Nearly 20% of smart meter users manually submit readings

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Citizens Advice has revealed that millions of UK households are not fully benefitting from smart meters due to faults and inadequate service from energy suppliers.

Despite over half of British homes having a smart meter, many continue to face problems that suppliers fail to resolve, according to the report.

According to the charity, 20% of households with a smart meter, amounting to 2.86 million homes, still need to manually submit meter readings as their devices are not sending automatic readings.

Nearly a third of users reported issues with their in-home display (IHD), which is intended to help track energy usage and costs.

Additionally, a quarter of people seeking help from Citizens Advice had billing issues related to their smart meters.

These unresolved problems have led some households to incur significant debt due to missed automatic readings, with some customers receiving unexpected catch-up bills exceeding £1,000 after their meters went unchecked for over a year.

Current regulations permit suppliers to back bill customers for up to a year, regardless of whether they have a smart meter.

Citizens Advice argues this period should be reduced to six months for smart meter users to prevent long term catch-up bills caused by meter failures.

Dame Clare Moriarty, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said: “The whole point of smart meters is to empower households to save energy and money, but in reality, millions are missing out on those benefits due to problems with technology and poor supplier service.

“Energy companies are very keen for customers to get a smart meter but when issues arise they are often nowhere to be found. That has to change.

“Suppliers have been far too sluggish in fixing issues with problem meters. New obligations and stronger accountability measures are needed to restore public trust in this vital tool to reach net zero.”

A Department for Energy Security and Net Zero spokesperson told Energy Live News: “Our official statistics show the vast majority of meters are working in smart mode – almost 90% of the 35 million smart meters installed.

“Energy suppliers are required to keep their customers’ meters working and Ofgem is responsible for regulating them against this requirement.

“Any issues with smart meters and in home display screens should be addressed promptly and we will soon announce plans to drive better service for new and existing smart meter customers.”

Energy Live News has contacted Ofgem and Energy UK for comment.

Copyright © 2024 Energy Live News LtdELN

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