The dangers of the new smart meters

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27 Oct 2016 21:49 by mr.kevin Star rating in Costa Blanca. 189 posts Send private message

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Living here on the Costa Blanca for the last 10 years, we have become accustomed to living in a country that we like very much, but has a severely substandard electrical supply infrastructure. We quickly became used to the blackouts, the power restrictions, unstable supply etc. We just put it all down to the joys of living in Spain.

Now the electric companies are installing smart meters which on the face of it is a good thing seeing as the meters they are replacing sometime are that old they should be in a museum, probably totally inaccurate, unsafe and very easy for dodgy people to abuse.

Now, while I have no issues with modernizing the metering system, I do have issues with the safety issues which have manifested as a result.

Once you get used to the third world electrical supply system of Spain, you realize that you will probably be contracted to a miniscule kilowatt supply limit, in our case 3.3Kw but some as low as 1Kw. In the past this problem didn’t really effect most consumers as the old meters didn’t have a cut- off switch and most properties either didn’t have the dreaded ICP or it was bypassed.

The new meters now of course are set up for your contracted electrical supply, which on the face of it is okay because it makes you behave and abide by your contract restrictions.

My issue is with the dangers present when resetting the meter ICP when it has tripped and cut you off. When the smart meters were fitted in our area, stickers were placed on the meters boxes outside in the street informing you to turn off the main switch in the house when the ICP needs resetting, after 5-10 seconds the ICP will reset, well our meter ICP and anyone else’s in our area does not reset automatically, we all have to go out into the street open the meters box and press a button on the meter for it to reset. Our meter box has bare terminals with lethal voltages present where the cables enter the box, okay don’t touch them, but who is going to tell any odd kid in the street not to open these unlocked meter boxes and have a good old hair curling poke around.

The worst danger is though something else, it’s pouring down with rain (okay it doesn’t rain much in Spain) the power trips, you have to go out into the street, open a wet meter box door and touch live electrical equipment with wet hands.

Well done Iberdrola, have you never heard of Health and Safety.


This message was last edited by mr.kevin on 27/10/2016.

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27 Oct 2016 22:43 by floella Star rating in SE Spain. 772 posts Send private message

Don't understand your problem mr.kevin unless it would be solved by upgrading the power to what you actually require thus no need for constant resetting.

My new smart meter has also been installed by iberdrola and cannot fault the installation , which, would be a priority if my meter was fitted as badly as yours appears to be. My meter isn't open to the elements but fitted onto a purpose built box.

Have always had a potencia of 13.8 and have never tripped nor had any cause of concern, let alone to complain, about any of the issues you have raised. 


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28 Oct 2016 12:51 by inspectahomespain Star rating in Orihuela Costa, Spai.... 2417 posts Send private message

Vip Supporter

I agree with floella on this one, I had a new smart meter installed and yes immediately the meter tripped when I put on a kettle and the oven but my meter did reset and I am in the Costa Blanca, just used to take longer than advised

Yiu are anot actuallt supposed to be able to get into the outside box, it should have a lock from Ibredrolla nd I also know for the last 10 years that I have had the house I have saved money

I then asked to ugrade my contract, no was the response without a new technical bulletin so €100 later I had this and the necessary upgrade, no more problems, plus they checked everything out and found a problem on a socket

When I went to the Iberdrolla office in Pilar to arrange this they advised on a better tariff and now my bills are around 30% less now and use use a nigh time tariff

If this is a problem just get the contract rate upgraded, especially if you are ACTUALLY using it, problem solved

Roy Howitt Independent Property Consultant WE CAN FIND YOUR DREAM HOME 627 955 748

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28 Oct 2016 13:11 by floella Star rating in SE Spain. 772 posts Send private message

Sorry, inspectahomeinspain Spain, but disagree. The old padlock is attached to the new outer covering but cannot be  padlocked. If it were to be then, without having a key, one could neither  read the meter, to check on usage, nor use reset should there be an internal electricty I recently experienced.

The old meters were padlocked but one could check on usage via the glass insert because a reset button wasn't an option.

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28 Oct 2016 13:46 by inspectahomespain Star rating in Orihuela Costa, Spai.... 2417 posts Send private message

Vip Supporter

I am sorry I disagree, having operated as a keyholder for a number of years, you can read the meters in this area because there is a plastic window in the front

In my road in La Florida the meters are padlocked and are smart meters

The smart meters do automatically reset so there is no need to go into the cupbaords and on the old system the ICP was in the house

Some DIY shops used to sell the access keys as the padlocks are all the same

Roy Howitt Independent Property Consultant WE CAN FIND YOUR DREAM HOME 627 955 748

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28 Oct 2016 14:23 by mr.kevin Star rating in Costa Blanca. 189 posts Send private message

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I personally don't have a problem with the function of the new smart meter as such, I have a Kw contract for 3.3Kw and cannot presently upgrade as Iberdrola distribution say the cables in the street are not big enough, that said, we rarely trip the IPC and cope quite well on 3.3Kw, . No, I am not infering the smart meter causes a fault on my electrical system floella, sorry if you misunderstood me.

Where we live is in the campo, we have reasonbly large plots and the meter being on the outside perimeter wall can be a fair distance from the house. I say this because the meter fitter told us the meter will not reset automatically because it is too far from the house?? puzzling. Any way, every one I know around here has to go out into the steet to press the reset button on the meter to get the power back on.

I agree the meter box should be locked up with a utilities lock, but a lot of the meter boxes around here no longer have a locking point or working hinges. One can get a utilites lock that Iberdrola and other suppliers hold keys for from a good ferretaria.

The fact remains though that some of us still need to reset these meters in the rain or not and have to access the meter box internals to do so. I am a retired electrical engineer, I know what I am doing but a lot of people are not aware that lethal voltages are present and easily accessable once inside the meter box.


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28 Oct 2016 14:30 by mariedav Star rating in Ciudad Quesada. 1062 posts Send private message

Is it an old house mr. kevin? We have lived on the Costa Blanca since 2002 and have never had a problem with tripping except in our first flat which was on builder's supply. Once Iberdrola took over, the flat had 3.3Kw, there was never a problem although we did have the odd trip when we were using electric radiators at the beginning and put the kettle on or something. Where we live now we have 5.75Kw and have never had a power outage or even a trip since we have been here. We have the new smart meters (and my bills have dropped consideraby by more than a third) but no power cut even in the most extreme weather. The joys of living in the campo, eh?

Our meter cupboards are locked and I believe the president holds a key to them. 

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28 Oct 2016 17:56 by floella Star rating in SE Spain. 772 posts Send private message

This is a major problem with trying to explain to those who don't know how the system works in Spain as " one size doesn't fit all" because like mr.kevin I also live in the campo, although it is classified as urban having only 10,000 sq.metres of land, and similarly with a electricty pole some distance from the property..

Since Iberdrola fitted us with a new covered, unlocked ( thankfully ) safe meter it has been easier to keep a check on our usage and consequently have  saved ourselves from a monthly fixed payment of €214 have saved  over €70 in the last 2 months. 

Hoping now for a mild winter so the reductions will continue. 



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31 Oct 2016 09:48 by amogles Star rating in El Campello (holiday.... 170 posts Send private message

I still have an older meter that looks as if it ought to be in a museum. It's date stamp goes back to the 1950s but I have been told that that doesn't necessarily reflect the manufacturing date but could be the date the type was first introduced. I have had a letter from Iberdrola that i was getting a new smart meter and that they would be coming through my street on the following dates. Strangely the letter wasn't addressed to me personally though and didn't have my actual address or contarct number. It looked like a photocopy so I thought it was a bit dodggy. As my house is a holiday home I left my key with the neighbour (who already has a smart meter himself) and I wrote to Iberdrola telling them the key was with him. They never  replied to that message. Anyhow, they never turned up and this is maybe now nine months later. I wrote to them again and they wrote back saying they don't know who I am as they don't have a contract under my name or number and in fact they don't even know where my street is. They also said my contract number is too short by two digits. However, that's what it says on the bills. Very strange. I'm still getting electricity though and being billed for it. At some point I guess I^ll have to embark on sorting the whole thing out. Before they cut me off.

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