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Topic Title: Smart Meters & data analysis
Topic Summary: Benefits of data analysis questioned
Created On: 24 January 2014 05:13 PM
Status: Read Only
Related E&T article: How utilities are profiting from Big Data analytics
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 24 January 2014 05:13 PM
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Joined: 27 October 2001

Utility company expenditure globally on data analysis is expected to rise to $3.8bn annually by 2020. The only certainty about this is that our bills will rise. That cost is additional to the many millions to install the meters in all households whether they want them or not. Many attempts will be made to suggest that there will be savings but I feel certain that they will be much less than the costs.

The vast amount of data gathered is presumably an advantage to the utilities. They get half hourly readings on all consumers consumption. This will it is claimed allow the discovery of anomalous usage. It can reveal when a household is on holiday and thus more easily burgled. With the losses by companies of customers credit card data being reported frequently, can we believe that the utilities will be vastly better at securing our data? What security vetting do they have for their staff?

What will the customer get from this? A meter will show them the usage as it is happening and may prompt them to switch of a light or two. Much usage is needed for the normal running of the household or should we all stop using TVs, radios and the like? The example is given of running the washing machine when the electricity is cheaper. This involves having half hourly tariffs as currently applied to large companies. Given so many complaints at present of the utilities producing confusing tariffs, can they be trusted with half hourly tariffs which very few will understand. Does the user have to get an internet connected washing machine so that they can spend their working hours on their mobile to see when the tariff is lowest and tell it to start?

I believe that this development is just to utilise a capability rather than to benefit the world.

 25 January 2014 04:35 PM
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Yes, I agree that smart metering for small households is a waste of time unless it is used to adjust the consumers energy using habits.
Off-peak tariffs for storage and water heaters used to be offered to customers at half price to limit peak demand but nowadays there is very little incentive to move onto off peak rates as the increased monthly fixed costs negates most of the advantage.
 25 January 2014 06:05 PM
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This is not just about tariffs, its about quality and continuity of supply.

OFGEM reward or penalise DNOs on their fault response and restoration times; these rewards or penalties are worth millions of pounds per year.

Smart metering allows DNOs to respond much more quickly, and "smartly" to faults. Faults can be quickly categorised as mains or service failures by office-based clerks before the fault engineers are even called out. Locations of faults can be pinned down, so that the fault engineers can get services back-fed much more quickly, or get generation up and running. Locating and repairing faults can be very time consuming, and time is money!

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