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To smart meter or not to smart meter?

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  • button_box
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    Got an email from Scottish Power, that they need to upgrade the meter because its over 15 years old.
    Of course, it needs to be a smart meter.
    (they have been pushing for me to upgrade for ages, but think its disingenuous to use this excuse)

    Also, according to the MSE articles, it is not mandatory to accept a smart meter.
    Could they use the excuse that a smart meter is all they have?

    Do you get a choice where its installed?
    Are they more convenient than physical meters? (I dont mind sending a meter reading every 3 months)

    My biggest fear is that the readings might get scrambled somehow, and I am charged 1,000s when I clearly havent used that much.
    My son has  also had an email from Scottish Power wanting to upgrade to a smart meter because the meter  is over 15yrs old. Meter installers must have been very busy 15yrs ago. Scottish Power are the supplier at my son's house and EON at our house who also want to install a smart meter. Both companies say in their literature that not replacing the meter could cause a safety hazard. A recent article in Which magazine said they are not supposed to say this to coerce people into fitting a smart meter. We also have a house on the farm which we let out but can't at the moment because there is no display on the meter. The previous tenant was there for 9 years and said they had been trying to get a new meter for about 3 years (SSE) but appointments kept being cancelled. We have been trying for nearly 2 months to get a  new meter fitted but have been told there are no appointments available. Perhaps they don't want to bother if you live " out in the sticks".

  • tooldle
    tooldle Posts: 1,547 Forumite
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    Got an email from Scottish Power, that they need to upgrade the meter because its over 15 years old.
    Of course, it needs to be a smart meter.
    (they have been pushing for me to upgrade for ages, but think its disingenuous to use this excuse)

    Also, according to the MSE articles, it is not mandatory to accept a smart meter.
    Could they use the excuse that a smart meter is all they have?

    Do you get a choice where its installed?
    Are they more convenient than physical meters? (I dont mind sending a meter reading every 3 months)

    My biggest fear is that the readings might get scrambled somehow, and I am charged 1,000s when I clearly havent used that much.
    I've had two sets installed. One in my previous house and now in the current house. In both cases, it was a direct swop with the new meter taking the space vacated by the older meter. 
    If you don't have a smart meter, what are the options? Is a prepayment meter the only option? 
    From the perspective of the supplier, the smart meter relieves them of the need to employ people to visit periodically, to read the meter. From the consumer perspective, it allows monitoring of real time energy uses, and removes the need to let a stranger into your house on an annual basis. 
    The chances of having your data scrambled is i would guess infinitely small. If you think of the meter as containing a 'mini computer' programmed to send data 4 times a day, then relate that to using a pc which when connected to the internet is sending data continuously to both keep you connected and to allow navigation of the internet. How often do people worry about the second option going wrong.
    I've experienced my meter being misread, and the subsequent bill. I was investigated for 'abnormal meter readings'. The meter reader had erroneously mixed my economy 7 reading with the standard electricity reading. So, in that case out of 7 visits the person got it wrong once. With smart meters i sending readings 4 times every day and in the 3-4 yrs i've had them, not once has there been an issue. 

  • Floss
    Floss Posts: 8,448 Forumite
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    I used to work for Scottish Power in one of their call centres, and once a meter has reached the end of its certified lifespan (between 10-20 years dependent upon type) there is a legal requirement that it must be replaced to ensure its accuracy & safety.

    As to smart meters scrambling readings, it is much less likely than reader error or analogue meter failure.
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  • GaleSF63
    GaleSF63 Posts: 1,536 Forumite
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    I've also had an email from Scottish Power about getting a smart meter installed, but although it is 24 years old all it says is this:-
    "P.S. As old traditional meter types have become obsolete, licensed energy suppliers are obligated to install smart meters in their customers' homes."
    I don't really care what kind of meter I have but I work on the basis of don't disturb something that isn't giving any problems.
  • Floss
    Floss Posts: 8,448 Forumite
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    Floss said:
    I used to work for Scottish Power in one of their call centres, and once a meter has reached the end of its certified lifespan (between 10-20 years dependent upon type) there is a legal requirement that it must be replaced to ensure its accuracy & safety.
    GaleSF63 said:
    ...I don't really care what kind of meter I have but I work on the basis of don't disturb something that isn't giving any problems.
    You don't have a choice. Your gas & electricity supplier has a legal obligation to change your meters when their certified period is ended.
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  • powerful_Rogue
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    I was always dead set about not getting smart meters. That was until we moved house and it already had SMETS 2 installed. Now I think they're the best thing ever! I'm a Home Assistant fan, so it's good to be able to draw all the data in and see exactly whats going on and when.
  • maryb
    maryb Posts: 4,677 Forumite
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    Shell tried that trick on me.  Made me instantly Bolshevik so I promptly switched suppliers.  As I was moved to Shell when my previous supplier went bust, I was on standard variable rate anyway so it didn’t cost me anything moving to Octopus.  From what I’ve heard they are not as pushy if you don’t want a smart meter but even if they are, by the time they get round to it, it kicks the can down the road until we get through the forthcoming winter.
    It doesn't matter if you are a glass half full or half empty sort of person. Keep it topped up! Cheers!
  • tooldle
    tooldle Posts: 1,547 Forumite
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    What is the issue with having a smart meter? It is a requirement of the suppliers licence to roll out smart meters, in accordance with the government decision to implement usage of smart meters as part of its drive to achieve net zero. 
    Hard to have a smart energy network if the suppliers are unable to access data on what actually is happening across that network. 
  • maryb
    maryb Posts: 4,677 Forumite
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    I’m not convinced the technology is reliable generally and specifically in my case, it almost certainly won’t work as my meters are in a cellar with no Wi-Fi or mobile signal.  Smart meters in dumb mode are a pain to read.
    It doesn't matter if you are a glass half full or half empty sort of person. Keep it topped up! Cheers!
  • killerferret666
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    Everything everyone has put about smart meters being problematic on here is just opinion, no actual facts and numbers of these faults across the whole roll out.

    Equipment will always have failures when sold in the millions. Old meters fail too. Youd still buy a car though even though they have faults.

    And as for the technology in them, its dated and very well established in many items. Its just that its finally ported into a smart meter.

    As for smart meters in dumb mode being a pain to read...press a button, cast a shadow on the screen if in sunlight, read screen, done.


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