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Telegraph Letters On Smart Meters

June 29, 2018

By Paul Homewood


Some more letters in the Telegraph about smart meters:



SIR – The purpose of “smart meters” (Letters, June 26) is to allow the eventual introduction of charging of domestic users at different rates according to the time of day, the day of the week and the season of the year.

Power companies already know when we use most energy in the aggregate but, except for very large energy users, they are at present unable to bill individual customers according to the exact time that energy is used.

Smart meters will allow them to do this, so if you are unreasonable enough to want to turn the lights on when it gets dark, or cook food at mealtimes, or charge the electric car that the Government wants to force you to have, ready for the morning commute, then you will be hit with penal levels of billing.

These meters are voluntary now, but they won’t be voluntary for ever. You do not have to have a water meter, but if your house has one, you are forbidden to go back to water rates, though metered water probably costs you about half as much again as rated water.

Eventually, if you have a smart meter for energy there will be no going back and you can expect your bills to rocket. The lucky few will be those living in houses where a smart meter was never installed.

Anyone who does not believe this should cut this letter out and keep it – and read it in daylight, obviously.

Dr Richard Austen-Baker
Abbeystead, Lancashire


SIR – Until 2003 I was responsible for the type approval of gas and electricity meters at Ofgem’s Technical Directorate. After this I spent several years on European and international committees negotiating measurement standards for next-generation meters.

Only common sense can show how savings can be achieved. For instance, smart meters will show what it takes to run a washing-machine cycle but they cannot advise that it would have saved energy to await a full load.

A smart meter can tell you what an appliance uses under certain conditions if you take the trouble to ensure all other appliances are off at the time. However, this information is readily available in manufacturers’ data.

An estimated cost of £200 for each meter will add at least £20 to bills each year, as it is the consumer who will pay for these “free” meters eventually. Smart meters give only freedom from estimated bills or a visit from the meter reader. However, suppliers are now very good at estimating usage and a periodic visit by the meter reader can allow safety or measurement problems to be checked.

The meter suppliers and fitters enjoy the increased business and profit that fitting smart meters brings. The Government is supporting the programme, but this seems to me like its encouragement for switching to diesel cars some years ago.

I believe that the hidden agenda behind smart meters is that they will allow half-hourly charging. Instead of having two charge rates (day and night) the price of energy will change every half hour, so when solar and wind generation are low and usage is high the price of electricity will rise steeply.

What would make more sense than smart meters is smart appliances that could be automatically switched on or off depending on electricity-grid demand. For instance, fridges, freezers and some battery chargers could be switched off at peak demand periods, as could some washing machines and dryers.

It is claimed that smart meters are safe and secure. Not having one, because they are not needed, is even more safe and secure.

Jerry Fulton
Draycott, Somerset


SIR – You cannot fatten a pig by weighing it and by the same token you cannot reduce your electricity consumption simply by measuring it with a smart meter.

Crombie Glennie
Hawksworth, Nottinghamshire

  1. quaesoveritas permalink
    June 29, 2018 9:03 am

    Eventually it will be a crime not to have a “smart meter” installed.

    • Joe Public permalink
      June 29, 2018 9:24 am

      Even sooner, it will be an anti-social crime to even think about not having a “smart meter” installed.

      • Scottish Sceptic permalink
        June 29, 2018 2:58 pm

        Eventually it will be a crime to have an IQ higher than your electricity meter – which won’t affect politicians as they achieved it years ago.

  2. NeilC permalink
    June 29, 2018 9:17 am

    But the so called government doesn’t listen to sensible people, only those like gummer.

    I will be willing to go to prison rather than have a smart meter

    • Gerry, England permalink
      June 29, 2018 12:49 pm

      And you probably will go to prison while serial burglars and other violent types won’t. You will be a political prisoner, punished for disobeying a decree rather than sensible law that has existing for centuries.

  3. David Richardson permalink
    June 29, 2018 9:21 am

    This last week I had an email message from our current dual fuel supplier Npower. It started with a big colour banner at the top “Thanks for telling us you’d like a smartmeter”.

    At no time I have ever made such a request – nor will I ever. I will, like all on here, resist such a happening until the day quaesoveritas right warns of above.

  4. Green Sand permalink
    June 29, 2018 9:41 am

    The only effect a smart meter can have is to increase your electricity consumption. They do not run on fresh air!

    • Dave Ward permalink
      June 29, 2018 10:06 am

      Unlike traditional mechanical meters they are capable of accurately measuring reactive power, and so potentially could show a much higher reading when feeding modern switch mode power supplies (which generally have lousy power factor correction). And they can also “catch” the instantaneous start-up surge of a motor – your fridge/freezer – for instance, so they can actually increase the number of kwHrs recorded, even if your usage doesn’t change one little bit! I am told this facility isn’t being enabled….YET, but if it’s there (and can be turned on remotely), you can bet it WILL be used at some point in the future. If I am ever forced to have one fitted I am going to insist the old meter is left in circuit to provide a comparison…

  5. Jeff permalink
    June 29, 2018 10:02 am

    With a smart meters we can choose either a single rate tariff plan or time of use metering.
    For those who choose time of use, they can get cheaper off peak rates.
    This would make the whole grid more efficient because the load is evened out and less generational capacity is needed, which would lower the cost for everyone.

    Switching suppliers is much easier too.
    The required last meter read can be done immediately.
    I have switched twice in a year.

    • June 29, 2018 10:53 am

      Most people will not be able to choose time of use. Time of power usage is largely determined by other factors. I’m sure people going to get up at 2am in the morning to cook a dinner, or do their washing 😉

      • Gerry, England permalink
        June 29, 2018 12:52 pm

        And the advice of the fire brigade is to not run appliances overnight or when you are out, you know, when the electricity will be cheaper. Even a fridge might be a risk and could burn you tower block down.

    • A C Osborn permalink
      June 29, 2018 1:41 pm

      How odd, because most people’s experience is that changing Supplier also means a change of meter.
      As they are not necessarily compatible.

    • Joe Public permalink
      June 29, 2018 5:01 pm

      @Jeff: “For those who choose time of use, they can get cheaper off peak rates.”

      For those who choose time of use, they WILL get MORE EXPENSIVE on peak rates.

      (I.e. more expensive during the periods when electricity is most wanted)

      Your turn.

      • Jeff permalink
        June 30, 2018 12:33 am

        Everyone here can choose either time of use, or single rate metering.
        It just depends on your lifestyle.
        And yes, I am at home most of the time, and calculated it would be slightly cheaper to stay on a single rate.
        Others choose time of use because it is cheaper because they do not need as much consumption during the peak.
        You have the freedom to save with off peak, if convenient for you.

  6. sensferguson permalink
    June 29, 2018 10:26 am

    And what the public doesn’t realise is that smart meters will allow companies to control demand. Short of electricity for porridge Ona cold morning – just drain the charge you have put into your electric car. You won’t be able to to get to work but so what!!
    And if you think that is far fetched MIT have worked out how to drain the charge from your charging electric car!!!

  7. Duker permalink
    June 29, 2018 10:32 am

    I have a smart meter, best thing ever. Now I can by clyling through the displays see what my voltage is, my current being drawn and most importantly the kW reading. The next day I can go online to my provider and see the half hourly readings of kW through the day. As a letter writer aptly observed you cant fatten a pig by weighing it, but my knowledge of what my power consumption looks like on a daily basis along with yearly usage allows me to look with a critical eye at competing power supply offers. My suppliers standard rates isnt the cheapest but then they do vary through out the year, plus I can buy in advance for a few days , a few weeks or for a months worth and save more. Most weeks they alert my tablet of a special for 4 to 6 days worth of power , even more savings. Yes some other providers offer fixed flat rates or even rate based on the spot half hourly price but I cant shift my consumption enough to after 11pm to really benefit.
    All this i know because of the broad and detailed information the smart meter provides. You may have guessed its not the UK and we have a very high renewable component for the countrys electricity supply , even with most heating and hot water done by electricity, but as most predict on this site there is risk as some decades have less rain/snow or less wind and some prices can peak over winter or advice to ‘save power’ to prevent blackouts

    • quaesoveritas permalink
      June 29, 2018 10:44 am

      Speaking personally, I have better things to do with my time than spend it constantly monitoring my electricity usage.

      • June 29, 2018 10:54 am

        You must have plenty of time on your hands Duker.

      • Jeff permalink
        June 29, 2018 11:00 am

        My account website shows a bar chart and lets me see at a glance my daily usage.
        Only takes a few seconds, it really is good.

      • June 29, 2018 11:49 am

        I can’t understand why anybody would want to monitor their energy usage. In our house, we just go ahead and use electricity whenever it is most convenient for our lifestyle. That is what freedom of choice is all about.

  8. sensferguson permalink
    June 29, 2018 10:44 am

    It used to be that companies supplied electricity and you used as much as you wanted. What they are aiming at now is to control demand and cut you off if you are using too much. Julian Simon eat your heart out!

  9. June 29, 2018 11:02 am

    As well as the letters there is an article in the Telegraph, based on the Fulton letter.

    Government’s smart meter roll out ‘will lead to gas and electric surge pricing’

    • June 29, 2018 11:32 am

      I love this quote from it:

      “It is claimed that smart meters are safe and secure. Not having one, because they are not needed, is even more safe and secure.”

  10. June 29, 2018 11:33 am

    I have followed for several years the discussions on this, Swansea Bay, and many other issues involving government overreach and incompetence. One thing I wonder is when or what will be the tipping point?

    Shortly after Barack Obama took office and began his daily barrage of “trans-formative” measures, people were getting up in arms. It only took a rant by one person to start the ball rolling for what would become known as the Tea Party movement. On February 19, 2009, Rick Santelli, a commentator on the business-news network CNBC, referenced the Boston Tea Party (1773) in his response to Pres. Barack Obama’s mortgage relief plan. Speaking from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Santelli heatedly stated that the bailout would “subsidize the losers’ mortgages” and proposed a Chicago Tea Party to protest government intervention in the housing market. The five-minute clip became an Internet sensation, and the “Tea Party” rallying cry struck a chord with those who had already seen billions of dollars flow toward sagging financial firms. Unlike previous populist movements, which were characterized by a distrust of business in general and bankers in particular, the Tea Party movement focused its ire at the federal government and extolled the virtues of free market principles.

    Soon Tea Parties sprang up all over the country. There was no one leader which was a boon as it was harder for the Obama administration to go after us. The IRS did. As president of the local Mountaineer Tea Party, I received a number of letters from them AFTER we had disbanded our group, which was organized as an LLC and not a 501-C3. T.E.A. Party stood for “Taxed Enough Already”. It was neither Republican nor Democrat, but was made up of people from both and a lot more who identified with neither. We were not exactly embraced by the Republican party either. Many Tea Party endorsed candidates were elected to Congress and in local races and still are. One of the most talked about elections was the ousting of US House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor from VA’s 7th, in the 2014 primary by Dr. David Brat (PhD economics), a Tea Party candidate and still serving as one of the leading conservative voices.

    Although the Tea Party groups are no longer as active as such, we have not gone away. We were against the “establishment” politicians from both parties who kowtowed to special interests and big donors while giving lip service to voters every election time. We were the ground swell that elected Donald John Trump. FoxNews commentator Brit Hume correctly identified us following Trump’s win in the New Hampshire primary in 2016, as “The Federation of the Fed-Up.”

    President Trump’s rallies are really to thank the people of “fly-over country.” We are the “forgotten no more” as he often says. He also looks us in the eye and says “it is not my win, it is our win” and “I work for you.” He means it.

    You could begin by throwing tea in Swansea Bay as we did in Boston Harbor in 1773 and reconstituted the idea in 2009. Try it, you will like it.

  11. JimW permalink
    June 29, 2018 12:16 pm

    Smart Meters were originally designed, many decades ago, to be used for time of day pricing to help reduce the cost of local distribution reinforcement of the network. Economy 7 and before that White Meter Tariffs sold cheaper night time electricity for storage heaters, on the basis the CEGB Bulk Tariff priced night time electricity to reflect SRMC of nuclear ‘must run’ power stations. Indeed in none gas areas like the South West , at the time, this was so succesful that the peak demand on local networks no longer was at 18.00 hrs but shifted to 01.30 hours. Which meant no-one was paying for the cost of network reinforcement in their Distribution Use of System ( DUoS) or Transmission Use of System ( TUoS) charges in their tariffs which were zero for nighttime.
    Many trials took place using smart meters to see if people would change their useage habits to help alleviate the problem. They conclusively showed most people would not. They were not installed by the Area Boards at the time and the promotion of E7 was eventual discontinued.
    There is now only one reason for their promotion, as many people have said, to allow for peak pricing and eventually interruptions by the supply companies. The ‘intelligent/smart’ grid is a PR job that allows residential customers to be screwed.

  12. June 29, 2018 1:32 pm

    You have to account for full cycle of costs
    So what about lost time/earnings waiting for the installer/installation.

    as a commenter points out
    \\ A few weeks ago a member of staff asked for the morning off as he was having one installed – I refused on the grounds of it being in his best interest not to.//

  13. Scottish Sceptic permalink
    June 29, 2018 2:36 pm

    As everyone knows, the main way electricity companies make money is through a confusing array of tariffs which fool the gullible into believing they are saving money whilst forking out a lot more.

    This is very easy to do when there is only one tariff. Imagine how much easier it will be when enough idiots install these dumb meters (because you’ve got to be dumb to get one) and almost no one will have a clue why they’re getting charged the massive amounts they will get charged.

    You may as well give the electricity companies you bank card and pin – because that’s how they will treat customers – as bank machines.

  14. Ken m permalink
    June 29, 2018 3:39 pm

    the old cash cow consumer being fleece
    again as usual by foreign owned energy companies.french /german ect.
    No interest in this country, only interest in there
    Share holders rewards.

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