“My smart meter says I owe thousands of pounds – could it be wrong?”

My smart meter says I owe thousands of pounds for less than a year of energy use, which can’t be true. Resolver consumer rights Martyn James explains what you need to know

Can smart meters sometimes be wrong?
Can smart meters sometimes be wrong?

By far the most common topic of complaints from Britons at the moment are energy and billing errors.

Thousands of people seek help every day – and more people than ever are checking their bills given the huge 54% price increase for most prepayment offers (and more for credit/key meters).

Many people who have been persuaded to phase out smart meters also mention that they have problems with incorrect bills – although companies can sometimes be skeptical when seeking help.

Let’s get down to business: if your bill suddenly skyrocketed past that 54% price cap, then something might be wrong.

You don’t have to be an energy professional to make a complaint – you just need to make a formal complaint.

What is a smart meter?

There are two types of smart meters



A smart meter is just an evolved version of your old meter.

Gas and energy metering is more or less the same as before, only the smart meter sends regular updates to the energy company so they know more accurately how much energy you’re using and can adjust your bills (if applicable) accordingly.

In theory, this should make saving easier as you can see your actual consumption – especially if you’re connected to an energy monitor or smart thermostat.

Are you afraid to pay your energy bill? Let us know: mirror.money.saving@mirror.co.uk

By the way, you don’t have to buy a smart thermostat for a smart meter – and in the pandemic surrounding smart monitors, many a relationship is strained by arguments about turning on the kettle or the washing machine. Please use with care.

The meters send data to a hub in your home, which relays it to the energy company.

Gas and electricity meters work in slightly different ways, but their information goes through the same hub.

So what can go wrong?

There are two types of smart meters. The first generation hit the news after 15 million were installed with rather aggressive or misleading promotions by companies after government targets were set.

Only there was a lack of qualified engineers to install the meters – and many were not compatible with another energy supplier, which led to all sorts of problems.

The new second generation meters should be compatible with most providers.

Smart meters transmit data wirelessly, so they can fall victim to power outages, thick walls, poor signals, and more.

Gauges can also lose their functionality for some time, which requires a visit from the technician.

Many first generation meters were reportedly boxed up after the original supplier went out of business. Again, there are systems in place to prioritize and replace these counters.

But it’s important that you keep a record of when things went wrong and also keep your old bills so the new provider has a clue as to your past energy use.

However, many complaints stem from simply the fact that the old meter you had may have been played too high – or the company relied on estimated readings.

Even though the pandemic has made home visits more difficult, if your energy company has been working on estimates for over a year, you may be able to dispute a bill even if it’s correct – because they should have spotted the problem sooner.

If you’ve ignored read requests, that might make things harder – but file a complaint. The company should not charge you for energy consumption older than 12 months if they have not correctly calculated your consumption.

How to carry things on

I know it’s difficult to contact an energy company at the moment. If you have problems, you can use Resolver for free to file the complaint, upload letters and invoices and much more.

If the company doesn’t respond or resolve the matter within eight weeks, you can also contact the Energy Ombudsman – another free and impartial body that serves as an alternative to the courts.

I’m threatened by lawsuits and debt collectors

Some energy companies are so large that their different departments can’t always communicate well with each other.

One of the biggest sources of frustration comes from people who have been told their complaint will be investigated only to receive threats of collection.

This is unacceptable and should not happen.

If you contact the Firm to dispute an invoice, ask the Firm to confirm in writing that all debt collection/interest/fees will be suspended while the matter is reviewed – including going to the Ombudsman.

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https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/my-smart-meter-says-owe-26715430 "My smart meter says I owe thousands of pounds - could it be wrong?"

Fry Electronics Team

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