Smart Meters – ‘Big Brother’ is monitoring you!

You may have read in recent press that Endesa, and all other electricity suppliers in Spain, are in the process of changing all electricity meters to new digital ‘Smart’ meters by the end of 2018. All thanks to another European directive!

Working alongside Endesa and their sub-contractors as I do, I have known for some time that the new Smart meters are being pilot tested in Málaga and Marbella, however Endesa are now installing Smart meters on ALL new (or upgraded) single-phase supplies in Alhaurín el Grande, Coín and surrounding area.

Smart Meter

The Smart meters use ‘telemetry’ technology to send data on electricity consumption back to the supplier via the electricity supply network. The data is collected at the local substation and sent from there via the internet to the billing company. Once you have a Smart Meter installed, Endesa (Cobra) will no longer go out to read your meter. The main advantage to you, the consumer, is no more estimated readings every other month!

What people do not seem to be aware of, is that these new meters also incorporate the functionality of the Interruptor de Control de Potencia (ICP). Once your Smart meter is installed, if you exceed your ‘potencia contratada’ (i.e. energy rating of your contract in Kilowatts) the supply will be disconnected at the meter. The supply can only be reconnected by following a simple procedure at the main fuse box.

No problem then?

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Wrong! Potentially the installation of a Smart meter poses a huge problem for many consumers, including some of those with no ICP fitted and particularly those with a contracted ‘potencia’ of less than 5,75KW:

Historically, Endesa and the other electricity providers did not always fit ICP’s. This meant consumers could draw more power through their supplies than the ‘potencia’ contracted. The consumer is therefore unaware that their electricity contract is insufficient for the number of electrical appliances connected. That is, until your new Smart meter is installed, when you are likely to experience regular power outages.

Many consumers have had their ICP’s removed in order to prevent nuisance tripping due to overloading of the supply. The removal of the ICP is not only illegal but also potentially dangerous and is something I DO NOT do despite numerous requests in the past! Your only option is to upgrade your electricity contract before your Smart meter is installed.

This problem is made much worse for those consumers who have inherited an old electricity contract from a previous owner. I have seen hundreds of electricity bills from different customers, some of which have a ‘potencia contratada’ as low as 1,1KW.

WARNING to all consumers: Check your latest electricity bill and confirm that your ‘potencia’ is sufficient to support all the electrical appliances in your home. Check my Guide to Determine Energy Rating of your electricity contract.

If it is not, then contact me to arrange an inspection, audit and load-test of your installation, and if necessary I can prepare a quote to upgrade your supply and provide a new boletín in order to upgrade your potencia before your new Smart meter is installed!

Contact me via email (see home page) or telephone +(34) 659 862 691.

Endesa will write to you to advise when your meter will be changed. Be warned, if you do not receive electricity bills then you will not receive this notification either!

17 October 2011