Smart Meters – a good idea or a flawed ideal?
We’ve all seen the adverts on television for smart meters and how much money they will save us – but how much of it is true and how much is hype?
Well one of the issues that you’re not told is that there are Two generations of smart meter. And if you have a first-generation meter – you may not be able to switch suppliers. I had a letter from Siemens recently telling me there were fitting smart meters for this area. When I rang to make sure they were fitting a second-generation meter. Actually – they had no idea there was a difference. They are now sending me more letters and ‘phone calls, even though I told them not to waste their time, and mine. And let me know when the second generation meter is available.
The meter you really nearly is a SMETS II.
Customers will continue to be encouraged to pay a monthly amount and often building up credits of hundreds of pounds. Suppliers still tend to use ‘estimated’ bills. It has even been suggested that errors in some of the meter have led to wrong information being sent back to the suppliers.
Angela Forman, who lives in East Sussex, agreed to have a smart meter installed after being told it would remove the need to send monthly meter readings. She had been on an Economy 7 tariff, which takes separate readings in day and night, when energy demand and cost is lower.
However when she received her first bill under the smart system it was for £114, much higher than her usual £94. Her meter had a fault and was sending her energy company an estimated reading, actively costing her money.
And horror stories have swamped social media of customers being billed tens of thousands of pounds incorrectly.
Mark Umpleby tweeted SSE with a photo that said he had used £33,183 of gas in one day – 2,765,175 per cent over budget. Another customer, Usman Hussain, tweeted a picture of his meter saying he would be charged nearly £9,600 for his day’s electricity and gas.