OFGEM confirms: British Gas is MISLEADING customers on Smart Meters

LONDON, UK, Oct. 1, 2013 / Stop Smart Meters! (UK) ~

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

UK energy regulator Ofgem has today confirmed that British Gas is misleading customers on Smart Meters.

Following an initial complaint to Ofgem by SSM supporter Chris Jones, and his relentless pressure over two months for a response, Ofgem replied today:

Ofgem’s response to Chris Jones’s complaint – confirms British Gas is misleading customers on Smart Meters.

We have reviewed the Customer Charter and consider that some consumers may find it misleading.  We intend to discuss this with British Gas.  We will be asking them to seriously consider amendments to their Charter so it more accurately reflects that Smart Meters are not mandatory. At this time we consider this represents the most appropriate course of action.” [emphasis added]

Disappointingly, the letter does not venture into answering other important points raised by Mr Jones in his complaint about British Gas’s Charter, namely:

  • The change in people’s rights via new Government rules that will prevent suppliers from removing Smart Meters after they have been installed
  • The failure to reference any health risks associated with wireless Smart Meters (which are designated as Class 2b carcinogens by the World Health Organisation)
  • Omissions of the prospects of variable tariffs which will vary unit prices
  • How British Gas will be able to secure highly-sensitive customer data which is broadcast wirelessly – making it vulnerable to hackers
  • The failure to mention the cost of their Smart Meter programme for customers and how much energy consumers are expected to save – especially customers who are already taking measures to be more frugal with their energy usage
  • An over-simplification of the supposed benefits of Smart Meters and a failure to mention the need for customers to intensively monitor consumption if variable tariff schemes are used
  • Failure to mention what options customers have if they do not want a Smart Meter
  • Failure to mention that customers will not be able to have Smart Meters removed after the end of this year by a supplier
  • Failure to admit that Smart Meters will allow energy suppliers to remotely cut-off supplies for grid management purposes as well as revenue protection (something admitted to by the Minister)
  • The potential for customers to be forced into having an interruptable tariff or having to pay more for an uninterruptable tariff
  • Failure to mention that consumer’s energy consumption data will be held centrally – something which could potentially be misused in future, e.g. as a basis for taxation (such as carbon taxation)
  • Misleading reassurances that British Gas “will not sell your energy data” when they will not even be in control of centrally-held data

In spite of these omissions, which Mr Jones will almost certainly continue pressing for answers to, the admission has been welcomed by Stop Smart Meters! (UK), whose campaign has been tirelessly badmouthed by senior British Gas executives.  Until leaving British Gas this summer, former Managing Director, Philip Bentley, went to great lengths to condescend people signing our Notice of Non-Consent for Smart Meter installation with the following message:

You are being badly misled by the Stop Smart Meters website. Most of what they say is misleading at best and completely untrue at worst.”

Stuart Rolland, the current MD of British Gas’s Smart Metering team, continues to do the same:

I’m afraid that I don’t agree with the content of the Stop Smart Meters email or their website, and I feel that they are misrepresenting the facts and causing unnecessary concern.”

Despite repeated attempts by our members and supporters to gain clarity on exactly where the Stop Smart Meters! campaign is “misleading” people, British Gas have failed to provide any further information in support of their baseless claims.  In fact, Rolland goes on to brag:

We recently installed our millionth smart meter”

With the misinformation being promoted by British Gas in its Customer Charter, it is little wonder they have duped so many of their customers into accepting Smart Meters – their misinfo is supplemented by high-budget marketing campaigns and despotic customer services tactics which dictate that “you WILL have a Smart Meter”.

With this ruling from Ofgem, it is clear that British Gas cannot be trusted with informing the public on this controversial issue.  Exercise your rights and refuse their Smart Meters.

-ends-

This kind of activism and sharing of important information is in the cross-hairs of David Cameron’s attack on “esoteric websites”.  If you value our campaign and thousands of others like it which seek to give people the other side of the story, please add your name to Jaime Tanna’s petition to expose and STOP the unnecessary censorship of “esoteric” websites and forums – we have one week to go.

The worst thing about censorship is [XXXXXXXX] [XXXX] [XX] [XXXXXXXX] [XXXX] [XX] [X] [XXXXXXXX].

18 Comments
  1. Gas companies In California are before the CPUC to get rate hikes and smart meter approval. Twice I requested a written response from them about their smart meter program but they have never responded in writing. A representative, not familiar with much, called and spoke to me with the usual “Its Safe” rhetoric.

  2. Stockport Homes sent out a mailer urging their tenants to have the smart meter installed. When they phoned me to follow up and see if I read the information, I explained that I was disappointed that Stockport Homes was participating in influencing their tenants to get the smart meter. He asked me why – I told him I had heard too much about the meters(not just this website), I would wait until more information was available…he explained that soon I would have no choice. Every home and flat in the UK WOULD have smart meters installed, it was mandatory. I told him I’d wait until someone came along to force me…

  3. British Gas have informed me that ALL UK homes will be fitted with one of these dreadful meters by 2015!
    I will certainly not be allowing it into my home, so I have no idea if they will just cut off my energy suply.
    Why are we allowing ourselves to be bullied like this?
    I fear that not nearly enough people in this country realize the dangers of these meters.
    We HAVE to get the message out there.

    • I am sure that no utility company can cut you of ? unless you have no payed your bill take a look at the Human Rights website regarding your human rights?

      • Another reason not to have the smart meters, as once it is installed the power company can cut you off at will and most likely on any pretence.

        People have been cut off in the States already as verified elsewhere on this website.

  4. This is a great website and we all support it. I sent out a violation notice and its my human right that nobody including British Gas or any utility company’s in the UK force me to have a Smart Meter tell your customers the truth. Your advertising campaign is misleading. I SUPPORT STOP SMART METERS UK and so should everyone else ,because in say in ten years time the government will tell us that smart meters have caused health issues? Be too late then wont it?

  5. “I am sure that no utility company can cut you of ? unless you have no payed your bill take a look at the Human Rights website regarding your human rights?”

    Well I have no idea how they are going to handle the forcing of people to get the smart meters installed in the UK…BUT 10 or 15 years ago I’d have never believed people in the USA would be arrested for not allowing the utility companies on their property to install smart meters. But it is happening. Gas and electric being cut off, even disabled people’s utilities being cut off, women being thrown in jail. Nightmare.

  6. I hope to raise the issue with my local council soonm but in the meantime I have been experimenting with metal foil to block the potential radiation from my neighbours. I can now succesfully block mobile phone signals and so I hope I will able to block these smart meters too. British Gas are telling people in my area that they must have these meters. British Gas will not be looking after my world. I am changing supplier!

    • Well done Andy. I don’t know if you are aware but there are many shielding paints etc available to block radiation.

      It would be interesting to hear how you get on with blocking the smart meters signals, apparently they are much stronger than phone signals… anyway good luck!

  7. Hadley, do you think these paints are any good? They are advertised to be 98% effective but I am not sure.

  8. Fucking idiots

  9. SSE are fitting smart meters this year in dorset , all properties are getting a letter asking for the ownwrs to ring up and arrange a date for the fitting .

  10. Hi I have been fighting British Gas for a year now,trying to get my key meter changed to a standard meter. Up until now I have had 5 appointments made for them change it, 2 engineers failed to show up, 2 engineers told me they are not allowed to do it, as my mains is connected from the flat downstairs on a spur,[3 to5 thousand flats are built like this in my area] but all admitted it was BG policy not to change the meter, even though it had a standard meter in just before I bought it in 1995 because they would not be able to fit a smart meter. UK Power engineer came and they also told me any other company would change it, but not BG,as they wanted smart meters fitted to all BG customers by 2019. the other engineer who came would would have fitted until I came clean with him and told him to verify it with his office, big mistake they told him not to do it.I could go on and on with this story as I have emailed and phoned every director of BG I can find, they just pass it on to some jobs worth who know its really about getting a smart meter fitted but wont admit it. I now have a piece of plastic fitted over my meter telling me danger do not remove so now I know I can not even change suppliers a they will know from BG that there has been a problem. So my my fight goes on, but one thing I know for sure is, I will not be having a smart meter fitted.

  11. Questions.
    If I have a gas smart meter will my gas supply be cut off if there is an electricity failure (or “outage” or “downage” or even a “cutage”)? I live in UK.
    Who pays for the electricity to operate the smart meter system?
    I cannot find a way of asking these questions from my supplier or from the government.

  12. I have a traditional meter and had solar panels fitted in March this year (2014).Because of problems with my readings (the meter running backwards etc).my supplier and payer of my feed in tariff edf has requested that a backstop be fitted to my meter.Does this mean they will fit a new smart meter?They have asked me for a date but I dont want them to change it in any case.
    Can they force me to let them do it?Have there been any test cases?

    • Hi Alick, you are under no obligation whatsoever to have a Smart Meter – see here: http://stopsmartmeters.org.uk/a-reminder-your-rights-in-relation-to-smart-meters/ We recommend asking them up front for details of exactly what they are wanting to install and telling them that they are not permitted to install a Smart Meter.

    • Just padlock your Electricity Meter box, that’s your Common Law Right. I know Common Law well. Please go and look up Magna Carta, 1215 A.D. 15th June Runnymede England King John and the Barons of England and Senior Churchmen etc.

      I hit the dopy Powercor Electric Power Company with a $10,000,000 Dollar Notice of fine here in Victoria Australia. This got these Lying Evil Scum off my Back for good with a Polite but Stinging Letter as well. Problem SOLVED!