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Nissan Leaf 24 2014
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Asking as we are in a very poor reception area (lucky if we can get a mobile phone signal, plus some of our neighbours tried to get a smart meter with no success).

Is it necessary / compulsory? Strikes me it's not, but I cannot find a definitive answer.
 

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No indication that smart metering is going to be made compulsory any time soon. There are some reasons for this, including overcoming the challenges of those living in not spots, where even the mesh won't work to get their signal out and onwards to the DCC. There are also some (like us) that prefer to remain on a standard off-peak tariff, like Economy 7, as for us that works very well, and is still cheaper than any of the available smart tariffs. The chances are that E7 will cease to be available with a smart meter installation before too long, as the push is to get people on to the more profitable variable rate tariffs (which is largely what's been driving smart meter roll out for the past few years). It's been interesting seeing the change in priorities with suppliers, from the original drive that was to allow remotely controlled load shedding in the domestic sector (all smart meters include a remote supply disconnect capability) to the emphasis on variable rate tariffs. The latter can be fiendishly difficult to compare, I found. I had to use a couple of years worth of usage data, that I'd collected every 6 minutes and logged, to be able to see whether any variable rate tariff offered a true saving. So far none have.
 

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Nissan Leaf 24 2014
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
No indication that smart metering is going to be made compulsory any time soon. There are some reasons for this, including overcoming the challenges of those living in not spots, where even the mesh won't work to get their signal out and onwards to the DCC. There are also some (like us) that prefer to remain on a standard off-peak tariff, like Economy 7, as for us that works very well, and is still cheaper than any of the available smart tariffs. The chances are that E7 will cease to be available with a smart meter installation before too long, as the push is to get people on to the more profitable variable rate tariffs (which is largely what's been driving smart meter roll out for the past few years). It's been interesting seeing the change in priorities with suppliers, from the original drive that was to allow remotely controlled load shedding in the domestic sector (all smart meters include a remote supply disconnect capability) to the emphasis on variable rate tariffs. The latter can be fiendishly difficult to compare, I found. I had to use a couple of years worth of usage data, that I'd collected every 6 minutes and logged, to be able to see whether any variable rate tariff offered a true saving. So far none have.
Yes, sounds a lot like 'cloud' offerings in I.T. where there's no actual way to work things out.
 

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Hyundai Ioniq 38
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Yes, sounds a lot like 'cloud' offerings in I.T. where there's no actual way to work things out.
They can use the unlicensed and licensed bands in a technology called LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Networks) to get the information out to a hub which then sends the data to the centralised service, the hub usually uses Microwave Radio Technology as the meters dont need a lot of bandwidth and only send data in small packets. and where mobile is used it uses a non network specific IOT Sim Card and sends by 2G
 

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Zoe ZE50 GTline CCS
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No indication that smart metering is going to be made compulsory any time soon. There are some reasons for this, including overcoming the challenges of those living in not spots, where even the mesh won't work to get their signal out and onwards to the DCC. There are also some (like us) that prefer to remain on a standard off-peak tariff, like Economy 7, as for us that works very well, and is still cheaper than any of the available smart tariffs. The chances are that E7 will cease to be available with a smart meter installation before too long, as the push is to get people on to the more profitable variable rate tariffs (which is largely what's been driving smart meter roll out for the past few years). It's been interesting seeing the change in priorities with suppliers, from the original drive that was to allow remotely controlled load shedding in the domestic sector (all smart meters include a remote supply disconnect capability) to the emphasis on variable rate tariffs. The latter can be fiendishly difficult to compare, I found. I had to use a couple of years worth of usage data, that I'd collected every 6 minutes and logged, to be able to see whether any variable rate tariff offered a true saving. So far none have.
I am supplied by Shell Energy and on a economy 7 tariff. They have been sending me emails and have even called last week to ask if I want to have smart meters installed for Economy 7 which they support. Even stating that the meter would record E7 usage from 00.30 till 07.30.
I turned them down, atm I'll stick to my old dumb meters.
They are not compulsory.
 

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Hyundai Ioniq 28
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There is no compulsion (yet) to have a smart meter installed. Just a lot of pressure and misinformation about the benefits coupled with inducements from power suppliers who offer apparently unbeatable tariffs if you comply. These companies are desperate to avoid paying meter readers and many require you to phone or web in the readings monthly so they use that inconvenience to push a smarty on you.

In a situation where getting a signal to the mothership is difficult then the option to change is usually moot as it will serve no purpose anyway.
 

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Nissan Leaf 24 2014
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
There is no compulsion (yet) to have a smart meter installed. Just a lot of pressure and misinformation about the benefits coupled with inducements from power suppliers who offer apparently unbeatable tariffs if you comply. These companies are desperate to avoid paying meter readers and many require you to phone or web in the readings monthly so they use that inconvenience to push a smarty on you.

In a situation where getting a signal to the mothership is difficult then the option to change is usually moot as it will serve no purpose anyway.
Ah yes, we've had the 'we were unable to read your meter' bollocks. It's in the same place as for the last 40 years, in a box on the wall outside in clear view. They are unable to read it because they never send any bugger out. Grr. Kids these days. Get orf my lawn, mutter mutter.
 

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On this topic, I recently had a highly unusual chain of events. Some years ago a previous company fitted a SMETS1 meter which, of course, failed to work when I changed supplies soon after that. Early in June this year I again changed electricity provider and the deal was that I would send in monthly readings. However, on the 2nd Aug I rec'd a phone call in the car at 3 pm from the new company asking if they could fit a SMETS 2 meter so that I wouldn't be pestered with the need to read the meter again. Bearing in mind that at some stage I might need that kind of meter such as if an Octopus tariff became beneficial, I agree. He then said would tomorrow morning be OK. Err yup. We will be there at 8 am then he said. And by 9 am on the 3rd it was fitted. 18 hours from start to finish. Is that some kind of record?
 

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Is it necessary / compulsory? Strikes me it's not, but I cannot find a definitive answer.
If you fit new solar panels and want SEG, if is necessary, the regulations allow companies other options which they seem to refuse. However a smart meter which does not connect is OK, as it will act as an export meter.
 

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We had an interesting experience getting an Economy 7 meter fitted. We were put under pressure to have a smart meter instead, and the person on the phone just ignored me when I suggested that one wouldn't work here, as there's no mobile signal and we're too far away from neighbours for the mesh to be use to piggy back a signal up the hill to where a meter could get a signal back to DCC. The company were adamant that they had to fit a smart meter, as it was a "legal requirement". I told them they were wrong, and to just fit an E7 meter.

Meter fitter turned up, and as he got out of his van he was already complaining. Apparently we were the second or third visit he'd made that day to fit smart meters, and he'd repeatedly told his boss that it was pointless, as he knows the area well and knows that we'd not get one to be able to connect. I was about to send him on his way, when he said he'd taken the precaution of loading a standard E7 meter in the van, and would we like that fitted instead? When I told him that we'd wanted an E7 meter in the first place, and told his head office this, he launched into a long tirade about what a bunch of numpties they were (he didn't use the word "numpties").

For us, E7 is still cheaper than any other tariff, although I've had to switch suppliers in order to still get a cost effective E7 tariff. Our problem is that we really need 6 or 7 hours of off-peak electricity, the very short off-peak period for tariffs like Go just aren't long enough to charge our storage heating system up in cold weather. Also useful to have 7 hours to charge the car every now and again, as even 7 hours is still only around 60% of a full charge, so if we've come back from a long trip it'll take two nights to top the battery up again. If we had go, it would be three, maybe four, nights to recharge.
 

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Heh, well, I guess I won't be using them, then. Thanks.
Some tariffs need a fully working SmartMeter. Octopus Agile, which takes a reading every half hour is one of them.

But even Octopus do not require a smart meter. They won't let you sign up for Agile or Go Faster, but they do have other tariffs.
 

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If you fit new solar panels and want SEG, if is necessary, the regulations allow companies other options which they seem to refuse. However a smart meter which does not connect is OK, as it will act as an export meter.
As we have just found. Solar installation in March, SMETS2 meter went in 7 weeks ago, and I don't think the meter has ever achieved radio communication with Octopus, so we are reading the meters and manually sending the readings online. Last week they registered £16 of export payment due.
 

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If you've got an old electricity or gas meter, then they are only certified to retain calibration for a number of years (decades, not years). Your supplier will eventually want you to get a new meter fitted to make sure that your readings are accurate. By default, any new meter installs will be smart meters, but they don't have to be. If you are in an area with no known network coverage on any network for instance, then it'll be difficult for the installer to commision a smart meter properly and readings would still have to be taken manually. It's possible to have a non-smart meter installed, but it's rare for a provider to want to do that.
If you don't have a smart meter installed, expect the onus on providing regular meter readings to be on yourself, with the random spot-checks from a meter reading person getting further and further apart. If you don't provide accurate meter readings on a regular basis, expect a shock bill at some point.
For the UK, half of the country has some bespoke radio network, and half (the south) uses a roaming 2G SIM (so just because you have no mobile signal, doesn't mean the other networks won't).
 

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On the meter reader thing, not sure how true this is, but I mentioned to the meter reader chap that smart meters would do him out of a job. He grinned and said they made no difference at all, as there's a legal requirement to manually inspect and read them every year, and this applies to smart meters just as it does to any other meter.
 

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I had a faulty SMETS meter replaced in January: a few months ago I had a visit from an Octopus employee as I think they'd recorded the wrong meter against my MPAN. Then I had a call from a Morrisons meter reader and then most recently one (or is it two..) from a Lowri Beck reader, so employment prospects don't seem to be in that much decline!

Over 40 years ago I had some experience with metering from the administrative side, but those days it was all in house within the DNO, and the MR/Inspectors were much more on the ball with regard to meter tampering and revenue protection.

I've no issue with having a Smart reader but it does help to be more aware of your usage and usage patterns and some of the potential implications. Having PV panels helps me use it for my personal benefit, and the potential for load shedding doesn't worry me particularly.
 

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Asking as we are in a very poor reception area (lucky if we can get a mobile phone signal, plus some of our neighbours tried to get a smart meter with no success).

Is it necessary / compulsory? Strikes me it's not, but I cannot find a definitive answer.
Not all smart meters use the cellular data network.


UK Electricity and Gas Smart Metering and scroll down to Wide Area Network.
 

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Hyundai Ioniq 38
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Not all smart meters use the cellular data network.


UK Electricity and Gas Smart Metering and scroll down to Wide Area Network.

As i said it LPWAN's such as LoRa and SIGFOX,as as well as LTE-M and NB-IoT technologies as they all provide high latency, low bandwidth networks all linked to a DCC...

Its an interesting sphere of WAN's and something i have studied recently at Uni:)

Apologies for been Geeky
 

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Easy enough to look at the mesh connectivity, where meters that are out of range of the WAN just piggyback along the meter-to-meter mesh until they reach a meter that does have WAN connectivity. The mesh seems to use Zigbee on either 2.4GHz (the lower WiFi band) or 868MHz around here, not sure what's used up north in LRR land, though. There's lots of 2.4 GHz Zigbee mesh signals floating around locally, but the signal strengths all seem right down in the weeds, typically around -80dBm when I've scanned around with a 14 dBi panel antenna, so presumably too close to the noise floor for the ~2dBi omni antennas the meters use to be able to pull out a viable signal. Maybe if they used LORA for the mesh connections they might be able to work a fair bit better.

Not sure why they didn't opt to make the whole WAN the same as the LRR, as that has a significantly better chance of being able to connect to to areas with poor, or no, higher frequency mobile coverage, due to the much lower frequencies used. Even in the areas locally where we can get a mobile signal it's only ever operators that use the 800MHz - 900MHz bands that work, the higher frequency bands just don't have the penetration needed to be able to cope with the terrain and get signals down into valleys.
 
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