it does appear that some people do appear to be sensitive to certain frequencies of radio waves, however far more people (myself included) have some sensitivity to completely natural things (pollen, or specific foods for example) so I don't personally believe this is something that we should worry about.
The whole £11b installation scheme is a colossal waste of money for the consumer and a gold mine for the service providers who can make £££ from selling the usage meta-data to advertisers.
Firstly, suppliers have to offer smart meters. I'm sure plenty of them would choose not to if they could get away with it. They are likely to want something in return, and the only thing they can really get from it is data use. I would be interested to know what data you think energy companies could sell to advertisers based on the amount of energy you use though. Mostly they're just looking to be able to purchase energy more efficiently. Aside from energy efficient lighting, insulation or maybe a new boiler, there's not much that the information could tell advertisers you may be in need of. Bulb have stated that they may read your meter on a daily or half-hourly basis but when you get a smart meter, you can opt-out if you only want your meter read once a month. The rubbish about being able to tell what TV show you're watching based on your power usage is just that, rubbish.
Already some providers are insisting that we must have them installed (not true); some are even telling customers that their old meters are unreliable and dangerous, therefore they must have a smart meter to replace them - again not true, and frequently the exact opposite is the case!
Suppliers have a duty to replace meters when it's determined that they may have become unsafe, or may no longer be reading accurately. As meters can be installed in a range of environments, it's not a stretch to consider that some people's meters may become unsafe or unreliable over time (plastic degrading, failing components) so replacing them periodically makes sense. I had a letter about 6 months ago letting me know that my gas meter should probably be replaced (with another standard meter).
Personally I would much rather you continued to invest in cheaper energy for your customers instead of promoting smart meters. I don't want one, and at the first sign of pressure to have me accept one, I'll be switching my provider again.
I agree with this to an extent, but Bulb really haven't been promoting Smart Meters. They have to offer them, and as part of that, they've started to think about trialling them to interested customers. I suspect we'll simply get a nice email when the time comes, offering installation. At that point, you can politely decline if you're not keen.

Thanks for the reply. I do like a good debate, and since I’ve raised the topic I guess I’m duty-bound to argue the point further…

@Grum, from discussions in other threads, Bulb have confirmed that the installation of a smart meter is entirely optional.
Yes, I realise that and it's one of the reasons I switched to Bulb. What is still unclear however, is whether they are going to pressure customers to have one installed, using the same tactics as (e.g.) British Gas, Thames Water and nPower, who have been telling customers that it is mandatory to have one (British Gas - I've had that phone call), with nPower telling them that existing meters are "obsolete and dangerous", and Thames Water actually installing one then telling customers that if they didn't want the meter they would have to pay between £500 and £600 to have it replaced. It's bad enough that we are having to cover an estimated £200-£400 per household to cover the installation costs of the smart meter programme without being additionally penalised for refusing to have one.
However, I fear you've been reading too much of the rubbish on stopsmartmeters.org.uk/
That's a rather opinionated and biased view of a website that has a great deal of useful information on EMF hazards, including links to dozens of peer-reviewed scientific studies on the subject..
The evidence so far suggests that visibility for consumers does in fact lower energy consumption. Please provide links if you know of studies that suggest otherwise.
Gladly; here's one - The Guardian. Provided consumers can be persuaded to keep monitoring their in-house displays, there can be some savings, but there is a 'novelty factor' involved here that tends to wear off after a couple of months with most folks.
Some of the original 1st generation Smart Meters did appear to be faulty, perhaps reading apparent power rather than true power, however I've not actually seen any information on this for meters installed in the UK. The second generation meters that will be installed by Bulb (and others) in 2018 are 2nd generation (SMETS2) meters which are subject to the same accuracy tests as standard meters.
I'd like to see some test figures for that. The accuracy issue was raised in a Dutch study, which demonstrated that low-energy devices that rely on switch-mode supplies give false readings on smart meters.
Bursting into flames is nothing to do with smart meters as they're subject to the same electrical regulations as standard meters and typically made by the same companies.
In the Panorama programme, it was blamed on a poorly-trained installation engineer, who said to the owners, "I'm sorry I burned your house down." Sadly, with the rush to get these meters installed, he's not the only poorly-trained installer out there.
>Sensitivity to the electromagnetic spectrum is an interesting one. I won't deny it's a thing as it does appear that some people do appear to be sensitive to certain frequencies of radio waves, however far more people (myself included) have some sensitivity to completely natural things (pollen, or specific foods for example) so I don't personally believe this is something that we should worry about.
This despite the World Health Organisation ans IARC classifying pulsed microwave radiation as a Class 2B carcinogen? That's a whole different order of hazard than food intolerances. Electro-hypersensitivity is a growing issue and EMF reduction measures are a required part of employment law. Why should the home be any different? Studies have shown how exposure to pulsed microwave radiation from smart meters directly affects the human organism, in particular introducing irregularities in the cardiac rhythm, for example this YouTube video.
Bulb have stated that they may read your meter on a daily or half-hourly basis but when you get a smart meter, you can opt-out if you only want your meter read once a month.
That's good to know, and I wish I'd seen that thread before hijacking this one LOL!

Finally, here’s an interesting European report questioning the need for smart meters at all. Germany has decided to cancel their roll-out programme, deciding that it is a waste of money.

Thanks for an interesting discussion.

@Grum, many thanks for the response. I too love a good discussion.

This could get long! :mrgreen:

Yes, I realise that and it's one of the reasons I switched to Bulb. What is still unclear however, is whether they are going to pressure customers to have one installed, using the same tactics as (e.g.) British Gas, Thames Water and nPower, who have been telling customers that it is mandatory to have one (British Gas - I've had that phone call), with nPower telling them that existing meters are "obsolete and dangerous", and Thames Water actually installing one then telling customers that if they didn't want the meter they would have to pay between £500 and £600 to have it replaced. It's bad enough that we are having to cover an estimated £200-£400 per household to cover the installation costs of the smart meter programme without being additionally penalised for refusing to have one.
Well that is just poor form. I suspect that we'll have no such rubbish from Bulb but I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
That's a rather opinionated and biased view of a website that has a great deal of useful information on EMF hazards, including links to dozens of peer-reviewed scientific studies on the subject..
As much as I'm not trying to deny any of their arguments may have merit, the fact that every link I could find to studies were linking to an equally biased site, I think I may be wasting my time reading through them all. They say they're peer reviewed but that means very little these days.
The evidence so far suggests that visibility for consumers does in fact lower energy consumption. Please provide links if you know of studies that suggest otherwise.
Gladly; here's one - The Guardian. Provided consumers can be persuaded to keep monitoring their in-house displays, there can be some savings, but there is a 'novelty factor' involved here that tends to wear off after a couple of months with most folks.
I mean, that's not a link to a study but I'll go with it. I believe you're referring to the inquiry report down near the bottom and I believe they're referring to this one, specifically page 62/63. Overall they conclude that savings of around 3% are likely for both electricity and gas. It's not great but I think with some work, this could be higher.

The Irish trial is the only one I could find that mentioned the in home displays, and that 3/4 of the trial were still using their displays after a year and 2/3 said it was helping. As the 2nd gen ones seem to be better (I’ve seen some of the 1st gen ones and they were pretty poor), it sounds like they won’t just be a novelty factor and people will find them useful.

I'd like to see some test figures for that. The accuracy issue was raised in a Dutch study, which demonstrated that low-energy devices that rely on switch-mode supplies give false readings on smart meters.
If you find any, please let me know!

The Dutch Study was really about the shift from rotary meters to electronic meters rather than smart meters. In the UK, a lot of people have already made the shift years ago so any inaccuracies are down to the electronic reading rather than the smart part of the meter.

Switching devices are typically capacitive loads at high frequencies so we do need good electronic meters to measure them. Hopefully the manufacturers have sorted this out already.

In the Panorama programme, it was blamed on a poorly-trained installation engineer, who said to the owners, "I'm sorry I burned your house down." Sadly, with the rush to get these meters installed, he's not the only poorly-trained installer out there.
Poorly trained installers may be an issue but we can't really presume this will be an issue. Hopefully the installations will be done in phases to alleviate the problems like this.
This despite the World Health Organisation ans IARC classifying pulsed microwave radiation as a Class 2B carcinogen? That's a whole different order of hazard than food intolerances.
Let's be fair here. "IARC CLASSIFIES RADIOFREQUENCY ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS AS POSSIBLY CARCINOGENIC TO HUMANS" The study concluded that the evidence was considered limited and from that it was based on a study of heavy use phone users (more than 30 minutes a day) over 10 years until 2004. I don't know about you but 30 minutes of phone use daily for 10 years sounds like the kind of situation that would give anyone issues, whether the phone was wireless or not. There are far too many variables in a study that long and limited to draw accurate conclusions, hence the classification of 2B (the lowest classification of possibly carcinogenic).
Electro-hypersensitivity is a growing issue and EMF reduction measures are a required part of employment law. Why should the home be any different?
The home shouldn't be any different, and it isn't. The levels from a smart meter are far below the levels at which an employer would have to consider any potential impact of EMF exposure.
Studies have shown how exposure to pulsed microwave radiation from smart meters directly affects the human organism, in particular introducing irregularities in the cardiac rhythm, for example this YouTube video.
I'm sadly going to have to discount this one as bunk unless you know of an actual study you can link me to. The apparent irregularities in the heart rhythm would most likely line up with the emission from the smart meter if it were actually linked. The image and spectrum analysis they show side by side sadly show nothing at all.
That's good to know, and I wish I'd seen that thread before hijacking this one LOL!
Ahh I don't think anyone minds!
Finally, here's an interesting European report questioning the need for smart meters at all. Germany has decided to cancel their roll-out programme, deciding that it is a waste of money.
That is interesting.

I think that based on the 1st gen smart meters, I’m also not entirely convinced it’s not a waste of money however I currently remain optimistic regarding the potential provided by 2nd gen meters.

:cookie:

@Grum – just to confirm that @mowcius is correct that you can decline the offer of a smart meter.

@Grum -- just to confirm that @mowcius is correct that you can decline the offer of a smart meter.
You mean you don't have time in your day to join in with the rest our epic discussion? :p

HI Andrew, yes I’m aware that I have the option to decline (and will do so), one of the reasons I switched to Bulb was that your FAQ page was relatively open on the smart meter question, saying that you were waiting until the SMETS2 are rolled out before deploying them. I did email a couple of other suppliers to ask about their smart meter policy, but got no replies. Their loss, Bulb’s gain. :slight_smile:

As long as you don’t adopt the strong-arm tactics to ‘persuade’ me that I need a smart meter employed by other companies that I’ve mentioned, I’ll be happy.

What a civilised lot Bulb members are!

Another benefit of “smart” meters is that the historical (and hopefully near-real-time data at some point in the future) could help to operate the distribution networks (i.e. the cables between your house and substations) more efficiently, leading to some reduction of delivery cost component of your bill. Historical demand data can be used to forecast future demand and estimate how soon the network would need to be reinforced , allowing the network operators to focus on those sections that are near the physical limit.

@timur, that’s more advantageous to the energy distribuition companies (e.g. Northern Powergrid) than suppliers, but if suppliers can collect and sell on demand information that might be how they try to recoup some of the cost of the Smart Meters they have to install.

@timur and @mowcius You’re correct that it will help assist in predicting demand across the energy industry. It helps generators in avoiding producing energy that’s not necessary, distribution networks in their investment decisions and it should help energy companies purchase energy more accurately.

Avoiding waste all over the place! (and recuperating the initial substantial outlay too)