Energy Supply - Smart meter issue

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The smart meter rollout means that every energy supplier should install smart meters in every home in England, Wales and Scotland by 2020

Smart meters keep track of what you’re using and show you how much you currently owe in pounds and pence.

With a smart meter, you won’t have to take any meter readings manually. The smart meter automatically sends readings to your energy supplier.

Switching

Getting a smart meter means that you may be eligible for a wider range of tariffs that aren’t available to people with a regular meter. If you want to switch supplier to take advantage of a cheaper tariff, you can! However, be warned – some older smart meters aren't compatible with some energy providers' systems. This can be a right pain, so check with your current energy provider whether you have a first generation smart meter or a second gen one. If they say you have a first gen meter, double-check with the new supplier as to whether your meter will be compatible with their system. They'll give you a new one eventually (for free), but the wait might be a nuisance.

Installation 

You shouldn’t have to pay for a smart meter to be installed. If you live in rented accommodation, you should ask your landlord before getting a smart meter installed. They should be OK with it, but there may be something in your tenancy agreement that stops you from getting the meter installed. Always double-check beforehand!

Prepay meters and smart meters

If you already have a prepay meter installed, you can have your smart meter set to prepay mode. This means you’ll no longer need to access your meter to top it up. You’ll be able to see how much credit you have left via your in-home display and top-up online, via telephone or text message, or even with a smartphone app. 

If you have a smart meter, you will still be sent regular energy bills in the usual manner (normally by post or online).

Can suppliers cut you off?

Regardless of whether you have a smart meter or not, you’re protected by strict regulations against your energy supplier cutting off your energy. Your energy supplier can only cut you off if you haven’t contacted them for 28 days after incurring a debt – and they have to contact you before they cut off your supply. Your supplier has to give you the opportunity to pay off your debt before they disconnect you.

Your energy supplier isn’t allowed to disconnect you during the winter months if you are of pensionable age, have a long-term medical condition, disability, or illness, or are in a vulnerable situation.

You also can’t be disconnected if your debt is owed to a previous supplier, you have been made bankrupt and the debt was incurred before you went bankrupt, or the debt is not for the gas or electricity you have used but for another service or appliance you have bought from your supplier.

Data

Your supplier will have access to the daily data from your smart meter to compile your bills, but they need to get your consent to access further data (or if they want to use it for marketing purposes).

You should know
  • If you want to change any personal details, contact your supplier via Resolver, and inform them of the change as soon as possible.
  • Energy companies should get back to you within two working days of receiving your complaint.
  • Be clear and focused when you raise an issue. Explain clearly what happened and what you want to achieve.
  • All energy companies have to meet high standards of service, set by industry regulator Ofgem.
  • If you are unhappy with any outcome you have the right to take your case to the Energy Ombudsman (Ombudsman Services) for independent assessment. Resolver will remind you when you can escalate your case.

What next?

Once you have submitted your information to the energy company, they should acknowledge your case with 2 working days. Ensure you keep a copy of all communications. Resolver automatically does this for you.

What if you cannot resolve the issue?

After eight weeks you can send the case to Ombudsman Services but if the energy company sends you a 'deadlock letter' - then you can send your case file to the Ombudsman immediately. The Ombudsman Service will independently investigate your case, and resolver will you remind you when you can send your case over to the Energy Ombudsman. 

You can still take your energy company to court if you still do not agree with the outcome but only use this as a last resort.

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