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MSE Poll: Energy smart meters – Great tech or a pain in the neck?

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MSE Poll: Energy smart meters – Great tech or a pain in the neck?

27 replies 5.5K views
MSE_PetarMSE_Petar MSE Staff
47 posts
Part of the Furniture Name Dropper First Post
MSE Staff
Poll started 23 June 2020

The smart meter roll-out is resuming as the UK's lockdown gradually eases, with over 21 million meters installed since 2011. They automatically send meter readings to your supplier so you don't have to. Yet they're not without issues – for example, some will still revert to being 'dumb' if you switch provider. So what's your opinion of them?

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Did you vote? Are you surprised at the results so far? Have your say below.
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  • telscotelsco Forumite
    107 posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    I'm currently in smart meter hell. I'm with Eon and tried to move to British Gas via the MSE energy club. Eon are refusing to let me leave because I still have an Ovo meter from my previous supplier. Eon won't let me leave until they install their own meter first and it could take a month or more for them to do that. I'm p*ssed off with them. I feel trapped as I'm being forced to lose out on a better tariff with BG because Eon stuffed up when I joined them.
  • IanGoodIanGood Forumite
    1 posts
    First Post
    MoneySaving Newbie
    I had a smart meter installed by Eon quite a while ago. I don't really understand the idea that it will save you money. It seems pretty obvious that turning things off or turning heating down will reduce the bill. Do you really need a smart meter to tell you that? 
    However the biggest problem is that I have switched suppliers so no longer have a smart meter. It's still there telling me what is happening but the costs are wrong and I have to send readings myself. Whoever dreamed up the smart meter plan made a fundamental error by not forcing energy companies to use meters that would still function after switching. 
    Another thing that concerns me is the battery in the gas meter. If this battery runs down, it is suppose to last 10 years, the meter turns the gas off. Ours is over 10 years old and I have asked my current supplier, Avro, what is their policy on replacing the batteries. Avro don't install smart meters. 
    My overall rating is poor. 
  • HoweverHowever Forumite
    37 posts
    Fifth Anniversary 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    Strangely I had a phone call from my supplier (People's Energy) only yesterday - first time ever anyone has contacted me re Smart Meters. My response was simple: no thanks, if it ain't broke don't fix it. It takes me a minute to photograph the meters in the garage and a minute to submit the readings. No time or inconvenience at all. And I then have a permanent record of my readings that cannot be argued with. Apparently the average saving is now officially £11 a year. If it costs £220 to instal a Smart Meter, it's twenty years before break-even - seemingly more than the lifetime of a Smart Meter. That's a rubbish business case. In fact scandalous, because I'm paying for that through my bills whether I like it or not. Somebody somewhere has got to get real about this idiocy.
  • katiepoppycatkatiepoppycat Forumite
    1.7K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    I was an early adopter and loved the idea of smart meters.   However then I started switching suppliers.  3 meters later I've moved house and somehow built up a credit on my gas that is more than I actually paid sse because they messed up the smart meter installation.  I cannot believe they started rolling these things out without ensuring you could switch suppliers.
  • NormCloudNormCloud Forumite
    5 posts
    Fourth Anniversary First Post
    Our Smart? meters were installed by Siemens on behalf of First Utility First Utility in 2017. The gas meter is housed in a box semi submerged in the ground, the display showing to the front & virtually impossible to read because "9" has to be pressed to get to the correct page. The remote is next to useless since it only reads £ & p, not KwH. After 9 months arguing about the correct meter reading (continued to be charged for imperial instead of metric because National Database registration had not been updated) I finally manged to sort out that problem. All very well when the supplier was using tech, but having changed suppliers first to Lumo, then Shell Energy, neither use Smart meters so I had to revert to giving readings. I have just switched again to Eon who do use Smart, but not the 1st generation which I currently have. I await Eon installation of 2nd generation, but in the meantime have to revert to taking photo of reading to submit. Can I charge for my waste of time and sore knees?
    Perhaps a new installation would solve the problem, but I feel this cannot be guaranteed since it is dependant on the braincell of the engineer doing the job to make sure that any meter is accessible and readable.
    The whole execise is yet another joke imposed by an ignorant unthinking government and typically ignorant advisers!
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  • StuartWGrayStuartWGray Forumite
    3 posts
    First Post
    I have Economy 7 (8 hours in Scotland). My off peak winter times are 22:00 to 00:00; 02:00 to 04:00; 06:00 to 10:00. These times suit me fine since the majority of cheap rate is during my waking hours. I'm consistently told by all supply authorities that these times cannot be achieved with a smart meter.
  • BobbinAlongBobbinAlong Forumite
    166 posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    One reason I don't want a smart meter is the communication method they use to send readings to the supplier. Mobile signal is almost non-existant where I live so they couldn't work that way and there is limited bandwidth on the internet especially over that little copper wire that dangles on the poles down the lane and miles away to the exchange and shares phone and internet for the community. Internet tv interrupts for buffering so we don't use it much and can make do with Freeview via the traditional aerial so I don't want anything else using the internet.
  • elsienelsien Forumite
    23.7K posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    I have no objection to a smart meter per se, if it works properly and can move from provider to provider.
    I just don't really see the point as it would not encourage me to use less electricity - that is achieved simply by ensuring I turn things off and it's pretty obvious where those peaks are - and I would still have to take readings for my own records in case the meter decided to do its own thing or the provider got it wrong. So it's not going to achieve any benefits for me, that I am aware of. 
  • ChrispoChrispo Forumite
    5 posts
    Second Anniversary First Post
    I reckon that smart meters are a big con. I think that the ultimate aim of the energy suppliers is to be able to charge more for energy at peak times, and without smart meters they won't be able to do this. Once most households have a smart meter you will find that companies will insist on you having one before they will supply you with electricity or gas. All this tripe about saving energy and monitoring your usage is just to fool you into getting a smart meter. Beware!
  • All_EarsAll_Ears Forumite
    2 posts
    First Post
    MoneySaving Newbie
    I had a battle royal with my departing energy company to switch to the MSE top rated company, in that I was first of all told by my departing co. that I was due for a refund of nearly £200 which would be paid into my bank acc. within 14 days. I then had to take an ACTUAL reading and found 3 days later that I was now going to be CHARGED nearly £200! So much for getting ACCURATE (Smart) meter readings! Oh and this comes on top of receiving 3 letters on the same day from my departing energy company; the first letter saying that they're sorry I'm leaving, while the 2nd and 3rd letters were telling me my new tariff with THEM. Thank God I'm no longer with BG. Right and left hand, etc. comes to mind! Oh, and while I no longer have a working Smart meter, I have made it easier for me to make my own readings but, in so doing, discovered that the BG engineer who installed the meters put a thick cable right across the electricity meter display, so making it difficult for me to read the meter. How is that for, er, dumbness?
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