OK, just how smart are smart meters?  Well in education terms they would probably still be at primary school.  

I was trying to think of an analogy for them and the first one that came to mind was they are a bit like a “Haynes” manual.  I know a bit old school but a bit like me really. (if you didn’t experience the enjoyment of “messing” about with old cars and taking things to bits just because you can, well, your loss)  

 

Back to the manual. If you want to tune your car, tweak something or try and improve it, you would refer to the manual and then get stuck in.  The important word in all the above is “you”. Yes “you” have to do do something.

 

It then struck me the smart meter isn’t even as clever as a manual which explains how to do something it is more like a fuel gauge.  It simply tells you where you are at.

 

So, back to you.  Yes you have to do something.  If you want to reduce your energy bills you have to change something.  Damn it, you thought all your troubles were solved for you. No such luck.  You have to turn something down, switch something off or simply do without something.

 

It is really a very straight forward equation, E=mc2.  To break it down, E = energy(gas and electricity), m = mass (you), c2 = speed of light squared ( a bit of movement on your part)

 

To change the E energy figure, you (m) have to move and do something (c2).  

 

(For all the physicist’s out there please do take me to task for corrupting one of the most famous physical equations ever discovered, it’s just a bit of fun)  

 

OK, back to the meter, it’s not all bad news.  Well on the day the National Audit Office warned the government that they were going to miss their target for smart meter installation (by a mile) as reported on the BBC https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-46305961 they still have a purpose.

 

It is really quite a good purpose.  They become a “smart” fuel gauge. Big deal I hear you say, well it is actually.  As long as they stay “smart” customers will never have an estimated bill again. That is important because so many people suffered from having overestimated bills and therefore unexpected bills to pay.  It does raise other issues such as why it can sometimes be so difficult to contact an energy company and give an accurate reading. Also why it can be very difficult to get a bill changed. I know it will resolve itself by the following month but where is your money in the meantime?  In someone else’s pocket earning interest for them.

 

I recall many years ago discussing turnover and cash flow with a construction company director.  He explained that the company made more money by managing their payment of suppliers and subcontractors (delaying payments) than they ever did from the profit margins of  their contracts.

 

Imaging an energy company with say 1,000,000 customers and only 5% were wrongly billed by say £20 per month because of an estimated reading.  Well what do you know? That will be £1,000,000 extra in that companies pocket for a month. Let’s take it one step further. It simply sits in the bank and earns 0.5% interest.  That’s £5000 earned for making a mistake. Nice work if you can get it!

 

I digress, smart meters do have their uses.  Apart from keeping small children amused watching the dials go round they can make a difference to your energy bills but only if YOU take action.

 

End on a positive.  You are smarter than the smart meter you just have to show it how smart you really are.

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