Smart meters in the press again

I wish smart meters would go away!   And I’m not the only one.

I’m still utterly unconvinced that people will actually see any saving from smart meters.   And it appears the cost of the rollout keeps going up.

The Institute of Directors has written a pretty good report on the not so smart  side of smart meters.   It is pretty safe to say that any govt IT project (or any govt project full stop) is bound to end up in cost overruns, poor spec and great lateness in delivery.

So now we have Smart Energy GB calling for a 2012 Olympics style delivery on smart meters to meet the 2020 planned rollout date.

OK, firstly who the heck are Smart Energy GB?   Well it appears they are a govt setup body with the aim of convincing us smart meters are good.   Oh great, another mouth to feed from the taxpayers pocket.   And how much did they pay someone to design ‘Leccy and Gaz’? (and isn’t Gaz covered by the Camping Gaz trademark??)

One of the great claims is ‘no more estimated bills’.   Hmm.. every 6 months I get an email from my energy suppler asking for a meter reading.   And I spend barely 90 seconds of my life walking to the front door, looking up, noting some numbers and then returning to my PC and entering those numbers into the suppliers website.   I’ve NEVER had an estimated bill!   If you’re too lazy to do this then its YOUR OWN FAULT!

The next great claim is you can ‘see which appliances are guzzling energy’.   Well if you want to do this right now you can buy a monitor from ebay or somewhere for £10-40.   I got a second hand one from ebay for £20.   You can even get a plug in module that will monitor one appliance at a time.   So why do we need an £11bn govt project to do this for us?   The claim ‘smart meters do not cost anything’ is obviously as total lie.    They’re going to take that £11bn from the tax pot which will cost the UK taxpayer!   For the estimated 50 million smart meters they want to roll out it works out at £220 per meter!   Seriously, NO!

Next you have the elephant in the room… the savings.   A claimed £17bn saving in energy bills.   No details of the period of that saving or exactly how the energy will actually be saved.   The initial energy usage reduction is pretty binary as you make the easy cheap switches.   People are not suddenly going to go out and buy new TVs, fridges, washing machines, boilers etc..   This will happen through natural replacement and most people are clever enough to buy something more energy efficient than the item being replaced.   Also most new appliances are going to use less energy by default.   So this will happen with or without smart meters.

A better solution would be to offer energy surveys of your house.   Get someone to visit with an energy meter and show people where they can make the savings.   Much simpler and much cheaper!

And the final nails in the smart meter coffin?   Well for starters they need mobile phone signal to work.   No signal, no worky!   Puts the kibosh on lots of locations.   Also with all that electronics (meter plus the fancy backlit display) where does that energy come from?   Being conservative and assuming each meter and display combo takes 2W, that is 100,000,000W added to the grid!   That is 876GWh added to the UK energy usage.   The proposed Swansea tidal barrage is estimated to produce 495GWh per year.   Heck, we’ve not even covered the usage by smart meters!   Why is this not ringing alarm bells?



Yes, its facepalm time again.