‘Scandal’ of 4 million smart meters that are not working

 In News

Figures showing the number of smart meters not working properly have risen by more than a million are scandalous, says a top Midlands green energy expert.

Ron Fox was commenting on the latest data from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (Desnez) which said 2.7 million were not operating in smart mode last June. And this figure had gone up to 3.98 million by the end of 2023, which is nearly one in eight of the 35 million meters installed in the UK.

“The problem,” said Ron, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science Innovation Park (www.noreus.co.uk), “is that some energy suppliers have failed to upgrade or replace these older meters, despite being told to do.

“The knock-on effect is that customers are being hit unfairly by massive gas and electricity bills and some have struggled to get their money back.”

He said one of the main problems for meters becoming faulty was when customers switched suppliers.

Smart meters measure how much gas and electricity a household uses and these readings should be taken automatically about every 30 minutes and sent by a remote connection to the energy supplier. They are designed to let householders monitor their energy usage accurately as well as helping the National Grid manage demand.

If the connection is lost customers have to rely on estimated bills until the meters are corrected. But as Energy UK, the trade association for the energy industry, says suppliers must replace faulty meters.

Now the government has stepped in with Lord Callanan, the Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance, writing to Ofgem demanding that suppliers are held to account if they are not seen to be supporting customers. Ofgem (The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets) is the regulator for the electricity and natural gas markets in Great Britain.

In 2009 the then energy secretary Ed Miliband promised that every household would have a smart meter by 2019 to get rid of inaccurate bills and estimated meter readings.

But by December last year only 61 per cent of meters were smart and only 54 per cent of those worked.

The latest government target is for 74.5 per cent of homes to have smart meters by the end of 2025.

Ron reminded householders that smart meters were voluntary and it could take up to six weeks to connect a new meter to your supplier. If it is still not working, he said give the company, who are responsible for fixing it, a call.

If the problem is not sorted within eight weeks, residents can complain to the Energy Ombudsman. Between April and June last year there were 7.81 complaints to the ombudsman per 100,000 customers who were awarded an average of £88 in compensation in upheld complaints.

If you want any advice about smart meters, contact Ron on 01782 756995 or go to www.noreus.co.uk

Caption: Not so smart – up to 3.98 million smart meters were not working properly by the end of 2023.

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