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Bombarded by Smart Meters letters - Page 3 - Carers UK Forum

Bombarded by Smart Meters letters

Share your ideas about the practical side of caring.


Quite agree!

As usual, the government rushes into things to 'look good' on the PR-Green front - just as it did with cavity wall insulation!

The money that's been wasted on the smart meter 'push' could have been spent on much better things.

When WILL they learn? er, never???
The great smart meter fiasco: Millions of the dubious devices may have to be ripped out of homes because they won't work when you switch supplier.

The Government has promised to launch a new system to fix the problem.

But report has claimed that their plan may not work for all of the meters affected.

Some people say they love being able to see how much energy they are using.

Others claim the gadgets cause nothing but problems and don't work properly.

Many don't like the way energy firms harass them with phone calls and letters.

What is the problem with smart meters ?

Under the Government-run scheme, suppliers have been ordered to offer all households and small businesses a smart meter by 2020.

The gadgets show customers how much they are spending on energy by the minute and allow suppliers to collect readings remotely, putting an end to estimated bills.

t is hoped they will encourage households to reduce their power consumption. But many people have said they are not comfortable giving suppliers access to so much information about when and how they use energy.

Customers can refuse to have a smart meter. But if suppliers cannot prove they made every effort to contact households, they will be hit with hefty fines.

Of the households who agree to get a new gadget, one of the biggest complaints is that their meter ‘goes dumb’ when they switch supplier.

This means that while the meters will still record how much power is being used, customers must go back to calling in their own readings and are no longer able to see how much energy they are using in pounds and pence.

The problem is that there are two types of meters — Smets1 and Smets2.

The older version of the gadget, Smets1, typically stops working when customers change provider because different firms are using different technology which is not always compatible.

This forces customers to choose between switching to a cheaper deal and losing the benefits of their smart meter, or remaining on a more expensive tariff.

The more advanced Smets2, on the other hand, will allow you to switch supplier without any issues. Suppliers were supposed to begin installing the newer version in 2014, but a series of delays meant they did not begin until 2017.

As a result, providers have ended up fitting a total of 12.5 million of the older style meters.

The Government said in 2012 that it would create a new system to connect all Smets1 smart meters so customers no longer experience problems when they switch. It is thought the meters will be enrolled onto the system remotely so engineers do not have to visit people’s homes.

But the new Smart Data Communications Company (Smart DCC) service has been repeatedly delayed. The latest start date is May 2019, but ‘there is risk of further delay’, according to an official report by the spending watchdog revealed last week.
Flawed plan to solve the smart meter problem?

All of the Smets1 meters installed have been split into three groups.

The solution for the first of these three groups is currently being tested.

But in the National Audit Office report it says that the Government has not yet decided if a third of the smart meters — around 4.2 million — will ever be enrolled onto this new vital system when it is launched. ‘It is awaiting cost and feasibility information,’ it says.

On top of this, ministers estimate that a further 2 per cent of those they do enrol on to the system (around 160,000) will not be successfully transferred. And this is considered to be ‘an optimistic assumption’, according to the report.

It goes on to say: ‘The Department [of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy] says it has high confidence in the delivery of the project. But, given the complexities involved and the fact that migrating Smets1 meters into the DCC is novel, it is not certain that the process will work as intended for all Smets1 meters.

‘We consider that the Department should be careful not to suggest that successful enrolment and adoption of all Smets1 meters is inevitable.’

If the meters cannot be enrolled, it means that if customers want to move to a cheaper supplier their meter will stop working properly.

And, according to the report, any meters in ‘dumb mode’ must be replaced by the end of 2020.

There are currently 943,000 smart meters operating in dumb mode, according to the report.

If customers stay with their existing supplier they will not need their meter replaced. And some providers’ technology is compatible, meaning the meter would continue to work in smart mode.

However, the report says that many customers may choose to request a newer version of the meter in the future, regardless, because they have extra controls that may help people save money with the uptake of electric vehicles and heat pumps.
Why is the smart meter revolution still mired in chaos ?

When it comes to smart meters, the nation is divided.

Some people say they love being able to see how much energy they are using around the house and have saved money as a result.

Others claim the new gadgets have caused nothing but problems and don't work properly.

Many Money Mail readers say they simply have no interest in getting one.

They have concerns about how their data will be used, whether their details will be safe from hackers, or they are happy with their traditional meter and don't like the way energy companies harass them with phone calls and letters about the new meters.

They say suppliers sometimes even book in appointments to install smart meters without waiting for customers to respond.

And increasing numbers of people are angry that many energy firms reserve their cheapest deals for customers with smart meters. It means those who say no to having one can end up paying hundreds of pounds more every year.

Here, readers share their experiences with the new gadgets the Government wants us all to have by 2020.
Broken and useless : the not-so-smart meters.

When 35-year-old Nicola Dean's meter was fitted by British Gas in 2015 it worked for the first year, but over the past two winters hasn't functioned during the coldest months.

'It just says there is no network and doesn't show energy use,' says Nicola, a hospital theatre practitioner from Hampshire. 'When it is bitterly cold, it's the one time you really want to know what you are spending to heat the house so you can budget.

'I've still got to go outside in the cold to do the readings,' she adds.

A British Gas spokesman says: 'We are sorry Ms Dean had problems with her smart meter sending readings to us. This has now been resolved.'

Retired probate clerk Jan Carter, 71, was keen to get a smart meter so she wouldn't have to poke around in a dark cupboard each month to read her meter. With the new gadget, her readings would be sent to her supplier automatically and she could relax in the knowledge that her bills would be accurate.

But her hopes were dashed when it emerged the mobile phone signal at her home in Hope Cove, near Salcombe, Devon, was not strong enough to support a smart meter.

Jan says her supplier, EDF Energy, had repeatedly assured her it would work perfectly well, so last year she booked an installation. But when the engineer tried to fit the meter, he couldn't connect it to the network.
I'm no better off than I was before. A complete waste of time and money

Now, the gadget that is supposed to be showing her how much power she is using is instead sitting on a shelf gathering dust — and she still has to poke around in the cupboard to take her own readings. 'It's a bit of a shambles,' she says. 'I'm no better off than I was before. A complete waste of time and money.'

An EDF spokesman says: 'While we understand this is frustrating for customers, network coverage is improving constantly and it is possible to reconnect meters remotely. As soon as we are able to connect the meter, we will do so.'

Laura Jameson, 36, a credit analyst, had a similarly infuriating experience. She moved house four years ago and found a smart meter had already been installed by E.on, and she enjoyed keeping an eye on her energy usage.

But when, a year or so later, she decided to move to a cheaper tariff with Scottish Power, the gadget stopped working and no longer showed her how much energy she was using minute-by-minute, so she put the useless gizmo away in a drawer.

Last month, she switched back to E.ON and assumed it would start working again, but she was told the smart functionality wouldn't return.

'What's the point of it?' asks Laura, from Cheshire. 'Why go through with this expensive roll-out of smart meters that become redundant when you switch supplier?

'All this money is being spent on technology that's fundamentally flawed. All the wasted costs of installing these meters will likely be absorbed by consumers, adding to our ever-increasing bills.'

A spokesman for E.on says: 'We're currently unable to re-establish communication with previous customers' smart meters, however this will be possible in the future.'
Pestered non-stop to make the switch.

Pestered: Louise Baker says she was bombarded with text messages and calls pushing her to book an installation

Pestered: Louise Baker says she was bombarded with text messages and calls pushing her to book an installation

Discovering that EDF Energy offers its cheapest tariff to customers with smart meters, Louise Baker, 51, reluctantly agreed to have one fitted.

Those who refuse pay an extra £97 a year for the next best deal.

But Louise says she was also fed up with being bombarded with text messages and calls pushing her to book an installation.

She adds that these continued even after she had agreed to a booking.

'I had text messages on October 5, 7, 22, 24, 27, 29 and then November 2, 4, 9, 11, 14, 16 and 18,' says Louise, a legal secretary from Somerset. 'I also had several calls and six emails.'

Louise has an installation scheduled for December, but doesn't know whether or not to go ahead as she has found out the meter may not work properly with her solar panels.

A spokesman for EDF says: 'We are sorry Ms Baker felt pressured into having a smart meter fitted. At no point did we tell Ms Baker she needed to have one fitted to be eligible for a cheaper tariff.'

What do the people behind smart meters say ?

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Stategy (BEIS) insists it is making good progress on a plan to enrol the final third of the Smets1 meters.

Claire Perry, the BEIS minister, says: ‘Millions have already chosen to have a smart meter and take control of their energy bills. We’ve said everyone will be offered a smart meter by the end of 2020 to reap these benefits and we will meet that commitment.

‘This world-leading upgrade to our national infrastructure is the cornerstone of our move to a smarter energy system of the future which will bring benefits to consumers and industry worth up to £40 billion.’

A Data Communications Company spokesman says: ‘Smart DCC has built the secure network that carries smart meter data, linking almost every home with more than 60 licenced energy suppliers. Suppliers are installing second generation smart meters onto it at an ever-increasing rate — up to 4,000 are being installed every day, connecting homes and small businesses.’

Robert Cheesewright, director of corporate affairs at Smart Energy GB, the body in charge of promoting the rollout, says: ‘We know that delays to the rollout are frustrating for consumers.

‘The Government has made it clear, if a consumer has a smart meter at home that is currently operating in traditional mode, it’s smart services will be restored and work with all energy suppliers by the end of the rollout.’
Households plagued by pushy letters

Peter and Rosemary Wright, 69 and 68, have also been plagued by pushy correspondence about the meters.

The couple, from Leicester, say they have no intention of getting one, but have been overwhelmed by letters about the gadgets from their electricity supplier, E.on.

Peter, a retired ambulance driver, says: 'I must have had eight or nine letters and several phone calls — it's all very heavy-handed. I got so annoyed I binned them. It felt like bullying, and in the end I told E.on to stop contacting me about it.

'The wording of the letters suggested my current meter was soon going to be redundant. If I hadn't known better, I would have been terrified and thought that smart meters were compulsory.'

The Wrights say they will not get a smart meter unless they are forced to because they are concerned about what energy suppliers will do with their data and the risk of the information falling into the wrong hands.

'Smart meters mean that your energy supply can be cut off at the press of a button, so what would happen if someone hacked our energy supplier and did this?' asks Peter.

'If it can happen to your bank account, it can happen to your energy supplier.'

Stephen Hobden says he was annoyed at the pushy tactics of energy firms

A spokesman for E.on says the company has not contacted Peter about smart meters since March.

Stephen Hobden, 70, a retired undertaker from Stevenage, is similarly annoyed at the pushy tactics of energy firms.

He says he received an email from his supplier, E.on, last month with the subject line: 'We need to change your meters.'

The email went on to say: 'We have an obligation to change your electricity and gas meters to our self-reading smart meters as part of a Government-led nationwide upgrade programme.'

Stephen, who lives in sheltered housing, says: 'I'm annoyed at the way energy firms are campaigning to get us to have smart meters. It is very pushy to say the least.

'I worry that other people will think it's compulsory because of the way suppliers are phrasing their letters. If someone received this email and didn't already know about smart meters, they would probably fall into the trap of thinking it was an obligation, rather than a choice. I'm perfectly happy with the way things work now.'

A spokesman for E.on says the firm makes it clear to customers that smart meters are not compulsory.
But these great-grandparents love their smart meter.
More than a million homes will be cut off from the new fully switchable smart meters.

More than a million households may be unable to benefit from the new breed of fully switchable smart meters, it has emerged.

The £11bn smart meter roll-out, promoted by celebrities including Kirstie Allsopp has seen more than 12 million installed, but has been dogged by issues of meters “going dumb” and losing their smart functions when a customer switches energy supplier.

Switching remains the best way to reduce energy bills. Customers with smart meters can switch, but they will typically lose the “smart” benefits.

The new generation of meters is supposed to connect to a centralised network accessible by all suppliers, fixing the problem.

But Telegraph Money has learned that dozens of suppliers are not yet full members of the network, meaning their customers will not receive fully functioning meters.

The news comes just a week before the date at which suppliers must stop installing first-generation smart meters, and is another blow to the Government’s flagship clean energy policy, which was heavily criticised last week by spending watchdogs.

Jane Lucy, of switching service The Labrador, said: “Consumer benefits from the smart meter roll-out exist when consumers know how to unlock them. Time and time again they are told to switch and save, yet with the new meters, despite all the promises, it now appears they can’t.”

She added that the energy regulator, Ofgem, should do more to make sure consumers benefit from smart meters, and called on it to reveal the names of the suppliers yet to sign up.

Firms go through several testing stages before they can become full members of the network, operated by the Data Communications Company (DCC), a part of Capita, a process that can take months.

Ofgem said it would consider enforcement action against suppliers not yet signed up. A spokesman for the DCC said 95pc of consumers are with suppliers capable of installing second-generation meters. That leaves roughly 1.3 million households that risk 
missing out.
Two of my mates had smart meters fitted and both of their energy bills went up, one of them by 30%.
After removing the smart meters their energy bills went back down to the previous levels.
I am not certain but i read somewhere that there are issues with the high amount of EMF radiation given off by them.
.... and the " Big Sell " continues ... for whose benefit ?

Bombarded by the smart meter bullies : Readers pestered with calls and texts, threatened with bailiffs and have appointments made without asking.

SSE customer threatened with bailiffs and told meters were '" Legal requirement. "

Suppliers have been ordered to offer all households smart meters by 2020.

If they can't prove they made every effort to contact homes they will be fined.

Aggressive selling tactics ?

Must be for the profit ... after all , all energy companies have shareholders ?
Energy suppliers are still " Bullying " customers over smart meters even though they are not compulsory.

Wording of letters used by energy providers is angering paying customers.

Smart meters are being installed in an ambitious Government drive to have them in every home by the end of next year.
LOL people just love nothing more than Internet Chinese whispers...

I have heard so much BS regarding smart meters ,,,

1 . the government listen in to conversations ...
2 , internet hackers can blow up your home by hacking smart meters...
3 , the government can send a signal to your home and leak gas to kill you in your sleep ....

the list goes on and on and on ,
and the constant aiming the gun to the UK government blaming them ,, this is 100% an EU fetish , it was formed in the EU , thought up in the EU , the idea is EU through and through :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: ..

as for EMF ,,, what a load of rubbish , EVERYTHING emits EMF , TV , Phone , Mobile phones , Radios , Radio Clocks , even newer watches that use radio signals for keeping time .

we are on a smart meter , did our bills go up NOPE they went down :o :o :o and they are still DOWN from when we were with SSE, when we were with SSE they told mum she was not entitled to the warm home discount . when we went to British gas it was them who told us about it and could not believe SSE treated mum like that.
my sister is on a smart meter and was in a panic about her first bill after her husband passing away. she never got the bill so called British gas , and they said you have a smart meter so we dont send bills just an estimate which is required by Scottish and UK government to allow you to switch provider if you would like to.
when we went to see her just before Christmas she was bragging how little her electric and gas bills were and how British gas sent an engineer to her home to give her lessons on how to use the meter rather than be frightened of it .

our little book we got when they installed the smart meter said British gas are working towards giving smart meter users the same rates as DD payers , and the engineer showed me if we ever wanted to switch to DD you can do so on the smart meter directly.

What we are sick off , is fools showing up at the door saying they have been sent from the scottish government to see if we could be better off on a smart meter , there ID checks out as legit but i just tell them we have a smart meter so remove us from your list. after 6 companies thankfully it has stopped.
One example of higher costs using smart meters:
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/0 ... udy-finds/

"A study conducted by the University of Twente Enschede in the Netherlands, has found that five different types of smart meters produced readings up to 583pc higher than the actual energy used".

One example of the dangers of high levels of EMF from smart meters:
https://www.electricsense.com/2225/smar ... must-know/

"David Carpenter, however is an MD (a medical doctor) and director of the Institute for Health and Environment at the University of Albany.
In this interview he makes three important points in the Smart meter radiation debate:
– the utility companies are saying smart meters are perfectly safe, but the question we should be asking is what evidence is there that smart meters are safe?
– on the contrary, the evidence already exists that exposure to radio frequency radiation (as given off by smart meters ) is detrimental to our health
– whether or not you have a smart meter installed on your home should be your choice and nobody else’s"

Its a free choice but its good to be informed before making some choices.
jenny lucas wrote:
Tue Nov 20, 2018 10:26 pm
Thank you!

I think they sometimes can want to 'con' us into thinking we 'must' accept them. I have letters that say 'We'll be in your area changing meters so phone up for your appointment' (that sort of thing), and also saying things like 'Your meter is due for upgrading, so we need to come and do that' (MAYBE, but NOT to a smart meter!)

They try and 'imply' that having a smart meter is 'inevitable'......
Any good that smart meters may offer us is being undermined by this appallingly bad public relations. No attempt made to sell the benefits. Definition of "inevitable" - "We are going to force you to have these even if you don't like them and there is nothing you can do about it."