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Penalised for resisting: Not having a smart meter may be costing you £111 a year

Nic McBride

Nic McBride
Apr 27, 2018

People who refuse to have smart meters installed are paying up to £111 more than those who agree to the new technology.

Three of Britain’s biggest energy suppliers - British Gas, EDF and First Utility - reserve their cheapest deals for customers who agree to have a smart meter installed.

Those who don't are being denied savings of up to £111 a year.


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Another supplier, E.ON requires customers to agree to being contacted about smart meters at any time.

Suppliers have been told by the Government they need to install smart meters in all the UK’s 50 million homes and businesses by the end of 2020.

Companies face fines of up to £7 billion if they don’t do enough to hit the deadline.

READ MORE: ‘Your new smart meter will not be hacked', claims rollout company

So far, more than 11 million smart meters have been fitted.

A Facebook poll of A Spokesman Said users found that 69% of people did not currently have a smart meter.

Customers can refuse to have the meters installed – something which is causing suppliers to become desperate to persuade more people to sign up, The Daily Mail has reported.

Suppliers have already resorted to a string of bully-boy tactics to pressure energy customers to get smart meters.

Now, it has emerged that providers are not offering their best deals unless people get one.


The numbers

First Utility’s cheapest tariff costs the average family £906 a year.

But it is available only to people who agree to have a smart meter installed within six months of signing up.

If you do not get a smart meter in this timeframe, you will be charged an exit fee of up to £60 and moved onto a different tariff.

First Utility’s next best deal is currently £111 more expensive at £1,017.

Meanwhile British Gas and EDF customers can only get the best deals if they have a smart meter or agree to have one installed.

British Gas’ cheapest smart meter tariff is the “HomeEnergy Plus Cover May 2019” – which costs £1,197 per year.

The cheapest tariff for customers with old meters is “HomeEnergy Secure Apr 2020” – which costs £71 more for the average family.

British Gas’s FreeTime energy tariff — which includes eight hours of free energy each Saturday, and which is said to save customers around £60 a year — is also reserved for households with smart meters.

EDF customers without smart meters pay £1,065 a year on its Blue Price Protection tariff — £65 more than those with smart meters on its Easy Online May19 plan at £1,000.

Meanwhile, E.ON includes a clause in the small print of its six dual-fuel tariffs that says: ‘We may contact you at any time to offer you a smart meter.’


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The energy companies respond

An EDF Energy spokeswoman said: ‘We are trialling a number of ways to encourage customers to have a smart meter installed, and including the opportunity in one of our most competitively priced tariffs is just one of them.’

A spokesman for First Utility says: ‘As part of the Government roll-out, we are looking at a number of ways to engage customers who don’t have a smart meter yet, and this offer is about helping to do that. We make it clear when customers are free to change their mind.’

An E.ON spokesman said: ‘If customers do not want a smart meter, they can contact us.’

Robert Cheesewright, of Smart Energy GB, which promotes the roll-out, said: ‘It’s a win-win situation if you can get a cheaper tariff and a smart meter at the same time.’

A spokesman for British Gas declined to comment.