Households FORCED to install smart meters
People are being forced into getting smart meters even if they don't want one.
This is despite repeated claims that they're a bit dodgy, often get the wrong readings and can end up costing users loads of money.
Several energy firms have warned Ofgem they are struggling to source analogue meters, with some manufacturers having ended production.
Customers should be able to refuse a smart meter, but the supply crisis means many are being left without a choice.
The Government wants all UK homes to have a smart meter to monitor power usage by 2024, but the botched rollout is set to cost at least £13billion.
Firms face fines if they do not promote the devices, prompting concerns that energy giants are resorting to ‘blackmail’, for example limiting the best tariffs to those with smart meters.
Now it appears customers are being told they must get a smart meter as there are no alternatives.
Ovo Energy, the UK’s largest independent energy supplier with 1.5 million customers, said traditional meters are now reserved for those ‘who require them for a valid reason’, such as medical needs.
When one customer asked for a replacement electricity meter the company sent a letter, seen by Money Mail, that said: ‘Unfortunately traditional meters are no longer being manufactured so we’d be unable to offer you one of these and would need to install a smart meter instead.’
Jeremy Yapp, of the British Electrotechnical and Allied Manufacturers Association (BEAMA), said he ‘would be surprised’ if new analogue meters were still being made in large volumes, adding that suppliers are likely to be most affected as they won’t have surplus stock.
Smart meters have been plagued by technical issues, with many households saying their device stopped working after switching supplier. Another common issue is broken display screens.
Simona Rutkauskaite, from Look After My Bills, said: ‘It’s disappointing to see people might still find themselves with a smart meter despite not wanting one.
‘Policy protects people from having smart meters forced upon them, there is clearly a discrepancy between theory and practice.’
A spokesman for Energy UK said: ‘Manufacturers will naturally focus on producing the latest model which offers the best service and functions to customers.’
Britain’s biggest supplier, British Gas, said its policy was to recycle old meters when customers asked for one.
SSE said it also recycles meters, while Eon said old style meters are still being made.
Renewable energy supplier Good Energy admitted it had a limited stock but added it would ‘respect any customer’s wish to opt out of having a new smart meter’.
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