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Some people are reporting on social media that their electricity bills are doubling after the installation of smart meters:

This blog explains the problem:

Simply speaking, when any domestic electrical appliance is switched on, it momentarily draws heavily on the electricity supply. The key words to remember here are ‘surge voltages’. These surges at switch on can be several times the electrical rating of an appliance, and the bigger (and older) the appliance, the larger the surge. With the old meters this wasn’t an issue, as these surges are so short that the old electromechanical meters couldn’t record them. However, the ‘Smart meters’ being purely electronic, record every last milliamp, and report these directly to the suppliers via a mesh type network on a real time basis. Never mind being billed at varying rates for different times of the day.

Essentially what happens is that if you have a family that uses dishwashers two or three times daily, or cooks with electricity using an electric oven twice a day, and has gotten used to washing their clothes regularly, then your bills will soar, especially if you cannot afford to replace all your older appliances whose surge voltages are likely to be significantly higher than more electricity efficient modern equipment.

Does this sort of meter behavior significantly increase electricity bills?

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    The "electromechanical meters can't record them" is false. They work by diverting a very small fraction of the incoming power to turn what's basically a motor - if you've ever looked at one, it's the spinning horizontal disk - that engages gears to trun counters. This is an analog device, not a digital one, so there's no "too small to measure" interval. Wikipedia explains it better: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… And purely anecdotally, my power bill has dropped by about 20% in the several years since a "smart meter" was installed. – jamesqf Jan 5 '17 at 2:59
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    The total surge energy of a motor is essentially negligible if the motor's on for a few seconds, comprising only a few percent of the initial power. There is no possible way that mere surge currents could double your power bill. Not making this an answer because I don't have the numbers to back it up right now – 0xDBFB7 Jan 5 '17 at 3:53
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    Obvious bullshit alert - for these surges to cause 'soaring electric bills', or even to register on a bill, the surges would have to be thousands of amps. For a 'surge' lasting a second to take even a kWh of energy (typically costing around 10c) it would have to be around 10,000 amps, which would trigger fuses or circuit breakers. – DJClayworth Jan 5 '17 at 14:22
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    Also do you have other examples of this claim? One guy on a blog does not make this notable. – DJClayworth Jan 5 '17 at 16:29
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    @jamesqf: Without defending the claim, I can see the intuitive appeal of it. Yes, an analogue device has no "too small to measure" time period, but I can imagine an analogue device failing to accurately measure all the "area under the curve" in a rapidly fluctuating environment because of drag, tolerances, physical limits and the like. All I am saying is a simple appeal to common sense isn't enough here, because my untrustworthy, ill-informed (and almost certainly wrong) common sense is rating the claim "plausible". Teach me! – Oddthinking Jan 6 '17 at 4:01

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