UK consumers told to switch off and ignore smart meter displays


UK energy customers are being told to unplug and ignore their smart meter in-home displays after devices started showing inaccurate and varied usage information.

Ron Thomas, a 72-year-old Shell Energy customer from Monmouthshire contacted the company after multiple inaccurate and alarming readings, according to The Daily Telegraph.

Whilst his monthly payment via direct debit is £40, the in-home display would report usage as high as £46 in a single day, only to change to £8 or £9 hours later. Thomas called the device a “joke”.

A customer service agent reportedly told Thomas to unplug his meter’s display, saying the issue with in-home displays is part of a broader challenge.

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Another supplier told the newspaper that the issue is known in the industry and that the head of smart for a Big Six energy supplier, at a recent meeting of several energy companies, mentioned that his display switches off whenever he turns on his dishwasher.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), which is overseeing Great Britain’s beleaguered smart meter rollout, said the problem hadn’t been raised by any other supplier, with a spokesperson saying: “Any consumer experiencing problems with their in-home display should contact their supplier, which is obliged to replace it free of charge if it is not working properly.

“Over 14 million smart meters are now operating in Great Britain, with the overwhelming majority of consumers saying the displays help them better understand their energy use – helping them cut their bills.”