Carol Ann Duffy the poet laureate is write an ode to gas meters. As poet laureate her job is to comment on and to celebrate national life. With conventional meters being phased out she wants to celebrate the demise of the whirring meter which apparently has been with us for 100 years. The article mentions just gas meters but of course electricity meters are going as well. All the old meters are supposed to go by 2020 to be replaced by smart-meters (not very long).
Whilst in a way this is a silly story there is a serious point to it. This blog has written about smart meters a number of times. It sees them as vital to managing our grid with a increasing amounts of renewable electricity. It could save grid reinforcement and will certainly make billing easier for the energy companies (whether that will help the customers is a moot point). My concerns are over the type of communication used to connect to the utilities and remote cut-off with the dangers of hacking which this entails. There could also be crime issue with hacking as well.
I have a whole heap of different meters having multiple PV systems as well as gas. Recently I had to have the electricity ones inspected by my energy company. There were problems with this caused by my energy company which led to discussions on the phone. They didn’t know that the government has prioritised smart meters for people with PV systems. When I mentioned this they told something I did know, that current smart meters are not compatible with PV systems! I’m not sure how many houses in the UK have PV systems fitted, you read different figures, but its certainly greater than 200,000 and even after the cuts increasing all the time. Two issues arise from this problem. First what happens if you try to fit a PV system to a house with a smart meter (relatively unlikely) and what happens if you already have a PV system (increasingly likely) and your utility turns up to fit one. This whole business looks like running and running like a whirring old meter. Maybe our poet laureate should write a poem about the whole saga.