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  • Smart Meters

    Have any of you that have had smart meters installed noticed any problems?

    My local utility switched from the old analog meters to all digital (smart) meters about a year ago. I haven't personally noticed any problems, but I've been hearing complaints from a lot of people that their usage has doubled since the change. Others are blaming the meters for every health issue from headaches to hemorrhoids. Some of the people complaining sound like morons while others seem to have a pretty good argument. Many haven't noticed a change at all.

    As for the usage, I've been wandering if the old meters were that far out of calibration or if the new meters have a problem. What have you noticed?

    Greg

  • #2
    Nope. I did not notice any changes when they installed those in either home.

    I suppose an old meter that was under-reporting for years would upset someone who got a meter that was now working correctly and recording their real consumption.
    Dave W. Gilbert AZ
    6.63kW grid-tie owner

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    • #3
      It is possible for the Multiplier to be set incorrectly. That can work in your favor or against it meaning it reads to low or to high. Easy fix, doe snot even require POCO to come out. In TX a lot of foks filed suit against the POCO because their bills jumped, and they got bit. All their old analog meters were reading low. PUC had the meters tested by a 3rd party and found all the complainers had been getting free power for years and the new meters were spot on.

      As for the Tin Foil Hat folks go the new Meters are no more dangerous than a CDMA Cell Phone as they use a M2M (machine-to-machine) service now provided by Cell Phone companies dirt cheap to generate revenue on outdated 3G CDM and GSM. A 1 second transmission every hour.

      That is not to say there is not evil lurking though. If idiots like Dan have their way it allows big brother to monitor and control your power usage. A hacker can learn when you are home and when you are gone. The biggest SCAM is Time of Day Usage with tiered rates. Nanny states already use it.
      MSEE, PE

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      • #4
        Our POCO hasn't said anything yet about TOU, but they are in the process of implementing a prepaid electric system for people that can't seem to keep up with the payments. Apparently they can turn the power on/off with the meter and Wi-Fi.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by GRickard View Post
          Others are blaming the meters for every health issue from headaches to hemorrhoids.


          The ol' rumor mill can convince people of just about anything. Bet those people aren't willing to give up their cellphones...

          I do worry about security. "Smart grid" plans tend to use internet for everything these days.... which is great, but when everything has an internet address, everything will be potentially hackable from afar. I can't wait for the first story about an infected electric meter. (Already hearing about vulnerabilities; see e.g. securityweek.com/ics-cert-issues-alerts-after-expert-discloses-power-meter-flaws ) What this country needs is a good five cent security standard for appliances hooked up to the internet, IMHO.

          Aside from that, they enable things like hourly pricing (e.g. hourlypricing.comed.com/live-prices/ ) where the utility charges per kWh based on its cost each hour. Accurately passing on costs to customers seems like a good idea, as long as it's opt-in and/or existing customers are grandfathered in to old rates for long enough.
          17kw. I like science, but I'm no expert.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by DanKegel View Post
            ...... What this country needs is a good five cent security standard for appliances hooked up to the internet, IMHO.....
            There IS a standard, it's just ignored. Passing a new law does nothing. But the IoT BrickerBot is a good incentive to start fixing it.
            https://www.schneier.com/blog/archiv...structive.html

            --
            In "IoT", the S stands for Security.
            --

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            • #7
              Originally posted by GRickard View Post
              Our POCO hasn't said anything yet about TOU, but they are in the process of implementing a prepaid electric system for people that can't seem to keep up with the payments. Apparently they can turn the power on/off with the meter and Wi-Fi.
              I don't believe a METER can turn power off. Maybe it can send signals to some of your "smart" appliances
              so they can turn themselves off. Bruce Roe

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              • #8
                Bruce,
                I thought the same thing. Where would they put a switch capable of that load, right? Try googling "smart meter remote disconnect". It looks like some utilities are already using this.

                Greg

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                • #9
                  I wonder since the meters are solid state devices they can be configured to "stop working" which results in Zero current flow through it.

                  This is similar to motor starters. They use to be built with a contactor that would "open" and isolate the power going to the motor. Now they are solid state VFD's that will just turn off the output and not provide any voltage to the motor thus shutting it down.

                  The new smart meters might work just like that and can "turn off" a homes power supply without actually opening a set of contacts.

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                  • #10
                    I can't find how they do it, but there is a full 200A disconnect rating on the meters. Here is a data sheet for the ones we have.

                    The data sheet states "motor driven cam action disconnect".

                    http://www.landisgyr.com/product/e33...focusae-ax-sd/

                    Greg
                    Last edited by GRickard; 04-20-2017, 11:36 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SunEagle View Post
                      I wonder since the meters are solid state devices they can be configured to "stop working" which results in Zero current flow through it.
                      Some new smart meters can be remotely disabled and they use mechanical latching relays such as these.

                      http://www.johnsonelectric.com/en/pr...connect-relays
                      Dave W. Gilbert AZ
                      6.63kW grid-tie owner

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                      • #12
                        Yep remotely disabled, unfortunately not remotely enabled. For my PoCo. Forgot to pay the bill once.
                        Last edited by SWFLA; 04-20-2017, 02:28 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by azdave View Post

                          Some new smart meters can be remotely disabled and they use mechanical latching relays such as these.

                          http://www.johnsonelectric.com/en/pr...connect-relays
                          It is possible that they are using solid state relays to "break" the circuit, or similar to a VFD which uses SCR outputs that can be turned on & off which starts and stops a motor. The circuit is not "opened" but the solid state rectifiers just stop working which stops the flow of electricity..

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by SunEagle View Post

                            It is possible that they are using solid state relays to "break" the circuit, or similar to a VFD which uses SCR outputs that can be turned on & off which starts and stops a motor. The circuit is not "opened" but the solid state rectifiers just stop working which stops the flow of electricity..
                            Speculate all you want, but the SmartMeters that PG&E uses have a latching mechanical contact disconnect in the meter housing. And they can be remotely turned back on also.
                            In the case of a late payment disconnect they just turn it back on.
                            If service was actually interrupted as when the building is vacant for awhile, they may choose to have a tech come out to verify the system before they remotely turn the connection back on.

                            The contactor is rated for load interruption, but I suspect that it is not tested for very many cycles compared to a circuit breaker or disconnect switch.

                            FWIW, and I have never heard of it being done, but theoretically they could program the meter to disconnect when current went above some set time current profile.
                            Not fast enough or reliable enough to count as OCPD, but possible to do.
                            SunnyBoy 3000 US, 18 BP Solar 175B panels.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by inetdog View Post
                              ...The contactor is rated for load interruption, but I suspect that it is not tested for very many cycles compared to a circuit breaker or disconnect switch.
                              10,000 cycle testing mentioned here for these smart meter switches.
                              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lr3ZCDP6GMg

                              This smart meter tear-down video is interesting although the guy doesn't really know what he is looking at sometimes.
                              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQdeLQqaStA
                              Last edited by azdave; 04-20-2017, 01:56 PM.
                              Dave W. Gilbert AZ
                              6.63kW grid-tie owner

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