This Morning: Martin Lewis helps caller with smart meter
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As the cost of energy continues to spiral, Britons are being encouraged to get a smart meter so they can keep a track of their monitor their gas and electricity usage in real-time. However, sometimes smart meters can go into ‘dumb mode’. This means the meter’s ‘smart’ functionality is turned off so it will not transmit readings automatically to the energy provider. This means that people have to read and report their readings manually. Citizens’ advice offers Britons a tool to check if their smart meter is not in ‘dumb mode’
The tool also tells people what type of smart meter they have, and to troubleshoot.
The tool first asks which meter a person is checking, either electricity or gas.
If checking gas people then will need to provide their Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN) which is a unique number which belongs to a residential property.
The number will have between six to 11 digits.
People will be able to find this number on their gas bills.
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People will also need to enter their postcode.
The tool will then reveal if the smart meter is working how it should.
Smart meters can become ‘dumb’ and can lose their smart functionality when they switch.
Particularly if an energy provider has collapsed and a person has been switched to another provider.
It can also happen during an active opt-out from a household or from an error with the meter.
Alex Hasty, director at comparethemarket.com, told Express.co.uk: “If your smart meter goes into dumb mode unprompted, the best thing to do is to get in touch with your supplier in order to resolve the issue.”
This isn’t a new phenomenon as research from the consumer group Which? in 2019 revealed that almost six in 10 of those surveyed found that either their smart meter, their in-home display, or both stopped working when they moved to a new energy company.
It also found that around 58 percent of energy customers with smart meters who switched suppliers had problems with their switch.
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During this period, there were around 13.5 million smart meters in the UK.
Recent official data from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) revealed that there are 28.8 million smart and advanced meters in the UK.
However, around 3.6 million of them are what the department described as in “traditional mode” meaning people are having to manually read them.
People are able to ask for their smart meter to be replaced with a more conventional device however people may be charged for this.
Mr Hasty said: “Although customers are able to request alternative meters, suppliers often charge a fee.
“The government’s aim to increase the number of smart meters in the UK puts pressure on energy suppliers, meaning they may not be accommodating to requests for alternative meters unless customers have a specific technical issue.”
The government wants 53 million smart meters to be installed by the end of 2025 and are pushing energy companies hard in order to hit this.
Energy suppliers also face fines if they fail to meet installation targets.
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