Be smart and think twice over new smart meters
Midlands householders should think twice before rushing in to have a new smart meter installed in their home.
That’s the advice from green energy expert Ron Fox who said the main disadvantage is that many of them will stop working if residents, wanting to reduce their bills, swap suppliers.
He said there were many advantages as they are internet-connected devices puts consumers in charge of their energy use by displaying the amount and cost of fuel usage.
Also they put a stop to estimated bills by sending automatic bills to the energy supplier and are designed to save the average householder £47 a year
“But that major problem of losing the smart functionality outweighs the advantages and people should reject the first generation meters and wait for the technology to improve,” said Ron.
The trouble is that the Smart Metering Equipment Technical Specification (Smets 2), the most advanced meters, have been delayed by technical issues and energy companies have been told to continue installing older Smets 1 devices as the Government wants to put 50 million meters in by 2020 in an £11billion initiative.
He added: “Don’t be pressurized into having a smart meter. You can reject having one, but the problem comes when your old meter is broken and needs replacing.
“Then the supplier is allowed to install a smart meter in “dumb” mode which means it works like the traditional, non-smart gas and electricity meters without the latest technology, but you can still change energy supplier.”
Already 8.6 million smart meters have been installed in the UK but 866,000 of them are now working on “dumb” mode only.
However, the consumer body Which? said 40 per cent of people with a smart meter are dissatisfied with it.
Another serious worry is that some experts fear smart meters may be hacked and energy supplies could be disrupted in a terrorist attack.
Government research has shown that up to six million homes are thinking of rejecting them because of hacking and data protection fears.
Meanwhile, energy companies are concerned with the spiraling costs of the project and some may use it as an excuse to put up prices for consumers.
Now a Government spokesperson is reported to have promised that the Smets 1 meters will be upgraded by the end of this year and will work efficiently regardless of the energy provider and that Smets 2 will soon to be ready to install.
“The sooner the technology is improved the better,” added Ron, of Noreus Ltd at Keele, Staffordshire. “You don’t buy modern gadgets and expect to have to replace them after a few months.
“But that is what is happening with these smart meters if you change supplier. Householders should expect them to be installed properly and work consistently whichever energy company they use.”
For help and advice on smart meters and other green energy matters contact Ron on 0845 474 6641 or go to www.noreus.co.uk