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Thread: The Continuing Saga of the Smart Meters

  1. #11
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    May 2021
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    Re: The Continuing Saga of the Smart Meters

    Quill pen? Only if I can squash beetles to make ink.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    May 2021
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    Re: The Continuing Saga of the Smart Meters

    Actually I take that back, I quite like beetles. I'll make ink with slugs.

  3. #13
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    Re: The Continuing Saga of the Smart Meters

    Many thanks again to all you wonderful people. I've gone for a normal monthly bill that I can pay online. The chap on the phone told me not to 'stress' so must have picked up on my agitation. Smart meters and prepayment don't seem to mix. I'm just glad I don't have this level of trouble with the internet and water supply.

    Yes beetles are very welcome in my book too Catkins. Ground beetles are the gardener's friend along with a number of others.
    __________________
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  4. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    , , United Kingdom.
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    416

    Re: The Continuing Saga of the Smart Meters

    Quote Originally Posted by Lencoboy View Post
    My dad believes that sometimes these things might be deliberately engineered to cause people maximum inconvenience and/or to deliberately rip people off.

    He believes it's all about profiteering and self-interests.
    Too right Lenco - these organisations don't do anything for the benefit of paying customers - more like for their own convenience and money-raking.

    I refuse to have a Smart Meter - don't want them monitoring what/when/how I am using gas or elec and having the power to arbitrarily shut down supply for whatever nefarious reasons they cook up. Also an excuse to stop issuing quarterly bills, firing the old guys that used to come round to do meter reading, and forcing people to open yet another online user account giving them access to more of one's private details than they should have!

    Just more 'data-gathering' at their convenience ... and the public are unwittingly doing their work for them!
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    Dorabella

  5. #15
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    Re: The Continuing Saga of the Smart Meters

    Quote Originally Posted by dorabella View Post
    Too right Lenco - these organisations don't do anything for the benefit of paying customers - more like for their own convenience and money-raking.

    I refuse to have a Smart Meter - don't want them monitoring what/when/how I am using gas or elec and having the power to arbitrarily shut down supply for whatever nefarious reasons they cook up. Also an excuse to stop issuing quarterly bills, firing the old guys that used to come round to do meter reading, and forcing people to open yet another online user account giving them access to more of one's private details than they should have!

    Just more 'data-gathering' at their convenience ... and the public are unwittingly doing their work for them!
    That started happening out of the 1998 project. Some of this isn't really new.

    For instance, there were already some meters that could remote change but signals were sent via the shop tills to your key, card, etc. Meter readers were cut down through privatisation.

    It's just that smart takes it a step further.

    Something to consider is the months you might wait for your billing problems to be sorted out by your supplier. They might have to send engineers out (separate companies) to bring back details of the label which the industry dictates can't be provided by customers. Or maybe more readings. One of many problems caused by not being able to see what is physically on site. Smart resolves lots of this. But people want to keep being inconvenienced and make complaints over delays & backlogs?

    I think smart is a good thing. Anyone who has ever worked in this industry would say the same. The exception being how it will cut down on jobs for staff who visit sites. The ability to shutdown will save suppliers money (And customers) but reduce engineer visits. It's not all about clamping down on unpaid bills. Another loss is meter readers, both scheduled and booked, to make checks on meters (that goes for engineers too as suppliers send tons out every year just to read a label...you pay for that you know). There will still be engineers and meter readers but just like any automation some poor sods will lose out.

    But then why complain your bills are too high and refuse Smart? It's not all about wholesale prices. I've worked on efficiency programmes ranging into the hundreds of millions of pounds. Smart provides extra data to save more money. Of course, suppliers will always try to hide that from you but it won't be as easy since smart quite glaringly points to certain benefits e.g. saving a fortune on sending expensive engineers just to read a label.

    Business have been using meters that do some of this for many years. Ever heard of half hourly metering? Readings every half hour.

    Quarterly billing has developed further e.g. monthly billing which was previously reserved for business customers, but it still means readings. If you disagree with not sending a meter reader out, and do you know just how many can't get in to read them (customers don't want to take a day off work unless it's really needed), the issue isn't with smart but privatisation where that all stopped in favour if industry rules that relaxed this.

    These companies already existed. They just split from each other in 1998 which meant a load more processes to send data between them. It was such a mess, I remember my years dealing with the fallout, and much of that came from nationalisation before it. New companies came in bringing untrained new staff to an industry with staff not understanding the new processes, many of them involved in the big change.

    Suppliers will also lose staff from smart since billing issues will be more resolvable in quicker times.

    One big customer complaint was switching between quarterly billed (DD or receipt of bill payment) to prepayment and vice versa. Suppliers started charging. But the got charged per visit. The con was suppliers adding profit on. I hated this as I knew just how little the work cost to the supplier. No excuse for this with smart when a few button presses will do it remotely.
    Last edited by MyNameIsTerry; 21-09-21 at 06:34.
    __________________
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  6. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
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    3,449

    Re: The Continuing Saga of the Smart Meters

    Quote Originally Posted by MyNameIsTerry View Post
    That started happening out of the 1998 project. Some of this isn't really new.

    For instance, there were already some meters that could remote change but signals were sent via the shop tills to your key, card, etc. Meter readers were cut down through privatisation.

    It's just that smart takes it a step further.

    Something to consider is the months you might wait for your billing problems to be sorted out by your supplier. They might have to send engineers out (separate companies) to bring back details of the label which the industry dictates can't be provided by customers. Or maybe more readings. One of many problems caused by not being able to see what is physically on site. Smart resolves lots of this. But people want to keep being inconvenienced and make complaints over delays & backlogs?

    I think smart is a good thing. Anyone who has ever worked in this industry would say the same. The exception being how it will cut down on jobs for staff who visit sites. The ability to shutdown will save suppliers money (And customers) but reduce engineer visits. It's not all about clamping down on unpaid bills. Another loss is meter readers, both scheduled and booked, to make checks on meters (that goes for engineers too as suppliers send tons out every year just to read a label...you pay for that you know). There will still be engineers and meter readers but just like any automation some poor sods will lose out.

    But then why complain your bills are too high and refuse Smart? It's not all about wholesale prices. I've worked on efficiency programmes ranging into the hundreds of millions of pounds. Smart provides extra data to save more money. Of course, suppliers will always try to hide that from you but it won't be as easy since smart quite glaringly points to certain benefits e.g. saving a fortune on sending expensive engineers just to read a label.

    Business have been using meters that do some of this for many years. Ever heard of half hourly metering? Readings every half hour.

    Quarterly billing has developed further e.g. monthly billing which was previously reserved for business customers, but it still means readings. If you disagree with not sending a meter reader out, and do you know just how many can't get in to read them (customers don't want to take a day off work unless it's really needed), the issue isn't with smart but privatisation where that all stopped in favour if industry rules that relaxed this.

    These companies already existed. They just split from each other in 1998 which meant a load more processes to send data between them. It was such a mess, I remember my years dealing with the fallout, and much of that came from nationalisation before it. New companies came in bringing untrained new staff to an industry with staff not understanding the new processes, many of them involved in the big change.

    Suppliers will also lose staff from smart since billing issues will be more resolvable in quicker times.

    One big customer complaint was switching between quarterly billed (DD or receipt of bill payment) to prepayment and vice versa. Suppliers started charging. But the got charged per visit. The con was suppliers adding profit on. I hated this as I knew just how little the work cost to the supplier. No excuse for this with smart when a few button presses will do it remotely.
    Ironically (for better or worse) that was under the early Blair govt, so not just a Tory-led thing.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    26,177

    Re: The Continuing Saga of the Smart Meters

    Quote Originally Posted by Pain View Post
    A Clause Four thought.

    Regarding the energy market malarkey, with its calculated result of engineering high prices; I’ve had a barmy retrospective lightbulb brainstorm – a bit “whoa, you can’t do that!”. Why doesn’t the Government take energy production and distribution back into public ownership – the whole box of sparks – and ensure it’s provided and regulated for the common good? This would mean that the energy industry would be sort of owned by the people…. by the nation. It could be referred to as… re-nationalisation. Now, shoot me down in flames and play We’ll Keep The Red Flag Flying on a Stylophone; but if you do, explain why this might be a bad idea. Of course, the unions might see this as a wonderful opportunity for power-grabbing (literally), but I’m sure that bridge could be rectified before we came to it (as has been done before). Last one out, switch off the lights, please.
    They could if you want to throw a lot of money at private companies to buy them out. Paying them under the market value might upset shareholders and maybe some pension funds?

    Generation is just everything up to where it comes into your house from the street. But then you have metering companies and data collectors (seperate entities contracted by suppliers). Then we have the suppliers who are simply billing companies. Beyond that you have data aggregators but these are traditionally the same companies as the data collectors (meter readers).

    So, nationalise generation leaving all the rest private? So public sell energy to private suppliers who sell to you? Wouldn't that be a partial solution open to the same gripes about foreign investors exporting profit?

    Nationalising all those companies won't be simple. A cabinet is a cabinet and a cable is a cable. Simple. Not so the data side with every company doing something different. So a new public company would need to migrate all of that into their own system. All those data mismatches that exist now would need cleansing, some of which will be forgotten as private companies give up close to the big switch over.

    How many millions will our taxes be wasted on a vastly overpaid army of consultants and project managers to do it? Public sector always seem to cost more to do anything. Get raising those taxes!

    But what is the long term goal? National cheap power? Won't that be like the NHS? A bottomless pit subsidised to rates that just don't work and only mask a problem until the powers that be start complaining about the money? Millions of data handling systems and all the expensive consultants to create or embed one. How will they recover all that if not through profit? More tax then.

    Maybe it could work? But I do think people see a rosey view of the power industry. It was all messed up from 1998 but the very people setting that up were those who were nationalised. It was great that meters were read quarterly but the admin end was a lot worse than people might realise. Staff on expensive civil servant pay grades based on time served rather than if you could do the job. Data was a mess. A lack of written working procedures. And people might not realise each 'board' had a completely different billing system rather than common sense demanding one system for essentially one big company.

    They are floating an idea to create a national Supplier of Last Resort: someone to take the customers of companies that fail. Currently industry regulators find a supplier to take the customer base over. Both ways will mean the same is done at a process level. A national company will mean years and many millions out of our taxes. Millions on a billing system alone let alone all the data handshaking. More external consultants to do it and licencing an existing or upgradeable set of systems. Hundreds of millions?
    Last edited by MyNameIsTerry; 22-09-21 at 00:36.
    __________________
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    For free Mindfulness resources, please see this thread I have created to compile many sources together http://www.nomorepanic.co.uk/showthread.php?t=168689

  8. #18
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    Mar 2014
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    26,177

    Re: The Continuing Saga of the Smart Meters

    Quote Originally Posted by Lencoboy View Post
    Ironically (for better or worse) that was under the early Blair govt, so not just a Tory-led thing.
    Brown removed Ofgem's control of prices. Ed Miliband as energy minister spent his tenure looking the other way with an industry in a mess.

    Both parties never sorted the supplier end. The money wasted in these companies was incredible.

    Smart was set up bizarrely. They decided rather than to provide real guidelines on coordinated use of the same technology but to push the work onto suppliers to lead policy. The result was every company did something different and customers couldn't switch without losing smart. It was crazy, everyone knew it would go wrong. Later work provided shared technology. The customer complaints about switching downsides just shot up. It was all avoidable.
    Last edited by MyNameIsTerry; 21-09-21 at 23:56.
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    For free Mindfulness resources, please see this thread I have created to compile many sources together http://www.nomorepanic.co.uk/showthread.php?t=168689

  9. #19
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    Mar 2020
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    3,449

    Re: The Continuing Saga of the Smart Meters

    Quote Originally Posted by MyNameIsTerry View Post
    Brown removed Ofgem's control of prices. Ed Miliband as energy minister spent his tenure looking the other way with an industry in a mess.

    Both parties never sorted the supplier end. The money wasted in these companies was incredible.

    Smart was set up bizarrely. They decided rather than to provide real guidelines on coordinated use of the same technology but to push the work onto suppliers to lead policy. The result was every company did something different and customers couldn't switch without losing smart. It was crazy, everyone knew it would go wrong. Later work provided shared technology. The customer complaints about switching downsides just shot up. It was all avoidable.
    So basically screw ups from all sides then!

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Posts
    218

    Re: The Continuing Saga of the Smart Meters

    We should have got a programme up together earlier to replace and increase our nuclear capacity, at our current rate we are only replacing what we are losing. Nuclear has a high upfront cost, but isn't so susceptible to fluctuating raw material cost to keep it running.
    Previous governments, both red and blue have kicked this can down the road, as they thought (mistakenly I believe) that the public is scared of the word nuclear, and it wasn't a green energy. Most environmentalist now acknowledge that nuclear is a renewable to some degree and so-called green energies can't be relied on to provide a reliable supply.
    Unfortunately the gap in-between our initial nuclear power stations and the new ones, our ability to build them has degraded, we are now left in the embarrassing situation of relying on the French and Chinese to construct the next generation.

    Your last thought. The competition commission and whichever government in charge should prevent a single supplier situation, although it's very unlikely to happen in a private sector situation as Terry mentioned, the suppliers are just retailers, they don't produce a product, they just sell it on.

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