Can I refuse a smart meter?
Yes you can, especially now that the official roll-out hasn’t even started. Smart meters are not mandatory.
Even once the official roll-out starts in April 2016, and although energy companies have been asked to take ‘all reasonable steps’ to install smart meters in every home, you should still be able to refuse a smart meter.
But beware that if your energy company has contacted you to change your energy meter to a smart meter because your current meter needs replacing (ie it’s too old), then you should get it replaced as it could be a safety hazard not to.
If you really don’t want a smart meter, tell your supplier and they will probably offer to install a ‘dumb’ meter or a smart meter set up to work in ‘dumb’ mode with all the communications switched off.
A government code of practice, rolled out in July 2013, sets out the minimum standards that energy suppliers have to follow when installing smart meters into customer’s homes.
The code allows you to make choices on how much data your energy supplier collects from your smart meter; whether your supplier shares details about your energy consumption with other organisations; and whether your supplier can use your meter readings for sales and marketing purposes.
For more information, contact your energy supplier.
From The Consumers’ Association
Concerns with smart meters
Some people have concerns about:
- Estimated cost Estimated at £11bn, this will ultimately be passed on to customers
- Security & privacy Who can see your consumption data and what can they do with it?
- Health Concerns about radio frequencies and electrico-magnetic radiations produced
Which? is concerned at how the government is handling the smart meter roll-out.
As the roll-out will cost so much, we think the government needs to put in place tighter controls to ensure that suppliers pass on all their cost savings to their customers and that customers aren’t left out of pocket if costs spiral.
We also think there are several ways in which the roll-out cost could be reduced.
If you think your energy meter is faulty, don’t be left out of pocket. We guide you through the process of getting it fixed and claiming a refund.
It can be hard to spot if your energy meter is faulty, particularly if it’s wrong by a small amount. Unusual bills or meter readings are generally the best clue.
If you’re on a time-of-use tariff, you should be able to check the clock on your meter or see if the rate changes at the time of day it’s supposed to.
If you’re worried your meter is running fast, you could try turning off all your appliances and watching the meter. It shouldn’t still be registering significant amounts of energy.
If you suspect your meter is faulty, you should record regular meter readings. These will help prove your case.
You could also invest in an energy monitor. These let you view your real-time energy use.
Although an energy monitor isn’t a fool proof way of checking meter accuracy, they can be a good guide if you already have suspicions.