This topic contains 10 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  geezer 3 days, 10 hours ago.

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  • #4923

    geezer
    Participant

    I was offered a smart meter from an energy company last year. I declined because I regularly change companies and there seemed to be compatability issues between meters/companies.

    I’ve now been offered it again (a bit more forcefully this time!), but have heard these are 2nd generation meters. Are they any better? Should I get one, or hold off longer? I regularly swap suppliers to stay on a good deal.

  • #4926

    DIY
    Participant

    I’m being pushed to get one too and the information Eon sent me specifically said that there could be compatibility issues if I switched supplier. To me, the fact that they’ve mentioned it in the main letter rather than hidden in small print suggests it’s still quite likely to be an issue.

    On the other hand, I guess that if it’s not compatible with your new supplier, you’re no worse off than you were before. It probably just acts as a dumb meter that has to be manually read.

    There is also the security issue but I suspect that’s probably overhyped. Hard to tell for sure though.

  • #4927

    amymay
    Participant

    Energy companies are being pushed to get everyone on a smart meter by 2020, which is why the energy companies are pushing more forcefully now.

    1st generation meters did indeed cause problems switching suppliers – they would just act as a “dumb” meter for any supplier other than the one that fitted it.

    2nd generation meters have overcome this problem and will work for all suppliers, however there was some kind of software issue when they were rolled out meaning that they were only working as standard meters for a lot of people initially. My understanding is that this has mostly been resolved and that updates will be pushed to existing meters automatically to make them work properly.

    I had a 2nd gen meter fitted by SSE earlier this year and have just moved to Bulb. The move seems to have gone smoothly and the meter is still working. If you are sure the meter is 2nd gen I would say go ahead. However, some of the energy companies are still fitting first gen meters so make sure you know what you are getting and delay if you aren’t sure. As someone else said, first gen meters will work as standard meters with other suppliers.

  • #4928

    Chris B
    Participant

    A SMETS-2 meter (comms hub) works with any supplier, so you switch in theory more easily than without a smart meter

    A SMETS-1 meter will typically only work with the supplier who issued it, hence if you switch you lose the smart functionality

    Suppliers are curently installing both type 1 and type 2 as DCC/DECC keep delaying date when Type 1 can no longer be installed.

    So worth checking with your supplier which it is

  • #4929

    Clint
    Participant

    As I understand it, the Smart Meter is owned by your energy provider (but paid for by slightly higher bills for all their customers – whether you opt in or not), and in the event you change supplier that device is bought by your new supplier and stays in your home.

    So as long as the device is compatible, you won’t have to do a thing when changing suppliers. OfGem have set out guidelines for how smart meters should operate, and there are only one or two (already compatible) designs in use at the moment anyway.

    In the unlikely event your new supplier cannot use the existing smart meter, it will either revert to a ‘dumb’ meter (as said above, losing you nothing), or they will send you a new one and remove your old one – it is in their interest to do so, and minimises faff for you.

    Smart meters don’t just make it easier for your energy company to provide more accurate bills, they allow them to see power demands and trends across large areas, to make the system more efficient for everyone. Changes are coming (and well underway!) for expansion into renewables and electric vehicles, and smart meters are an important part of how that is balanced to minimise disruption.

    More info here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/smart-meters-how-they-work

    As an aside: I’m a big advocate for Ecotricity, their ethical ethos in the energy market is unique and worth a look when shopping around. Also, Pure Planet are a new energy company with a very different and interesting price structure which again may be worth a look while hunting for your best deal.

    Apologies for the essay

    • This reply was modified 4 days, 7 hours ago by  Clint.
  • #4931

    geezer
    Participant

    Thanks everyone for the information, it’s much appreciated. Good to get a bit of background knowledge of why they’re being implemented, and that the problems are being ironed out.

    I think I’ll hold off for now, and then next time they make the ‘offer’ I’ll double check it’s a SMETS-2 meter and take them up on it. Is there any possibility that in the future people will be charged to have them installed, and so we should jump at the chance now? It doesn’t sound like it, but just thought I’d ask! Thanks.

  • #4932

    Mick
    Participant

    Nop. No way. Never. Well, not unless they have a court order to fit it.

    I can tell how much I’m using by reading the number on mine or by using a clip on sensor to the LED on it. I also know what I’m using because I have produced a detailed energy budget – measured – of the entire household and grounds. Something I hasten to add that a smart meter would not have helped me to do.

    My current meter cannot be remotely disconnected by the government, energy firms or hackers. Despite some crap said out there, smart meters include the hardware for remote disconnection. It does seem like security is being taken more seriously on smart meters since GCHQ weighed in publicly two years ago, but I’m not sold.

    Disconnecting a few million meters and then bricking them by permanently revoking their security keys is a wet dream for economic terrorism and as a prelude to war. There aren’t the trained electricians out there to bypass or replace all the meters in months; once people start bridging round them you’ll have fires and deaths galore.

    Sure you say, it’s a low probability event. But what is the point in enabling a new low probability/high consequence event in return for increased costs and no net benefit?

    Unless you think their real reason is to enable fine grained load shedding to keep the grid stable as our energy supply disintegrates around us.

  • #4933

    Dom123
    Participant

    Don’t get one.
    They are being fitted by unskilled numbties with virtually no training, and your house will burn down several months afterwards from over heating terminations. There are several documented cases of this happening in the last few years.

    And the recent adverts on telly promoting them are verging on total lies. The one with (I think) the disability scooter is particularly bad.

  • #4934

    pat
    Participant

    DO NOT GET ONE!

    There have been quite a lot (more than “several” now by quite a way) of cases of them causing house fires – not always due to poor installation, in some cases, the fault was down to a design flaw. The electricity companies are understandably trying to keep it all hushed-up, you probably won’t read much about the fires that they cause on the news. Source – know someone that works for various elec companies and who has dealt with quite a few of these particular cases now.

  • #4936

    oldguy
    Participant

    I’ve worked in the electricity supply/distribution industry for 30 years. I won’t be getting one anytime soon!

  • #4938

    geezer
    Participant

    Thanks all, case closed!

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