Smart Meters: Dominic Littlewood offers advice to reduce bills

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Express.co.uk readers have unleashed fury over their “very annoying” smart meters which are proving to be a massive headache for many customers who had hoped to get real-time information about their energy usage at a time when bills are soaring to record highs amid a crisis. With energy bills set to increase in April to a price cap of £3,000 when the energy price guarantee changes, customers with smart meters are generally led to believe that these devices can help them use their energy more wisely and help to limit bills. 

But large swathes of Express.co.uk readers are furious with their various energy companies over their faulty devices, which for many is having the opposite effect and seeing them forced to fork out even more to pay their bills. 

While a lot of their issues are slightly different, the overriding similarity is that there may a downside to having a smart meter after all. 

Janet Harris was shocked when she saw that her smart smeter was saying that she was using up far more energy than was actually the case. 

She told Express.co.uk “I had a smart meter installed in mid-August 2022 thinking that this generation of smart meter were good. At the beginning of October, I checked the reading on my bill against my actual meter, there was nearly a 400 kwh difference!

“I immediately contacted my provider, who…said maybe you’ve had the heating on more than normal (no heating had been on at all) or maybe you’ve got a faulty appliance!

“I then closely monitored what my meter was reading and what the app was reading, it was totally different! We are only at this property at weekends, and as we’re renovating it, we only have very basic appliances, no oven, washing machine or tumble dryer. However, during the week, with no-one there,  the readings can be more than double what they actually are for an entire weekend.”

She later added: “My patience is wearing thin… I’ve sent lots of photos of the meters, logged an official complaint with the company and will very soon contact the Ombudsman in the hope they can get the issue resolved.”

But Ms Harris, who got in touch after Express.co.uk reached out to readers, is far from the only one who is furious about her smart meter. 

Helen Driscoll was shocked when she saw that her smart meter gave her a high estimate that her bills would cost an eyewatering £3,993 per month. 

She said: “I had smart meters fitted on October 21. I disputed their (Bulb’s) accuracy as it wasn’t showing reduced night units.  They then fixed the tariff for night units, but the estimate is still £47,000 per year. I have complained, but there has been no resolution yet. Why an estimate, Why that high and can I trust smart meters or Bulb to bill me correctly?”

“There are many in my situation who all probably feel the same way as me and wish they had stuck with the traditional meter.”

Pensioner Keith Fothergill, said his smart meter has not been working since October, which he described as “very annoying”.

He said: “I am a pensioner on a fixed income and I liked my smart energy monitor as I could see exactly how much I was spending. But it has not worked since October 10. I have contacted British gas. It is very very difficult to speak to anyone. They are not interested and quite happy to put my direct debit up, which they have done. Very annoying – just not interested.’

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Carol Gurga, a 73-year-old said it is “laughable” to call these devices smart meters as they are “anything but smart”. It comes after she bought a smart meter many months ago, but the device has still not sent the readings back to her energy company. 

She said: “I had a smart meter fitted by  OVO on m19.1 22 it has still not been connected to their end and am being asked for meter readings. I am £1119.00 in credit and cannot access the direct debit change as they say its due to the tariff.

“I have not changed my tariff. Have a gas smart meter up and running and I am £550 in credit. I have phoned repeatedly and been told they will fix it and give me a refund. But to date, nothing has happened.

“Although OVO took over from SSE in 2020, Ihave still not had a welcome pack or new account numbers which is also making life more difficult. I do think the name smart meter is quite laughable as I have found it anything but smart. At 73, I do not need hassle like this and long for the time I will not have it – may it come soon.”

Express.co.uk is approaching the aforementioned energy companies for comment.

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