As readers of my blog will know, I’ve been critical about the GB Smart Metering programme. Not because of any issues with smart meters per se – they can be an important part of a smarter grid. My concern has always been that the GB programme will fail to deliver most of the potential benefits of smart metering, instead saddling consumers with the cost of a lot of obsolete technology.
This page lists the main articles I’ve written trying to explain why the current approach is heading to be the next major Goverment IT disaster.
This is the original article where I tried to highlight the failings of the programme. I’d elicited no reaction from articles with nice, technical titles other than quiet agreement from people involved with the programme. So I though I should try something a little more racy to see if it might generate more coverage. I’m pleased to say it did.
Taking a similar approach, there’s nothing that better illustrates the sado-masochistic relationship between energy suppliers and their customers than Tariffs. They’ve evolved to be the whip that utilities deploy to beat their users into “correcting” their behaviour. This white paper explains the current complexity of tariffing schemes that are being designed in conjunction with smart meters, and highlights the conflict between these and the hoped for consumer behaviour change in energy use.
And then we get to the interminable delays…
In November 2014 the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change announced that the UK’s smart metering deployment was facing another 12 months delay. That’s 18 months after they announced that the UK’s smart metering deployment was facing another 12 months’ delay. It’s wasn’t bad news for everyone. It meant that the growing population of consultants within DECC can look forward to what is fast becoming a never-ending gravy train of consultancy work, public consultations and project reviews. For the consumer it’s likely to mean even more unnecessary costs heaped onto future energy bills. DECC doesn’t want people to know that. This article exposes their attempts to cover their actions by resisting Freedom of Information requests.
In December 2015, nothing much had changed. It’s that time of year when the days get dark and cold, and the energy media turns its interest to the possibility of power cuts in the coming winter. Which means it’s the time for DECC to slip out their Annual Report on the Roll-out of Smart Meters, in the hope that no one will notice it. This article also examines the way DECC consistently conceal their lack of progress by pushing everything into the future and how little sense that makes.
DECC is no more, but that doesn’t mean there’s any more interest in explaining the cost benefits of Smart Meters. We’re now almost two years overdue for an annual update on costs and benefits, but all we hear about is further delays.
It’s almost exactly fifty years since Flanders and Swann wrote their classic song “The Gasman Cometh”. With the advent of smart metering and the repeated delays it seemed appropriate to provide an update.
The following articles look in more detail at some of the specific aspect of the follow that is GB Smart Metering.
Smart Meters may open up the grid to hackers. But the industry still think squirrels are a bigger problem. Which is why I’ve taken up taxidermy to highlight some of the problems.
More on DECC’s repeated attempts to cover up the failings of the smart energy programme and conceal as much evidence about their actions as possible. They really are less open than the MoD. This article looks both at their attempts to evade Freedom of Information requests, but also looks at their performance (or lack of performance) as reported by the Government’s Major Project Authority, which show DECC to be the most poorly performing department, with most of their projects being categorised as Amber / Red. Or should that be Amber Rudd?
The UK Government has enlisted two cartoon characters – FATZ and DECCY to explain the need for smart meters to a sceptical public. FATZ – the corpulent blue one, represents the cold, uncaring fat cat executives of the energy industry, eager to take still more of your money, while the manic yellow DECCY represents the seriously scary civil servants of the Department of Energy and Climate Change who have been tasked with dreaming up the world’s most complicated and unworkable smart metering specification. Their bulging eyes and demented smiles tell the average consumer all they need to know about the UK smart metering plan and the mentality of the people behind it. More seriously, this article looks at the difference between UK usage and that of other countries which DECC consistently cite as evidence for smart meters and time of use tariffs. It shows that there is virtually no comparison for the alleged “evidence” behind the GB programme.
A look at some of the alternative options to the UK deployment, and pointing out the problem with delaying and delaying – you end up with something that is no longer fit for purpose.
A review of the Institute of Directors’ report which calls on the Government to halt the smart metering programme.
Dieter Helm is the Professor of Energy Policy at Oxford University. In 2015 he gave the Mountbatten lecture at the IET, talking about the New Energy Landscape. This article covers his talk, and highlights the fundamental misconceptions which underpin DECC’s disastrous policies, which unfortunately still prevail. They don’t just affect smart meters, but influence all of their energy policy.
The UK Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee appears to be considering looking at the lack of either in DECC’s smart metering program – a classic example of policy trumping evidence. This paper lists the issues and suggests actions which need to be taken to secure a credible evidence base.
This week saw the launch of a new report from the National Infrastructure Commission, entitled Smart Power, which investigates the future of our electricity supply. It’s a small step in the right direction, but we need a leap. But a better bet might be to replace smart meters with smart batteries.