We have a problem with our energy supplier, Green Star. In February it offered us the free installation of a smart meter, and it seemed like a good idea to go ahead. A young man changed both the electricity and gas meters. He was only here for a very short time, even though he initially expressed concern that it would be impossible to fit a new gas meter because of the lead piping attached to the old one.
A week later, on a sunny day, I noticed that our wireless “Sunny Boy” meter was recording no energy generated by our eight solar panels. Further investigation revealed that the inverter, that processes the energy produced, had stopped working due to a “voltage error”. It happened at the exact time that the smart meter installation was going on, so I feel it is safe to assume that the two incidents are connected.
Since then, I have been trying to get Green Star to come and rectify the problem. I keep getting told that the matter will be addressed in the next seven days but nothing happens. We are losing out on the income that the panels should be producing. NB, Leicester
Green Star Energy – one of the challenger suppliers – told us that of the many smart meters the installation company has fitted, this is the first time it has seen such an issue. It confirmed that the inverter cut out as a safety feature. It has now sent a team member to visit your home to reset the safety device. This did not work, so it has arranged for an engineer to attend.
It has also apologised for failing to respond quickly enough and said that it will make up any income lost as a result, although given that the sun has barely appeared in the last few months, that won’t be a huge amount.
On a wider issue, I would strongly advise readers to be cautious of having a smart meter installed, unless you get a written guarantee that it will be a second generation, Smets2 version.
It emerged in February that only 80 of these improved meters that allow easy switching, and better remote reading, had so far been installed in the UK. Over 9m of the Smets1 meters are in UK homes, but users have found that after they switched supplier, they lost the meter’s smart functions. The meter then had to be read manually.
The whole thing is a giant, expensive mess. Last month, the National Audit Office, the public spending watchdog, opened an investigation into the smart meter programme, which has cost £11bn so far — scandalously paid for by all of us through higher electricity bills.
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