Astonishing

Smart meters will be useless in hydrogen-powered homes
Chemical differences between gasses mean the devices will need to be replaced, admits Business Secretary

Measuring something different requires different methods of measurement.

Stunner!

Although I will admit to confusion. I thought smart meters were on the electricity supply, not the gas?

32 thoughts on “Astonishing”

  1. @Tim – hadn’t realised either, we had ours done earlier in the year and they do replace both meters. Not entirely sure what the point of the smart gas meter is other than to save me 2mins/month sending the reading to the utility company. At least the ‘leccy one opens up some interesting time-of-day tariff options (if you’re that way inclined).

  2. Because it is hydrogen, not because the meter is smart. Although either way I wouldn’t have one. Anything they are pushing that hard has to be bad for the consumer.

  3. Ay, ‘smart’ meters are both Elec & Gas. The gas meter provides remote readings and a remote cutoff facility. Unlike the electrical cutoff, the gas one is not remotely reversible, as a technician will need to clear air from the household gas pipes first.

    And it’s not just the ‘smart’ gas meters that’ll need changing, so will the electrical ones. See the recent GWPF paper: “The Hidden Cost of Net Zero: Rewiring the UK” by Mike Travers.

    This explains how the main feed of houses is typically 80A or even as low as 60A in new build, which is hopelessly inadequate for electric heat pumps and EV charging. Most houses will need 200A feeds, so that house rewiring, new distribution board, and digging up the drive and street for new bigger feeder cables.
    And of course, new ‘smart’ meters, because you canna put 200A through an 80A meter, the engines won’t stand it cap’n!

    But its irrelevant anyway. With the removal of grid planning from National Grid (‘cos they kept saying ‘No’ to Princess Nut Nuts) we soon won’t have a power grid or a gas grid, so who needs metyers?

  4. Oh, and using domestic pipe networks for hydrogen is going to be entertaining. All you need is some air-back fill after a loss of pressure, and the result is gonna be loud.

    “March of the Morons” anybody?

  5. I watched a “documentary” ( ie propaganda puff piece) about Hydrogen last year. There was a woman from a gas supply company who said that they could start supplying hydrogem tomorrow, oh but they’d have to swap out 8000 km of pipes first.

  6. Although hydrogen has a high calorific value, it has a very low density. This means that any pipe run to capacity on pressure/flow rate has around 40-50% throughput (in energy terms) with hydrogen compared to natural gas (methane).
    So you first need to double up the entire gas pipe network.
    No steel allowed of course: hydrogen embrittlement.

    “Hydrogen”, whether blue, green or rainbow coloured, with polka dots, is the last vain hope of the drowning wokerati.
    I’m actually looking forward to hydrogen-powered racing cars: Bernie Ecclestone always said the F1 spectacle would be improved by minefields. Cars exploding on minor impacts, or even for no apparent reason at all, will make for excellent TV. Now, just the bread to sort out.

  7. The UK did have a hydrogen fueled gas supply in the past as it was part of coal gas. However that was when lead pipes were the norm, not copper or steel or even plastic.

  8. We recently moved to a property with oil for heating so no gas, but I had to get a new electricity supplier. The bloke on the phone was so pushy about getting a smart meter that I guess he is on some sort of commission. That led to a 45 minute routine about allowing a masked man into my house during the lockdown, and whether we had any pets loose, etc.

    Anyway, someone came and fitted it. It was fun at first to see how different bits of equipment used different amounts of electricity as shown on my new little gadget, and I enjoyed bellowing upstairs at my daughter who had left a heater on. As far as I can see, moving stuff around takes very little energy. Recharging stuff like phones uses virtually none. Heating stuff up (kettles, ovens, etc.) takes a lot.

    I’m now bored with it, but if the blasted thing is so smart why don’t they just leave me alone now and stop sending me emails and texts about how much I owe them, how much I have paid, and why I ought to log on to their website? The antique system when a bloke came round and read the meter and I wrote a cheque was actually preferable. At least I could forget about it. Believe it or not, I’m not all that interested in the nuts and bolts of energy, providing my stuff works.

  9. I keep getting e-mails, texts and bits of paper through the post from my electricity supplier about having a smart meter and I am ignoring them all. However they might send the heavy mob around eventually, and I think I may have to put a lock on the outside meter cupboard to prevent force-majeur.

    As for meter readings, I have a quarterly ping in my calendar so 90 secs to read the meter and 2 or 3 minutes to log on & submit it. I did once change the reading dates to sync with their billing schedule but they’ve changed the billing schedule again and I really can’t be arsed to re-sync.

  10. OldYeoman
    July 22, 2021 at 8:26 am
    . . . Not entirely sure what the point of the smart gas meter is other than to save me 2mins/month sending the reading to the utility company.

    If your utilities company is like my electric company its so they can save money by no longer sending out meter readers – but still charge you for meter reading.

  11. I have smart meters for both gas and electricity, but they’ve gone mute and stopped talking to the energy supplier. Despite repeated attempts over many months to give them readings over the phone and requests for a replacement of the part that sends the data, their call centre staff fail to understand the problem: “I can’t take a meter reading over the phone; you have a smart meter” just gets repeated at me.

    They are under-estimating our usage and we know we owe them quite a bit and are trying to pay it to them, but “computer says no”, means I get to enjoy the miserly interest rather than them.

  12. Our smart meter was fitted by OVO and went dumb when we switched to avro 3 years ago
    This was when OVO decided to reposition itself as a green supplier which enabled it to justify prices 20% higher than avro

    Avro have been good, reliably cheap, still are after 3 years. They also don’t care about smart meters or green supply. In fact they were fined by OFGEN because they were dragging their feet on fitting smart meters

    If anyone asks i say we have a smart meter (even though it’s now comfortably dumb)

    I hope to ride out the great blackouts of the 2030s by turning our car into a generator!

  13. @ Agammamon
    UK utility companies are not allowed to charge explicitly for meter-reading,so their incentive to replace human meter-readers with “smart meters” is more transparent.
    When they installed their smart meter (I somewhat distrusted it but could provide no reasonable grounds to refuse) they also provided a gadget to help consumers reduce waste by knowing how much power/gas they are consuming – a pity that it provided data on gas 2-3 minutes in arrears so it didn’t warn one of wasteful consumption until after it happened – and compared the amount we had spent in the day/week/month with the budget it had impertinently allocated me; after a couple of months it just stopped working: as it had been of zero usefulness we shrugged our shoulders.

  14. OFGEM does not fine companies who fail to push meters because they care about who does a manual reading. They want them in order to, one day, impose rationing. It, here’s your ration card, which we have NO intention of ever needing to use. Yeah right.

    If this last couple of years has taught us anything it is that ‘they’ lie to you all the time and think nothing of it.

  15. Surreptitious Evil

    However they might send the heavy mob around eventually, and I think I may have to put a lock on the outside meter cupboard to prevent force-majeur.

    When this was last being threatened, I acquired some sticky-backed copper film. Both gas and leccie meter boxes have earth points. They can fit as many as they like, no signal is getting out. (Of course, the leccie signal could have gone out on the leccie wires, but it doesn’t so ya boo sucks to them.)

  16. Surreptitious Evil

    It, here’s your ration card, which we have NO intention of ever needing to use. Yeah right.

    I once lectured at the BCS and told people how to have a good college try at murdering somebody but playing with their fridge power (either by shutting of the mains or hacking a “smart” fridge.) And how to detect it (always have a tub of really cheap sorbet in the freezer compartment – might not work against smart fridge / freezers with v clever control systems and a really good hack.)

  17. My supplier is EDF and they have largely given up hassling me after I told the perplexed call centre chap that I didn’t want M. Hollande ( as it was then) switching off my washing machine during its spin cycle from his underground lair beneath the Elysee Palace.

  18. Back to hydrogen. This docu also showed a train powered by H2. The gas was stored under pressure of about 800 bar. That seemed quite a lot and a bit hazardous – literally a hydrogen bomb

  19. “The UK did have a hydrogen fueled gas supply in the past as it was part of coal gas. However that was when lead pipes were the norm, not copper or steel or even plastic.”

    Hardly any coal was carried in lead. Most gas pipe from that era went through threaded iron pipe. Generally 3/4 or 1/2 for heating/cooking & 1/4 for lighting, although some smaller gas fires were fed through 1/4. Most of those shit Victorian terraces people are so proud of you’ll find the 1/4 still embedded in the plaster unless there’s been a full strip out.
    The hydrogen element in coal gas was probably part of the reason gas explosions were relatively common back in coal gas days. Flame fronts in hydrogen move at a helluva speed. Why H2 pops rather than woofs

  20. A slightly related question;

    Smart meters – you can get those gadgets that will tell you the leccy usage for the entire house (or connection).

    Anyone seen or heard of one that will give usage by circuit off the consumer unit?

  21. Ducky

    I’ve had a “kill a watt” device for years. They’re probably smarter or more networkable these days.

    Search Amazon.

  22. Theophrastus (2066)

    The monumental carbon costs of establishing the new infrastructure needed for a net zero world could itself trigger the alleged environmental catastrophe it is supposed to forestall.

    Green lobbyists vehemently dispute such claims, arguing that though the transition will burn a lot of carbon initially, this will progressively decrease, eventually disappearing entirely. Yet whatever the modelling used, it is pretty much unarguable that going green will, to begin with, create a huge surge in global emissions.

    So…go for lower carbon, not net zero, with gas turbines and modular nukes.

  23. They are now replacing my gas meter with a smart meter. My elec meter has been “smart” for quite some time. Smart meters are not to help you, but to control you & limit your energy usage if they decide to. It would be nice if they were only to eliminate meter readers reducing the cost of utilities & passing the savings to us, but I doubt I’ll see any savings. We need to discover the “smart meter protocols” so we can hack ’em & not let ’em turn off our energy. My new gas meter’s data is sent over wires which can be tapped. I don’t know about the smart Elec meter as it is possible it uses the same wires as the electricity.

    Some US Gov planners also want your TStats to be available for them to control. Some newer Heat Pumps are now digital control signals rather than the older relays & easy to control yourself. An old relay-type TStat won’t work with the digital controlled Heat Pumps. If your TStat has WiFi support (how nice, you can use your smart phone), gov can control it too.

  24. This blog is a source of low-level amazement.

    That a site with some savvy, Austrian economics and supposed freedom fans is in actuality about 70 % absolute fucking mugs.

    Mugs with Smart Meters. Which they have accepted without even applying minimal common sense.

    The Greenshite need smart meters to try and make their green shit-show work. It wont but they now have another tool of coercion if those vax passes you will all be taking (without even coward’s demur) aren’t enough to make you crawl. As well as browning you out when 5x the cost windwank electricity cant deliver they can cut you off–ie your home off–totally and individually. So you freeze in the dark as well as being a pariah unable to live cos they have literally marked your card (yes I know it will be a phone but whatever).

    And once again most of you give mugs a bad name. Do you think Blojob Johnson and his gang are personal kronies of yours? Which might well be true in the case of Theo–they probably call Blowjob to the phone when Theo calls- but the rest of you have no special out from the shit that is being planned worldwide.

  25. @OldYeoman
    “Not entirely sure what the point of the smart gas meter is other than to save me 2mins/month sending the reading to the utility company.”
    It’s a rationing tool primarily, but try getting any of those pushing them to admit it ! It’s basically a case of “we’ve stopped trying to provide the lecky people want, when they want it – so we’ll control what people use and when they use it to match supply availability”. And that is primarily to cater for all the renewables – especially wind which has a poor load factor and very high intermittency.
    At present there are very few tariffs that use it – and one of those (from Octopus Energy) doesn’t actually use the “smart” meter as anything other than a multi-register dumb meter (the “cost signal” is carried over the internet to something other than the meter).
    The basic premise is as simple as – if we’re running low on spare generating capacity, we’ll hike the price. Basic economics then says that anyone who cares about the cost of running their home will reduce usage until the price drops back down. And if that doesn’t work, then we’ll start cutting people off – but in a more fine grained way than they did back in the 70s.
    And for good measure, if you don’t pay your bill – instead of having to get the police, and an engineer, and a dog handler if they think there’s a dog in the house, and … to come and cut you off physically; they can just tell the computer to turn you off remotely. Yes we all trust that a) their computers will never make a mistake and claim that you owe money that you don’t, and b) that they’ll never cut the wrong person off by mistake; and c) that they’ll always follow the right procedure before cutting you off (note the bit about not having to persuade the police that you have a valid bit of paper for a disconnection) – we all do trust them on that don’t we ?
    “At least the ‘leccy one opens up some interesting time-of-day tariff options (if you’re that way inclined).”
    And that’s how they’ll get the sceptics (like myself and clearly a few more in here) to take them eventually. There are already many suppliers who won’t deal with you unless you have a “smart” meter. Over time, it will get harder and harder to find reasonable non-“smart” tariffs and I guess we’ll be blackmailed into accepting them.

    While gas is storable, they still need the remote disconnection feature so they can cut off your heat in mid-winter because “computer says no”.

    @Tim the Coder
    “The gas meter provides remote readings and a remote cutoff facility. Unlike the electrical cutoff, the gas one is not remotely reversible, as a technician will need to clear air from the household gas pipes first.”
    That’s not the reason. The customer can turn themselves back on. There probably are engineer visits to purge pipes if they’ve been messing about with the mains, but that’s a different matter.
    Basic gas safety rules say that they cannot restore a gas supply to a property until they can positively confirm that it’s safe to do so – at present that means if they cut the gas off in the street for any reason, they have to visit EVERY property to check before they can turn it back on.
    Imagine a householder has left an appliance on – perhaps the oven doing the Sunday roast while they go to church, or the gas fire on low to stop the place freezing while they are shopping, or any number of reasons. Gas gets cut off, so flame goes out. Many appliances these days have flame supervision (a thermocouple and a solenoid that holds the gas valve open while the flame is lit) which will turn off the gas to the burner if the flame goes out – I believe it’s a legal requirements in things like blocks of flats. But not all appliances do – so you’ve potentially an appliance with the tap open but no flame. Turn on the gas without confirming that everything is turned off and you’ll them be filling the property with gas – cue another demolished street. So the householder needs to turn their gas on themselves, thus taking on the task of turning stuff off first.
    A secondary reason is that the lecky meter has an effectively unlimited power supply. The gas meter is powered by a battery that has to last 10 years. A valve that can be opened remotely would need a very powerful solenoid which is not really compatible with such a low energy supply. But a solenoid that only has to hold a valve open is a different matter – see above, in many appliances this is done with nothing but a thermocouple in the flame.

    “Most houses will need 200A feeds, so that house rewiring, new distribution board, and digging up the drive and street for new bigger feeder cables.”
    I haven’t read that report – I’ll go and read it later, but my initial reaction is …
    Dream on ! That’s where the “everything electrical” dream falls apart – it’s just not going to be practical to upgrade the entire distribution network like that, so apart from new infrastructure (e.g. new large estates) I think the norm is going to stay as 63A or 80A for main fuses. Even if they did embark on a mass upgrade, we don’t actually have the lecky to push down a “bigger” distribution network.
    Cue requirements for “smart” meters and the in-home network to that all the different bits of stuff can manage your demand. So you get home, the car won’t charge (much, if at all) to start with because the heat pump will be running to heat the house up and lecky will be expensive. The washing machine will start – but then pause half-full of cold water, waiting for a chance to use the heater before it carries on. Eventually the house will get warm, lecky usage by the heat pump will reduce, the washing machine will get to go, and after that, the car will start to charge. Of course, if you want a shower, then the heating will go off and everything will get delayed.
    And needless to say, if we don’t have enough of “the right sort of wind” then the heat pump will be on half-duty so will take longer to heat the house (don’t take your coat off when you get in), the oven will refuse to work (you did want a cold dinner didn’t you ?), and if you try to use the shower then you’ll be cut off so you might as well get used to cold showers.

    Not that I’m a cynic, no not al all !

  26. Hmm, I’ve now had a look at that GWPF paper and …
    While not complete bol…rubbish, I can see a number of statements of questionable validity, non-sequiteurs, and a few outright factual errors. I would take the suggestion that we’ll need to upgrade our incoming supplies to 200A with a large handful of salt – and ditto the implications that come with that suggestion.
    Even if his predictions of needing to upgrade incomers was true, it would be more likely that we’d go back to multi-phase supplies rather than higher currents. At one time it was relatively common to get 2 or 3 phases to cope with large installed storage heater loads.
    TL;DR version, there are lots of figures and statements in there that I “find very questionable”

  27. When I moved into a new build property none of the major energy suppliers would confess to being my provider so I didn’t know who to pay.

    Four years later when one of them produced a rather large bill I asked them to send a copy of our signed contract for energy services.

    Needless to say it was not forthcoming and after some back and forth the whole thing was brushed under the carpet.

    Re smart meters; over my dead body. I’ve actually built over the dumb meters now so they will have to gain entry to the property first, which they may find problematic…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *