Smart meters are great when they work but, as with most devices, sometimes they run into problems. In this guide, we will help you identify why your smart meter might not be working, and outline some solutions to common issues. The guide is split into common smart meter problems, problems with your in-home display, and other problems.
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Smart meters were introduced to make your life easier. By sending real-time information about your energy use directly to the supplier, you are no longer required to submit your readings to the supplier. Add this to the fact your bills are no longer going to be estimated, there should be no more overpaying and no more stress.
But, like any other piece of technology, smart meters can have problems too. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) estimated that smart meter installation would save the average household £26, but alternative estimates now put that figure at only £11 a year.
If you regularly switch energy provider searching for cheap energy deals, chances are your smart meter has turned ‘dumb’. The chance of this is increased if you have a first-generation SMETS1 meter.
It’s a good idea to check with your energy provider before you switch to find out if your new supplier can still use your smart meter functionality. According to the National Audit Office (NAO), 70% of smart meters lose smart functions when consumers switch.
If you do lose smart meter functionality, all you will have to do is manually send your energy readings whilst your energy firm sorts it.
Another major smart meter issue for people is struggling to take a meter reading. Most in-home smart meters have a digital display (called an IHD or in-home display) that can be lit up. You should consult your smart meter instruction guide if you’re having trouble getting yours to work.
First of all, this might not be a problem to do with your smart meter. You should first determine whether the energy company is having connectivity issues. If this is the case, you may have to manually upload your readings for a while.
When you switch over to your new energy provider, it is worth checking whether you have a first-generation smart meter. If so, your meter could have turned ‘dumb’.
There are various solutions to this problem.
Smart meters must be able to connect through a wireless network to your in-home display. More often than not this is done through a hub installed into your smart meter. The hubs work in most properties, though problems may arise in larger homes, or in blocks of flats where your unit might be a few floors away from the meter itself.
If this affects you don’t worry, as a new hub is being developed (called Alt HAN) which should work in these homes. It is expected to be available for installation in 2021.
Energy companies are divided on smart meters’ compatibility with solar panels. Some people have been straight up refused a smart meter with solar panels, others have had a smart meter installed and it has not worked.
If you already have solar panels and are offered a smart meter, make sure your energy supplier is aware. First check whether your smart meter and in-home display will properly work with your solar panels.
As a smart meter sends direct readings to a supplier, inaccurate energy bills are actually a rare problem. If you do find this to be a problem then it is likely you have a faulty smart meter. Your energy supplier will refund you for the faulty period.
Contact your supplier if you’re concerned that your bills are wrong, or your smart meter is showing an error message. Your supplier is responsible for your smart meter. If the issue can’t be resolved over the phone, they should send someone round to take a look.