Over 50% of UK energy consumers have experienced issues with their smart meter when switching energy supplier, a new Which? study has found.
The survey of 2,910 smart meter owners, found that smart meters either stopped working altogether or the in-home display broke for 58% of homeowners.
This is compared to 42% who said that they switched to a new supplier without any problems whatsoever, with 32% even saying that their supplier replaced their old smart meter with a new model.
At the time of writing, around 25% of UK homes have a smart meter, with over 13.5 million smart meters having been installed across the nation.
Around 300,000 of these smart meters currently installed are advanced second-generation smart meters (SMETS2), while the majority are still first-generation models (SMETS1). The trouble is that SMETS1 meters can go inactive when the customer switches energy supplier as they fail to send automatic meter readings.
Smart meters are supposed to help homeowners save money on their energy bills, but this recent survey found mixed reviews:
- 34% found that their energy consumption had decreased
- 1 in 5 believed their energy usage had increased
However, when comparing energy customers who have smart meters with those who don’t, the research found that customers with a smart meter had a better experience with their energy supplier:
- 74% of consumers with a smart meter praised their energy supplier;
- Only 63% of those without a smart meter gave their energy supplier positive feedback.
Speaking about this research, Robert Cheesewright of the Smart Energy GB, the nationwide campaign behind the smart meter roll-out, said: “We share the frustrations of consumers when it comes to losing their smart service, but we are well on the way to solving those issues.
“The first-generation end date is just a week away (March 15) and over half a million second-generation meters have been installed, putting us a step nearer to a greener and more affordable energy system.”
Could You Be Saving on Your Energy Bills?
In 2018, Ofgem found that more than half of UK homes were on a poor value energy tariff. According to their State of the Energy Market 2018 report, switching from an average standard variable tariff offered by one of the big 6 energy suppliers to the cheapest market equivalent, could be saving homeowners up to £305 every year.