Do I have to accept a Smart Meter?

by Readers Question

14:44 PM, 28th October 2020
About 4 weeks ago

Do I have to accept a Smart Meter?

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Do I have to accept a Smart Meter?

My new tenant wants to have a smart meter installed. I’m not so sure as they have been problematic and not always able to give accurate readings plus some suppliers don’t like taking on new customers with these.

I would therefore prefer her not to.

I understand that we can’t legally say no, but can I insist she changes it back to a normal meter when she leaves so the next tenant does not have any issues? If she doesn’t can I take the cost to revert back out of her deposit?

Many thanks

Reluctant Landlord


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Comments

Roger P

9:47 AM, 29th October 2020
About 4 weeks ago

Once changed it would be difficult to change back, I'd write and tell her not to do it, its still your property

Dylan Morris

9:49 AM, 29th October 2020
About 4 weeks ago

I’d just say no, I doubt it’s a legal requirement (yet) to allow one of these to be installed. Also will be impossible to find a utility provider who will remove it and put a non smart meter back in. They have Government targets to install these dreaded things.

Porky

10:03 AM, 29th October 2020
About 4 weeks ago

I had the same with our tenant and I said I didn't want it installed as it can be problematic to future tenants. Some energy companies have a clause in some if their deals that specify you must accept a smart meter in order to qualify for it. EON was one of them. You can normally get an equivalent deal from other suppliers that do not necessitate a smart meter installation, normaly the smaller independents.
How long this will last is anyone's guess.

Chris Bradley

10:05 AM, 29th October 2020
About 4 weeks ago

I have a smart meter in my own property and when I changed suppliers I'm back to reading the meter as smart meters are specific at the moment to the supplier who Installs them. I know that some Of the more modern ones are usable by all, but you are not limited to energy suppliers if you do have a smart meter. I did have problems with the installation as the installer made an error which the gas board had to sort - took a while to trace the fault back to the smart meter connection to. So although I like the idea of a smart meter, untill the signal is universal to all suppliers I'd hold of, but a feature of the smart meter is that you can monitor your useage so potentially save money, which might be something your tenants want.

Rennie

10:14 AM, 29th October 2020
About 4 weeks ago

Sorry folks, no idea if this is true but someone told me yesterday that you can just unplug the smart meter so worth checking out exactly how the system works.

Paul Shears

10:23 AM, 29th October 2020
About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Chris Bradley at 29/10/2020 - 10:05
Two frustrations with smart meters:
1. Some of them become worthless if you switch providers.
2. The smart meter will not tell you what is consuming all of the electrical power in the case of a huge bill. Now you may think that an odd comment but when you are a tenant of a property with a very high electrical consumption and the landlord will tyake no responsibility for assessing why all similar properties (Small one bed flats & bed-Sits) consume more power than a four bedroom house, it gets frustrating. I made many attempts to hire an electrician to monitor individual circuit energy consumption in an attempt to identify the problem but I could find no one to do the job. The electrical supplier confirmed that the energy consumption in these properties was exceptionally high but claimed that they had no responsibility after the meter.
So no solution until all the flats had to be rewired. It then immediately became apparent that they were all mis-wired and had been so for decades..........

Chris @ Possession Friend

10:24 AM, 29th October 2020
About 4 weeks ago

The problem is in Landlords even finding out ! until afterwards when its too late.
I read recently that the strategy for coping with Excess demand for Utilities was by being able to switch off the supply of electricity ( remotely ) to properties via Smart meters, - so you can see why Govt is pushing it and creating pressure on the Utility companies to offer financial incentives. These incentives would lure a customer - i.e Tenant, but leave the consequences long after the tenancy ended.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/09/19/critics-smart-meters-right-along2/
Also its possible they can be hacked, and a Utility company could remotely change the Credit to Pre-payment.
I believe that there is a need for tenancy agreements to reflect a clause addressing this although I think the legal position on it is unclear. ( like much of the legislation produced, especially in regard to Housing )

WP

10:35 AM, 29th October 2020
About 4 weeks ago

Does it also cause a problem with void periods between tenancies?
I prefer token/key/pre-payments simply because it is easier for me to 'police' but yes I appreciate not great savings to tenants. In this day and age though where I am being squeezed at both ends by the government and anti LL legislation, while I have options to decide how I run my properties I will endeavour to keep them at that! The tenants know up front that they are prepayment meters and if they don't like this they don't have to rent the flats....

Ron H-W

10:41 AM, 29th October 2020
About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Rennie at 29/10/2020 - 10:14
The actual "smart meter" is a replacement for the conventional meter, and is supposed to send radio signals (from time to time rather than continuously, I think) so that it can be read remotely, without having to visit the premises.
There is usually also an "in-home display" ("IHD") which can supply the user with all sorts of useful additional information, and receives its signals from the smart meter; however, some people confuse this with the meter itself - and the IHD is very likely what Rennie's acquaintance was actually talking about.
Also, for electricity only, there is an add-on device (often called a "monitor") that will give the user some of the information that the IHD would give; it consists of a sort of IHD, but the "sender unit" simply clips around a "live" meter cable to measure the current taken. This does NOT provide the remote reading facility, and is installed by the user, not by/for the supplier. It has another problem, that it will over-estimate the power usage from inductive loads such as electric motors and fluorescent lights, because the voltage is (wrongly) asumed to be constant, or at least with a constant "phase angle" (but here things would get more complicated than is useful for this thread).
There are currently some 50 items shown on eBay with a search for "smart meter" (with the quote marks, or 125 without). Most of these, though, are just the IHDs and monitors described above.
I would remind Rennie that the meter itself forms part of the supply path, so it is impossible simply to "unplug" the smart meter itself.

Porky

10:47 AM, 29th October 2020
About 4 weeks ago

Have you asked her why she wants a smart meter.?
If she just wants to measure her usage that displays instantaneous consumption, hourly, daily, weekly etc. You can fit an aftermarket one that costs under a tenner. Available on eBay. No need for the energy company to do anything. It works with a clamp around one if the tails from the meter to the consumer unit and a small battery powered transmitter.

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