15 September 2013

More Smart Meter concerns


NEW GENERATION Smart Meters are being fitted to every home in Spain. A Royal Decree has declared all consumers contracted with less than 15 kW must have one by the end of 2018. Traditional electric meters will soon be a thing of past.

A Smart Meter records power consumption and communicates that information to a monitoring station for management and billing purposes. They enable two-way communication between the meter and the central control system. Real-time sensors provide information about power outages and power surges. In addition, their introduction prevents the illegal malpractice of unauthorised upgrades.

A possible consequence for home owners having a Smart Meter fitted is that may endure power cuts. Some consumers tend to illegally upgrade their electricity supplies to gain more power by not obtaining the legal certification necessary to upgrade their electricity contract. An illegal upgrade is one where the ICP (kill switch) has been subject to tampering. It will have been disconnected, by-passed or changed without proper authorisation. This is normally evident by the approved seal being removed or tampered with. In order to upgrade an electricity supply an electrician must be employed to produce a boletin (electrical installation certificate) that ensures the installation is safe and able to handle additional power. 

Smart Meters are fitted with a new tamper proof ICP which automatically disconnects the electricity if the power demand exceeds the amount of the contracted supply. That means, if you switch on too many appliances, you create a power cut. 

Consumers are advised to check that the power capacity contracted from Iberdrola corresponds with the ICP. That means the amount of power that you signed up for with Iberdrola should correspond with the Power Control Switch in the Consumer Unit. This will ensure that there are no foreseeable power cuts once the Smart Meter is fitted. You may not be aware that a previous owner illegally upgraded the power supply.

The contracted power supply is stated on your electricity bill or Iberdrola contract in kilowatts (kW). In the Valencia and Murcia regions, the amount will generally be 3.3kW or 3.45kW, or 5.5kW or 5.75kW. Large homes may have larger amounts. 3.3kW/3.45kW means you should have a 15 Amp ICP, and 5.5kW/5.75kW means you should have a 25 Amp ICP. The ICP can be easily identified in, or next to, the Consumer Unit in a separate box.