Inaccurate smart meter readings causes rise in customer bills – study


The Telegraph reported that scientisits from the University of Twente Enschede in the Netherlands behind the study, “declined to name and shame affected smart meters but confirmed that those which give wrong readings in its tests have been sold and installed in the UK.”

The inaccuracies that have been identified have been blamed on the meter’s design and the increasing use of modern energy efficient devices. Energy saving light bulbs, heaters, LED bulbs and dimmers that change the shape of electric currents have been identified as the cause a distorted reading.

According to the study, “the greatest inaccuracies were seen when dimmers combined with energy saving light bulbs and LED bulbs were connected to the system.”

Researchers had tested the meters by connecting them to different devices which are found in a typical home, says The Telegraph.

The scientists compared the amount of energy they put into the system after a week with the amount of current the meter registered. They then calculated the differences between the two numbers.

Five out of nine smart meter models tested gave readings which were too high.

Billing accuracy

A report by First Utility (UK energy supplier) indicated that UK households face a 42% rise in the amount they pay to support government green energy initiatives, including smart meters.

SSE customers have also reportedly been wrongly told that they had used thousands of pounds worth of energy. One customer’s display showed more than £30,000 for a single day, added The Telegraph.

The author of the report, Prof Leferink, said: “We’ve known since 2009 electronic meters can give readings which are too low. But this is the first time we’ve seen they can be much too high. We were flabbergasted by our results.

“The study was carried out in a laboratory setting. If you looked at ones in homes I don’t expect they would be 500 or 600% out. But what we have shown is the reading can clearly deviate a lot from the power customers are actually consuming.”

Doug Stewart, chief executive at Green Energy UK, said: “Around 15% of households in the UK already have smart meters which could be affected by this issue. It is alarming, but it does not necessarily mean people have lost money. Smart meters are essentially a ‘second check’ as energy suppliers keep a record of energy consumption and if there is a discrepancy, they will know.”