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Smart meters data - interesting article


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This has some interesting information about smart meter data and the arguments about its use. What do people think?

https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/bills/article-6899429/amp/Energy-companies-soon-able-access-smart-meter-data.html
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Best answer by DutchCaerleon 14 May 2019, 03:21

I decided to invest in a smart meter that’s independent from any energy supplier which gives me all the benefits of a smart meter without having concerns about what third parties do with the data. The devices connect wirelessly to a gateway hooked up to my router. It gives me real time readings and historical consumption data, via an app and a web portal with nice graphs, from where I can also download the data hourly or per day and import into my spreadsheets, set budget alerts and get recommendations on better tariffs based on my consumption. Weekly and monthly reports by email too. I know the data is processed only for the purpose of delivering the reports and to receive tariff comparisons. I paid a one-off £70 which works out £7 per year over the estimated 10 year battery life... and no worries about data being shared with third parties or compatibility when I switch suppliers (which I am not planning because PP is great!! Also, my smart meter tariff comparison tool does show a few cheaper plans, but the saving is not enough to make me want to switch.) happy days
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This is a bit concerning...especially the bit about our data being made available to 3rd parties.
I hope this is not happening now to those of us who are in the trial.
I can't remember giving my permission.

Marc/Nataly?
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I Just don't see the need for a smart metre.
But that's me and there are good and specific reasons to have one installed.

Another piece of equipment that could fail.
Smets 1 was a failed industry strategy and smets 2 is far from proven on several fronts.

I like tech, but more home gadgets with ongoing software updates, linked to security back door vulnerability does not appeal until the evidence stacks up.
Best to sit back and watch!
Angelabikerbabe;29213:
This is a bit concerning...especially the bit about our data being made available to 3rd parties.
I hope this is not happening now to those of us who are in the trial.
I can't remember giving my permission.

Marc/Nataly?


Hi @Angelabikerbabe
Third parties would only include bodies such as Ofgem, and even then the data wouldn't be specific to individuals. It's data such as 'how many members do you have with smart meters' which we have to report.
The kind of third party which would want an individual's data is a law enforcement agency. I imagine there would be a court order for that issued to us. Perhaps a crime agency (as I believe the police are called nowadays!) who believed some naughty person was growing dodgy weeds in their basement and might be interested in electricity usage.
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This does seem to be more of a scare story, at the end of the day what can any one find out from my meter?
Name, address, size of my bill.
When the day arrives where i swipe my credit card through the meter in order to pay the bill or top up my credit then yes i would be worried. Nothing yet available that google cannot already tell anybody about me.
If you really want to worry how about people getting your info. your mortgage details what bank you owe the money too, name address and all property details. For a mere £3 from land registry website.
Look up your posh neighbours and see how big a hole debt wise they are in.
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Marc;29222:
Hi @Angelabikerbabe
Third parties would only include bodies such as Ofgem, and even then the data wouldn't be specific to individuals. It's data such as 'how many members do you have with smart meters' which we have to report.
The kind of third party which would want an individual's data is a law enforcement agency. I imagine there would be a court order for that issued to us. Perhaps a crime agency (as I believe the police are called nowadays!) who believed some naughty person was growing dodgy weeds in their basement and might be interested in electricity usage.


Hi @Marc, the point about naughty persons growing dodgy weeds in the basement wouldn't apply. From the numerous police programs I have watched these persons bypass the meter anyway, so that information wouldn't be available
Duppy;29229:
Hi @Marc, the point about naughty persons growing dodgy weeds in the basement wouldn't apply. From the numerous police programs I have watched these persons bypass the meter anyway, so that information wouldn't be available


You're probably right @Duppy I've no idea! It's just an example of the kind of 3rd party who can request info about smart meter use. Maybe it would fall under a fraud agency (depends on the number of plants I suppose!)
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Marc;29222:
Hi @Angelabikerbabe
Third parties would only include bodies such as Ofgem, and even then the data wouldn't be specific to individuals. It's data such as 'how many members do you have with smart meters' which we have to report.
The kind of third party which would want an individual's data is a law enforcement agency. I imagine there would be a court order for that issued to us. Perhaps a crime agency (as I believe the police are called nowadays!) who believed some naughty person was growing dodgy weeds in their basement and might be interested in electricity usage.


Thanks Marc 🆙
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There should be an opt-in with the DCC meaning you can separately give your existing supplier permission to access the data but unless you agree all other 3rd parties are automatically excluded.
(is this possible? A supplier registered with the DCC trawling the data looking for high energy users and cherry-picking them?)
Under GDPR you can opt out of things which aren't integral to the service being provided. Sharing data with regulators, crime agencies and other mandatory third parties are requirements that all service providers must comply with. Thus, you would be unable to opt out regardless of the energy provider you are signed up with.
I decided to invest in a smart meter that’s independent from any energy supplier which gives me all the benefits of a smart meter without having concerns about what third parties do with the data. The devices connect wirelessly to a gateway hooked up to my router. It gives me real time readings and historical consumption data, via an app and a web portal with nice graphs, from where I can also download the data hourly or per day and import into my spreadsheets, set budget alerts and get recommendations on better tariffs based on my consumption. Weekly and monthly reports by email too. I know the data is processed only for the purpose of delivering the reports and to receive tariff comparisons. I paid a one-off £70 which works out £7 per year over the estimated 10 year battery life... and no worries about data being shared with third parties or compatibility when I switch suppliers (which I am not planning because PP is great!! Also, my smart meter tariff comparison tool does show a few cheaper plans, but the saving is not enough to make me want to switch.) happy days
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Impressive research DutchCaerleon, I wasn’t aware of independent smart meter availability.
​Thank you.
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hi Dutch
Are you able to post any more info on what you've fitted? I'm sure there are quite a few in the community who would be interested.

DutchCaerleon;29283:
I decided to invest in a smart meter that’s independent from any energy supplier which gives me all the benefits of a smart meter without having concerns about what third parties do with the data. The devices connect wirelessly to a gateway hooked up to my router. It gives me real time readings and historical consumption data, via an app and a web portal with nice graphs, from where I can also download the data hourly or per day and import into my spreadsheets, set budget alerts and get recommendations on better tariffs based on my consumption. Weekly and monthly reports by email too. I know the data is processed only for the purpose of delivering the reports and to receive tariff comparisons. I paid a one-off £70 which works out £7 per year over the estimated 10 year battery life... and no worries about data being shared with third parties or compatibility when I switch suppliers (which I am not planning because PP is great!! Also, my smart meter tariff comparison tool does show a few cheaper plans, but the saving is not enough to make me want to switch.) happy days
woz;29302:
hi Dutch Are you able to post any more info on what you've fitted? I'm sure there are quite a few in the community who would be interested. ​


Hi Woz,
sure. The smart monitor I decided on is called Loop Energy Saver, only available from https://amzn.to/2LFJXIM . I was looking for something that did both gas and electric reporting via app/web, and I wanted to be able to extract the data in a format for my spreadsheet. There are a few monitors on the market, but I liked the features Loop Energy offers, and the company has implied potentially adding IFTTT integration and API as part of a product roadmap and is interested in user feedback on new features. I like that it integrates with uswitch and monitors the market for the best energy deals. When PP changed its gas unit rate, Loop Energy instantly updated my tariff details. You can buy it just for gas or just electricity, but I have bought both monitors. It doesn’t work with solar.

Installation was straightforward, and the instructions are very clear. The gateway plugs in with an Ethernet cable in your router and has a power adapter; the two monitors communicate wirelessly with the gateway and have a 10 year non-replaceable battery. The Electricity monitor works with the standard clamp, and gas consumption is measured by monitoring rotations on my R5 meter, so you fit a sensor on the rotating clock. I had to adjust the sensor once to improve accuracy, and customer services was fast and very helpful with accurate instructions. The deviation is insignificant.

It’s worth pointing out that the electricity device is a monitor not a meter, hence it will allow tracking your usage, but does not replace any supplier fitted meter readings. Installed accuracy can vary as the device does not measure voltage or power factor. I remember reading that only a monitoring device with a sensor that records the electric meter flashes can mimics meter readings; the Look Energy device uses a clamp.

Anyway, I’m sure you do it anyway, before buying read the Amazon reviews from other users, read the faq on their website loopenergysaver.com but also feel free to ask me any questions and I’ll answer them as best I can.

Just also wanted to say, while Loop energy saver is good, there are some things that I think they could improve on, such as providing the gas unit readings, the ‘raw’ data. Loop saver offers kwh, CO2 equivalent and £, but it would be good to have the ft3 unit readings as an additional dataset. The other thing is that it would be an improvement to upgrade the electricity monitor with a red flash sensor, so the electricity monitor shows meter readings.


As someone interested in calculating the energy efficiency of my house (so I can more accurately calculate gas usage over years and offset variations between mild and extremely cold winters) I would also prefer to have a direct heating days dataset option alongside the local ambient weather temperature which loop energy saver uses.


But I realise those features may be a bit niche. ...
Hi Dutch, these are monitors not smart meters, so maybe worth their own thread? Clip on electricity monitors are usually pretty inaccurate the lower the consumption. Have you compared the readings you're getting with your meters?

In my experience, once you've solved your greedy items (lightbulb, old white goods, etc), consumption levels out, becomes entirely predictable and monitoring becomes boring. All you can do then (for free) is keep entering the same data in comparison sites.

Fit solar panels and a power wall and there'll be no need to shop around!

- - - Updated - - -

The article didn't tell me anything I didn't know already, but then as a software engineer I was at a smart metering conference probably a decade ago where it was depressing to see energy industry dinosaurs unable to comprehend where smart metering would take us - dynamic supplier relationships, switching during the night to get a "buy one get one free deal" to charge the car, etc.

The industry always appeared to struggle with one or two meter readings a year, never mind 48 a day. Hence, a decade on it hasn't happened.

In ignorance or stupidity the government pushed energy saving as the justification for smart meters, but with led bulbs, A+++ white goods and TVs using 0.1W in standby, we've already made the big savings so there's very little left for IHDs to do in that department.

As well as the ability to switch suppliers by the hour, I see a future where you'll get a kickback for allowing the generators to store power in your car during the evening before dishing it out to your neighbours during the Corrie ad break. You'll simply set the drive away time you need the car topped up. The only downside with that idea is that if we all do it the cables under the pavement will melt!

So if a supplier is going to offer me a good deal, it's worth allowing them to read my meter. That said, once I get back to owning a property again, I'll be panelled up and kitted out with batteries and would hope to be a net exporter.
talldave;29352:
Hi Dutch, these are monitors not smart meters, so maybe worth their own thread? Clip on electricity monitors are usually pretty inaccurate the lower the consumption. Have you compared the readings you're getting with your meters?

In my experience, once you've solved your greedy items (lightbulb, old white goods, etc), consumption levels out, becomes entirely predictable and monitoring becomes boring. All you can do then (for free) is keep entering the same data in comparison sites.

Fit solar panels and a power wall and there'll be no need to shop around!

- - - Updated - - -

The article didn't tell me anything I didn't know already, but then as a software engineer I was at a smart metering conference probably a decade ago where it was depressing to see energy industry dinosaurs unable to comprehend where smart metering would take us - dynamic supplier relationships, switching during the night to get a "buy one get one free deal" to charge the car, etc.

The industry always appeared to struggle with one or two meter readings a year, never mind 48 a day. Hence, a decade on it hasn't happened.

In ignorance or stupidity the government pushed energy saving as the justification for smart meters, but with led bulbs, A+++ white goods and TVs using 0.1W in standby, we've already made the big savings so there's very little left for IHDs to do in that department.

As well as the ability to switch suppliers by the hour, I see a future where you'll get a kickback for allowing the generators to store power in your car during the evening before dishing it out to your neighbours during the Corrie ad break. You'll simply set the drive away time you need the car topped up. The only downside with that idea is that if we all do it the cables under the pavement will melt!

So if a supplier is going to offer me a good deal, it's worth allowing them to read my meter. That said, once I get back to owning a property again, I'll be panelled up and kitted out with batteries and would hope to be a net exporter.


Hi Tall Dave, thanks for this. Yes, you’re right, it’s gas and electricity monitor but a pretty good one, and certainly well enough for my needs.


As far as I’m concerned, the consumer USP for smart meters is that they create insight, allow greater scrutiny, and if consumers act on that knowledge, some savings could be achieved. This is what Loop energy saver does exceptionally well and much better than some of the smart energy meters I’ve seen. However, it doesn’t do away with the need to give readings to energy suppliers and the current version of the electricity monitor could be improved.


I did a test on both gas and electricity monitor over one month, and electricity was surprisingly close to the meter reading, and the gas reading was pretty much spot on. I keep monitoring for differences and see if any deviation is more or less constant I will incorporate an offset value. I did look for a system with an optical led pulse sensor, but haven’t found something that comes close to Loop energy saver, apart from the emonpi/ open energy monitoring system which has an optical pulse led sensor. It currently doesn’t do gas monitoring, which is what Loop Energy saver does well and what I definitely want - Plus I didn’t want to take on another open source project. I hope that energy saver as a company will develop their technology and incorporate a led pulse sensor in due course.


I think innovation is changing many things in life, and you only need to see what sense and neurio are doing in the US in terms of energy monitoring. One energy provider in the U.K. has already introduced a plan that allows customers to benefit from half-hourly pricing and make use of ifttt, which is great if you have an EV and enough electrical appliances/white goods with high energy consumption that can be time-shift to the cheapest pricing.
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Another interesting article about smart meters!
https://www.bbc.com/news/business-48266605
Enjoy!!
Stephen
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Thanks for the detailed share (or should that be going Dutch)
This really bugs me and really does not help the struggling image of the smart meter rollout. I read the article some time ago and it is filled with holes, misinformation and scaremongering.

For clarity - the supplier is responsible for installing the smart meter and responsible for asking the appropriate consent from the customer to obtain such data. If there is no consent they cannot obtain anything more than a monthly reading; it is not possible to stop the meter sending at least 1 reading per month.

As a qualified user of smart metering a supplier has to be signed up to the Smart Energy Code which includes a stringent Privacy Framework with regular audits. They cannot do anything with your data without you consenting to it.

Also, the meter does not provide readings every 30 minutes as that would flood the network. It records consumption in half hour periods (48 in a day) and the supplier, with your consent, can receive this data in a daily, weekly or monthly download direct from the meter.

Please, if anyone has concerns about smart metering do not read everything you see in articles as it's so badly managed right now it is likely to be false. You know where I am if you need the real facts.

MrSmart
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Thanks Mr Smart even though I'm going to sit back and ponder, I find your posts on this topic always informative.

Cheers
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hi MrSmart
Just donning my flak jacket and hard hat for this one.

Given the cac-handed way that the SM project has been mismanaged to the tune of £ millions of wasted taxpayers money, it's not hard to see why "The struggling image of the Smart Meter rollout" is well deserved. The press don't really need to do much to fuel it.

You may well have to give permission to the supplier, and you can audit as much as you like, but some people have concerns about where their data is going and what it's going to be used for. As far as I'm aware, and I haven't had the pleasure of reading one of the permission forms yet to see who it covers, (perhaps you have a sample?), the data first goes to the DCC which is privately run by the Capita group, before it then goes off to either Arquiva ( who run lots of TV transmitters) or Telefonica (Spanish owned mobile phones and data communications - think O2), before it reaches energy suppliers or other "authorised" parties.

As far as the every 30 minutes part is concerned, I don't really see what difference it makes to the argument as to whether they are measuring how much you use in 30 minutes or providing a reading of the previous 30 mins consumption. I agree the DM story sensationalised it, but hey, that's what you expect from the DM.

I also agree that the article didn't ask the question "What's the point of having a smart meter if you aren't going to allow the data to be used?"

I think the question that's not being addressed in the press is, having rolled out this multi-million pound project, who will benefit? (Assuming it ever works properly)
The initial benefit is that people won't have to provide meter readings, but then they didn't have to provide them in the first place, a dodgy looking bloke (maybe there are blokesses too?) used to turn up and read the meter (or rob you depending on whether they were genuine), so perhaps a bit of a benefit there but not for the dodgy looking blokes who lost their jobs.

Beneficial tariffs based on data? Maybe...one day...

Smart meters do not provide the only data available to the grid in real-time, they just enable finer parsing of the data.

If the data were easily available to the consumer and could be integrated with IFTTT or similar, then there is a whole raft of possibilities...

So in answer to your buggedness, chill and de-bug - I don't see the project being scrapped (yet), you're safe for now.
There are blokesses! One came to read the meters at the last property I was at. The meter was 3 floors down in the car park. It hadn't occurred to me that she was rather petite and the meter was rather high. Consequently, we ended up with a Morcambe & Wise reading with all the right digits but not necessarily in the right order!

It was a major task to convince the supplier that a mistake had been made, even though the apparent consumption was extreme compared to normal usage. In the end I had to supply my Excel spreadsheet of a couple of years worth of weekly readings before they would believe me.

So roll on smart meters, even though I am yet to be convinced that the energy companies are in any way capable of dealing with the data.

Having moved my gas to SSE this week, I await the SMETS2 meters my tariff obliges me to have with interest!
Strutt G;29527:
Thanks Mr Smart even though I'm going to sit back and ponder, I find your posts on this topic always informative.

Cheers


You're most welcome Strutt - that's what I'm here for!
@woz
I don't disagree - the SMIP is in a predicament at the moment and the industry hasn't thought everything through; it's been delayed time and time again to the point now that no one's really that bothered. However, some of the information being put out there to make things worse doesn't help and for those of us on the front line (to continue your 'war' theme 😉 ) it just irks us - I'm always chill so no worries on that front.

There are some good benefits to the industry and I think that, really, is where the true importance lies but Smart Energy GB have focused too much on "you don't have to take a meter reading anymore" which no one's really bothered about. The meters being able to alert when it has gone off supply or it's being tampered with should help the networks plan capacity and outages a bit better and who knows; when we're all forced to be on electric vehicles, smart meters will allow us to save a bunch more by them automatically charging at the right time (because the meter has told the EV when to activate).

It's all good debate 🙂 and I'm just here to provide the inside scoop/facts
MrSmart;29546:
It's all good debate 🙂 and I'm just here to provide the inside scoop/facts

It's all interesting stuff, but the consumer facing messaging is difficult.

I find the new stuff fascinating. Imagine when every outlet on the network is smart metered; you can compare what's going in with what's going out - maybe regionally - and see what the losses in the network are. For gas that could lead to more intelligent leak detection.

And the ability to buy energy from different suppliers to charge EVs sounds exciting. But I'm a geek so it's probably just me!
> Hi Dutch, these are monitors not smart meters, so maybe worth their own thread? Clip on electricity monitors
> are usually pretty inaccurate the lower the consumption. Have you compared the readings you're getting with
> your meters?

@Marc
Feel free to move this to a new thread as suggested.

@DutchCaerleon
As Mentioned by @talldave this is an energy monitor rather than a smart meter although that does not make it a bad thing. See - https://www.loopenergysaver.com/

Here are some points on this topic.

The traditional device provided with a Smart Meter is an IHD - In Home Display. This can display near real time usage on a display and (not yet having one) might show some historical data. Typically these devices give no other access.

It is less known but equally possible to get a CAD - Consumer Access Device. This uses the same technology as an IHD and indeed some devices do both roles. However a CAD makes it possible to access this data either via a cloud service or locally in the home. The CAD might be for example linked to an existing smart home platform like Samsung Smartthings.

Apparently the IHD provided by PurePlanet as part of their test SMETS2 rollout is a Geo Together Trio II Touch Button. Which is an IHD but can in theory also act as a CAD. (It needs an optional WiFi module to do this.)

It is in theory possible to buy your own CAD device. The smart meters, IHD and CAD devices all talk to either other using the Zigbee wireless standard.

IHD and CAD devices should be considered as part of the smart meter family.

Energy Monitoring devices work differently. These typically work by using a clamp on the main electrical cable to measure power consumption and an optical sensor to watch the numbers changing on the gas meter. The product mentioned by Dutch is one of this type.

There are some other similar Energy Monitoring products like this worth mentioning.

There is the 'Smappee' range. See - https://www.smappee.com/be_en/homepage
And there is the 'Sense' range. See - https://sense.com/

Smappee have monitors for Electricity, Gas and even Water. It also has the option of monitoring solar panel energy output. It claims to be able to detect individual appliances and extract their individual power consumption. This latter aspect is not however fool proof or complete.

Sense only seem to have an electricity monitor but they also claim to be able to identify the consumption of individual appliances and claim to have smart algorithms to do this. Last I checked Sense did not support Europe.

Smappee looks an interesting option especially if you have solar panels. I would regard their claims of appliance level monitoring however as only a bonus and should not be regarded as the main reason to purchase it.

Annoyingly - and this is not Smappee's fault, UK water meters are typically positioned at the edge of the public footpath next to your house. This makes it impractical to impossible to connect the Smappee sensor to it due to both range issues and the (UK) water companies likely being confused/upset and the possibility either the cable would have to go across the surface in to the (top) opening or for you to have to drill a hole in to the side underground. UK water utilities are of course like all other (especially UK) utilities and politicians practically technically illiterate and have no comprehension about this sort of stuff.

I personally am looking to start off with a CAD device, probably the one provided by 'TheLabrador' energy switching service. See - https://kb.thelabrador.co.uk/troubleshooting/how-do-i-install-the-labrador-home-hub Currently this only reports to their system and is not accessible on your LAN but they are working on this. Later I plan to fit solar panels (tiles) and might then get Smappee as well.

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