Smart Meters - unconvinced

  • 19 June 2019
  • 2 replies

Several years ago we were early adopters of smart meter technology then only being offered by British Gas. It all seemed like a great idea but after the gloss wore off we realised that it was telling us nothing we didn't already know; that it was very unlikely to change the way we use gas and electricity because the savings were so small or the inconvenience too large. So the IHD was relegated to the garage where we only used it as a convenient way to read the consumption monthly. Then the era of switching suppliers dawned and of course the smart meter became dumb. Did we miss it's cleverness? Not a bit.

OVO is now under Government pressure to put pressure on us to go smart with the new SMETS2 meter and despite saying no a year or two back to the earlier version they feel compelled to ask again. But reading through the forum it seems that the process is too much hassle and goes wrong too much to bother. So we won't be asking for a second smart meter - the existing one works fine in terms of measuring consumption and telling us what we need to know each month - it just requires 2 minutes online to tell OVO our readings. So why would we want a device in our house that seems likely to go wrong and is of virtually no value to us?

Sadly the "tell us why" form provided by OVO is not bright enough to enable me to give such reasons. Smart it ain't.

Out of interest has anyone saved loads of money or learned all sorts of ways to cut down on serious amounts of energy since having a smart meter fixed? And I mean serious, not just a few pounds.

2 replies

Userlevel 7
This is an interesting one @ElectricTV. Definitely frustrating in regards to the original version of the Smart Meter, not being compatible between suppliers, very annoying and not ideal at all. However, as with all new technology, newer versions do better, so the second generation Smart Meters, SMET2, are designed to allow you to do exactly that. With a SMET2, you'll be able to switch between suppliers and your Smart Meter will be able to connect with issues.

There are a lot of benefits for some, as not all customers are as on it in regards to giving readings each month, so then are subject to their energy suppliers having to estimate usage, which might mean you are then overcharged, or undercharged for your energy usage. Also, for some, having better visibility of usage helps save a bit of energy around the home, it makes people more aware about leaving lights on, electrical items on standby etc etc which all adds up.

But more importantly the main reason the government is pushing Smart Meters, is the future infrastructure that they enable which in turn will help everyone support the grid and save money on energy. There is a great article here on how Smart Meters support the future of the energy industry and benefit customers long term.

Be interesting to get others views on this @NoPoke @ITGeek123 @BrizzleLass

Hi Darren

Thank you for commenting and for the link to the article which I read.

I am neither against using less energy nor am I Luddite but the Government article is not convincing. It’s image of having to search under cobwebby stairs to take monthly meter readings does not apply in our house nor will it in most modern homes. It takes all of a comfortable minute for me to take the readings and maybe twice as long to send them online to OVO. I have been keeping a spreadsheet on our daily consumption for several years and a smart meter can’t do that for me.

It doesn’t take a smart meter to inform me that our tumble dryer uses loads of electricity but it’s a wonderful and well used machine in our house. We can’t do without it. Having had an original smart meter for at least 10 years I can safely say that it hasn’t changed the way we use energy one iota. Which is not to say that we are profligate with energy, just that we don’t need a smart meter to jog us into turning things off.

Contrary to the advice the little red lights on the TV and a few other dormant devices use very little electricity. Certainly not enough to bother turning them all off every time we stop using them. The annual savings estimate from using smart meters is highly questionable and has been challenged by far better informed people than me.

Contrary to what the article states, having a smart meter makes no difference to any decision I might make to switch suppliers. If you don’t know you can do so these days you live in a parallel universe. Price drives that decision and a smart meter knows nothing about what’s on offer to a potential switcher. If you can’t be bothered to switch suppliers because of the hassle involved or the idea frightens you, it is very unlikely that you will have a smart meter anyway.