Dumb smart meters still being installed
This project seems to have started in 2008 when Energy Secretary, Ed Milliband, set the goal of rolling out 50 million smart meters by 2019. There are 15 million smart meters now installed in the UK. Only 2 million are the new version. The other 13 million go dumb if you switch supplier. They also sometimes give faulty readings. Look After My Bills (Lamb), a switching site, found that eight energy companies, including British Gas and Eon are still installing the old meters.
Lily Green from Lamb, said: “It beggars belief that six months after the deadline we are seeing these outdated smart meters – which ‘go dumb’ when you switch supplier – still being installed in people’s homes.”
Since writing this the Government has extended the deadline for installing smart meters by four years. They have set the energy companies new targets, backed up by fines. Meanwhile consumers might hold a different view! I don’t recall be asked if I thought it would be a good idea. Am I supposed to sit there watching it go round? The Governments original estimate was that families would save £250 a year by switching – something the vast majority of smart meters are unable to do. Savings are now starting to look like £11 a year. But families being charged £10 a year through their bills to cover the costs of the scheme. Another fine mess.
Lots of rushed, badly thought out, and crazy ideas are appearing as a result of the Governments net zero emissions target for 2050. To put this in perspective, in 2017 39% of Germany’s electricity was generated by burning coal. The UK figure for the same year was 7%.
I read that Thames Water lost an average of 627 millions of litres of water PER DAY from their network during July 2019.
The Consumer Council for Water published a report on Friday which says that Thames Water has the highest level of leakage of all English and Welsh water companies. They lose 177 litres per property per day. Karen Gibbs, Senior Policy Manager at the Consumer Council for Water, said: “It’s clear that some companies still need to do much more when it comes to reducing supply interruptions and curbing leakage, which can damage people’s perceptions of the industry and deter them from saving water themselves.”
Absolutely! There’s a section on the Thames Water website encouraging people to fit water meters and be “Water Smart”. What planet are they on?
Sainsbury’s puts the tills back
Back in June I reported my first successful shop in Sainsbury’s at Holborn Circus – a shop without tills. I’ve used it several times since and found it faster to shop there than in a normal supermarket.
This was a three month trial, but they’ve now put two self-service tills in at the back of the shop, plus a manned checkout. The Sainsbury’s app always worked well for me. I set all this up at home first then went down, treating it as a bit of fun.
Most of the customers in this store work locally, and might shop in there most days. You only have to set it up once. After that it’s easy. Sainsbury’s had already got the data on who their regular shoppers were. Not many paid with cash at Holborn.
Sainsbury’s say: “Till-free shopping is still available in the Holborn Circus store, as well as eight other convenience stores across London.” So the Sainsbury’s SmartShop app will continue in parallel with the checkouts. I’d think it will remove about 50% of the customers from the tills. Update May 2021: I’ve reinstalled the app and have been shopping by walking round stores scanning and filling my own bag. You don’t need a basket. When you come to leave you just pay from inside the app on your phone.
Over in America internet giant, Amazon, has been slowly rolling out it’s till-free shops called Amazon Go. They opened their first in 2018. On Thursday they just opened their 19th in Seattle. At any moment Amazon could push the button and roll them out everywhere. I’m sure they’re scaring the pants off British retailers.
Events at Bow Church
Last Saturday I went along to the Tudor Sights and Sounds event at Bow Church. Amongst other things the musicians A Merrie Noyse were teaching people how to dance to Tudor music (top photo). They gave a great explanation as to how Tudor ladies made the most of the limitations of their costumes. This was a brilliant and fascinating event. I leant quite a bit about the history of the area, and the origins of Bow from the new Rector, Revd Tim May.
Next Saturday afternoon (3pm, 21st Sept 2019) William Whyte, Professor of Social & Architectural History, University of Oxford, explains how and why the 19th century changed the way churches look and sound. Register for your free place here.
For a list of concerts and other events at Bow Church see this list.