In this short guide, I will be answering your question of “Can I refuse a smart meter” so read on…
Smart meters are different from traditional gas and electricity meters. They feature innovative technology and are gradually being introduced across the UK by government authorities.
Moreover, smart meters automatically send meter readings to the authorities, and hence you will receive accurate bills for the energy you’ve actually consumed.
Other than this, there is no need to pay any fees upfront for the installation of a new smart meter, but still, if you don’t want to install the meters, you can. But think about it as these are handy and cost-effective than the traditional meters.
Furthermore, new smart meters also feature the digital ‘in-home display that allows you to save and reduce your energy expenses. This also allows you to track and monitor how much energy you’re consuming in your home.
Having said that, let’s check out other details about smart meters, and by the end, you will understand it is viable to refuse a smart meter.
What makes the meter ‘smart’?
There are many things that make these meters smart and better than the traditional meters:
Smart meters efficiently track your daily household energy usage.
You can view your consumption in real-time on the in-home display.
You will get your energy consumption information without any involvement of a third person, and no other person will take the readings of your meter. This means there will be no more estimated bills, and you will be paying for the gas and electricity you actually consume.
How long it takes to get a smart meter?
Your supplier will contact you to tell you the exact date and installation time. However, if you are still waiting for their call, you can contact the supplier.
If you are applying the new meter or replacing your old meter, your supplier will provide you a smart meter. Your supplier will contact you for the exact installation time and date, and you need to confirm the date and other details with them.
Can I Refuse A Smart Meter?
There are many reasons for this unjustified refusal. The biggest refusal is that many users think that these meters cause potential health problems.
Radio waves and health concerns:
The direct exposure to radio waves that these omit is the biggest reason why people are denying these meters. However, from time to time, the UK government has rejected the involvement of harmful radiation and radio waves, but it remains the biggest reason for refusal.
Another thing to remember here is that according to the Public Health England (PHE), there is no solid evidence that exposure to radio waves emitted by smart meters is harmful to human health. According to the PHE experts, smartphones emit more radiation than other devices, including smart meters. So, you can rely on them.
Poor or weak signal sometimes affect the smart meter’s performance:
Smart meters work by using mobile technology and to communicate with concerns and energy suppliers. Hence sometimes, you can observe the disturbance in the signal’s strength which causes issues in sending meter readings. If you reside in rural areas or you often notice weak signals, there are chances that a smart meter might not work properly in your house. However, when signals are worn or not proper, your power supply will not be affected, but you can face various problems like delayed bills, delays in sending meter readings, and confusion among homes.
Smart meters are prone to cyber attacks:
Even though smart meters share your meter readings directly with your energy supplier, remember that your personal information will not be stored or passed to other third parties. This is one of the biggest fallacies among the users, and due to this, many refuse the installation of meters. Furthermore, smart meters are designed by the UK’s top security experts. Hence they are reliable and trustworthy.
Tenants cannot install smart meters:
As per the law, whoever pays the monthly energy bills of the property has the final say when it comes to the installation of these meters. If you live on the rent, you can overrule your landlord’s decision. But check your rental agreement before doing so. But this is the major problem, and most users don’t opt for the smart meters due to rent/owner issues.
What to expect in the future?
As per the government’s official statement, every home in the UK will be equipped with a smart meter by the end of 2024. Presently, the rollout is in progress and gradually gaining the trust of households.
How to refuse a smart meter?
At present times, smart meters are not mandatory for any household in the UK, and you can refuse them at any time if you want due to any reason. However, if your traditional electric meter is too old or faulty, it is a major safety threat, and you should seriously think about replacing it as soon as possible. The best way to tackle this issue is to discuss the matter with your energy supplier instead of using your own tricks. Professionals can give you much better advice.
What to do if someone forces you to install the meter:
As we have mentioned earlier that currently installing a smart meter is not compulsory for UK residents, and you can refuse to install these meters any time if you wish. However, if your energy supplier or any other person forces you to install the smart meter, immediately contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline number.
However, keep in mind that you cannot access all the available tariffs when you refuse to install the smart meter. Furthermore, there are strong rumors on the market that all the cheaper tariffs offered by energy suppliers will only be available to people with smart meters in the near future.
Moreover, you can always ask your supplier to switch off additional functionalities offered by your smart meter. In simple words, your meter will work as your current meter and will not share your meter reading or other information with your supplier. However, this is very rare, and your supplier will switch off the additional functionalities only in exceptional cases.
Can I send monthly meter readings to my supplier?
If you’re worried about your meter sending daily meter readings to your supplier, you can choose to opt-out and only send one reading a month (this is the minimum your supplier will need to be able to bill you).
Your supplier might want to collect more detailed information than daily meter readings. They must get your permission to be able to do this.
Can I switch my energy supplier?
If you are using a smart meter, it is possible to switch your energy supplier. But you must check the working of your smart meter and ensure that it is in working in ‘smart mode’ after switching. If you don’t know about the smart mode, let me explain:
Smart mode allows your meter to send meter readings automatically to your supplier.
Some energy suppliers don’t support smart mode, and in this case, you will have to take meter readings by yourself.
Who will install a smart meter in my home?
Your energy supplier is solely responsible for installing your smart electric meter, and they will also ensure that it works properly. Your suppliers will:
- Clearly explain the process before the installation.
- They will teach you how to use your smart meter.
- Provide you user manual and operating instructions.
- Give their professional advice regarding how to consume energy efficiently.
Lastly, your energy suppliers will give their complete contact details to you to contact them if anything goes wrong.
Installation of meters during Covid-19 pandemic:
If you in quarantine or self-isolating in your home and are worried about the visit of your supplier, discuss the issue with your supplier. They will rearrange the meter installed at your request. Or they will tell you why they cannot rearrange the installation.
Can you get a smart meter in a rented house?
If you are renting a home and paying your gas or electricity bills, you can install the smart meter.
However, you must check your rental agreement before you install the smart meter. This is because there can be some restrictions regarding how energy is supplied to that property. This will also determine the meter type that can be installed on the property.
Furthermore, if your property-owner pays the gas and electricity bills, the final decision about installing the smart meter remains to them, and in this case, you cannot opt for the smart meter.
Do I need my landlord’s permission to install a smart meter?
You need to check the rent agreement to get a clear answer to this question. If the contract states that you have to seek the owner’s permission to modify the meter, you must contact or obtain their permission. Generally, a landlord or letting agency cannot stop you unreasonably from installing a smart meter.
If you are looking to refuse a smart meter, check your local laws and contact the utility company. You may be able to work out an agreement with them for another type of electricity monitoring system that will still allow your power usage to be monitored without compromising your privacy.