The New British Gas ‘Smart’ Meter Campaign – Built on a Lie!

[Update: a formal complaint has been lodged with OFGEM against BG’s misleading Smart Meter tactics – you can read about that here.]

British Gas’s attempts to dupe customers into accepting its controversial new ‘Smart’ Meters reached new lows this week, as Stop Smart Meters! learned that their new Smart Meter marketing drive is built on fraudulent claims that the meters are obligatory.

Amid increasing signs of widespread Smart Meter rejection across Britain, BG’s commercial director for Smart Metering, Paul Nickson, quoted in a story on the UKPower website said:

“Public awareness is very low… I think there is a confusion around what smart is and we need to do a huge amount of work around that awareness”.

The company, which stands to make millions of pounds in additional profits from the introduction of more granular time-of-use billing capabilities via Smart Meters, estimates that as few as 25% of people know what Smart Meters are – despite the company already hoodwinking a million customers into having one using “laws” that it it has apparently invented itself.

Evidence of British Gas’s mendacity was forwarded to Stop Smart Meters! in the form of a letter sent to customers just this month (July 2013).  The letter, which tries to entice customers into accepting the invasive Smart Meters with the chance to win “one million Nectar points”, includes a copy of British Gas’s “Smart Meter Customer Charter” which reads:

“All houses in the UK need to have them [Smart Meters] by 2019”.

The truth, obsured by BG’s whopper, is that Smart Meters are in fact voluntary – and there is no ‘need’ for any residence in the UK to have a Smart Meter at all.  Whilst there are EU and UK Government aims to have these insidious meters installed across the land, there are no legal obligations forcing anyone into having a Smart Meter – a fact confirmed on multiple occasions by the Government.

Hansard, 29 November 2011, reflected the statement by Charles Hendry MP (former Energy minister) that whilst Energy suppliers will need to take “all reasonable steps to install smart meters for all domestic and smaller non-domestic customers by 2019″ – they:

“do not expect suppliers to seek an entry warrant simply to fit a smart meter and it will not be an offence for householders to refuse to accept a smart meter”.

If British Gas says every home needs a Smart Meter by 2019, then we challenge them to prove it – or issue a public apology to its customers for deliberately trying to mislead them into thinking they must have a Smart Meter.

This is not the first time that we have caught British Gas lying.  Stop Smart Meters! has multiple accounts and documented evidence of BG call centre reps using the same desperate tactic of trying to fraudulently claim that legislation is in place to force customers into accepting Smart Meters, and misleading customers about how they work.

If Smart Meters are such a good deal for people, why is British Gas prepared to deceive its own customers to get them in place?

As the company launches its major new marketing offensive, seemingly based on distortions and untruths, we would like to ask our readers to please help us alert as many people as possible to the lies that the public is being sold in the name of the next Big Energy scam.

56 Comments
  1. “an end to estimated bills”a meter reader call once a year,the rest of the time I supply my meter reading over the internet so no estimated bills.
    When BG. resorts to lies it’s a sign they are on the back foot.

  2. If BG ever try to bully me into accepting these devices I shall have two things to say:

    1. Where is the legislation which says I MUST accept them. And I would DEMAND chapter and verse on the EXACT law.

    2. If they still pursue the matter I shall invite them to take me to court. I suspect that will end the conversation very swiftly.

    I’ve actually been aware of these devices for some years now, due to my own research on various topics. Folks, smart metres are NOT for your benefit. Apart from the horrendous privacy issues they, just possibly, will also make you ill and, ultimately, may even kill you. Just to save about £25.00 per year? I don’t think so!!

  3. I share a house with my brother,and in December 2011,we agreed to have a pre-pay gas meter installed by our energy supplier British Gas after my brother and I had disagreements over gas bills.(some debt had built up) So British Gas installed a meter. Over the following year,I would put money on the Gas Payment Card which British Gas supply and place it into the meter.

    The meter would always read the card,display how much money was on the card,take off a certain amount of debt that was owed and then leave us with a balance of remaining money that could be used for gas.

    After many times placing money on the card and placing the card into the meter and the meter then taking some money for the debt and then leaving a remainder for us to be used for gas,I wondered how the meter “knew” how much debt was still to be paid and when it would “know” when the debt/arrears were paid.

    To cut a long story short,the meter broke down in early January 2013,I had put money on a card,the meter wouldn’t read the card,called British Gas,told them the meter was faulty (after I refused follow their daft advice,like run my Gas Payment card under the tap!),they agreed to send an engineer out to replace the meter and they would then “send” the money I had put on the gas card to the meter!

    After the engineer had fitted the new meter,I asked him if the meter we have/had was a Smart meter,to which he replied an emphatic “no”, when I pushed him to explain how British Gas could send a “credit” to the meter,he said “oh,it just uses text messages”.

    So,Smart Meters are being fitted without informed consent,by British Gas in my case and since becoming aware of this website,I will be demanding removal of this meter from my home.

    • Pre pay metres get updated when you go to the shop and top up or top up on line, there not smart metre at all. They will look the same because they are made by the same manufacture and base on the same model. Smart Meters communicate with sms text messages with a roaming sim card that is in the communication hub connected to the electric meter. The in home display shows your consumption and the costs. Its wireless and communicate with the coms hub using zigbee wireless technology.

    • Toby is right, the only information supplied is via the customer activity at the paypoint. When the card was last inserted it would record the last reading and balance.
      When credited at the paypoint it would be then that BG would know of the balance, only accurate to the last time the card was in the meter.
      Smart Meters are totally different.

  4. “it will not be an offence for householders to refuse to accept a smart meter”.

    Why then have the government passed legislation to prevent people changing back from a smart meter to an analogue meter after one has been fitted? It doesn’t add up does it.

    If you really want to save money; just keep electrical equipment switched off when not in use. Having a smart meter is only about greedy utilty companies getting carte blanche to rip their consumers off. You have to ask why the government is so keen to allow this,other than the usual and obvious reason that they have their snouts in the trough as per always.

    The other big driver behind smart meters is the desire of government agencies to be able to spy on anyone anywhere at anytime. Anti-terrorism is the standard one fits all excuse trotted out as the justification for smart metering and most other big brother policies endorsed by the state. In a supposedly free democratic country such activities are plainly unacceptable and should not be tolerated. If a valid reason exists for the security services to investigate a genuine threat then fair enough, but treating the entire population as potential suspects 24/7 is simply wrong. Just ask any east german who had to endure the Stasi before the Berlin wall came down.

    • Dave you have hit the nail on the head. I have seen them work at first hand at my brothers’ abroad and they are a NIGHTMARE!!!!!
      They clock exhorbitant amounts which are NOT genuine and the suppliers expect you to pay!!! Scroundals and worse still the GOVERNMENY who has bought them .
      Any excuse to flog them and make millions.

  5. Smart Meters, Fracking and Chem Trails, all part of Agenda 21. Please wake up to what is going on everyone!

  6. What happens if you live in a low radiation area and it can’t beam its radiation to the nearest radiation base station?

    Since my current meter is inside my house, I’d be fully entitled to build a Faraday cage around the room it is in, right?

    Then what? Would they just fit a normal meter?

    • To Anonymous,
      ‘Just say no’
      I’ve heard it said that even when the meter is in the basement the signal still gets out with no difficulty. The signal will doubtless hop to a neighbours meter. With a faraday cage to be effective, you would have to filter all the wires and bond all the pipes going in and out, and suspect it would only be partially effective.
      I have heard of someone asking for a smart meter, only to be told reception is no good in their village. I know the village in question and am very surprised if its true. So they will just have to put up with a dumb meter, keep their fortunes, and sleep soundly in their beds.

  7. i am having problems with “npower”, they send letters which contain lies and make threats of forcing entry, and thats just to make a so called “meter inspection”. Could this sort of hassle be a prelude to offering to fit a “smart meter”? What was worse is that I allowed someone to inspect my meter, then they claimed their agent “meterplus” has stated their agent could not get entry. And so they are threatening to tell lies to a magistrate and “force” entry to inspect the meter which they have already inspected. I have told them this is an act of perjury, I have told them they are committing harassment under law, I have told them their lies invalidate a warrant of entry, I have told them of the crime of breaking and entering , I have told them of the crime of trespass. As yet they have not responded to my complaint, next stop will be a complaint to the police. And I have told them if they turn up when I am at home I will use my common law right of self defence as is reasonably necessary to defend my property and my self. Next time we must make sure we nationalise the utilities properly, so these fascists no longer have a vehicle to hold the general public under threat.

    • To Bob,
      Somtimes addresses get confused, wrong telephone numbers used, and then they think you are not co-operating. I would check to see if they are entitled to an inspection and if so tell them in writing they are welcome to inspect the meter, (again) but tell them if you suspect more that you refuse a smart meter, if you don’t want one. Take his name this time. Be sure to tell them of your intentions, and don’t allow yourself to be passed on to someone else, you don’t want to be fobbed off, you had an agreement with the meter manager, right? who are you?
      If they want to change the meter as well as an inspection they should say so:-
      1) I believe under the electicity acts you are entitled to have your own meter.
      2) If the existing meter is old and they say its time for a change, I read that its possible to use a meter installed under UK National legislation to continue to use it up to the limits of its certification, and to be extended indefinitely as long as it meets its stipulated accuracy, so it can stay on the wall.

      3) I believe it is still permissable to continue to install meters approved under UK National legislation until at least Oct 2016. I think that means in theory it is still possible for them to replace an analogue meter with another analogue meter. (Assuming you have a spinning disc meter?)

      I gather meters installed after that date must be MID (Measuring Instruments Directive- a kind of europe wide approval.

      Bottom line: Smart Meters A Guide: Energy companies will be required to install smart meters and take all reasonable steps to reach everyone, but we do not expect energy companies to take legal action to fit a smart meter if they cannot get the householders co-operation. Dept of Energy & Climate change Jan 22 2013
      I believe the above to be correct, and if so that should give you and them plenty of wriggle room to come to an agreement.

      I was confronted with a meter change and inspection letter from one of the ‘big five’ and have sent several letters similar to the above, and am awaiting a reply; this time I told them otherwise I will take it that its acceptible and will consider the matter closed.
      Earlier when I phoned them up I found the person on the other end strangly evasive and not-commital.

    • You need to report this immediately to the OFgem regulator. Npower has signed up to their compliance code and can get fined. Make sure you have a detailed phone log and try to do everything in writing.

  8. To Mike Ferguson

    Good luck with getting the thing removed. Please let us know on here how you get on.

  9. I have read a lot of articles about Smart Meters but they all seemed to contradict each other, some saying they were compulsory, others saying they were voluntary, so i e-mailed British Gas and asked them which it is, compulsory or voluntary, i explained that i am Electro Hypersensitive and for the sake of my health i could not and would not have one installed, a few days later i got a phone call from British Gas, the transcript of which went like this:
    BG: Good morning, i am calling in response to your recent e-mail to British Gas regarding Smart Meters, in answer to your question, Yes they are compulsory.
    Me: well according to an article i have read Mr Cameron has said they are voluntary.
    BG: Mr Cameron has no say in this, we are complying with a EU Directive that all homes must have one by 2020.
    Me: Actually the EU Directive says that it is aiming to have 80% of UK homes fitted with Smart Meters by 2020, which means that i have the right to refuse one on medical grounds due to the fact that i am Electro Hypersensitive.
    BG: No, you don’t have the right to refuse one, the only people who won’t be getting one are those who live in the wilds of Scotland who can’t even get a Mobile Phone signal.
    Me: I do not consent to having one installed because i am Electro Hypersensitive and since they work through WiFi Technology my health will be badly affected by it.
    BG: They do not work through WiFi, they work the same way as Mobile Phones.
    Me: Yes they do, if it does not need cables to work then it is using Wireless Technology which is WiFi.
    BG: Well all of your neighbours will be getting one so it will still affect you anyway.
    Me: Yes, and that will be bad enough without having to have one in my own home, if i am forced to have one my health will be badly affected.
    BG: We are committed to complying with EU regulations, you WILL be getting one, i don’t know when that will be because we have already started installing them in the South of England and are currently working our way up the country, every household WILL have one by 2020, they are for your own benefit.
    Me: They won’t benefit ME, they will only cause me more health problems than i already have.
    BG: As i said, you WILL be getting one sometime between now and 2020, it is compulsory, which means that by Law you CAN NOT refuse to allow us to install it.
    Me: Then i will be seeking Legal Advice on this matter because i will NOT consent to having one. Goodbye.

    Can anyone tell me how i go about fighting British Gas on this matter?

    • Hi Sarah

      I suggest you use our Notice-serving engine above (www.DontSmartMeter.me) and see what they respond with – this is formal notice that they have been advised you are withdrawing consent for installation.

      You have absolutely NO OBLIGATION to have a Smart Meter. Don’t let them tell you otherwise.

      If they persist, email us (info@…)

      In relation to the wireless components of Smart Meters, there are actually two transponders – one works with the in-home display and the standard for UK Smart Meters is based on a very similar frequency to wifi – this is how the Smart Meter talks to the in-home display. To get your personal data back to British Gas, they will use another transponder – this is what they meant by the mobile phone comment.

      It sounds like the salesperson is following a very heavy-handed script. You might like to take a look through our News section for more info on this.

      Best of luck.

      • Hi,
        Thanks for your reply, i will try your suggestions and let you know how i get on.

    • Here are a few facts that people dont seem to understand ref electric meters and i know what im talking about we install them.
      1. The electric meter isn’t owned by the home owner but by the utility companies.
      2. The old dumb meters should be calibrated every 10 years or you could be not paying the correct amount
      3. New Smart meters normally work on (Mobile phone sims) not wifi but they can be connected to a landline if needed.ie in your case

      What will happen in the future (my belief) is, as Smart meters become common place the better electric deals with be via smart meters only, the price of Non smart meter electric will go up. In the end every electric meter will have to be replaced there is a legal obligation to ensure the old meters are calibrated correctly which means replacing them, dump wont be an option companies just wont fit them if you refuse that will be your right but the electric company also has a right not to supply your electric.

  10. i have already called them to say i would not be having one they said they will giv me another call when they are bout to install just to make sure i dont want one and havent changed my mind cos of the benefits i will get, FOOK OFF!

  11. British Gas took out a full 4 page advert in the Daily Telegraph on the 16th August 2013.(Smart Meters, revolutionising the way our customers see their energy). I expect out bills will rise to cover the cost! Are they getting desperate.

  12. British Gas tell your customers the truth you don’t have to have one fitted its not compulsory its your human right to say you do not want one put that in your television advert? We submitted a notice of violation to out site owner hes back of telling me I don’t have to have one ?

  13. we were not asked if we wanted a smart meter our smmer bill for gas alone was 317 pounds our gas units have risen from 2 units with the old old meter to 9units with the smart meter british gas refuse to check the smart meter unless we pay them e on are holding back on nstalling the smart meters due to so many faults with them would we be in our rights to demand they re install our old meter

  14. I had Smart Meters installed in my house over 12 months ago and didn’t realise the issues with them British Gas were very keen to install them for free, I now know why. I’m presuming from other comments that I will not be able to get them removed. The problem I have is that I want to change my supplier and no other Company can read the meters installed by British Gas so I will have to go back to monthly meter readings via the Internet. Can anybody clarify other comments that these meters are inaccurate so when I send meter readings from these Smart Meters they could be wrong? Thanks

  15. To add to the issue, they are now also charging £120 to install a commercial meter!!
    I say just object by moving to another supplier. We have had nothing but trouble with BG whenever we deal with them (we manage various metering accounts for different sites)

  16. The smart meters are going to be used on the smart grid.
    What a lot of people do not know is this:
    The whole digital TV switchover is tied in to this smart grid.
    The digital TV switchover was essentially upgrading the TV transmitters to be able to send (and receive) packed bitstreams in the standard 8mhz band.
    Using QAM 256 this means each 8mhz of analogue bandwith can sustain a 40MB/s stream, when you take in to account the TV spectrum is from 450mhz – 850mz you can see who much bandwith is there to be used for the smart grid (each 8mhz band = 40MB/s x 50 bands = that is 2.4GB/s of bandwith, perfect for harvesting the data from the smart meters.
    We all know the smart grid is a global plan and you only need to check the digital TV switchover (check wikipedia) and you will see there is only 1 country with no plans to switch to digital TV (North Korea)

    SAY NO NO NO TO SMART METERS, even to the point of refusing to pay bills.
    George Orwell must be laughing in his grave!

  17. I refused a smart meter due to secuity issues, but offered to have a digital one fitted,the ladY was very pleasant cancelled the call, and said I would not be bothered again,DONT LET THEM TELL YOU IT IS THE LAW TO HAVE ONE, IT IS YOUR CHOICE, DON,T BE BULLIED!

    • Hi,
      I have had a so called Smart meter for several months now, I did notice a rise in my monthly cost’s but not straight away, so I decided to check my daily usage and record the amount used under duel fuel, did this and waited for my online bill, ha ha, it came and was £25 more than my figures taken directly from the so called Smart meter, I called BG to ask why there was such a difference and was told the meters are not accurate, they are only a guide!!!!, needless to say I am switching supplier asap ( hate liars ).

    • Exactly Gary!!!

      THE GOVERNMENT are forcing British Gas to do this.

      They have no choice, the same as all the other suppliers.

      Only British Gas are doing the best job in providing customers with great equipment ahead of all the other suppliers……

      • See our response above.

        The Government is not forcing any energy companies to dupe their customers into accepting Smart Meters – energy companies are only obliged to ‘offer’ them. This is not what BG is doing, though – they are hassling customers and lying to them.

        The reality is that the Smart Meter programme is a corporate lobbyist-led initiative. That’s why it is happening across almost every industrialised nation at the same time. Politicians bring it in on behalf of their corporate buddies. Nothing personal, just business.

  18. Germany has refused the EU 80% target because it would be too costly for consumers!

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/consumertips/household-bills/10267013/Smart-meters-good-idea-or-a-lot-of-hot-air.html

    “Ostensibly, smart meters’ main purpose is to make us use less energy and contribute towards a low-carbon future, along with wind turbines and other renewables. Perhaps they will – but at a cost. Germany recently decided not to follow the EU’s 80 per cent target for smart meters because it would be too costly for consumers. That is something to bear in mind when you next hear a minister promising to help people who find it hard to pay their fuel bills.

    There is one thing to remember, however: when the energy supplier comes knocking on the door to install your new smart meter, you can always say no thanks, and stick with the dumb one under the stairs. Whether anyone will ever come and read it for you is another matter.”

  19. i had a meter put in last saturday and i have put more money on it than i was paying for my payment plan every two weeks, its a horrible thing i only have jsa every two weeks and don’t have the money to keep putting on it! ok i had a debt with the gas but i was told i had to have one of these meters otherwise they would take me to court or send bailiffs round, it frightend me i agreed, anyway now my mum and dad are paying the outstanding debt in full and british gas is now telling me they wont take the meter out for 12 months even if i owe them nothing, i’m so annoyed! they said its their policy which i wasn’t told about, i don’t work at the moment and i’m a single parent i can’t afford to keep putting money on this thing for a year, i’m scared to put the central heating now.

    • Of course you are paying more because you are paying a debt through the meter.

      You have a debt which you wouldn’t or couldn’t pay so they gave you the chance to pay it bit by bit. You can have these payments means tested so you are not paying more than you can afford.

      Now your debt is paid, the price of energy through the pre pay meter is the same rate as through a credit meter.

      Because you got to the point of having to have this pre pay meter put in to pay back your debt, of course they wont give you another credit meter straight away. Exactly the same as you can’t get a mobile contract or credit card if you have bad debt!
      paying for your energy after you have used it is a credit agreement which people forget and take for granted.

      If you made an agreement to pay the supermarket at the end of each week but never paid. Do you think they would just allow you to keep shopping and shopping?? And then if you paid the 8 weeks you owed, would they allow you credit again?? I don’t think so.

      Why should British Gas just let you pay what and when you want and not when it says you should on your contract.

      Energy is expensive, but it’s the same for everyone. 😉

  20. Wow! Thought I’d do a little searching to see what the man who knocked on my door earlier was all about. He told me he was here as part of a government initiative or something that will see smart meters installed in all homes by 2019. He said that I could get in early and start saving £2 per week on both Electric and gas otherwise I’d have to wait till my energy provider got round to it. He asked if I was with BG and I told him no I’m with EDF and I’ll wait till they get round to it if it’s all the same with him, while shutting my door at the same time. Glad I didn’t entertain him now!

    • I’m in London, UK by the way.

  21. British Gas have never forced anyone to have a Smart Meter fitted.

    British gas customers who’s gas or electricity meter runs out of date or fails, get their meter replaced with an identical meter, they are given the opportunity to have Smart if they want.

    The Comms hub of a British Gas Smart meter uses the vodafone network to communicate using text message type data transfer.

    Smart Meters put an end to overcharging with estimated billing, Smart customers never pay a penny more than the exact cost of what they have used.

    Most importantly! British gas are giving their customers, for free, a device that, if used properly, can actually allow you to closely monitor your energy usage and use this information to reduce energy use and save money.

    So basically, they are giving their customers a device to use to enable them to pay less to the company in return.

    Doesn’t sound that bad to me 🙂

    • British Gas have been taking a very aggressive approach on Smart Meters with many customers and have openly lied about their non-mandatory nature. You might want to do a little more research on this.

      http://stopsmartmeters.org.uk/latest-british-gas-tactics-you-will-have-a-smart-meter/
      http://stopsmartmeters.org.uk/more-british-gas-smart-meter-lies/
      http://stopsmartmeters.org.uk/british-gas-staff-paid-bonuses-if-they-inflate-customers-bills-by-60/
      http://stopsmartmeters.org.uk/ofgem-confirms-british-gas-is-misleading-customers-on-smart-meters/
      http://stopsmartmeters.org.uk/ofgem-complaint-british-gas-misleading-customers-on-smart-meters/
      http://stopsmartmeters.org.uk/ofgem-certified-smart-meter-successfully-hacked-smart-meter-blackouts-risk-to-uk/

      If BG wanted to give customers a device which would enable them to pay less, they would give them a £15 energy monitor which would not hand over vast amounts of personal information about consumer behaviour at home that the energy company can sell and use to introduce TOU billing. Instead of empowering consumers in this way, they are installing Smart Meters – at a cost of £400 per home (paid for by all of us in taxes and higher bills – they are far from “free”) – which will allow them to undertake Active Demand Control (remote control of your appliances- see Ofgem’s Smart Grid Routemap, 2014), remote disconnection and variable Time-of-Use billing.

      Ask yourself why any profit-hungry energy company would want to introduce a piece of technology which reduced their profits. And if they did, what would their shareholders do? Do you see any institutional shareholders fleeing the energy market? We don’t.

      • I have fitted hundreds of Smart meters for BG customers.

        EVERY single customer has requested the meter and been pleased with it!!

        Being so skeptical about everything breads negativity, which is not good for your health 🙂

        • You work for British Gas? Okay.

          The fact that your company seems to have successfully duped so many of its customers into having a Smart Meter doesn’t make them safe, nor does it make them a good thing for the person you are frantically installing them for – whether the customer realises this yet or not.

          Tobacco companies have millions of happy customers – their numbers and satisfaction levels don’t make smoking safe. Your enthusiasm for Smart Meters doesn’t negate the fact that they can destroy people’s health. Did you know that these meters you are installing are, according to the WHO, a Class 2B carcinogen? How many of your customers have you informed about this fact? How many have you informed that Smart Meters will allow your employer to capture extremely detailed information about their behaviour at home/when they are typically in/what their habits are, etc. – valuable and sensitive information about their lives that can be used and sold? How many people have you advised about the hacking threat with Smart Meters, and that Smart Meters give energy companies (and hackers) the means to remotely disconnect them? How many customers have you taken time to explain the fact that Smart Meters will allow suppliers to control appliances remotely and introduce highly variable, Time-of-Use tariffs? How many customers have you told the fact that Smart Meters are costing every UK home £400 through higher bills and taxes?

          I may be wrong, but I suspect the answer is somewhere near zero.

          As a responsible employee who may be partially liable for any harm caused to people by your prolific Smart Meter installations (through Vicarious Liability), you need to research this issue and go beyond what may not have been communicated to you in your training. Did you know that you were working with a Class 2B carcinogen? Did you know that TUC guidelines state that Class 2B carcinogen exposure for employees should be minimised?

          Or are you in a position where you can categorically confirm that there are no risks whatsoever from your Smart Meters and that they are known to be 100% safe? If so, then please provide us with a signed statement – in writing and on letterheaded BG paper – to this effect from any member of your board stating that they are prepared to be held Fully and Personally Liable for any harm caused, and we will publish it here for everyone to see.

          Also, whilst you’re at it, please confirm the proven safe distance for a pregnant woman & foetus from one of your Smart Meters. We can’t find the answer to this, maybe you can?

          Having the presence of mind to not immediately accept the things that you are being told does not cause health problems. Smart Meters do.

  22. Change suppliers. Solved. Its more proactive than sitting and whinging about them.

  23. I’ve just had a smart meter installed and it’s brilliant! I love it!!

    • Good for you Jonny. Why do you love it?

      • Just seems to work well, tells me what I’m consuming, means I don’t have to submit my own readings and takes away the worry of miscalculation and a big bill building up. I hear what you’re all saying but all of our houses are so full of technological crap anyway, I can’t see why one more thing will make much difference.

        • Product reliability hasn’t been a key feature of Smart Meters so far, with complaints ranging from fires (http://stopsmartmeters.org.uk/warning-smart-meter-fire-risks-refuse-smart-meters/) to highly inaccurate billing (in some cases up to 1000% higher than previously http://bc.ctvnews.ca/smart-meters-blamed-for-hydro-bill-spikes-1.774774). We have been contacted by numerous people who have found their bills doubling or trebling after Smart Meters are installed and who have been desperate to get rid of them. The problems are wide-spread and not just limited to the UK. These problems didn’t exist with traditional analogue meters which had proven reliability but are now being being thrown away in the interests of this programme.

          Having an ability to view consumption certainly has appeal, but research shows that this value proposition is short-lived, with many people being interested for only a short honeymoon period and then returning to business as usual.
          http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20110528/ISSUE01/305289982/pilot-test-of-comeds-smart-grid-shows-few-consumers-power-down-to-save-money

          If the Smart Meters were about empowering people with this information, consumers could be offered an energy monitor (available for as little as £15 for single units) which would give them exactly the same kind of information without sending private data to third-parties (via a government gateway) and without handing to the energy companies the ability to impose time-of-use penalties and remote disconnection capability.
          http://stopsmartmeters.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Ovum_Report_PDF-ps.pdf (see page 20)
          https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/smart-grid-forums-smart-grid-vision-and-routemap (here, ToU billing is promoted in at least eight places)

          At a cost of £15, an energy monitor which does not violate consumer privacy would represent a saving per home of £385 against the £12bn Smart Meter programme. With Smart Meters, though, the added cost is due to the fact that smart meters contain features which are designed to disempower and penalise consumers. By giving people the ability to see their energy use in the same way that a cheap energy monitor does, the energy companies have baited a trap. We really shouldn’t be surprised, given the industry’s track record. Take a look at the extensive lies told by BG alone to get these things into people’s home – do you think this is so they can help them save money?

          https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/press-releases/e.-pay-%C2%A312-million-package-following-ofgem-mis-selling-investigation
          http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2478952/Youre-abusing-power-MPs-tell-Big-Six-energy-giants.html

          The energy industry has great form in ripping-off customers. Smart Meters represent their most audacious scam yet.

          On your point about not needing to submit readings with a Smart Meter, Smart Meters could do this without needing to transmit vast amounts of sensitive private data about your behaviour at home to third-parties, without using intense RF radiation emissions, and without putting our grid security at risk through the web-enablement of meters which can disconnect services remotely. From our perspective, the act of submitting readings once a year to an energy company is a far better deal than being exposed to chronic Smart Meter emissions and having information about our private lives disclosed to people whose names and objectives we know nothing about. There is also no threat from hackers in submitting infrequent readings to an energy company.

          Regarding technological crap proliferation, there are certainly increasing numbers of sources of artificial EMFs in (some) people’s homes today, but Smart Meters up the ante in a big way – and because they cannot be directly controlled or switched off by the consumer, as with other sources within the home, people have no ability to control that added pollution. This clip shows what people cannot see or hear but which they are being exposed to from just one Smart Meter: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151526181142813. There is nothing stopping there being one or many more Smart Meters from being on the other side of a wall to a baby’s cot.

          As can be seen here this next clip, the effect of this kind of radiation -even for as little as 45 seconds- can be significant:
          http://stopsmartmeters.org.uk/live-blood-analysis-observable-effects-of-rfmw-radiation-from-smart-meter/

          Over longer periods, the pathological effects can be much more serious (we cover some here: http://stopsmartmeters.org.uk/resources/resources-scientific-studies-into-the-health-effects-of-emr/)

          It is extremely concerning that the industry is not sharing this information with people.

      • My barber claims to have had a smart meter for about eighteen months? now. His bills are consistently higher. They went up he claims, from about £180 a quarter to about £200 a month. He gets a ‘reading’ then an ‘estimate’ He claims no-one comes to read it. He thought smart meant pretty. It is clear he does’t know how to read it either.

        • Whoops!
          I should have wrote his bills went up from £80 a quarter to £170 then £200 per month.
          Was he sore!

  24. Hi all, I’m actually quite disturbed reading this article as I am a customer service adviser for British Gas. Never were we told to force a meter on any of our customers. We WANT it implemented in every house in the UK by 2019 simply because our customers are not giving us meter readings causing estimated bills. These meters will do wonders for our customers, especially our vulnerable customers who can’t read their meters. We give our customers the choice to have the meters in their homes, we never forced or will force it if our customers don’t want it. How does British Gas stand to make millions by implementing Smart Meters? We don’t charge our customers. We are trying to simplify the journey for them by giving them correct bills as well as a new meter that can show you how much you are consuming before calling in demanding that the meter is faulty. New technology is created each day. Why? To make things simpler. Get the meter, don’t get the meter. Its our customer’s choice. The Smart Meter has not yet been perfected and there are still flaws involved but as technology improves we will keep working on it, just to give our customers the comfort and simplicity they deserve.

    • Hello CSA. You are right to be disturbed. Welcome to the club.

      I don’t doubt for a second that you believe these things will do wonders for your customers, so you might want to look into this issue a little further at this point because it seems as though you haven’t been given anything like the full picture.

      The key sentence in our story above that you have taken reference from is this one:

      “The company [British Gas], which stands to make millions of pounds in additional profits from the introduction of more granular time-of-use billing capabilities via Smart Meters, estimates that as few as 25% of people know what Smart Meters are – despite the company already hoodwinking a million customers into having one using “laws” that it it has apparently invented itself.”

      We have innumerable pieces of evidence of BG reps lying and saying that Smart Meters are mandatory (many, many people contact us saying BG is insisting they must have one), but here are just a few examples that we’ve posted here:

      Latest British Gas tactics “You WILL have a Smart Meter” (whether you like it or not mate) http://stopsmartmeters.org.uk/latest-british-gas-tactics-you-will-have-a-smart-meter/
      More BG lies: http://stopsmartmeters.org.uk/more-british-gas-smart-meter-lies/
      Ofgem confirms BG misleading customers about Smart Meters: http://stopsmartmeters.org.uk/ofgem-confirms-british-gas-is-misleading-customers-on-smart-meters/

      And not to forget those ‘vulnerable’ customer you mention; “BG staff paid bonuses to inflate customer bills”: http://stopsmartmeters.org.uk/british-gas-staff-paid-bonuses-if-they-inflate-customers-bills-by-60/
      “Churches and charities including the Scouts among those targeted”

      On the subject of those additional millions – what customers aren’t being told (nor some BG employees, it seems) is that the energy firms actually stand to make a killing with Smart Meters from the introduction of highly-variable, time-of-use tariffs which deliver the facility to apply higher and lower fees throughout the day depending on supply and demand. As the Smart Meter data provides extremely granular info about what people are doing in their homes through appliance/device usage, the energy firms can mine our data and learn about how we behave in our homes in order to apply lucrative TOU tariffs and higher prices when people need their energy the most.



      We are creatures of habit, which is why pilot programmes across the world show no savings for customers. Quite the opposite applies, in fact, with bills in one study rising in 80% of cases and by more than 50% (that was a Toronto Hydro survey).

      You can read more about the kind of data these technologies harvest from us here: http://stopsmartmeters.org.uk/how-smart-meters-invade-your-privacy-a-comprehensive-report/
      And here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/smart-grid-forums-smart-grid-vision-and-routemap
      (this document references the benefit for suppliers of TOU tariffs on at least eight occasions)

      The TOU tariff aspect most likely explains why institutional shareholders have not fled the energy sector with the advent of Smart Meters. They know that Smart Meters won’t help anyone but the energy firms to save money. We are not aware of any pledges by your firm or others to pass on any savings whatsoever from Smart Meters. They may say “smart meters may help save you money”, but they don’t say they “will” save you money.

      At the end of the Smart Meter journey, the energy firms win – not consumers.

      New technologies, you say, are created each day to “make things simpler”. Very true and we have no problem with technology. What we have a problem with is Trojan Horses and confidence tricks, where consumers are told they are allowing something into their homes which do much more than is being advertised.

      In the case of Smart Meters, what’s being made simpler is the means for energy firms to exploit consumers.

      Some consumers may mistakenly think they are getting a good deal because they are getting access to the same information about their own behaviour at home that they are unwittingly handing to profit-seeking businesses who want to use that data to make more money.

      Have you not asked yourself why -if these Smart Meters were really about helping people- they are designed to grab and communicate huge amounts of data about our private lives at home, when all they really need to be communicating to the energy firm is a meter reading once a month which doesn’t contain any information about what we’re doing on a minute-by-minute basis in our homes?

      Moving on, Smart Meters are not “free” and you DO charge your customers for them – through higher bills:

      “The Committee of Public Accounts, appointed by the UK’s House of Commons to oversee national expenditure, issued a report yesterday stating that: “The costs of installing 53 million smart meters will be borne by consumers through their energy bills.”

      [emphasis added]

      http://stopsmartmeters.org.uk/uk-government-report-deals-a-heavy-blow-to-rollout/

      And those of us who don’t want Smart Meters are being forced to pay for part of the programme through tax money, too – since there are numerous government bodies now running to manage the programme.

      If there’s “no charge”, please let us know when we’ll be receiving a rebate.

      Finally, why do you believe that indiscriminately installing a Class 2B carcinogen across Britain – which has been blamed for many health issues and ruined many people’s lives – will give your customers the comfort they (really do) deserve?

      http://stopsmartmeters.org.uk/www-scribd-comdoc79928679the-who-iarc-listing-of-rfr-as-a-possible-human-carcinogen/

  25. Hi, I am a new customer to BG, The meter has previously been removed from my house before I bought it. A BG engineer is due today to install a new meter. Can I request that the meter that is to be fitted not be a smart meter? What Can I do if he refuses?

    • Yes, you can refuse – they cannot force you to have a Smart Meter.

      • He’s been and before he started I told him I didn’t want a smart meter, just a regular meter and he just said ‘sure, no problem’ 🙂 I was ready for a battle!

        • You might want to check the make + model to be absolutely sure it’s not a Smart Meter – just to make sure he didn’t feed you a line (energy companies have a habit of duping customers, as numerous Ofgem investigations show…)

  26. I have had phone calls over the last three days from British Gas. Today another 16.01.15 The lady stated outright I had to have one fitted I within a year because the law is changing. I said now and she removed me from the list but she stated the law changes next year and we will be back. I said fine good luck with that one. I know the rules but anyone not in the know or maybe old or worried about implications would have gone ahead I am sure. It’s an absolute disgrace and I intend making a formal complaint to BG , I will also complain to the energy ombudsman and I intend changing supplier forthwith. I am not being threatened in my own home.

  27. I am being bombarded by Q4S to view my meter.

    My area had new gas pipes fitted a year ago. My house it went wrong and there were bad fumes. 3 managers from British Gas came to my home, in Jan and Feb last year and checked my meter, the pipes.. the lot. Said all was ok after repair work was done. The meter has been confirmed as safe and good. It is an old type meter.

    This summer I had letters from Q4S saying the needed to check my meter. I asked why and was this a precursor for a smart meter and they said it may be. I said I did not want one. They told me ‘all’ homes will have to have one.

    I then received a strange letter, from Q4S, saying they must have access as it was an emergency, as the Gas Meter man who reads the meters reported that the meter was broken and there were 3 black squares where the reading no. should be.
    I knew this to be incorrect, as I have an old type meter, with dials, which does not have 3 digital squares. Plus the usual meter man who came round was unable to read the meter due to the cupboard being full and said he would put down unable to read.

    I asked the date they had for this meter reading man visiting my property and they told me a date I was not at home. So I knew this to be a lie.

    I contacted British Gas and they said they had ‘never’ heard a letter like it.
    They said it is not the type British Gas send out and found it all very strange.

    I was advised by British Gas to cancel the appointment and was told it was not something they had organised. I did. The man still turned up. I was out for the day but he left a card to arrange another appointment. I wrote to say I found this odd and wanted to know what was going on and why the deception.
    They did not reply.

    Now this week, I have another letter demanding a gas meter safety inspection.. with a new date..! What is going on…?

    Why are they so determined to get into my home..which is privately owned.

    I have changed laws in this country to help others, (care homes and people being forced into care and losing their homes against their wishes) and my local council (local Government) are wrecking my lives to pay me back for showing them up. I believe this is another way the local council are intent on invading the privacy of my life to monitor every move I make. They maximise the problems they create for me every pre-Christmas and each summer when I am away, as noted by my solicitor, this has ben going on for the past 10 years since a law was changed which showed up a scam they were opearating of which the Gov Ombudsman said was the worst of its kind they had ever heard.
    I help other and this is how I get paid back.
    If the council had access to this kind of information of my movements; via a smart meter, they would be able to wreck my life even further. Surely there must be some way I can stop this invasion.

    I also have severe allergies and have been told I am extremely sensative to electrical energies, as noted by my allergy specialists and did not realise that this Smart Meter could be a danger to me and my health. It is therefore imperative I do not have one in my home.

    How can I stop Q4S demanding to enter my home and force a smart meter on me?

    I have repeatedly written, phoned them. Asked why only ‘my’ house and no others locally or in my area and they waffle and lie constantly. I do not trust them and do not want my health ruined any more than it is…

    On another note.
    When my elderly parents died, British Gas were sending numerous accounts for gas for a tiny 2 bed empty bungalow, for excessive bills. No sooner I paid one, 4 days later another bill arrived demanding more, usually a figure nearly double. This went on and on, despite calls to them. The bills rose and rose to a figure of over £1,500 a quarter for an empty property, using minimal gas in the winter months.
    I refused to pay it. They said they estimated the next bill would be £2,500!!!
    I said enough is enough and gave the bills to a solicitor, who said do you realise they have a staggering 10 accounts for this property! Half in the probate section, the other half in the normal account section. I was paying the normal account and the probate account was putting it down as unpaid each quarter and it was amounting up as unpaid.

    I itemised it all and wrote to the head of British Gas. I had no reply but it must have hit a nerve as the debts they said I owed vanished.
    However, my request and letter stating clearly what they owed me was completely ignored and they have never acknowledged it or paid me back. They owe me over £1,600 and are happy to keep hold of it despite written proof this is owed to me and knowing they had 10 seperate accounts on one empty propertyand feel they were exploiting a customer who was going through the grief of 2 relatives at this vulnerable time

    What kind of con people are British Gas…
    When you read on line the other appalling scams they operate when you read on line..?

    I would also note that my Father who was 82, with Parkinsons and dementia was forced by B.Gas to have a prepayment meter fitted at his bungalow. I put in £65 for him pre-Christmas. When he came to use it, it did not work. He had no gas for heat or cooking. I called B.Gas constantly all dayfor help on the Fri evening, no reply. The same Saturday and all day Sunday. I phoned emergency no.s and even the police for help. It was not until mid day on the Monday did B.Gas answer the calls. By then my Father had developed phneumonia and died as a direct result.

    You can therefore see I have good reason never to trust British Gas ever again and resent this invasion of privacy into my home.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

  28. Hello Jane, that is a terrible experience. What area of the country do you live in? I am determined not to allow BG to install a Smart Meter in my home. I am in Dorset.