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Smart Meters reading more than your energy bill


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#1 megilleland

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Posted 24 June 2017

The Guardian - 24th June 2017
 

Is your smart meter spying on you?

The French are getting heated up about their meters collecting data on their daily lives. Perhaps the British should be concerned too

They are the mini-computers being installed in 30m UK homes and businesses in an £11bn programme that will allow the energy companies to remotely monitor our gas and electricity usage. But could smart meters also become the new spies in our homes, raising fresh fears about a surveillance society as they track our daily activities?

Campaigners in France, where a similar installation programme is taking place, think so. On holiday in Bordeaux recently I was struck by posters advertising a demo called “Stop Linky”. Linky is the name of French utility giant EDF’s new smart meter, but it has sparked a more vociferous backlash than here. “Dites NON! aux compteurs communicants LINKY,” posters shouted ahead of a demo in mid-June, with others planned around the country.

Lawyers for Stop Linky are preparing a class action against EDF and its subsidiary Enedis, which is implementing the programme. Lawyer Arnaud Durand claims smart meters pose health and privacy issues. He calls them a “Trojan horse’” that could harvest vast amounts of data about our activities. Even rudimentary information has commercial value. “For example, a telemarketing company will know if it’s a good moment to call your house.”

In Britain, privacy campaigners share their fears. Guy Herbert of NO2ID says: “Smart meters are presented as an environmental and power-saving initiative. But it’s a highly surveillant model. It can tell how many showers you have had, when you are cooking, when you are in and out of the home.”

Evidence of the race to monetise the data from smart meters is already emerging. A video on the website of Onzo, a British analytics company, says: “We take energy consumption data from smart meters and sensors. We analyse it and build a highly personalised profile for each and every utility customer.” It will have “the ability to monetise their customer data by providing a direct link to appropriate third party organisations based on the customer’s identified character.” Last year Onzo was at a “consumer goods hackathon” hosted by Procter & Gamble to help sell more detergent, shampoo and toiletries.

But, as Herbert says, this is not just about commercial activities. The Investigatory Powers Act also hands the authorities access to bulk data, including energy data. “A smart meter is also a smart controller,” he warns.

Are these fears overblown? Bernard Lassus is head of Enedis, the company that has already installed 4.7m smart meters in France. Study after study in France, the US and Canada have disproved health fears surrounding the meters, he says. The French meters transmit energy consumption data once a day and contain no more information than a current meter. Data is not individualised and cannot be sold on to third parties without active prior consent by the household.

In Britain, the industry body Smart Energy GB takes a similar line. “Your smart meter stores and transmits simple information on how much energy your home has used. Personal details like your name, address and bank account details are not stored on or transmitted by the meter. Your supplier can’t use any data from your smart meter for sales and marketing purposes unless you give them permission to do so.”

But we all know that once data is out there it is used in ways we didn’t anticipate. A smart meter bill introduced in this week’s Queen’s speech also says there would be new “powers to make changes to smart meter regulations”.

It’s not even clear if smart meters will result in more transparent or cheaper tariffs, with some warning it is turning into an £11bn white elephant. And can someone tell me why our programme, near identical in size to that in France, is somehow costing us more than twice the €5bn it is costing them?

 

Just a device to read your utility bill - I don't think so. At the moment not compulsory to have one installed - yet!


Edited by megilleland, 24 June 2017 .

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#2 ragwert

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Posted 24 June 2017

 It can tell how many showers you have had, when you are cooking, when you are in and out of the home

Seriously.....What a load of tosh


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#3 megilleland

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Posted 24 June 2017

From the Queen's Speech:

 

"A new law will ensure that the United Kingdom retains its world-class regime protecting personal data, and proposals for a new digital charter will be brought forward to ensure that the United Kingdom is the safest place to be online".

 

Oh so we will be protected - no need to worry as Ragwert says.


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#4 ragwert

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Posted 24 June 2017

From the Queen's Speech:

 

 

Oh so we will be protected - no need to worry as Ragwert says.

 

Did I ?


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#5 Adrian symonds

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Posted 24 June 2017

From the Queen's Speech:

 

 

Oh so we will be protected - no need to worry as Ragwert says.

He is not wrong to be honest, I have no idea what they are using in France but the so called smart  meters that are being used in the UK are not that smart at all, they are pretty basic and just send back to the provider how much energy you are using, either gas or electric. They can not  really tell what is using that energy. Ok in theory if all of a sudden they get a very large spike in electric they could guess you are having a shower, but then you may have turned on the washing machine, a kettle, an electric cooker and a toaster on at the same time.  so the only info they are really going to get is that someone is home.  But even that may not be true, I get my washing machine to come on at any time even if I am not here. 

To know what appliance is in use means the appliance will have to talk with the meter or have a plug on that can identifying the appliance. 
The same as the rubbish about radiation, they use a normal mobile phone sim card, will in the UK they do, so the radiation is not more than your mobile phone or Wi-fi.
 

Now i am the type of person who do not like this tracking lark, I will not have a loyalty card and prefer to pay in cash, but  spying with smart meters? nah. 

Saying that i doubt i would have one as i would have to be home for them to fit them, so too much a hassle to find a day, I also do not think they save energy as you are still going to use the same energy. 

I know a few people who have them, one household have put the display unit in the drawer, another household used the display for a week and then it got buried behind stuff, another looked at it a lot for months and realised that it makes no difference as they still have to use the kettle, they still have to use the washing machine, the shower, cooker and other stuff.



 


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#6 megilleland

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Posted 25 June 2017

Sorry Adrian you are not looking at the bigger, future picture using this technology.

ONZO provides a SaaS medium through which utilities can engage their customers, with capability to select and target message content to individuals, while providing useful information to the home owner about their energy use. Customers receive information that educates and informs them about their existing use and notifies them of changes to provide: Control, Comfort & Convenience.

Through analysis of the energy used within the home, ONZO products identify the patterns, trends and appliance usage that describes the behaviours and lifestyle of the residents, which can be used to inform the selection of marketing and other relevant content.

The Ecologist's article (April 2017) Smart meters and cell damage from pulsed em radiation - our health at risk? highlights the corporate hijack of smart metering.
 

Notice, for example, this big-client marketing by ONZO (2017): "We take data from smart meters... and build a highly personalized profile for each and every utility customer. We then tag this profile with key behavioural, attitudinal and lifestyle characteristics ... We even tag appliances that we see being used in the home. .. giving [you] the ability to monetise [your] customer data by providing a direct link to appropriate third party organisations."

Interview with CEO of ONZO

 

This technology is not for your benefit, but for the benefit of national and global corporate businesses manipulating financial control over its customers.
 


Edited by megilleland, 25 June 2017 .

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#7 Adrian symonds

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Posted 08 July 2017

Sure smart meters in the UK may one day be able to do what you linked to, but as yet they do not, they are just simple  things that send the meter reading to  the energy provider every now and again and even then you have control over that and only allow them access once a month.  The ssart meters that are available at the moment are pretty dumb and they are not final anyway as some time in the future they will have to be changed again as the government have not even sorted out a standard yet. 
That shows how naff it all is and as normal in this country the whole process have been  done badly. 

 

As for tagging appliances that is not going to happen for many years, I doubt it will happen in our time to be honest, as i said above it need smart appliances or plugs put onto those appliances to communicate with the meter. 

As for danger to our health, they use a phone sim card, so are they any more dangerous to you than you having a mobile phone held to the side of your head or your wireless router stuck in your house? This is what I do not get, people complains about mobile phone masts and the radiation if they are put near schools or houses and yet they use a mobile phone and their kids use mobile phones and would soon complain if there was no signal. 

I think with all the equipment we have using radio waves of some sort we use these days, it is a bit late to worry about adding one more thing, not that anything have been proven that these radio waves are harmful. Yes I know they are are pretty close to microwaves.


As I said above, I have no interest in having a smart meter as I do not think they will make any difference to my energy use and the energy company I am with do not seem to be in a hurry anyway. anyway you can always say no I do not want one, I know a few people who have done that and only one of them have had repeated letters from their energy provider until they wrote a email back to them to tell them where to go and had nothing since.


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#8 ragwert

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Posted 08 July 2017

We have a pre pay smart meter.The only reason we changed to it is for the simplicity of buying credit using an app on my mobile phone.
It also makes it easier to see just how much credit is left as the gas meter is outside and the electric meter is in a cupboard that you have to bend down to 

look at.With the smart meter its on the wall in kitchen.


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#9 Adrian symonds

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Posted 09 July 2017

We have a pre pay smart meter.The only reason we changed to it is for the simplicity of buying credit using an app on my mobile phone.
It also makes it easier to see just how much credit is left as the gas meter is outside and the electric meter is in a cupboard that you have to bend down to 

look at.With the smart meter its on the wall in kitchen.

I pay my monthly, I got rid of the credit meters a few months after i moved in,  too much hassle, but i can understand why some people think they are better even if you are paying more for using them. 

 

i must admit the smart meters came in useful last week, clearing out my Dads bungalow and we could not get into the electric meter, I never realised he had smart meters until I looked at the bill and it made it easier to close the account down. 

 

The problem is that even if people refuse to have them, they are still going to pay for them in the long run as our bills go up to pay for these things.  As for saving energy unless you act on the info you are given by the display there is no way energy will be saved. 

Take me for instance, i still have to cook, so i still need to use the cooker, I still need to make coffee, so the espresso machine and grinder will still be used, i still need to wash my clothes, still need lighting at night, still need heating in the winter, still need to keep my fridge and freezer on.  Still use my Tv for Netlfix and stuff like that, i do nto have a Tv licence so I do not watch normal TV. 

 

My computer still need power, so do everything else up here, printers, scanner and that sort of thing. even if i turned all the power off up here the saving would be minimal.

 

so just because a display is saying that using my coffee machine is costing me such a such, it do will not stop me using it. 

I know a few people who have smart meters and as far as i am aware, not one have saved any money. 

 

I do think they are dangerous for older people in that they may look at how much their heating is taking and decide to turn it off, thankfully my Dad did not have a display, not that he would use it anyway.


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#10 ragwert

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Posted 09 July 2017

I pay my monthly, I got rid of the credit meters a few months after i moved in,  too much hassle, but i can understand why some people think they are better even if you are paying more for using them. 

 

i must admit the smart meters came in useful last week, clearing out my Dads bungalow and we could not get into the electric meter, I never realised he had smart meters until I looked at the bill and it made it easier to close the account down. 

 

The problem is that even if people refuse to have them, they are still going to pay for them in the long run as our bills go up to pay for these things.  As for saving energy unless you act on the info you are given by the display there is no way energy will be saved. 

Take me for instance, i still have to cook, so i still need to use the cooker, I still need to make coffee, so the espresso machine and grinder will still be used, i still need to wash my clothes, still need lighting at night, still need heating in the winter, still need to keep my fridge and freezer on.  Still use my Tv for Netlfix and stuff like that, i do nto have a Tv licence so I do not watch normal TV. 

 

My computer still need power, so do everything else up here, printers, scanner and that sort of thing. even if i turned all the power off up here the saving would be minimal.

 

so just because a display is saying that using my coffee machine is costing me such a such, it do will not stop me using it. 

I know a few people who have smart meters and as far as i am aware, not one have saved any money. 

 

I do think they are dangerous for older people in that they may look at how much their heating is taking and decide to turn it off, thankfully my Dad did not have a display, not that he would use it anyway.

Were the roofers using your electricity  :Winky:
I know we pay a bit more but to have no bills every qtr especially after winter is pretty good


Edited by ragwert, 09 July 2017 .

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#11 Ubique

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Posted 16 July 2017

From Google , I believe that the below was said - but as usual not in so many words in the Queen 's Speach .
While government and Ofgem believe that all consumers will benefit from having smart meters, they aren't compulsory and you can choose not to have one. ... If you do not want to have a smart meter installed now, you will still be able to have one installed (free of charge) at a later date.
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