Business

Linky meter: boiler, consumption… what can the neon green box really do (and not do)?

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Since its inception in France, the Linky meter has been at the center of controversy. La Dépêche du Midi takes stock of what the plugged-in box can or cannot do in your home, while controversy surrounds Enedis’ use of it to turn off off-peak boilers.

35 million Linky smart meters are now deployed in French homes. However, for several years now, the connected box has been at the center of many controversies, especially over the health implications and compliance with the collection of personal consumption data.

The latest controversy yet: a decree authorizing grid operators to suspend power to hot water tanks during off-peak afternoon hours. The role of the smart meter may be marginal, but it is chosen by some. But how far do the Linky’s powers really go?

Automatic consumption overview

The Linky meter keeps track of the exact electricity consumption in a household by recording monthly data. The reading of consumption is therefore done automatically, remotely.

With the green box, households can settle their actual consumption on a monthly basis and no longer with an annual estimate corrected by a one-off adjustment, as was the case with the old meters.

In addition, Linky gives households access to more accurate data on their total consumption (per month, per week, per day, per hour, etc.) and thus to adjust it. This data is accessible on the customer account which can be accessed from a computer, tablet or smartphone.

But these meter readings are global. “Linky cannot know the differentiated consumption of each appliance or each room. Impossible to know, for example, whether you watch a lot of television or how often your oven is on,” Enedis customer director Éric Salomon assures. Figaro.

Encrypted signal

The Linky meter uses Power Line Carrier (PLC) technology, a wired communication mode. It only circulates in the low voltage grid cables. And not over the internet. It has nothing to do with radio frequencies, which are radio waves that propagate in the ambient air, such as Wi-Fi or FM radio.

To protect customer privacy, this data is fully encrypted. “We can therefore guarantee that our customers’ data will not be hacked. [piratées, NDLR]’, Éric Salomon tells our colleagues.

Remote maintenance

The Linky meter makes it possible to carry out remote technical operations that until now required the intervention of a technician at home, such as commissioning the electricity, solving certain malfunctions or even changing the power.

The fluorescent green box can also delay the delivery of a hot water tank. About 75% of the electrical cumulus in France is “enslaved”. In other words, they are only started automatically by the network during off-peak hours for customers who have opted for this type of contract. However, this deactivation is not directly linked to Linky as this was already possible on the old meters. It should also be noted that the customer can manually reset their hot water tank at any time, if they wish.