Smart Meter Installation – thoughts please?

Smart Meter Installation – thoughts please?

15:38 PM, 8th April 2021, About A year ago 32

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I had an email this morning from one of my tenants asking how I felt about granting permission for the installation of a smart meter. The tenant wasn’t concerned either way, but he was just reaching out to see how I felt about this.

My initial thought was “fine by me”. However, I’d be interested to hear from other landlords and any views they might hold either way.

I can’t really see any negatives – I believe smart meters in the past used to cause issues when moving between suppliers, but I understand that this is now less of a problem.

The only apprehension I do have is I’ve read the odd story in the media about inexperienced engineers fitting them, and subsequent gas leaks.

Any contributions and viewpoints welcome

Paul



Comments

DGM View Profile

12:42 PM, 9th April 2021, About A year ago

Like a lot of said, I fail to understand how they save you money, the per unit cost is not less if you have a smart meter.
The first generation ones are useless and have to be changed as were specific to supplier - what's smart in that.
The newer ones are better but still a lot of smaller suppliers do not support smart meters, I am with Utilitypoint and they don't.
There is also the issue of meter location as these tend to have a data sim, if you can't get a signal in the basement, it will never be smart.

Able Services

15:26 PM, 9th April 2021, About A year ago

If you Tenant cannot afford the bills, then what option do you have. I am still going through the process to revert from smart meters used in my property back to monthly bills. My Tenant moved out in November 2020, I have still not got it sorted out. You can only change from a smart meter to one of the big 6 companies.. I found that in the 3 months I had to be on the smart meters, the bills for gas and electric were out of this world. We put £250.00 on electric and £350.00 on gas and we only received just over £100 back. You work out what they are charging, my property was empty going through re-decoration. I am really getting fed up with British Gas, the time I have spent on their CHAT help. Being given from one advisor to another. I have had to do an extra 4 visits to the house a round trip of 35 miles. I do not see how people say it is cheaper, I know they can top up £10 a go but it is no fun after putting £100 on, to find it is not registered on the display in the house. My husband then spent 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes trying to find where it had gone. Try to get to the reason why they want this. I do know of a Landlord locally that has all her properties on these meters so that she is never left with unpaid bills. Think hard about it, then decide.

Leics Landlord

15:44 PM, 9th April 2021, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Able Services at 09/04/2021 - 15:26
I think you have confused Key Meters with Smart Meters.

Mike W

15:50 PM, 9th April 2021, About A year ago

Paul,
I had one case where a tenant installed a smart meter without consultation with me, so you are lucky. When they left there was no manual on how to read the meter and the small Chameleon SMETS2 unit (a small phone size unit which connects to smart meter). EON the supplier refused to supply missing items unless I paid them £30. So what was benefit to landlord as next consummer? Took EON to Ombudsman who agreed they should provide missing documentation free. BUT the big issue was that the electricity meter was external and as well as the new meter they installed an isolation switch which was not there before. Now an isolation switch is 'good practice' but is not needed in an external box if the consummer board is within 3 m of the meter. But of course the nerd installers did not bother to look inside the house. Why am I bothered? There are known cases of undesirables opening up external meter boxes and switching off the power on the isolation switch to inconvenience the occupant.

Laura Delow

7:39 AM, 10th April 2021, About A year ago

In November 2020 I had this very same question from a tenant & discussed it with my agent & declined the tenant's request based on the following arguments against. We cannot stop someone from installing a Smart meter but Ofgem recommend a clause in tenancy agreements whereby Landlords permission is needed albeit cannot unreasonably be withheld. This at the very least allows us to guide the tenant based on the following main example issues:-
1) smart meter users can get incorrect higher readings of up to 7 x higher than actual usage resulting in ridiculously high bills that tenants could choose to vacate earlier because of as energy companies are slow to accept this error (because of dimmer switches & LED bulbs - see link to article
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4288180/Smart-meters-readings-SEVEN-times-high.html
2) If a tenant is insistent on a Smart meter, it MUST be the 2nd Generation version; SMETS2 not SMETS1, otherwise there will be issues switching suppliers at the end of their fixed tariff or for any new incoming tenant (but be warned many energy providers are still installing SMETS1 which Ofgem instructed was no longer allowed after March 2019 but they still try & are outright lying to consumers about there being no issues). Even SMETS2 meters are still having severe integration problems. The way to tell the difference is if the serial number starts with 19P, this indicates it's a SMETS1 meter. If it starts with 19M, then this means it’s SMETS2
3) some flats in blocks require a different solution called Alt-HAN which is still under development BUT energy providers are still quick to try & install a standard Smart meter.
4) Ovo Energy & U.Switch state; the lack of uniformity among some energy suppliers’ smart meters means that when you switch you might have to get a different smart meter installed, which might come at an extra cost. You might be able to continue with the same smart meter, but in some cases your smart meter will lose its ‘smart’ functionality once it starts operating with a different supplier.
5) BBC recent article states all providers admit to severe connectivity problems that are still to be resolved & UK Power published in July last year & Which; More than half of all smart meters ‘go dumb’ after switching / One-in-ten ‘go dumb’ due to poor mobile network connectivity / energy providers have connectivity issues / faulty meters resulting in incorrect high readings
6) Howeve, Ovo Energy state that all SMETS1 meters will eventually be remotely upgraded by the Data Communications Company (DCC) – which is also responsible for protecting your / your tenants' data
After explaining the issues to our tenant, they decided against it even though we said we would reluctantly agree but only if was a SMETS2 meter.

Doug Ellison

8:07 AM, 10th April 2021, About A year ago

I installed a smart meter because it was essential to get onto Octopus energies tariff.They have a tariff called Octopus Go which is a time of use tariff.I pay 5p per unit from 12.30am-4.30am.During this time I charge my car and my storage battery and the savings are enormous.
I’m also about to install storage heaters which will be programmed to charge only between these 4 hours.The charge for electricity during the other 20 hours is only 13p per unit so still competitive.
Added to this Octopus,who are an excellent Co to deal with pay £50 to the customer for every recommendation they supply and also pay £50 to the new customer.If anyone wants to use my email address as a referral this is “office@dougellison.co.uk”
Happy to discuss for anyone wanting more info,either on the property 118 site or direct to my email.
Doug

John

9:05 AM, 10th April 2021, About A year ago

NIGHTMARE, My tenant had one installed without my knowledge and it has caused me a lot of extra work. The Company will not remove it. I have a student let with new students each year. One of them leaves a month early because they have finished their exams and informs the supplier. I then get an incorrect invoice and have a lot of trouble getting it sorted out and have to send the rental contract to the supplier to prove they were liable until the end date of the contract.

Geoff

9:07 AM, 10th April 2021, About A year ago

To echo Doug Ellison, and add some balance here. Smart meters are a positive and result in cheaper power for little effort. Octopus Energy provide variable (every 30mins) kWh fees that are directly linked to the wholesale prices. So it is straight forward to move many of my home high energy consuming activities out of the peak cost periods into cheaper periods. This is not life changing or inconvenient - just prudent. So for example we do not vacuum or iron between 3pm and 7pm.
Now we also have an Electric car and can charge it at night so I often charge the EV for 3p or 4p/kWh. Sometimes, approx 6 times a year, the kWh charge goes negative - due to excess power on the grid (usually when it is windy). Yes - they pay me to take power to put in my car. My car "running costs per mile" can be negative.
What SMART meters do is open up more imaginative and competitive charge structures that encourage consuming to move high load activity away from peak periods - and we can choose to dance or not.
Octopus give me the average kWh charge across each billing period. The costs are very transparent - So I have a way to compare what I pay octopus and that I would pay elsewhere. Even in the winter, most months I get my power (p/kWh) for less from Octopus using their smart contract. Int he summer is far less. If this changes then I can switch away from Octopus as no-one is tied in.

Paul Hawkins

9:17 AM, 10th April 2021, About A year ago

Thanks to all for taking the time to share your experiences.

I have a good relationship with the tenants so unless they really push the issue, I'll decline their request.

BigMc

9:45 AM, 10th April 2021, About A year ago

Hi,
BEWARE. These have been fitted in a number of our properties and every one has been a disaster. The only plus is that your supplier can get accurate readings remotely which is particularly useful for tenancy starts and ends. The majority of the problems arise because there are a very limited number of companies installing them, all effectively subcontracting to the suppliers. Their fitters are at best low skilled and unbelievably THEY ARE NOT even Gas Safe registered, yet they are carrying out major gas alterations and installations and are authorised, indeed instructed to check all the gas installations and appliances in the property. In theory this means you need to have a new gas cert carried out as they are not qualified to do so.
They likewise check all the electrical installation although again they are not qualified to do an EICR
The worst we have experienced (installed by Siemens) was where they switched off the gas and issued an unsafe notice, you can imagine how concerned that made our tenants. Their reason was that the flue leaving the back of the boiler and going through the wall was not properly sealed and they could see daylight meaning CO could re-enter the building. What they had failed to spot was that the boiler did not back onto an outside wall. The flue they condemned was simply passing through a partition wall on its way to the outside wall where it had a fully approved and tested air tight seal. I contacted the "engineer" and Siemens but they said, no problem if you are satisfied it is safe just remove the tape and turn the supply back on. I probably can't repeat on here what Gas Safe had to say about that but suffice to say that would have been illegal I had to get a proper engineer to have it retested and a new gas safe certificate issued.
This was the worst incident but we have encountered problems with every one. Unfortunately many tenants believe it will save them money, when of course it won't unless they turn things off to reduce the usage.
Sadly as things stand it is a legal requirement to have them changed by 2025 (June I think).

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