They are the precursor the the Smart Grid.
Which is about encouraging/discouraging people to use electctricity are
certain times by charging more/less.
ie, when there is plenty of electricity, it will be cheap.
When there is a dearth, it will be expensive.
Opportunity for the well informed to save money.
Also they will conrol power exported from domestic PV panels/other renewable
It's comng whether you like it or not.
Everyone will have one.
I have many times asked EDF if they know if the software to look at them
from a computer is accessible to the blind user, and they seem not to know.
Just another case of being clueless and in the end leaving themselves open
to action under the Eequalities act I suspect.
From the Sofa of Brian Gaff Reply address is active
"harryagain" < email@example.com> wrote in message
It's not just your Samsung Smart TV that ought to give you cause for
...Professor Ross Anderson of Cambridge University Computer
Laboratories has been banging on about smart meters for years. Read
..and anywhere else a google search on Ross Anderson Smart Meter may
Thanks. Anderson sounds a bit tinfoil hat brigade to me. So how exactly
do they communicate? And more to the point, is there some sort of
"off-switch" which makes them dumb?
I can see the logic and potential cost saving of automated meter
reading. I'm not *that* bothered about having the display, although I
suppose it could be useful.
If part of the driver is to set up houses so that "payment defaulters
can be switched off at will" then I guess I am a bit more uneasy. Not
that I am ever likely to be a payment defaulter, but if that capability
does exist one could be a victim of organisational error or, at a pinch,
You could not be more wrong. He is an excellent computer scientist and
his lab has previously demonstrated major cryptographic flaws in PINs,
3D secure and Oyster so what he says needs to be taken seriously.
The ability to read the meter is fairly harmless. But the ability to for
example disconnect supply creates a strategic vulnerability.
It is that latter possibility with hostile nation state players doing it
that bothers him. He is definitely not tin foil hat brigade...
Indeed, he has done research on quite a number of significant security
Even Bruce recommends him:
For another take:
Do you also want to hand your supplier the ability to "manage demand" by
turning you off?
Never mind you having the ability - what about if an outsider has it
also? Your electricity usage patterns reveal all kinds of information
about your lifestyle, including when the house is occupied or not.
That article gets off to a poor start in the third paragraph where it says:
"... Energy meters show which appliances use the most electricity so
that you can plan energy use effectively. Because of the different ways
that appliances use electricity, such data could, for example, reveal
whether you use medical devices or baby monitors, or even show the TV
programme you're watching. And obviously, it can give information on
when you're in or out, or track when you toilet light goes on. So,
technically, it might know when you are on the loo."
So smart meters have magical telepathic powers.
Though I think only some of the later sections of that article refer to
Now that is much more relevant - and scary
In section B. - "Prepayment" we have:
"Britain’s Department of
Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has decided that meter
communications will be centralised at a government head-end
and then relayed to the utilities. DECC will be able to
monitor use, set targets, and even enforce power cuts on a
Given the government's proven incompetence with IT systems that provides
the hackers with a great incentive to try to break in to the single
In section E. - "Possible application architecture" there's reference to
the possibility of complex non linear tariffs such as for example “15p
per kWh from 6pm to 9pm weekdays up to a 2kW limit, then 50p per kWh”.
We could end up with a charging system as complex as that used for
calling 08xx phone numbers with no idea what the cost of running an
appliance at any particular time would be. For example I could turn on
the washing machine and dishwasher at a time when the meter displays a
low tariff but by the time the heater cuts in we could be in a high
tariff slot and might have gone over the threshold load for even higher
Taken to extremes the variable tariffs could become dynamic and increase
every time the wind drops or the weather goes cloudy.
Until we all end up with lots of smart appliances that can communicate
with the meter we'd need to keep running round turning things on and off
to match the peaks and troughs in the tariff.
My attitude would be to avoid having a smart meter for as long as I could.
These sorts of comments are based on an ability to do a waveform
analysis (of your total consumption) and pick out the components using
fairly basic digital filtering methods.
For example, if you see a 2kW spike that lasts around 90 seconds, you
can hypothesise that it's an electric kettle or a toaster. And if it
happens during Coronation Street advertising breaks, more likely the
latter (and will also correlate fairly well with watching ITV).
Other appliances will have their own characteristic components.
The TV programme thing is also related to being able to filter out a
pattern where the power consumption of the TV varies with the brightness
of the picture, and seeing if any of the contemporaneously broadcast TV
channels has a likely candidate.
What I'm not convinced about, however, is whether the smart meter in
your house [one of which was shown on Breakfast TV this morning] can use
those sorts of techniques to tell you how much power your deep freeze is
using (you'd need quite an impressive user interface - and they just
seem to have a few buttons and a small LCD display).
Meanwhile, one of the hiccups with the scheme is apparently that telling
people what the cost of their consumption is *now* [I have had a
clamp-on meter for that for over five years now] results in them using
*more* electricity not less.
For example mine is telling me that my current consumption [the
background on a Saturday mid-morning] is ~600W at a cost of £1.77/day.
That's very little incentive to go round switching off lights just to
save the odd 20p.
Although when the next bill comes in, at typically £250/*quarter* then
it's possible I'll think about how I might get that down by £50.
Yes but this would require continuous real time analysis, probably too
complex for a design that just sends power usage for each 30 minute period.
These variations will be very small compared to total usage by
everything else in the house. I doubt if smart meters will have that
sort of computing power. And likely to be unable to sort out what's
happening if 2 TV's are in use in the house at the same time with people
watching different channels.
And as to the claim "track when you toilet light goes on" - it's going
to be a very smart meter to know the difference between the light in the
toilet and any other light in the house.
That would probably depend the use of smart devices capable of talking
to the meter.
Exactly. instantaneous values are pretty well useless for overall cost
Yes, it requires the power usage to be transmitted much more often than
Every radio receiver is picking up programmes which are very small
compared to the total RF arriving on their aerial.
Me too. This is something which I think has to be done centrally.
That's no different to a radio being able to tune into either of two
There's probably some journalist licence there. It could of course be
just as likely as the light in the cupboard under the stairs, assuming
you visit that briefly several times a day.
Hmm, they appear to be promising this data without me having to upgrade
They are quite useful (eg my quarterly bill is fairly consistently about
twice the displayed cost of my base load), it's just that telling
someone how much it's costing for *today's* consumption gives such a low
figure they are likely to think "so what".
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