Have you heard any smart meter myths?


Userlevel 5



Smart meters are the new generation energy meter and traditional meters will soon become a thing of the past.

We’ve heard a few different reasons from customers on why they don’t want smart meters, in most cases the reasons come from myths on the internet.

Let’s try and bust some of these myths, the most common myth we hear is “I’m worried that these meters are harmful”.

It’s understandable why this would be a concern, they’re fairly new and not much is known about them but rest assured our smart meters undergo rigorous testing to make sure they’re fit for purpose. The meters are also covered by UK and EU product legislation. You can read more about this here.

Still not convinced? Here’s what Cancer research UK have said in a recent report.

What reasons are putting you off of smart meters?

How has your experience with smart meters been, @jewelie, @ITGeek123, @Abreaders?

16 replies

Userlevel 6
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Had zero issues with smart meters. Including zero interference with my wireless. If you are lazy like me then get them installed! Saves you having to input your meter readings manually. I believe the myth is, they can cause cancer? We were told mobile phones can do this too.... So their point is not valid as I'm sure they have mobile phones. Unless they live in the dark ages?
Userlevel 5
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Hello All

I am one of the “Luddites” who refused a smart meter from Ovo some years ago. I have always monitored by energy usage very closely so there is no benefit to me personally in having a Smart Meter installed. In addition to there being no benefits to me , I am concerned about how the data collected might be used and the potential for security breaches/hacking of the system.

Since then, I have grown more concerned about how my usage data may be used and the potential for future surge pricing of electricity and gas, where the price of energy increases/decreases depending on demand. Obviously the prices will be highest when there is highest demand ie evenings, holidays and during the coldest weather.

A dumb meter is simple, it records how many kWh I use, which I send through to you every month and you charge me for what I have used.

At the moment energy companies are required to offer a smart meter to each of their customers - there is no compulsion to have one fitted.

So, thank you OVO, but I don’t want a smart meter.
Userlevel 7
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Thanks for posting that @Phil_H.

You've just described two genuine reasons as to why you don't want a Smart Meter. These aren't "myths"!

Despite the title of this Topic, I'm also interested to hear more about these genuine concerns. I'm a member of a local Energy Group who are surveying residents of an estate of around 200 houses and listening to what they tell us of their energy usage.

In many cases we could actually suggest ways in which they could use less gas and electricity. However, there's no point in us pushing a strategy which is either beyond their comprehension, or leaves them feeling concerned about risks.

The way in which a new concept is communicated is very important. It's not just the marketing message which matters, but also the presentation of the data.

Although I have a comprehensive understanding of how my new Smart Meters operate, I personally find the displays on the In-Home Device aren't intuitive and don't sufficiently add to my existing knowledge of my energy usage.

So I'm not about to write a repost to your concerns about the security of your data...
... I could easily do so, but I'd like to first hear if other Forum Members are worried about the same issue.
Userlevel 7
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So, thank you OVO, but I don’t want a smart meter.


I don't have a smart meter either, got to be honest here! 🙇

The reasons for me not diving in are getting smaller and smaller. When I know I can get SMETS2, I'll jump in and get an appointment booked!

@Phil_H smart meters open more doors for technology that links to them. For example if I had one of OVO's smart chargers, V2G chargers, smart heat or if I get a home energy storage battery fitted, low demand periods can automatically be utilised to my advantage. Not to mention the efficiencies of matching supply and demand for the national grid.

All that said, I need to practice what I preach and get one fitted! 👷
Userlevel 5
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Its interesting to hear your responses @Transparent @Tim_OVO

I am sure that for some, smart meters do have a benefit. For those unaware of their energy usage they may help in educating them to reduce their energy consumption. I can also see a benefit to those interested in electric cars, heating and other smart technology.

However, in my case, none of that applies to me. I have just had a new gas boiler installed with a 10 year guarantee which should with regular servicing carry on for at least 15 years. I also have no interest in electric cars they are either way over my budget or have a high leasing/battery leasing cost. I never buy new cars in any case I will wait until they are a few years old. When you can buy a used electric car (without a monthly battery lease cost) for less than £5000 with a reasonable life expectancy I might change my mind but I do not think any of that will happen in the next 5-10 years.

So, at the moment I will stick with my old meters. In 10-15 years time my views might change. At least in that time we should have proof of how secure the meters are and how the energy industry is using the smart meter data and how they are being used for surge pricing.
Userlevel 3
Myths , facts, fears?

The electrician will condemn my old wiring / fuse board and say that he has to turn off the power to my house for safety. Despite the circuits working for the past several decades.

Smart meters are a sales tool for electricians to generate income for themselves.

If it ain't broke don't mess with it.

My bills will go up in order to pay for the smart meters.

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I hope I've set those up so that there is some truth in them, even if they are mostly false.

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The TV adverts give the impression that you *will* save money if you have smart meters installed. They don't give any other reasons for having them installed. But is that the case that you *will* save money? It seems like that will be a myth for some or even for many.
Userlevel 7
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Great to see the activity on this thread, but a shame to see such a negative vibe.

For many people Smart Meters are a good option, no hassle sending readings (which for some of you I know doesn't seem like a chore, but is a problem for some with super busy lives, where readings are not front of mind), and also for those people, giving them more instant visibility via the IHD of what they are using can help people save money by using less energy.

As an energy company we want to bill people to what they've actually used, so we spend a lot of time and effort trying to get meter readings from people. Believe it or not, not everyone keeps track of this data each month on a spreadsheet (and if you do, I totally get why you don't feel you need one!!). By encouraging customers to get a smart meter, we don't charge them more for their energy, but we are able to more accurately bill them for the energy they are using.

Thanks for sharing this @Eva_OVO will be super useful for those that haven't really heard about Smart Meters (yes there are more than you think), and gives them a space to ask questions.

Darran
Userlevel 3
Myths blocking uptake tend to be negative, and the thread did ask for myths..

A competent electrician will not condemn an old installation unless it is truly unsafe. Most of the time you will get an advisory notice if the installation would benefit from some work.

Sadly I have heard electricians expressing that they are very happy with the income installing these devices and were looking forward to changing them multiple times 😞 The myth is that smart meters are a trojan horse for a sales pitch for further work.

It is inherent that when changing an installation a small number will develop faults or not behave as desired or intended. The myth is that these updates can be avoided for electricity meters which all have an expiry date. No idea if the same thing applies to gas meters. as we've had ours a long time.

Individual bills will not increase, but the small truth is that someone has to pay for the meters. Overall the change is intended to enable future savings. So the cost is an investment.

SmartEnergyGB's advert was taken down by the ASA because it did not make it clear that the savings come from changes to how you consume energy and not just the fitting of the meters.

Personal opinion: SmartEnergGBs website does not make a strong case for fitting meters. As the body responsibly I'd have expected a strong case from them. The best it manages is that the smart grid (coming sometime) will need smart meters.
Userlevel 7
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Interesting comments re SmartEnergyGB's website, I guess if you're coming at it from having already made up your mind about this and are actively monitoring your energy anyway, maybe the info is not that helpful!

Totally get that old meters that work fine (we hope), and by changing to Smart Meters could cause problems, but as we talked about on Monday, we've found more issues the other way, where meters that haven't been touched for years, we've discovered a fixed all manner of issues the homeowners were not even aware of!!

Darran
Userlevel 3
Darran i was just putting up some myths to be shot down.

Like Tim I've been waiting for SMETs2.
Userlevel 7
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Hmm, I think comments here have been more realistic than negative.

I waited until I was offered SMETS2 meters before booking an installation. As I'm still experiencing two of the major technical problems that are being widely discussed on the Forum, you might expect my view to have become more negative... but it hasn't.

I'm still taking the long-term view that these SMETS2 Meters are the foundational step in a sequence which will eventually save me money. But that's not going to be achieved just by having the meters themselves.

The real savings will start to occur once I can opt for a Time Of Use (TOU) Tariff. I will then have the ability to program when certain household devices will consume power based on the price per kWh rather than a time of day.

Now that would've made a very helpful advert from SmartEnergGB !!

With that long term view in place, I would still recommend customers to have SMETS2 meters installed... even if they have to put up with software errors initially.
Userlevel 7
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Ooooooo it's kicking off on this topic. Do people love talking about smart meters, or like sharing gossip and stories? Maybe a bit of both.. 🤔

Whether you love them (@Darran_OVO) or hate them (@NoPoke) it's been a big step for the UK government to roll these out. It's almost certainly not been done faultlessly, but who can argue against it being an ambitious step to take. As @Transparent says, with TOU tariffs, demand balancing, visibility of usage by end consumers, maybe time will tell as to their overall net gain/loss.

The question I have is which other countries are taking such a big step.....? Safety in numbers and all that 😜
Userlevel 3
I *don't * hate them. I have been waiting for the dust to settle on the technology.

EU deployment https://ses.jrc.ec.europa.eu/smart-metering-deployment-european-union

The outlook across EU is not rosy 😞 https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/news/smart-meter-woes-hold-back-digitalisation-of-eu-power-sector/

" But the rest of Europe can’t be so buoyant. Germany, for one, has decided not to have a national smart meter roll-out plan at all, running against EU requirements. Others like Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Greece and Ireland also decided against them. "
Userlevel 7
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Germany also has a policy of putting 3-phase into domestic properties, so they don't have anything like the substation losses we experience here in the UK due to phase imbalance.

The UK doesn't even have a 3-phase Smart Meter being commissioned, let alone approved!
Userlevel 3
Any idea when OVO might offer TOU tariffs?
Userlevel 7
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Well, that's the crunch question isn't it @NoPoke ?!

I would find it a lot easier to get excited about my shiny new SMETS2 meters if I could take advantage of TOU Tariffs!

I find it really odd that Energy Suppliers are holding back from offering them. After all, if they can adjust the pricing daily, that reduces the risk enormously from the present balancing act required due to so many of us opting for 12-month fixed rates!

The DNOs seem to moving on this faster than the Energy Suppliers. They are required to transform themselves into Distribution Service Operators (DSOs) which includes engaging with the community to introduce demand flexibility. Have a look at what Western Power Distribution have published about this here.

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