A Smart White Elephant

Lightbulb

Not a week goes by without some kind of sales call on our home phone. Current ‘favourite’ is our energy supplier imploring us to talk to them about having a Smart Meter.   We tell them over and over that we are not interested. I’m on the verge of reporting them to Ofgem for harassment!

We don’t need to know on a daily basis how much electricity we are using, and I really don’t understand why  anyone actually needs real-time information. We’re not profligate in our energy usage and knowing how much it’s costing is not going to make one jot of difference to whether I decide to boil the water for a cup of coffee, nor how often I use the oven (and I am already aware that it make sense to cook more than one dish at a time). I also know that I could save money by not using the tumble dryer; some people drink, some people smoke, I use a tumble dryer. Yes, I do know how much they cost to run but  refuse to live in a house where damp clothes are draped over radiators, steaming up windows and endangering our health.  Those who advocate this ‘frugal’ way of drying washing should think carefully. Wet clothing which is left to dry on airers or over heaters raises moisture levels in the home by as much as 30%, a factor known to be damaging to health.  Not only does it aggravate existing chest and lung problems but can actually cause a potentially fatal lung infection, especially dangerous to the tiny lungs of small children and people with auto-immune diseases.  If you doubt this, Google it – there are literally dozens of reports/articles available on the dangers of drying clothing in this way.

Whilst energy suppliers are compelled to aim to install meters in every home by the end of 2020, the implication that we will must agree to having one eventually  is wrong. At this point in time, there is no obligation and there is, in any case, little evidence to suggest that smart meters are actually saving people money. So called ‘energy saving lightbulbs’ and switches change the structure of electrical currents which, in turn, distorts readings and, according to a study in Holland, the inaccuracy can be as much as six fold!  What’s more – open customer forums are awash with complaints of difficult to interpret data and inaccurate information.

In 2016 the National Audit Office reported that the estimated that the cost of meeting the Government’s target for rolling out the smart meter programme (the equivalent of £374 per dual fuel household) was under-estimated. Since then the overall cost has risen by half a billion pounds. No doubt  it is continuing to rise and this  will be hidden in higher tariffs.

There are other reasons for not needing a Smart Meter: they do not, as the original adverting would have us believe,  alleviate the need for estimated bills. They would, if we paid the bill as it arrives but like the majority of households, we pay our energy bill in twelve equal monthly payments. In opting to be billed in this way, average annual use is estimated anyway.

Another Government-initiated White Elephant.

 

 

12 comments

  1. When our smart meter was installed, I hadn’t realized that we had a choice in the matter, they just came and installed it and gave us the little device which was supposed to show us what energy we were using, as if we couldn’t see the gas or electric meter dial spinning around! Like you, I use a tumble dryer and refuse to have sodden clothes draped over radiators in wet weather. The damp atmosphere is bad for us, The only things which don’t go into the tumble dryer are my delicate bras and knickers and they dry overnight in the airing cupboard as they’re barely wet when taken out of the washing machine. But what a waste of money this smart meter business has been and continues to be.
    Margaret P

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    • I think that at the start of the programme the energy companies weren’t telling people about having a choice. We’d have probably ended up with one too, if we’d been one of the early areas targeted. It seems that ‘our time’ has come.
      So much do I hate wet washing on radiators that if I had to choose only one, I’d choose a dryer over a washing machine and do the washing by hand! Glad I don’t have to make the choice though! I have a rail instead of shelves in the airing cupboard so that I can hang bits and pieces in there. As you say, some are barely wet.

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  2. I do have a smart meter although, like you, don’t really see the need for one.
    Having said that it proves useful in that it works like a little night light and casts a glow over the kitchen. Mog probably thinks I leave a light on especially for her. X

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  3. I must be lucky because so far we’ve only had one letter about having a smart meter and no phone calls. I rang them and refused it and to date they haven’t come back to me. That’s jinxed it!

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  4. Over here, the recent calls are about registering to avoid some proposed energy rate increase! They are automated “robo” calls, not a real live person at the other end. I usually don’t answer those calls but, occasionally, I pick up the phone and press 9, as instructed, to have my number removed from their calling list.

    I do have a tumble dryer, but I admit to hanging my laundry to dry inside the house. I live in a very arid climate and that added moisture is much needed, as there are times when I have to run a humidifier. 🙂

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    • Our cold calls are sometimes robo-calls, and sometimes real people. We can supposedly opt out of these type of calls (though it doesn’t really work very well as companies only sign up to it voluntarily ) but when it’s our own supplier, it’s not counted as cold calling because we’re already in a contract with them. I think most suppliers will be the same because they all have the same targets to meet. The concern re the washing is about the mould spores which are created in the damp atmosphere. I’m not sure whether that would be the same in a different climate.

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  5. I’m being harassed too to have a s/meter! Time after time I’ve said I don’t want or need one. I’m quite capable of knowing what we’re using and it won’t stop me using appliances just to save a few pence!! I’ve never known such a complete waste of money.

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    • I’m sure that we’re far from being the only two MrsLH. I’m not rude to the callers – they’re doing a job- but goodness, I feel like being very rude!

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