Opposition to costly, privacy invasive, unreliable, and unsafe “Smart” Meters (electric, gas, and water) has been ongoing worldwide since utilities first started installing them over a decade ago. Because “Smart” Meters are computers, they need to be replaced and/or “upgraded” more often than traditional one-way transmitting utility meters which have an average 40-year lifespan. Recently it was reported that millions of “Smart” Meters in the UK must now be manually read, which defeats the purpose of promoting them as convenient for customers, right?
With energy prices soaring in the past few months, thousands of Brits have turned to smart meters to help manage spending. But users across the UK are reporting inaccurate readings to their suppliers, causing them to manually take readings instead.
John Linton, 79, a retired IT consultant from Buckinghamshire, lodged a complaint against British Gas after accusing them of not giving him accurate readings on his at-home display.
He said: “I was told that monitors are deemed to be an add-on, and British Gas will not replace them free of charge after 12 months.
“This is contrary to Ofgem’s website, which states that meters, including displays, are paid for through the energy bill, and will not be charged for separately.
“The actual meter is utterly useless without the monitor, especially because in my case it is high up in a dark cupboard, and at 79 I am not keen on using a stepladder and torch every time I want to check on things. Using the British Gas website is equally impossible.”
There are no clear guidelines as to what responsibility suppliers have if customers run up bigger energy bills because the display is wrong.
The government said: “Smart meters are modernising energy for millions of consumers and providing households with near-real-time information, which they are using to manage their energy use and save money on their bills.
Energy suppliers are responsible for ensuring the tariff information displayed on a customer’s in-home display aligns with the tariff they are billed on.”
Retired couple Diana James, 73, and husband Michael, 69, complain they are unable to read their smart meter.