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In 2017, Ofgem made a rule so that energy companies would take steps to fit smart meters into customers homes by 2020.
However, since then, the project has hit many road bumps – including the deadline being pushed back by four years. Yet while smart meter installations are not mandatory, you could find yourself locked out of the cheapest energy deals without one.
Research from Migrate, an auto-switching energy service, has found that households are being pressured into having smart meters installed. Migrate found that the cheapest tariffs from the ‘big six’ supplier all carried mandatory smart-meter clauses.
For example, by agreeing to the cheapest E.ON deal, the Fix Online Exclusive, you will need to agree to be contacted during the tariff term for the installation of a smart meter.
The smart meter is intended to help cut household costs by allowing customers to track their energy uses in real-time. However, glitches and delays in providing customers with smart meters have made them a controversial topic.
While saving money is all good and well, what has made customers reluctant to opt for smart meters is the lack of clarity over what type of smart meter will be installed in their property.
Currently, there are two generations of smart meters. The first generation proved a huge let down for many households. Customers reported problems such as losing connection and English displays translating results into Welsh!
However, the biggest issue has been with smart meters no longer working after a customer switches supplier.
The second generation of meters is designed to be more flexible and work with multiple suppliers, although since not all companies are fitting these yet, there is no guarantee you won’t be stuck with the glitchy version.
Concerns over smart meter technology have even caused the smart meter rollout deadline to be pushed back to 2024 this week.
‘The smart meter rollout has been nothing short of a car crash, filled with high-pressure sales tactics and confusion about meter benefits,’ says George Chalmers, CEO of Migrate.
‘Those who don’t comply with their supplier could risk being locked out of the best deals, effectively blackmailing customers into taking a smart meter that might not work when they come to switch supplier,’ he adds.
Have you been blocked from the cheapest energy deals for not having/wanting a smart meter?