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5918 posts

Uber Geek


  #2457923 9-Apr-2020 09:13
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This group would probably like to hear from you as they want ways to get rid of such devices­čĄ¬

 

https://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/


5135 posts

Uber Geek


  #2457959 9-Apr-2020 09:51
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Is that the same bunch of clowns who think 5G is evil and here to kill us all?


 
 
 
 




240 posts

Master Geek
Inactive user


  #2457968 9-Apr-2020 09:58
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I love a good conspiracy theory !  Where do I join ? 


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  #2457969 9-Apr-2020 09:59
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clive100:

 

I love a good conspiracy theory !  Where do I join ? 

 

 

Facebook


212 posts

Master Geek


  #2458021 9-Apr-2020 10:25
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clive100:

 

Yes my power meter is working but no longer as a smart meter. As communication has been turned off I am basically back in the era of little round dials. 

 

I would ask for clarification of "edge problem" ?  I am far from a fringe area but in the middle of a highly populated area of suburbia. 

 

The existing 2G technology here is obviously not totally working fine since Vodafone made changes in January this year.

 

 

What you are referring to is whether your meter is "AMI Communicating" (which it sounds like it is not). This doesn't mean that it's not working. The consumption information is still recorded in 30-minute increments. When a meter reader visits they can still read the total number of KWh you have consumed. The issue arises when you have a company that wants to bill you weekly & provide benefits based on 30-minute readings (such as a free hour of power) and they are not able to get the information reliably within that week down to the level they require. Now, I'm not sure if they actually do this in-practice - I don't think they do - but when the meter reader visits they can actually manually download the individual 30-minute readings, however if they had to send a meter reader out each week the cost would be phenomenal which is why it is done much less frequently. This is why these retailers cannot offer you their services. You are still able to sign-up for other retailers but as I said earlier Flick & Electric Kiwi are just two that are now out of the question for you.

 

As an aside - I don't understand why in smart meters they don't just use a PCIe card or similar that can just be switched out as the network access layer is changed (i.e. from 2G to 3G and so on) without necessitating a full meter swap or truck roll. I presume there is at least some level of safety concern here.




240 posts

Master Geek
Inactive user


  #2458037 9-Apr-2020 10:45
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boosacnoodle:

 

clive100:

 

Yes my power meter is working but no longer as a smart meter. As communication has been turned off I am basically back in the era of little round dials. 

 

I would ask for clarification of "edge problem" ?  I am far from a fringe area but in the middle of a highly populated area of suburbia. 

 

The existing 2G technology here is obviously not totally working fine since Vodafone made changes in January this year.

 

 

What you are referring to is whether your meter is "AMI Communicating" (which it sounds like it is not). This doesn't mean that it's not working. The consumption information is still recorded in 30-minute increments. When a meter reader visits they can still read the total number of KWh you have consumed. The issue arises when you have a company that wants to bill you weekly & provide benefits based on 30-minute readings (such as a free hour of power) and they are not able to get the information reliably within that week down to the level they require. Now, I'm not sure if they actually do this in-practice - I don't think they do - but when the meter reader visits they can actually manually download the individual 30-minute readings, however if they had to send a meter reader out each week the cost would be phenomenal which is why it is done much less frequently. This is why these retailers cannot offer you their services. You are still able to sign-up for other retailers but as I said earlier Flick & Electric Kiwi are just two that are now out of the question for you.

 

As an aside - I don't understand why in smart meters they don't just use a PCIe card or similar that can just be switched out as the network access layer is changed (i.e. from 2G to 3G and so on) without necessitating a full meter swap or truck roll. I presume there is at least some level of safety concern here.

 

 

Yes I am fully aware of what you are saying. My meter has been flagged AMI = No & Sig = 99. My point I am making here is that the whole purpose of a smart meter is to offer enhanced services & make manual meter reading obsolete.  By the loss of the supporting cellular structure 2G in this case we or at least some of use will be deprived of the choice of suppliers & the advanced options they offer.  Somewhat last century technology to use a car & pair of spectacles to drive around & record meter readings to be updated monthly or bi-monthly. 


345 posts

Ultimate Geek

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  #2458107 9-Apr-2020 11:59
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Yeah, one compliant I have is that my current power company does not provide the data from the smart meter, just monthly use. 

 

I have import and export from solar.  But as long as everything is working and the cost is low, it's not the end of the world.





:)


 
 
 
 


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  #2458155 9-Apr-2020 12:32
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Can anyone at geekzone explain why smart meters aren't having their comms upgraded? Do some meters not have a comms upgrade option other than replacing the meter?

 

clive100:

 

My point I am making here is that the whole purpose of a smart meter is to offer enhanced services & make manual meter reading obsolete.  By the loss of the supporting cellular structure 2G in this case we or at least some of use will be deprived of the choice of suppliers & the advanced options they offer.  Somewhat last century technology to use a car & pair of spectacles to drive around & record meter readings to be updated monthly or bi-monthly. 

 

 

Lines companies! Even with the technology in place, my lines company wouldn't provide the data to one of the electricty retailers mentioned here. I had to wait two years to join them.

 

Also, a lot of us expect/hope that our electric lines companies will be upgrading their smart meters to 3G/4G. That would be ideal for us but I wonder if the lines companies are waiting for the electricity retailers to contribute to the upgrade costs. In other words, when Flick/EK/etc. find they want more customers they may contribute some money to upgrade meters to get new customers.

 

The 2G issue is just another example of how the march to new technology doesn't always mean that everything improves for everybody. The transitions often leave some of us exposed to older technologies in the interim. Also, useful features often get lost without a good alternative.

 

Vodafone deserves kudos for enabling a long transition out of 2G which will have saved companies a lot of money - AFAIK, the end date is 2025. But it does seem to hinder Vodafone's ability to get newer technologies to their customers. I've been a dual-SIM user of Vodafone and Skinny and my experience over several years is that my Vodafone connections increasingly compare badly. If that is generally true then might have been better for me/us if Vodafone shutdown 2G completely before now. 2degrees shutdown their 2G two years ago: https://www.geekzone.co.nz/forums.asp?forumid=85&topicid=223150. Spark/Skinny never had 2G and they seem to have a mobile network that is gradually improving over Vodafone's.


2392 posts

Uber Geek

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  #2458243 9-Apr-2020 13:40
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The meters are owned by retailers, or increasingly metering providers - not lines companies. 

 

In theory a lot of the smart meters have communications modules that could be swapped out - but in practice the metering providers might prefer to wait until the meter dies/goes out of certification before sending out a technician and replacing the whole lot. 

 

Things are happening to replace 2G for smart meters - but not quite there yet https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU2003/S00016/vector-has-teamed-up-with-spark-to-help-modernise-the-way-kiwis-energy-is-monitored.htm




240 posts

Master Geek
Inactive user


  #2458366 9-Apr-2020 14:16
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Sounds like a lot is currently going on or in some state of upgrade to the metering network but things are still allowed to fall over or meet planned on unplanned redundancy with no replacement network in play at that time.  

 

More likely attitude is that if the meter is still working but we can't read it remotely we are not interested in restoring communication at our own expense until effectively forced by legislation to do so.

 

 


703 posts

Ultimate Geek

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  #2458432 9-Apr-2020 15:07
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This whole situation is a complete dog's breakfast and basically is all Max Bradford's fault.

 

In some cases the meters belong to the lines company, in other situations the "business" that was "sold" to a retailer as part of Bradford's disastrous* reforms of the electricity industry included the retail meters. I was working for what became a Lines Company at the time, and I was involved on the periphery of the negotiations, which were shambolic. We had amalgamated with other former Power Boards and the meter records I inherited were in some cases almost non-existent: in one case less than 10% of their meter 'records' included vital information including make, model, serial number, type (1- or 3-phase) or installation date, so there was no way to actually determine the value of the "asset" being "sold".

 

So now you have a situation where some retailers have installed smart** meters but if the customer changes and the new customer has a relationship with a different retailer, the meter-owning retailer sometimes won't release interval data to the new retailer, who has to send a meter reader just like in the 'good old days', so no smart meter benefit to the customer, and extra cost to the retailer.

 

Now you have VF reframing the frequency bands that the smart meters' 2G GPRS modems need to work, so the meters become non-AMI, so the retailer has to send a meter reader just like in the 'good old days', so no smart meter benefit to the customer, and extra cost to the retailer. The problem here is that meter installation and maintenance services are built around a meter having a 30+ year service life, so there is no way to do a mass upgrade without spending gazillions of dollars expanding premises, hiring skilled technicians and buying and running vehicles.

 

It's a shambles.

 

 

 

/rant

 

 

 

* Max Bradford's "reforms" were a bonanza for lawyers and big business, but a disaster for consumers and for provincial centres that had their Power Board's offices closed and those relatively skilled and high-paid jobs exported to the main centres.

 

** NZ "smart" meters aren't. They're just thick-as-two-short-planks dumb meters with a 2G GPRS modem installed.


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  #2458476 9-Apr-2020 15:50
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Hammerer:

 

The 2G issue is just another example of how the march to new technology doesn't always mean that everything improves for everybody. The transitions often leave some of us exposed to older technologies in the interim. Also, useful features often get lost without a good alternative.

 

 

Spectrum is a very limited resource, and it shouldnt be squandered on old technology just to prevent people from having to upgrade. Look at digital tv, we have now got 2 services using more spectrum than they need because they are using old technology, and IMO it was foolish to not put a cut off date on them when they were launched. We will probably have a crowd of angry people when it comes time to finally pull the plug on legacy DVB-T and DVB-S broadcasts when the next one has had some time to bed in and get popular, just like whiners wanted to hang onto analog TV forever,

 

I have been told that with the modern cellular networks they can carve off a part of the band to run 2G on while not affecting 4G on the rest of it, but that still is limiting the amount of 4G availability just to keep legacy gear running and save a small upgrade cost for power retailers. Many of the first smart meters are probably getting near to the end of life now. Otherwise they should be putting lora or zigbee radios into them so they can provide their own last mile link and put a reciever up in the street for them.

 

 





Richard rich.ms

1201 posts

Uber Geek


  #2458497 9-Apr-2020 16:05
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richms:

 

I have been told that with the modern cellular networks they can carve off a part of the band to run 2G on while not affecting 4G on the rest of it, but that still is limiting the amount of 4G availability just to keep legacy gear running and save a small upgrade cost for power retailers. 

 

 

It's not just the power meters, there's thousands of other telemetry devices out there. Last I heard the network providers committed to support our 2.5G devices until 2025 (going off memory).

 

richms:

 

Otherwise they should be putting lora or zigbee radios into them so they can provide their own last mile link and put a receiver up in the street for them.

 

 

I had heard there was some kind of meshing going on so that might be a goer. Pinging @cyril7 who I remember was involved back in the day.


703 posts

Ultimate Geek

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  #2458579 9-Apr-2020 17:49
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richms:

 

I have been told that with the modern cellular networks they can carve off a part of the band to run 2G on while not affecting 4G on the rest of it, but that still is limiting the amount of 4G availability just to keep legacy gear running and save a small upgrade cost for power retailers. Many of the first smart meters are probably getting near to the end of life now. Otherwise they should be putting lora or zigbee radios into them so they can provide their own last mile link and put a reciever up in the street for them.

 

 

"Many of the first smart meters are probably getting near to the end of life now"
No they aren't, not even close: the accounting calculations will I expect have been done on the basis of a ~30-35 year average life, say 3% p.a. straight-line depreciation. Most of them will be at about half their expected economic life.
When I worked for a Lines company, we almost never removed a meter because it was so many years old - they were amazingly robust devices that Just Worked for decades at a stretch. We almost always removed meters for reasons like: the customer had asked for a tariff change that required a meter change; or because they asked to change for a Builder's Supply because of a major renovation; or the place burned down / was demolished; or because the customer consistently complained they couldn't possibly have used that much electricity (spoiler: 99% of the time, they had used it all). Every removed meter was put on the test stand and the calibration checked, adjusted if needed, and put back on the shelf for another customer. In a decade, the only time we did a proactive replacement programme was when a whole batch was found to have a manufacturing defect - we got one back for one of the usual reasons, and when put on the bench it was running ~12% slow, i.e. the customer was only being billed for about 7/8th of the electricity they were using. So we went out and pulled two more from the same batch, they too were running slow, so then we ripped and replaced the whole batch - around 100 IIRC.
Electricity meters last for decades and decades, and the maintenance processes are scaled around that fact.

 

 

 

"save a small upgrade cost for power retailers"
To upgrade a meter you have to: test and prepare a replacement device; visit the customer's premises and turn off their power; note the readings on and remove the old meter; install the replacement meter, seal it in place with a tamper-evident device, check and test its comms; and return the old device to depot, test it and upgrade it with the new comms capability.
An installer in the suburbs might do eight or ten premises, say a dozen meters, a day. They will need a vehicle. Every couple of installers will need a test equipment technician to test meters, and they will need an expensive test setup in a controlled atmosphere laboratory. Each team of maybe a dozen installers and technicians - all licensed electricians - will require a Supervising Engineer, and probably a clerk for administrative support. Such a team could probably upgrade about 20K, maybe 25K meters p.a. and would cost over a million dollars a year to run.
Vector owns over a million meters, to upgrade those over five years ... well you do the maths.
This is not a small cost




240 posts

Master Geek
Inactive user


  #2458618 9-Apr-2020 19:30
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Very good points but as these cases occur when monitoring fails due to loss of 2G reception, would that not be the best time to change the modem to a more up to date version ie 3G or 4G  to maintain the full functionality of that installation than to just render is as non commutative indefinitely that will required physical meter reads only till it will be eventually fixed in a major upgrade sweep across the country when half the smart meter installations are no longer functional as their name implies ?


.  


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