There is a big smart meter scam going on
There is a massive smart meter scam going on and you may have already fallen victim to it.
The government wants every household to be offered a smart meter by 2020 - but a) some customers aren't being offered, they're being relentlessly hounded and b) the bloody things are a load of cobblers anyway.
As things stand, smart meters only work for the specific energy supplier that installed them. So, if you wanted to switch from British gas to Npower, you'd have to get a new smart meter as well - it's a false economy.
Go to A Spokesman Said for the best energy deals on the market.
They're marketed as being able to save customers money, control their energy usage and, ultimately, reduce the nation's carbon footprint.
But the reality is that there is no real evidence to suggest this is true, while there's a mountain of evidence suggesting the opposite may actually be the case.
A Spokesman Said can reveal multiple customers have been in touch to complain about the aggressive tactics used by energy suppliers to enforce a smart meter upon them and simply not take no for an answer.
Mike Walsh, 42, said: "A couple of times a week I'll be bombarded by my energy firm ordering me to switch to a smart energy meter. But I've told them that smart meters aren't as smart as they say they are.
"There's no incentive to do it as it won't make my bills go down and it could mean that I end up spending money to get a new one."
Mr Walsh, who lives in London, can't understand why the government is pushing the smart meter rollout.
He said: "The government should be focussing on sorting out all the social issues in this country, not convincing people to get a new meter that they don't need, debatably doesn't work and could end up costing them money in the long run anyway."
Let's take a look at some of the reasons why you shouldn't get a smart meter:
Harder to switch supplier:
Your energy supplier's smart meter won't work if you switch energy supplier - so they make it less easy for you to change to a cheaper tariff and, frankly, at the mercy of the money-greedy energy firms who relentlessly hike prices.
So if your firm decides to increase your tariff by 10%, you can't just switch to a better rate without changing your entire smart meter. So big firms can just use smart metres as a way of trapping customers then ripping them off.
Just take the case of Tony Davy, 84-years-old, from Leeds. He had a smart meter installed by Ovo Energy. He wanted to change energy suppliers but at least two suppliers that he would not be able to do so because they could not use the device installed by Ovo.
They don't mean cheaper tariffs:
For many homeowners, who believed they would gain even more control over their bills, the introduction of a smart meter has been a disappointment.
The majority of energy providers encourage customers to pay via annual payment plans, where their yearly usage is estimated in advance and the cost split into 12 payments. This means that millions of bills still refer to "estimated" use, even where customers have smart meters.
It also means that many customers are, as before, have credits on their accounts of hundreds of pounds.
And they have a habit of 'going dumb' - if your mobile connection is poor or just through general faults. Again, this means you have to manually input your usage.
In fact, some customers have reported bills that are around six times as high as they were before.
They might not work
If you live in an area with poor mobile signal, you could be stuck.
The meter often won't connect unless there's a strong signal so you could end up having to operate it manually and, you guessed it, that means there's no point in switching at all.
Difficult to understand and use
They have a complicated interface that can be hard to understand and, depending on where they fit the interface, it might be tricky for you to read your energy usage.
The Daily Mail ran a report of the ongoing nightmare for 79-year-old Harry Smith from Pittenweem, Fife, whose meter was fitted underneath some cupboards in his kitchen.
He said: “I have to lie down with a torch to read it.” That's hardly ideal for a pensioner.
They could be spying on you
Critics have referred to them as modern-day ‘Trojan horses’ that could harvest vast amounts of data about our activities.
For example, details about when your usage is highest could be passed to a telemarketing firm which will know the best time to call your house.
There is already proof that data from smart meters is being ‘monetised’.
An analytics company admitted it takes energy consumption data from smart meters to "build a highly personalised profile for every utility customer" and can then "provide a direct link to appropriate third-party organisations based on the customer’s identified character".
This is essentially a great big scam. Smart meters don't fulfil their basic function: reducing bills and making your life easier. They also are being used by energy suppliers to trap customers in a never-ending cycle of price hikes.