Smart meters are not so clever and small energy firms

I was intrigued to see the BBC Rip Off Britain Live programme this morning covering the issue of how smart meters are not so clever when you switch energy suppliers.

The programme had found people who had initially been very pleased with their smart meters, and were using them to look for ways to reduce their energy consumption, but after switching had found their smart meters were incompatible with their new supplier.

This is exactly the point that I raised in our article last week – Why smart meters may not be so smart.

£60 cost to install smart meters

What was new to me though, was a comment from Lawrence Slade, the Chief Executive of Energy UK, which is the trade association for the UK energy industry, who said that it costs about £60 to have smart meters installed.

This is added to your overall energy bill, but as it replaces the costs of reading the meters, there is little overall additional costs.

I thought installation of the meters was free though. So this makes me even more determined to wait until the new version 2 smart meters are available early in 2018.

Another interesting point that Mr Slade mentioned is that the consumers will only be saving around £43 per year by using their smart meters. By 2030!

He did state these benefits to having smart meters, however:

  1. You get accurate bills so no more building up large credits or debits on your account
  2. You understand your energy usage and can monitor and improve your energy efficiency

We all have to accept that smart meters are coming to our homes (but they aren’t compulsory and you can choose not to have one) and, in my opinion, they are a good thing, but I am going to wait until those versions 2 ones are available early next year. So should you!

Daily Mail writes about small energy firms

It was good to see Bulb mentioned in their article about small energy firms.

Actually, a couple of those firms mentioned, such as Engie, are not so small, but they are fairly new to the UK energy market.

It is good to see these new entrants into the UK energy market, as each one will be chipping away at the ‘Big Six’ market share, hopefully increasing competition and bringing better energy deals for all of us.

It sounds like I’ve spent all morning watching TV, but I happened to catch Stephen Fitzpatrick, CEO of Ovo Energy being interviewed on the BBC Breakfast programme. He is in favour of Theresa May’s pledge to cap energy bills, which coupled with better regulation would stimulate competition in the energy market, he feels.

Our switch to Bulb goes ahead tomorrow

All this talk about the energy market has reminded me that our switch to Bulb is finalised tomorrow.

This move to a small energy company like Bulb has been so easy and pain free, though we’ll have to see how things go after tomorrow, of course!

We should receive a £50 credit in our account as I used someone’s “refer a friend” link so they will get a £50 bonus too.

You need to read my article about how to save money and earn money by switching to Bulb.

If our switch is anything to go by, then I recommend switching energy companies to anyone, even if you have got smart meters that may suddenly show you how dumb computers can be!


  1. Forecasting and reporting are not specific to a particular meter but done by energy provider’s servers. The word smart shouldn’t be used for these meters because there’s no smartness in them.

    They could be called connected or wireless but not smart. The cost of the meters is added to everyone’s bill hidden in rate, so you are not saving a penny by not getting one.

    It’s more losing money because you pay for the new meter but don’t benefit from it.

    • Good points. Thanks. I personally will be waiting until the next generation meters are available.

      In fact I was advised to do that by someone who installs smart meters!

  2. I agreed to smart meters as my Gas meter was rusty and the Electricity meter had some bare wiring.

    Its good that you can opt to a single reading being sent every month.

    All I wanted from the indoor display was current meter readings. To get them you have to press a few buttons. The display shows meaningless forecasts of which I ignored after a few days.

    The display loses connection to the meter so now I leave it unplugged until I need to see current readings.

    • Thanks, Neil, for sharing your experience with your smart meters. The forecasting and monitoring of your particular meters doesn’t sound great.

      Have you tried switching to another energy company yet?

      • I have been with Scottish power for over 20 years and they provide a very competitive product that I use called PowerUp which is a phone app that allows purchase of up to a years worth of units in advance. So I stay with them.

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