I'm one of those people who think smart meters are going to 'fry our brains with radio waves' and having researched this area, do not consider this an extreme view. These meters emit a huge amount of electromagnetic radiation, and the non-thermal effects of EMR, which has been shown to be unsafe in thousands of independent studies, is not taken into account by the government and the utility companies. I've just discovered that a flat I was interested in buying had a gas smart meter installed last year. Unfortunately, this means that I won't be going for it. My health is non-negotiable.
In the Netherlands those smartmeters (electricity & gas)are going to be deployed nationwide (over a period of some 7 or 8 years I believe) starting next year. The gas meter in your pictures looks remarkably the same as the ones here. I opted in for an early placement. However, there seems to be one big difference between the UK and the NL and that is that 'our' smartmeters are mandatory equipped with a so called P1-port, which is customer readable. And quite easy so. It is fully documented , and I plan to rewrite my own hacked together perl-script to read it to something EmonCMS can handle. Long URL to official documentation: ( http://www.netbeheernederland.nl/DecosDocument/Download/%3FfileName%3Da-... )
Feel free to use me as a case in point! I think we need to put more pressure on British gas (and co) to open these so called smart meters up!
Jim, Last night at the Open Source Awards I spoke to quite a few people who invariably assumed we were part of the Smart Meter Revolution TM ... I have to admit I used you as a case study contrasting the open and closed approaches to data!
Hello Trystan, Unfortunately not! Following the above post, I subsequently wrote a second post about my experience after Smart Meter installation and my mission to get energy usage stats out of my smart meters: http://www.smartofthehome.com/2013/09/british-gas-smart-meters-part-2/ It would seem that at (least for now) the new Smart Meters from British Gas are a bit of a closed system where only British Gas can access 'my' stats. Access the the smart meters via Zigbee is blocked for "security reasons", all that is offered to the consumer is the In-home Display device (which to be honest is a 5 min wonder with no way of getting at the real data). There are promises of an iPhone app but even this will only get the stats from British Gas's servers (rather than directly from the meters in my house). I don't know if the government should put more pressure on British Gas to allow consumers access to their own data. Even though I have so called 'smart meters' I may have to revert back to older techniques (pulse counting, physically noting readings) to monitor my Electricity and Gas usage (which defeats the point!). Jim
Hello James, thanks for sharing your blog post and sorry that I must have missed it the first time! its useful to have an overview like that, have you had any luck with getting data out of the system?
Hi Liz, Thanks for your comment, it is good to get another point of view. I personally can't see how having a smart meter is going to fry our brains any more than the mobile phone we have sitting in our back pocket but I would be interested to hear a little more about your research. At the end of the day the smart meter simply has a mobile phone SIM card installed inside it which transmits a tiny amount of data (equivalent to a SMS text message) every now and then. The only other radio transmitter inside the smart meter is a Zigbee radio which helps it communicate with the hand held display, this again is no different to your average cordless phone or baby monitor. Not buying a house because it has a smart meter seems a little extreme to me but I appreciate this is your view. Could you not simply go with a energy provider (if you are in the UK) who does not do smart meters yet and they would then have to either swap it back for a dumb meter or disable the 'smart' (radio) bit? Thanks again for your comment, I honestly do appreciate hearing peoples opinions.
It sounds like you are lucky in that in NL your smart meters have the manditory P1 port, unfortunately in the UK they have opted to remove this port :-( are your Gas meters also G470's or different model number?
Nevertheless, I would be very interested to see your perl script.
All the best,
The radio energy sent by a ZigBee radio is 100,000 of times less powerful than a cordless phone... And you don't keep a smart meter beside your brain like you do with a phone...
Believe me, your microwave oven is way way way more dangerous than a smart meter, working on the same frequency!
We conducted experiments in our office, and the only major spike we detected were when someone's cell phone in his pockets was ringing! Even though we have hundreds of meters and radios currently operating in our labs!
We don't feel threaten, and we understand the technology... You shouldn't feel threaten!