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New electricity meters
by Annik Mon 06 Sep 2010 16:18

One of our French friends with a local second home comes round to us to pick up her emails from time to time. She has friends who send her stuff that makes her have steam coming out of her ears and I tend to imagine that they have a kind of virtual Daily Getsworse cuttings service going on between them.

However today she was outraged because of a piece from her consumer group about new electricity meters which will cost 230 euros and whose installation will be "enforced by Brussels". I looked the story up after she had gone and this is one of several pieces in "Le Parisien". I have no idea where "Le Parisien" stands in the political spectrum.

Here is an extract from one of the various articles published on the site about the subject.

Nouveaux compteurs électriques
Une directive européenne impose à la France de remplacer 80% des compteurs électriques par des boîtiers dits «communiquants».

Pourquoi changer tous les compteurs ?
La France compte actuellement 35 millions de compteurs. Sur ce total, 20 millions sont encore mécaniques (les fameux compteurs bleus) et 10 autres millions sont électroniques. Tous sont en parfait état de marche et pourraient encore servir de nombreuses années. Mais une directive européenne de 2006 impose à la France de les changer afin que 80 % des compteurs permettent d'ici à 2020 aux usagers de consommer intelligemment en agissant sur différents paramètres suivant les saisons, la météo, la température ou l'occupation de la maison ou de l'appartement.

Tous les anciens compteurs seront-ils remplacés ?
Oui. La France doit se plier à la directive européenne prise en 2006. Le remplacement des compteurs a même fait l'objet d'un article dans la loi du 7 décembre 2006 sur l'énergie qui prévoit l'ouverture totale du secteur à la concurrence à partir du 1er juillet 2007. C'est dans le cadre de cette loi qu'a été créé ERDF, la filiale à 100% d'EDF en charge de la distribution de l'électricité en France. Une filiale qui a reçu pour mission de piloter le déploiement des nouveaux compteurs intelligents....

Quel sera le montant de la facture ?
Il sera dans tous les cas élevé. De 4 à 5 milliards d'euros selon ERDF et plutôt 8 à 9 milliards selon la FNCCR (Fédération nationale des collectivités concédantes et régies). Motif : le temps d'intervention des équipes des sociétés prestataires pour installer ces nouveaux compteurs dans les foyers est beaucoup plus élevé que prévu. Il était prévu d'installer un compteur en vingt minutes. En réalité, cela peut prendre plusieurs heures, notamment dans certaines zones rurales. En France, les abonnés à EDF paieront environ 230 €. on est loin des 120 € prévus par ERDF. A titre de comparaison, au Canad, chaque compteur a coûté 450 € dans l'état de l'Ontario, 250 € en Californie, 220 € en Suède et 190 € en Grande-Bretagne.


This is what the compteurs will look like - if I can get the attachment to work. (I have a feeling there will now be a multiple image.)

Does anyone have any further information?

compteur.jpg

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. (Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.)" Groucho Marx
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Annik
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Jun 2007
Re: New electricity meters
by Dave Tue 07 Sep 2010 07:57

This has been a long time in the making and I imagine that it will take ages to actually roll these out to people, especially if they are going to be charged up front (rather than via taxes or tariff supplements).

"Linky" as it appears to have been nicknamed is inevitable as most of the benefits are for the supplier who will never need to send someone to read your meter and can monitor your usage (and I expect cut you off remotely if it becomes dodgy or you don't pay - or at least cap your use).

The benefits to the consumer are thin. You can already see your current usage on a existing digital meter if you care to look, so this new meter won't reduce peoples usage much. It's much more complex and likely to go wrong and the suppler won't be coming out to check it for free. So the main benefit for you is no more estimated billing. Is that worth €230 each, several hundred lost jobs and hundreds of tonnes of perfectly serviceable meters in the bin?

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Dave
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Re: New electricity meters
by Annik Tue 07 Sep 2010 08:13

Thanks very much for the explanation, Dave. I didn't know if it was a "Brussels imposes straight bananas" story or actually true.

We hoped it might not apply to us as we have a digital meter already, but apparently not.

Thanks.

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. (Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.)" Groucho Marx
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Annik
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Jun 2007
Re: New electricity meters
by Dave Tue 07 Sep 2010 08:31

There's an article here (in French) that explains it in more detail and provides links to more information on different issues with smart metering (mostly negative), where it says that a pilot is well under way and the national roll-out is expected to start in 2012. It also talks about Dutch resistance to their programme - perhaps a Dutch member can comment on this?

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Dave
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Re: New electricity meters
by Jeanne Tue 07 Sep 2010 09:43

If it means loss of jobs for the French then they will be in no rush to install. They will delay as much as possible, and who can blame them.

Jeanne
233
Jun 2010
Re: New electricity meters
by virtdave Tue 07 Sep 2010 16:40

I surmise that the lost jobs (of meter readers) will not weigh too heavily. There's money to be made in the installation rollout (as per my grumpy post about the ERDF in another thread), and the 'straight bananas' analogy is pretty good. The folks who stand to gain in this mess may have bitten off a bit more than they can chew, perhaps if they'd stuck it to the end-user a bit less enthusiastically, they'd be getting away with it--and of course they still might well. I'm pleased that someone (e.g., the Dutch) at least is squawking.

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virtdave
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Sep 2008
Re: New electricity meters
by RobertArthur Mon 13 Sep 2010 10:20

Paris decided recently with a décret ministérielthat already in december this year the testperiod for these new meters will end. Wintertime testing not necessary? I always liked to mistreat electronic equipment with tests in a climate chamber, just wait and see what happens. But as I understand it, the roll out must go on, and quick. One technical issue that didn't get much attention yet is the way in which the good old disjoncteur de branchement used to react upon overload conditions. It has a slow reacting thermal mechanism on board. An overlaod of a few seconds or a few minutes, several amps above your puissannce souscrite, will not cut off your power. The new intelligent meters react, totally electronic as they are, immediately to every milliamp overconsumption, in milliseconds. One of the lucky consumers participating in one of the testregions told a reporter that she never had problems with her old meter, but with the new intelligent meter she had to go outside every other day (external meterbox, 20 meters from her house) to get the power back. Nice exercise in summertime, but at night, in wintertime? And the old lady interviewed is not the only one, it is (dys)functionality by design, read this. Let's hope that in the final design they build in a more tolerant behaviour. Otherwise a lot of clients will have to sign up for a higher puissance souscrite. For EDF/ERDF of course a business opportunity. Another point of concern: possible overvoltage damage. With a powergrid in the French countryside exposed as it is to lightning, the German experience as highlighted on the ZDF network a year ago might be an indication of possible problems. It's not the problem of "fried" meters, thats a full stop. But the problem of software damage inside, leading to erratic and false measurement of your power consumption. It has taken a lot of german consumers a lot of time arguing over excessive bills. But computer says...... The old disc meters keep on turning, summertime, wintertime, and will give me sufficient feedback about my energy behaviour. And do smart meters create smarter energy consumers? The assembled PR guys and girls try to convince us, in a style completely in line with former agitprop "information" in countries with a polit bureau. I have my doubts. No doubts with respect to pricing policies: everybody will try to finance program costs through a customer surcharge.

And what's going on in The Netherlands? Several companies have been busy introducing these meters gradually during the last few yars. In April 2009 a majority of the 75 members of the Senate (Eerste Kamer) of the Dutch Parliament put a veto on a bill to a compulsory introduction of the new intelligent meters. Reason: privacy concerns. The Minister for Economic Affairs tried to get a yes in this debate, by referring to the obligations of Brussels, and arguing that to be in line with this EU Directive she had to include even the sanction of going to prison (six months!) for those refusing the installation of a smart meter. Several earlier studies of independent research institutes however already had pointed out that the EU Directive addresses the business community: they have the obligation to provide the equipment, it's not the obligation for every EU citizen to have it installed. So dear Minister, you are a bit to severe with your proposals. You are "plus royaliste que le roi". And there you are in the middle of interpretation of EU law and directives. And the freedom for EU member states in the way they think directives should be implemented on a national level. Neither were the members of the Senate believers in the very optimistic figures about energy reduction, they were rather skeptical. But essential for their position was the idea that citizens should have the possibility to say no to the introduction of a "spy-meter" in their homes. With this dark cloud of no-sayers hanging above the Senate building the minister decided to take back her bill, already approved by the Dutch House of Representatives. To be amended in the future. So some rethinking and repositioning of the political frontline has been going on last year. Result: the Dutch goverment presented Parliament last week a new analysis of how to proceed. Key elements: freedom of choice and a better defense of privacy. Small scale roll out for a few years, evaluation, and by 2020 more than 80% of Dutch households equipped with a new intelligent meter. To comply with Brussels. Business case: a compulsory roll out: benefit € 1300 mln. The 80% plus scenario: benefit € 770 mln. Scenario of more than 20% "no": "the business case will not longer be positive" says Minister Maria van der Hoeven for Economic Affairs.



Robert

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RobertArthur
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Re: New electricity meters
by Annik Mon 13 Sep 2010 23:28

That's fascinating. Thank you.

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. (Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.)" Groucho Marx
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Annik
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Re: New electricity meters
by RobertArthur Tue 14 Sep 2010 08:13

After the Dutch experience perhaps a few additional remarks about the French experience (any French members?). In leParisien some feedback about the tests of Linky. In the Tours region they planned to install 40.000 intelligent meters before the end of may this year. They managed to get 19.000 installed. And believe it or not, I checked it with other sources, only eight of them worked o.k. Yes, single digit, 8. The rest had problems, and most of them were programmed to work in basic mode: behaving as disc style meters or just like the already existing digital readout meters. And in Indre-et-Loire the same picture: only 18 of the 25.000 meters were "effectivement communicants". We were not able, due to infrastructure problems, to put all the functionalities to the test, was one of the EDF/ERDF answers. As soon as a "hardware" company starts talking like a politician, beware. Response from a consumer organisation: that's a well known fact of daily life for many French clients of EDF, so many black- and brown outs, micro-coupures, hours without electrictity. And that is why we had doubts from the beginning: would not it have been a better investment to improve the quality of the powergrid?
Probably it will be easier to get the new metering system working in cities and other densely populated areas, with more up to date cabling. And that's where the focus will be, trying to get as much households equipped with "Linky" in order to reach the Brussels 80% target in time. La campagne, la France profonde: that will be a technical challenge.


Robert

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RobertArthur
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Re: New electricity meters
by Dave Tue 14 Sep 2010 12:15

There is an interesting article on the BBC news site today, asking if smart meters actually reduce use:

Smart meters 'may not cut energy use'

They also have some links to smart metering basics.

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Dave
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Re: New electricity meters
by virtdave Wed 22 Sep 2010 15:25

It seems the 'smart' meters are meeting with resistance in the USA too...Here is a link to an article today in the newspaper of the city nearest where I live in California. Sebastopol is a nearby town, near the Russian river. Russians were early settlers in northern California.....

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virtdave
1079
Sep 2008
Re: New electricity meters
by Snowbirds Wed 22 Sep 2010 18:08

And here is the Canadian perpective, Toronto - same deal, won't save you any electricity and may cost your more/

Toronto — From Wednesday's Globe and Mail
Published on Tuesday, Sep. 14, 2010 9:34PM EDT

Last updated on Tuesday, Sep. 14, 2010 11:52PM EDT


The McGuinty government is looking at giving consumers a break on hydro prices under a program that critics say is not living up to its promise to save electricity users money and promote energy conservation.

Ontario is the first province in Canada to introduce time-of-use pricing designed to encourage electricity consumers to reduce consumption and run appliances during periods of lower demand, when power tends to come from cheaper, cleaner sources. The government has spent more than $1-billion on the program.

Premier Dalton McGuinty acknowledged on Tuesday that he is hearing the same complaints that opposition members are raising: many people who throw in a load of laundry late at night when electricity prices are lower are getting hit with higher hydro bills.

Under the current pricing system, he said, rates might not be low enough in off-peak hours to allow consumers to reap savings. Under time-of-use billing, consumers are charged 9.9 cents a kilowatt hour during peak periods (11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the summer) and 5.3 cents during off-peak periods (9 p.m. to 7 a.m.).

“There should be an appropriate price differential in place that in fact rewards people for changing their behaviour,” Mr. McGuinty told reporters. “We want to make sure that the pricing signals are right so that there is a real savings associated with using electricity in off-peak periods.”

Opposition parties say the Green Energy Act, along with the harmonized sales tax that took effect July 1, adding 8-per-cent to bills, and higher prices for electricity during peak periods have all combined to drive up rates for consumers.

Mr. McGuinty did not say how his government plans to change the program. But Queen’s Park is grappling with the soaring cost of hydro amid worries that it will become a topic of debate during next year’s provincial election.

Opposition members are accusing the government of mismanaging the system. “Can the Premier explain why he spent a billion and a half dollars on a scheme that doesn’t conserve energy, but does raise people’s hydro rates?” New Democratic Party Leader Andrea Horwath said during Question Period on Tuesday.

Norma-Jean Campbell, a dog breeder in St. Thomas in southwestern Ontario, said she got a rude surprise when she opened her latest hydro bill. It had increased to $130 from about $100.

“I just thought, when they put the smart meter in place and the HST on top of that, where is this going to go?” Ms. Campbell said in an interview. “I feel powerless.”

Local utilities have installed smart meters that allow consumers to monitor their electricity usage in 4.1 million homes in Ontario. The New Democrats released figures showing that 80 per cent of Toronto Hydro’s 500,000 customers on time-of-use billing have seen their electricity bills rise, and most are not changing their usage patterns.

A government official disputed that figure, saying 68 per cent of customers paid $2.79 more on average, while 32 per cent paid $7.40 less on average.

Snowbirds
7
Sep 2008
Re: New electricity meters
by Annik Wed 22 Sep 2010 23:01

That's fascinating. I must ask my husband's cousin in Ontario how it is affecting her.

Annik

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. (Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.)" Groucho Marx
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Annik
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Jun 2007
Re: New electricity meters
by RobertArthur Thu 23 Sep 2010 19:35

Let's consider the Canadian experience as a wake-up call. French consumer organisations, sometimes "dedicated followers of fashion", and echoing the EDF press releases, are getting a bit more critical. Once again the site of "60-mln" answers the questions we had in mind, but were afraid to ask.


Regards,


Robert

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RobertArthur
263
Mar 2009
Re: New electricity meters
by David_J Fri 24 Sep 2010 08:49

Apropos of nothing, my water meter has just been changed for a radio read variety at no charge - at least no up front charge.
David_J

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David_J
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Aug 2006
Re: New electricity meters
by RobertArthur Mon 13 Dec 2010 22:10

Three months later, anything new in France? Overall picture unchanged. We have seen some positive results of the Linky try-outs in participating cities, where the ERDF powerlines are in good shape. Elsewhere, the countryside, results are less encouraging as has been reported in the French newpapers, and already mentioned here on this website. In the Tours region only 8 intelligent meters out of 19.000 were effectivement communicants, and in the Indre-et-Loir region the same picture: 18 out of 25.000. So the fieldtest with these intelligent meters, because the communication infrastructure is not ready yet, difficult to realise given the ageing rural powergrid, is far from complete. EDF has been accused of neglecting the maintenance and necessary investments in the powergrid, leading to an increase of 50% in “downtime” over the last ten years. So nobody is really surprised. The 11th of may this year the newspaper “le Parisien” hit the headlines with: “EDF accusé de laisser tomber son réseau”. Because of investments all over the world. Perfect timing, because next morning at ten o'clock there was a meeting of the Commission des affaires économiques of the Assemblée nationale, discussing new government proposals to modify the regulation of the electricity market.

To counter the critics, consumer organisations and newspapers, minister Jean-Louis Borloo admitted already in june that there had been some difficulties, and said that they were going to study it, “on va étudier ce sujet très en amont”. And those who were complaining about the price to be paid for Linky (230 euros) shouldn't do that. “L'objectif, c'est que le consommateur paie moins cher en reduisant sa consommation..........Isn't it reasonable that you pay for something that will reduce your energy bill”. In september, the new president of the ERDF, mrs Michèle Bellon, declared in an interview in le Figaro the new Linky meter to be “efficace et économe”. We can understand that, was the immediate reaction of the unions: you are going to fire a lot of EDF employees in the near future, and you let the consumers pay for it.

It's all about the smart powergrid of the future. The CRE (Commission de Régulation de l'Energie) launched recently a new website, smart grids only, as part of the first “think tank institutionnel français dédié aux smart grids”. It's about industrial development and an international marketing strategy. Let 's hear what minister Borloo has to say about this, in his press release of September 15 th: La réussite du programme Linky est un enjeu stratégique pour la France et les Français. Il s’agit : - de poursuivre la modernisation du système électrique français, en améliorant le service rendu aux usagers ; - d’accélérer la maîtrise des consommations d’énergie et les gains de pouvoir d’achat qui en résultent ; - de saisir l’opportunité pour notre pays d’être à la pointe dans un secteur industriel créateur d’emplois en plein essor au niveau mondial.

In this same press release the test period for Linky has been extended till at least March 31th 2011, to allow testing in wintertime. So let's wait and see how things develop. And let's hope that they do something about the extreme sensitivity of these new meters for inrush currents of say an electric heater, a vacuum cleaner and other comparable electric devices. The EDF answer so far is: you'll have to go to the next higher puissance souscrite. Read more about this so called courbe de fonctionnement d'un disjoncteur in a paper of Legrand, page 9. But isn't this the reason for building in some sort of delay in the overload behaviour of a circuit breaker, and isn't it the reason why you have to use slow-blow fuses when feeding powerhungry electric motors, with inrush currents sometimes the tenfold of their standard operating current? Puissance souscrite times ten?

What I forgot was to ask your attention for the Norwegian case. In this workshop paper (page 10) about smart metering the author mentions something one should not underestimate: maintenance and communication costs. To quote him: ".....if there is only one reading pr. month/week the costs are reasonable....If meter data is transmitted to the central system hourly (quarterly), which be necessary when centrally controlled and activated demand/response load shifting is introduced, the capacity limitations and costs of communication become an important issue.....". Well, the smart grid needs some smart thinking. And is there something as an intelligent meter? No, what we need is intelligent human behaviour, turn down the temperature control, and building insulation.


Robert

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RobertArthur
263
Mar 2009
Re: New electricity meters
by RobertArthur Sun 22 Jan 2012 10:59

In the Journal Officiel of January 10th the decision of the French government to give the green light for the full scale introduction of the new smart electricity meter, Linky. Consumer organisations as UFC/Que Choisir are not happy: about broken promises, no suivi en temps réel (default= dumb metering), more price rises to come. This is their story. The ERDF is continuing it's PR efforts, see this introduction to Linky. Not too much exact info about their time table: should be published sooner or later on their website, or ERDF's special smart meter website. Time horizon: Brussel's target of 80% smart meters in the EU memberstates in 2020.

Robert

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RobertArthur
263
Mar 2009
Re: New electricity meters
by RobertArthur Tue 18 Dec 2012 10:22

There has been the sound of silence for many months. The French consumer organisation UFC-QueChoisir was, and is not happy at all. About broken promises, no two way communication possible because of a non-existing telecommunication infrastructure (dumb-meter approach), not in the interest of consumers, read their earlier observations in this article.

New masters of the château in Paris. One of the new ministers, mrs. Delphine Batho, a few days before her visit to the factory of Landis+Gyr in Mont Luçon, already explained to the members of the Economic Committee of the French Sénat that she is eager to "reprendre en main le dossier Linky". Surprise: installation of a groupe de travail. With unemployment at an alarming level, government has to prove that the so called "redressement" policy is not vapourware, but really exists.

So a few days later, bright lights, tv cameras, press, she visited the Landis+Gyr factory in Montluçon. Where they are going to produce seven million linky's per year between 2013 and 2018. This would help to prevent another plant closure. Or another threat by mr. Montebourg of nationalisation, trying to underline France's investment attractiveness. And would be needed to respect the smart metering targets set by Brussels for the European member states. But first there is another problem waiting for an answer: the consumer organisation Que Choisir went to the highest court, the Conseil d'État, trying to stop the introduction of Linky. In their words: court-circuiter le faux compteur intelligent.

Robert

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RobertArthur
263
Mar 2009
Re: New electricity meters
by RobertArthur Thu 04 Apr 2013 19:41

The Court, le Conseil d'État, has ruled: green light for the smart meter called Linky. From a legal point of view nothing will stop the general introduction of this meter, read this information of the French consumer organisation Que Choisir.

Robert

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RobertArthur
263
Mar 2009
Re: New electricity meters
by SIMON Fri 05 Apr 2013 15:37

does any one know when this department will be getting these new meters.

do you need a telephone line for them to talk to EDF or is it done via the electric cable.

SIMON
35
Jan 2013
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