Smart meter deadline tossed by the best UK energy suppliers – Check how!


One way or another, the Energy sector keeps itself in the news for quite some time now. First it was the Big Six making headlines with raising unexpectedly high prices and now, again the suppliers are breaking grounds by missing the smart meter deadline. All energy companies including the Big Six assured that by the end of 2016, they would resolve the issue of wrong smart meter readings faced by many customers. However, they have not succeeded and not a single supplier has managed to cut the limit of back-bills from 12 months to six months.
As per government plans, all UK homes should have a smart meter installation within four years. These meters are already installed in around 2 million UK homes but, are facing issues related to accuracy. Many of them which belonged to companies that offer best home energy plans are showing readings that are six times higher than the actual usage of energy. Due to this, Ofgem had suggested to the suppliers to cut backdated bills with wrong readings. To its disappointment, all energy companies have not been able to finish this task within the pre decided deadline.
Now, the energy regulator is considering other methods to protect the bill payer as its plan A has failed. The consumer advisory group Citizens Advice, suggested that Ofgem should give a six month limit to the energy companies. Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “Smart meters should signal the end of inaccurate bills and it’s not right that people with this technology should suffer because of suppliers’ mistakes. Setting a limit on the time period for which suppliers can send catch-up bills for smart meters will give people greater protection when things go wrong.”
The advisory group also agreed that customers are coming with complaints related to smart meters. It stated that 402 out of the 1500 smart meter complaints were lodged for the billing issues.  This was twice number of the issues reported in the year 2015 and pin points the increase in the number of homes with these high tech meters. The accuracy of these meters came under the scanner after one of the SSE customer faced more than £30,000 as daily bills. This was completely against the actual concept of the smart meters, which are trusted for their accuracy as they do not use estimated readings but, show only the exact energy usage.
Some of the common reasons include wrong configuration while some of the meters were installed at a place where it cannot receive signals. Due to all these issues, the customers have to submit the reading manually. On the other hand, the gas and electricity suppliers blame it on the Data Communications Company for not handling the data as it started late when compared to the actual starting time planned as the month of November.
A representative from the trade body made up of gas and electricity suppliers, Energy UK, said that “While the DCC has gone live, it’s not fully operational and testing is ongoing. In order to confirm that the system is stable, we would need DCC live operations launched, working with a volume of meters working smoothly on DCC systems.” The energy companies had pledged to Ofgem that they would act on the six month back billing plan once the DCC go live.
A spokesman for Ofgem said: “We want to see energy suppliers making progress towards implementing a lower limit on back-billing for customers with smart meters and are monitoring progress of this very closely. We are currently considering whether to take further steps to protect consumers.”
Smart Energy GB which is managing the switch from normal meters to smart meters said that as the devices are dependent on UK mobile phone networks, the issues are cropping. Once they have a dedicated communication network, everything would be resolved.
To sum up, energy consumers need to wait for the gas and electricity suppliers to rectify the errors on the smart meters and send them back-bills with accurate usage. However, one can

compare energy prices online and switch to the top rated supplier who offers advanced smart meter installation for free.
Summary: The Big Six and other gas and electricity suppliers have failed in sending back-bills to consumers who suffered from heavy bills due to smart meters. They missed the deadline of sending back-bills by the end of 2016.

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