Do I have to accept a Smart Meter?

by Readers Question

14:44 PM, 28th October 2020
About 3 months 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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FirstNinjaGamer

5:11 AM, 30th October 2020
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Porky at 29/10/2020 - 21:18
Finally some common sense!
I work in the smart meter industry and can confirm that energy companies have had to fit SMETS2 meters for about a year now. All SMETS2 meters will allow the tenant to transfer from 1 energy provider to another without any problems, including pre-pay customers.
Furthermore, most SMETS2 meters operate on the 2.4GHz frequency that a home wifi operates on, and there is no evidence of health problems caused specifically by that frequency.
There is an option for the energy provider to fit a SMETS2 on the 868MHz frequency if the gas and elec meters are to far apart for the 2.4GHz meters to work, or if the walls are made out of stone etc. 868MHz is a frequency that is often used by radio controlled cars, drones, etc., so no evidence of health problems again.
You can not turn off the smart meter without tampering with the supply (ie committing theft).
Smart meters can give better and more accurate data to allow a householder to make better choices (turning devices off etc). They will also allow for better demand mapping and a smart grid when fully implemented, but the choice is the property owner and not the tenant.
However, failing to adopt a smart meter and choosing to remain on an analogue meter will mean that you end up paying for someone to read the meter, which over time will become more expensive as more smart meters are rolled out.
Hope this helps calm some of the nerves.

Ron H-W

10:07 AM, 30th October 2020
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by FirstNinjaGamer at 30/10/2020 - 05:11
FirstNinjaGamer doesn't need me to agree with him (though I do!), but I would like to ask 2 questions of [presumably] him:

1. Somebody I know rents out a flat but refuses to allow smart meter/s because of the possiblity of "spying" in some way, even if this would simply be drawing inferences from the usage pattern. Your comments, please.

2. If the gas meters are outside the building, and a flat is somewhat distant from these (with 4 or more walls "in the way"), is this likely to impact the in-home display? Also, does a smart gas meter need to communicate with a smart electricity meter, or would it be independent? Many thanks.

And here's a positive angle, regarding a smart water meter:
Somebody else I know, with a rented-out flat, received (or the tenant received) contact from Thames Water becasue of a suspected leak - excessively high water consumption. No leak found, BUT the toilet cistern filler valve was not shutting off properly, so the cistern was overfilling, causing automatic flushing or equivalent - the overflow "pipe" is internal. Over a period of 6 months or whatever, this would have led to a cost of over £200 (by my calculations) for the wasted water.

jbw63

10:11 AM, 30th October 2020
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by FirstNinjaGamer at 30/10/2020 - 05:11FirstNinjaGamer,
I agree with what you are say re emissions.
But noting that you job is to actually fit these SMETS2 meters, you are misleading people with your claims and ignoring 2 key topical issues:
1. Despite the 2nd gen SMETS2 being available for a year now in some areas, I have been informed by multiple sources that most areas are still getting the 1st gen 'unswitchable' - just this month checked re a property in Bristol that this is the case, so I told EON no I am not having a 1st gen meter installed, and 2nd gen not available for my area!
2. You are misleading people when you claim "All SMETS2 meters will allow the tenant to transfer from 1 energy provider to another without any problems, including pre-pay customers."
I understand that IS the functionality that the SMETS2 meters are supposed to be currently delivering because that this the industries intention for the second generation meters , but in practise this is NOT up fully functioning as there are still considerable software compatibility issues and the system is still breaking down at the centralised data hub - the DDC.
The DDC is STILL "getting reading to have switching work seamlessly with SMETS2" it is NOT yet ready!
Despite the persistence to drive Smart Meter installations by various Energy Companies and by the companies being paid to install these meters, when you dig further you find all is NOT as it may be bering promoted. The exact current situation was confirmed by phone calls this month to the DDC and with various energy companies technical people, plus a field worker - ie meter reader (London area) who told me only 3 weeks ago NOT to go for the SMETS2 yet as because the system for seemless switching is NOT yet working, and he is experiencing this first hand as he is still daily having go read SMETS2 meters for 'switched' customers!
I'm sure they will sort its in the end - but they have been trying for 2+ years now and haven't yet - so when?
You don't buy a computer knowing it has faulty software with out confirmation as to when the bugs will be fixed, I will not be getting any more Smart meters installed until the system is PROVEN to be fully functional for switching. I advise you to heed my warning folks, noting you will only find out the truth as to whether they have yet fixed the systemic issues at the point of switching.

jbw63

10:21 AM, 30th October 2020
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Ron H-W at 30/10/2020 - 10:07
Ron H-W, yes I can understand the argument you have made for Smart Water meters if you are water metered.The thing is you are stuck with your local water provider on a non-competition basis.
The issues therefore only relate to the SMETS2 energy Smart Meters still, in practise, not allowing for seamless switching. As the gen 2 have only been rolled out for roughly the past year or so, the issues are showing up with customers only now as their 12 months contracts are ending and on wanting to switch to a more competitive deal with a different energy company are being caught out.

FirstNinjaGamer

12:50 PM, 30th October 2020
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Ron H-W at 30/10/2020 - 10:07
Responses to questions -
Q1. - There is a possibility of hacking and spying, however, the network is encrypted and more secure than BT / Virgin / Sky broadband networks. If someone wanted to spy on you it would be easier to hack that and they would gain alot more information on you than just your energy usage.

Q2, Part a - in the most part, flats will work the same as a house, however, if the elec meter is too far from the gas meter for a normal 2.4GHz signal to connect, then it will require the 868MHz solution. The distance is comparable to a home wifi (but not any part of your home wifi - just for illustration purposes). I'd you cant get a connection to home wifi at that distance and with the walls in the way, then you will need the 868MHz solution. This has only just become available - within the last week or so!
However, some flats will require a different solution called Alt-HAN, (like if the meters are in the basement and tenant on the the 5th floor). Alt-HAN is still under development.
Q2, part b -Yes. The elec meter has a network device called the comms hub physically connected to it. The comms hub creates the smart meter network in the property (called the HAN - Home Area Network). This allows the data to be retrieved from the gas meter and the data from both meters to be sent to the central database over the secure encrypted network to the energy provider. It also allows the in home device (IHD) and / or pre payment meter information device (PPMID) to read the data so the tenant can see the live usage, history and billing info. If the 2.4 GHz HAN network is not big enough to connect the 3 of them, there is now a 868MHz variant which will do the job (except for some flats as described above, oh and for properties in the RAF Fylingdales region, North Yorks, but this is scheduled to be addressed next year).

Does that help?

FirstNinjaGamer

13:00 PM, 30th October 2020
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by jbw63 at 30/10/2020 - 10:11
To respond (I'll try to be brief) -
Energy companies are being fined if they fit SMETS1, feel free to remind them, oh and inform Ofgem!.
I think you are referring to the DCC? They have a programme called the centralised switching service under development. This isnt sue to go live for another 18 months or so. This will allow consumers to switch energy provider within a day rather than 2 weeks (technically its possible to switch in 30 minutes, every 30 minutes if the consumer wanted to!). This is not the same as the metera going dumb problem with SMETS1. SMETS2 meters are compatible with all energy companies. I can guarantee you that the SMETS2 meters work with all energy companies and has resolved the issue of meters going dumb.
I'd be interested to know who you spoke with at the DCC, as they have misunderstood your question, they have referred to the central switching programme. Did you get their name?

FirstNinjaGamer

13:03 PM, 30th October 2020
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by jbw63 at 30/10/2020 - 10:21
BEIS and Ofgem produce stats showing how many consumers have switched energy providers over SMETS2, I think consumer groups like Which and Citizens Advice have this data too. I can guarantee that the SMETS2 change of supply (DCC User Journey COS) works as it should. Crossed wires here with another DCC programme.

Ron H-W

13:20 PM, 30th October 2020
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by FirstNinjaGamer at 30/10/2020 - 12:50
Thanks, FirstNinjaGamer - more complete than I was hoping for 🙂
Very helpful.

jbw63

8:44 AM, 31st October 2020
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by FirstNinjaGamer at 30/10/2020 - 13:00
Hi FirstNinjaGamer
That's interesting news what you are saying about "Energy companies are being fined if they fit SMETS1, feel free to remind them, oh and inform Ofgem!" I'll take that on board re next conversation with energy company re my Bristol property.
Yes you are correct - DCC - Data Communications Company (not DDC! - my slip up - ha ha!)
The DCC told me that it's the software that is a CURRENT issue not the engineering of the SMETS2 meters themselves. Sorry I don't now remember the name of whom I spoke to. The status of the software issues re SMETS2 not being able to push the usage data to the energy companies was confirmed in the field by my meter reader 3 weeks ago in the London area - he told me the problem is still current as is still having to go out and read them! So he advised me to wait a bit longer re going for SMETS2 until the problem is sorted. I can think of no reason to doubt his word either?

jbw63

8:52 AM, 31st October 2020
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by FirstNinjaGamer at 30/10/2020 - 13:03
PS Hi FirstNinjaGamer
Do you know what was the date when the fine for "energy companies still fitting SMETS1" meters first came into play?
I'd be grateful if you are able to post a link to that information?
Many Thanks 🙂 !

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