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    • cheeryoleary
    • By cheeryoleary 9th Nov 17, 3:40 PM
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    cheeryoleary
    Smart meter reading when leaving supplier
    • #1
    • 9th Nov 17, 3:40 PM
    Smart meter reading when leaving supplier 9th Nov 17 at 3:40 PM
    My ex supplier British Gas has used an estimated reading for my final electricity bill even though I have a smart meter fitted. Wanting to question whether my new supplier had used an accurate reading on day one (I was on holiday), I asked British Gas for the smart meter reading for the final day of supply. British Gas stated that they do not have access to the information collected by my smart meter during the period of supply. Anyone know if failure to keep records of personal information is in conflict with the Data Protection Act? If I do take this to the Ombudsman, any ideas on what the financial settlement might be if they find in my favour? Thanks!
Page 1
    • molerat
    • By molerat 9th Nov 17, 4:02 PM
    • 17,342 Posts
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    molerat
    • #2
    • 9th Nov 17, 4:02 PM
    • #2
    • 9th Nov 17, 4:02 PM
    The estimated reading for your final bill, and the opening reading for your new supplier, will be supplied by the industry verifier. You failed in your duty to supply that reading to the new supplier so an estimate would have been agreed with all parties. As long as they have both used the same reading what is the problem ? Your new supplier will have no access to your meter reading.
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    • sevenhills
    • By sevenhills 9th Nov 17, 6:33 PM
    • 715 Posts
    • 256 Thanks
    sevenhills
    • #3
    • 9th Nov 17, 6:33 PM
    • #3
    • 9th Nov 17, 6:33 PM
    My ex supplier British Gas has used an estimated reading for my final electricity bill even though I have a smart meter fitted.
    Originally posted by cheeryoleary
    As long as your old supplier and new supplier have the same number, that is all that matters.

    • House Martin
    • By House Martin 9th Nov 17, 7:49 PM
    • 633 Posts
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    House Martin
    • #4
    • 9th Nov 17, 7:49 PM
    • #4
    • 9th Nov 17, 7:49 PM
    They may use an estimate , they did with my old property when I left BG with smart meters but the "estimate " was just about spot on give or take a unit or so on the electric and correct on the gas meter reading. Its not a wild guess.
    Doesnt really matter as other posters say , no one loses any money but maybe very low amounts due to tariff changes and it can go either way.
    Its all in auto billing systems now so no humans are there to check anything
    • cheeryoleary
    • By cheeryoleary 10th Nov 17, 9:09 AM
    • 3 Posts
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    cheeryoleary
    • #5
    • 10th Nov 17, 9:09 AM
    • #5
    • 10th Nov 17, 9:09 AM
    I'm not looking at this from a 'Am I out of pocket?' perspective but more so from a 'British Gas stated that they do not have access to the information collected by my smart meter during the period of supply'. If British Gas have gone and lost a whole bunch of information releated to the useage of energy, has anyone considered taking them down the Ombudsman route and potentially the Information Commissioner's Office? And yes, I am in this purely for the compensation.
    • Raxiel
    • By Raxiel 10th Nov 17, 9:36 AM
    • 426 Posts
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    Raxiel
    • #6
    • 10th Nov 17, 9:36 AM
    • #6
    • 10th Nov 17, 9:36 AM
    The information relating to consumption is stored on the meter itself. Once you switch, the losing supplier loses access to the meter and cannot retrieve the information stored on it.

    Until the SMETS2 system is up and running (or unless the /old/new supplier combination is one of the rare ones where a SMETS1 meter can be transferred) the new supplier has no way of accessing the data either.

    As the gaining supplier is responsible for managing the switch, there is no reason for the losing supplier to take one final reading from a smart meter on the last day, they can only use the validated readings from the gaining supplier for the closing bill.


    If they had their own copy of that data in the past, it would appear BG have deleted it once you ceased to be their customer.

    I don't see how you have any grounds for compensation. They can't miss-use data they don't have. They aren't required to retain it, beyond the individual readings used to raise bills, in fact the data protection act says:

    Personal data processed for any purpose or purposes shall not be kept for longer than is necessary for that purpose or those purposes.
    Last edited by Raxiel; 10-11-2017 at 9:38 AM.
    • Hengus
    • By Hengus 10th Nov 17, 9:41 AM
    • 4,553 Posts
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    Hengus
    • #7
    • 10th Nov 17, 9:41 AM
    • #7
    • 10th Nov 17, 9:41 AM
    I'm not looking at this from a 'Am I out of pocket?' perspective but more so from a 'British Gas stated that they do not have access to the information collected by my smart meter during the period of supply'. If British Gas have gone and lost a whole bunch of information releated to the useage of energy, has anyone considered taking them down the Ombudsman route and potentially the Information Commissioner's Office? And yes, I am in this purely for the compensation.
    Originally posted by cheeryoleary
    How exactly have you been disadvantaged? You say that that Quote I'm not looking at this from a 'Am I out of pocket?' Unquote perspective but then you say Quote And yes, I am in this purely for the compensation Unquote.

    It is perfectly possible that to protect your data that British Gas does not make it available to CS representatives. Have you thought about raising a Subject Access Request to see what data British Gas actually holds on file? There will be a cost associated with this.

    I assume that data from your smart meter will have been provided to the Data Collectors who hold data on all properties. This historical data will have been used to verify the transfer meter reading - or in your case - provide one to both suppliers. If you believe that the reading used is incorrect you can ask for an Agreed Readings Dispute to be raised. There are rules about this:

    The difference between the original reading and the new, estimated reading must be more than:

    1200kWhs (39 units for imperial, 109 units for metric) for gas

    250kWhs for electricity

    If you still feel that there has been a data breach then I fail to see how The ENERGY Ombudsman can help. Data breaches sit within the purview of The Information Commissioner who, to my knowledge, does not award compensation. I am not sure that British Gas has done anything wrong as they do not have the Supply Licence obligation to manage the transfer of your supply. For its part, the gaining supplier would not necessarily know that your property has a smart meter. Time to move on perhaps?
    • cheeryoleary
    • By cheeryoleary 14th Nov 17, 1:05 PM
    • 3 Posts
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    cheeryoleary
    • #8
    • 14th Nov 17, 1:05 PM
    • #8
    • 14th Nov 17, 1:05 PM
    Thanks for your replies.


    'How exactly have you been disadvantaged?' I assert that BG have failed to handle my personal information in compliance with the Data Protection Act.

    'It is perfectly possible that to protect your data that British Gas does not make it available to CS representatives.' It is possible, however if I raise a complaint and the CS representative states that 'BG does not hold that information' it begs the question, what have they done with my personal information?

    'I assume that data from your smart meter will have been provided to the Data Collectors who hold data on all properties. This historical data will have been used to verify the transfer meter reading - or in your case - provide one to both suppliers.' That's what I thought too. The transfer is still made using information provided by the end user (i.e. visual meter readings). There is no communication directly or indirectly between the two suppliers.

    'If you still feel that there has been a data breach then I fail to see how The ENERGY Ombudsman can help.' They've accepted to investigate my 7 point complaint.


    'I am not sure that British Gas has done anything wrong' They tried to palm me off with £20 and admitted that they had messed up.


    'Time to move on perhaps?' I've moved onto the Ombudsman stage having received my deadlock letter..... which BG managed to address incorrectly.


    I expect that I'm not the first person to test suppliers mismanagent of personal information collected by IoT devices resulting in compensation claims .


    From the ICO:

    'MPANs are 'meter point administration numbers' when are associated with each smart meter. The ICO said that where consumption data from smart meters is linked with the MPAN for that meter, the information will be considered to be personal data, and therefore subject to UK data protection laws.'
    • Raxiel
    • By Raxiel 14th Nov 17, 2:28 PM
    • 426 Posts
    • 213 Thanks
    Raxiel
    • #9
    • 14th Nov 17, 2:28 PM
    • #9
    • 14th Nov 17, 2:28 PM
    Thanks for your replies.


    'How exactly have you been disadvantaged?' I assert that BG have failed to handle my personal information in compliance with the Data Protection Act.
    Originally posted by cheeryoleary
    If that is the case, then a crime would have been committed, that doesn't automatically mean you've been disadvantaged.

    'It is perfectly possible that to protect your data that British Gas does not make it available to CS representatives.' It is possible, however if I raise a complaint and the CS representative states that 'BG does not hold that information' it begs the question, what have they done with my personal information?
    As Hengus suggests you'd need to file a Subject Access Request with BG to be sure. BG are entitled to charge up to £10 in advance to provide this information.

    Most likely, they have deleted it.

    'I assume that data from your smart meter will have been provided to the Data Collectors who hold data on all properties. This historical data will have been used to verify the transfer meter reading - or in your case - provide one to both suppliers.' That's what I thought too. The transfer is still made using information provided by the end user (i.e. visual meter readings). There is no communication directly or indirectly between the two suppliers.
    The reading you provide to the new supplier still goes to the verifiers, who then pass it back to the new supplier. The new supplier then passes the validated reading back to the old supplier. Sometimes the reading will be the same, sometimes it will change (and appear as an estimate).

    'If you still feel that there has been a data breach then I fail to see how The ENERGY Ombudsman can help.' They've accepted to investigate my 7 point complaint.
    It's a low bar for them to accept a complaint. That in itself doesn't mean much.

    'I am not sure that British Gas has done anything wrong' They tried to palm me off with £20 and admitted that they had messed up.
    Probably because it's still cheaper than paying the Ombudsman fee for a vexatious complaint.

    'Time to move on perhaps?' I've moved onto the Ombudsman stage having received my deadlock letter..... which BG managed to address incorrectly.


    I expect that I'm not the first person to test suppliers mismanagent of personal information collected by IoT devices resulting in compensation claims .


    From the ICO:

    'MPANs are 'meter point administration numbers' when are associated with each smart meter. The ICO said that where consumption data from smart meters is linked with the MPAN for that meter, the information will be considered to be personal data, and therefore subject to UK data protection laws.'
    I still don't see that they are required to RETAIN that personal data, simply that they must not use it inappropriately in the event they do retain it.

    But... If I'm wrong and you are right, this is what would need to happen:
    You make a complaint to the ICO
    The ICO investigates, and if they agree the act has been breached they sanction BG, with anything between a slap on the wrist or a substantial fine.

    In the event of a fine, the money would go to the Crown, not you.

    Armed with this evidence of wrongdoing, you would then need to sue BG (in small claims court presumably, depends how much you think you're owed), and convince a District Judge that you deserve financial compensation. You'd also want to convince them to award legal costs too.

    What will probably happen though, is the EO will just give you a boilerplate response and £25-£50 to make this go away.
    • trickytree1963
    • By trickytree1963 14th Nov 17, 9:18 PM
    • 180 Posts
    • 105 Thanks
    trickytree1963
    You're missing the key point.

    Its your responsibility to provide a meter reading to your new supplier not British Gas's. They revert the meter to dumb mode the day before the supply switch.
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