Smart meters are, as per their name, the smartest way to deal with gas and electricity wastage. The electronic gadget is supposed to give accurate readings to your gas and electricity supplier which not only makes calculating power consumption smooth but also prevents any flaws or errors associated with it.
In addition, the device reflects a household’s gas and electricity usage on its screen and alerts the household to stop making unnecessary use of their resources. In this way, it prevents the UK households from wasting power along with cutting down the energy bills. Smart meters are touted as the best devices to ensure cheaper energy bills.
Whilst, this is how it is supposed to work, in numerous cases these meters have faltered and that too by a big margin. Some of the already installed smart meters have shown wrong readings, which displayed eight times higher value than the actual usage.
Many UK energy suppliers are still in the process of installing smart meters and the project is supposed to be over by 2020 (More info: 53 million Smart meter installation by 2020). Therefore, there are many issues associated with the installation and working of smart meters. Today, we will discuss one such issue that is frequently cropping up, which is when your smart meter stops when you switch energy supplier.
Why the smart meter stops when you switch gas and electricity provider?
There are a couple of technical reasons for this currently unavoidable problem. In an ideal world, your smart meter should work as a gas and electricity measuring unit as well as a transmission device that passes on this information to the new gas and electricity supplier. However, it may not send the readings to the new supplier and just remain as an energy measuring device. The main reason is that these smart meters are still in their formative stages and therefore do not have the facility to work across suppliers.
As providers are developing their own meters, the smart meter will work across suppliers only when the two suppliers are in alliance with each other. Most of the suppliers are not in alliance with each other due to the stiff competition in the energy market. Due to this, the consumers are facing issues when switching to a new energy supplier that is not supported by their smart meter. As the meter keeps showing the energy usage records, you can use it to read the units used and then manually send it to the new supplier. This is far better than a new smart meter installation that may cost you a couple of hundred pounds.
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To be on a safer side, it becomes very important that the consumer clarifies about this during the smart meter installation process.
Is there any solution to the smart meter problem that arises on switching gas and electricity suppliers?
Yes! According to Smart Energy GB, a national campaign that is supporting smart meter installation, the problem of smart meter not supporting other suppliers is a temporary one and would be resolved once all smart meters are upgraded remotely. Once the SMETS1 (first stage smart meters) meters are upgraded to SMETS2 compliance, the same meters will work for all UK energy suppliers without the need of changing settings or any help from engineers.
This was ordered to all suppliers last year but many of them might not be done with the process. Upgrading the smart meter is all about changing a communication hub that connects to a third party that allows all gas and electricity providers to use the same dynamics of the smart meter. This will resolve the issue of switching to energy supplier with a different smart meter as it will not lose communication and will get accurate readings from the third party hub.
How can I check if my supplier has an upgraded smart meter or not?
According to rules, all UK energy companies need to mention on their website that the SMET1 (first stage smart meters) may not transfer readings to the new cheaper energy supplier if you make a switch. Nonetheless, not all companies mention this on their website or in most cases, the customers are not aware about it. Even the Big Six energy suppliers are supposed to declare this on their website in order to inform customers about the probable smart meter issues on switching the supplier.
Till when will this smart meter issue exist?
The SMET2 smart meters are supposed to roll out in the later parts of this year. This means, by the end of 2017 people will start having the upgraded meters that allows them to switch to cheaper energy suppliers without losing any features of the smart meter. However, there could be a delay as the installation program itself is running on a delayed schedule.
Benefits of using upgraded smart meters:
It is clear that new or upgraded smart meters will give accurate readings, save you from paying estimated energy bills and help you in getting the cheapest energy bills.
With these meters you will be able to enjoy cheaper energy deals from other suppliers without facing any hassles related to switching gas and energy provider or smart meters.
You can also estimate your gas and electricity usage and reduce it to lower limits. This means that you can enjoy low cost energy bills.
No need of manual reading and transferring information to the new gas and electricity supplier. The upgraded meter will do it for you.
You don’t need to pay the installation cost of new, supplier specific smart meter, which would otherwise inflate your energy bill to another level.
To conclude, there is no need to worry if your smart meter stops sending energy usage information when you switch energy supplier. Once it’s upgraded it will resume its functionality without any hassle. Therefore, your aim should be to get the SMET2 meters which would function well irrespective of the expensive or cheap energy supplier. With these meters, you would be able switch to your favourite supplier that offers cheaper energy deals without worrying about the smart meter.
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