Oh no, not another moan about Smart Meters! That was a friend’s disdainful response when told that this item relates to Smart Meters. The Badger chuckled at the reaction because his friend is, shall we say, a strident believer that the average householder will never tangibly benefit from the UK’s Smart Meter rollout programme. In today’s item, however, the Badger highlights something different, namely someone’s specific experience with an energy supplier’s handling of their Smart Meter readings. Why focus on this? Because their experience illustrates that when a supplier’s own systems go awry when they shouldn’t, it’s always the blameless consumer who’s inconvenienced.
Two years ago, a hardworking millennial living on their own had Smart Meters installed in their home. Being very tech-savvy with a time-poor lifestyle, they’d decided it was a sensible thing to do and would reduce the administrative overhead of routine life. The installation went smoothly, and they’ve worked without any problems with the same energy supplier ever since. Arriving home after a long and tiring day at work a few weeks ago, however, there was a card on the door mat indicating that someone from the energy supplier had visited to read the meters but had been unable to gain access to do so. The youngster quickly checked their Smart Meters and their monthly energy payments and found they were fine and fully up to date, respectively. The card on the doormat was thus ignored and immediately consigned to the recycling bin.
A week later the youngster wondered if they were caught in Groundhog Day because the same thing happened again. This time the card asked them to contact the energy supplier to make an appointment because the meters needed to be read to avoid an estimated bill. Disgruntled, the weary youngster decided they had more pressing priorities than putting themselves out, especially as one of the selling points of Smart Meters was ‘no more manual meter readings’, and the meters had been functioning smoothly with the same supplier for two years. The card was crumpled up and again consigned to the recycling.
Last weekend, the intrigued youngster logged into their online account with the supplier and found, after some ferreting around, that recent meter readings had been erroneously recorded against the old manual meters which were replaced two years ago. Something had clearly gone wrong with the energy suppliers systems and the youngster decided that life’s too short to concern themselves with problems of their supplier’s own making, especially as with modern technology it’s something the supplier should be able to detect and resolve themselves. The youngster logged out and got on with their weekend.
What happened next? Nothing, as yet. But woe betide if a meter reader happens to turn up on the doorstep when the youngster’s actually at home. It’ll be a short conversation.