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When our new home was completed last year, like all new houses, it came with a first generation electricity Smart Meter. Ours was installed by British Gas.

We didn't fancy BG's Economy 7 rate so we started looking around for a new supplier.
We then learned what is now more common knowledge, that when one switches away from the firm that supplied a 1st gen smart meter, it becomes "dumb" and can't be upgraded by the new supplier. This also means any other supplier can't provide an Economy 7 or any other multi-rate tariff.

There are two remedies available now: 1) Ask the new supplier to install an old-school Economy 7 meter. 2) Ask the new new supplier to fit a 2nd Generation SMETS2 Smart meter - These new 2nd gen meters are the only ones allowed to be installed. 1st Gen installs are now over.

The point of the current 2nd generation Smart meters are that they allow you to switch supplier without the meter becoming "dumb" - You can switch to any supplier, any tariff, thereby delivering the consumer a truly open and competitive market.

Plenty has been in the press about suppliers trying to delay the roll out of Gen 2 smart meters, but today I've discovered a far more serious problem.

I approached Bulb back in October who told me they would soon be rolling out smart meters to their customers. This would allow us to switch to what is in our region, the cheapest standard and Eco7 tariff. This would also let us switch to their Smart Tariff offering cheap electricity during the off peak days, 3 hours of peak and very cheap Eco7 electricity.
I asked if, whilst we waited, they could install an Eco7 meter so we could enjoy their Eco7 tariff. They charge £120 for Siemens to come and do this, but said there were no Eco7 meters available.

We have an i3 94Ah and a wet underfloor central heating system powered by an air source heat pump, so we use around 15,000Kw of electricity a year.

We switched to their standard rate, a lot more than Eco7 rate, but less than BG’s Eco7 offering, and waited for the Smart meter roll out, all the time paying more for our electricity than we would have done if we’d simply switched to another supplier who could fit a universally accepted, old school Economy 7 meter.

At the beginning of April Bulb confirmed they’d be able to install a SMETS2, 2nd generation Smart meter advising that it would be able to supply us with their Smart Tariff and their Economy 7 tariff.
That was installed this morning.

I called Bulb to ask them to move us across to the Smart Tariff and was told they were having issues and are “months away” from being able to deliver it. The same for their Economy 7 tariff.
So basically if we stay with Bulb we’re stuck on their standard tariff - Which given the capabilities of this meter and the fact the system’s apparently broken at their end, means we’re now paying exponentially more than we should otherwise be.

They’ve admitted I’ve been misadvised by their website and colleagues and suggested, given the SMETS2 Smart Meters USP, that it can work with any tariff, any supplier, that I should switch away to an Eco7 or multi-rate tariff elsewhere.

But that’s not the end of the story….

I’ve called Octopus earlier on as they offer the next cheapest alternative in the shape of the “GO” tariff.

They literally told me “you can switch if you like to our (quite expensive by comparison) standard tariff, then we’ll have a go in a few weeks at switching you to our Go or Economy 7 tariff, but it might not work as we’re quite new to this whole SMETS2 thing…So it’s up to you if you want to or not”.

So, the net result is, this Second Generation SMETS2 Smart meter whose one sole improvement over the original Smart meters is that it’s supposed to stay “smart” when switching suppliers, enable consumers to switch to all tariffs with all suppliers, doesn’t.

We’ve wasted fortunes on Bulb’s advice waiting for this installation, and now we’re stuck with them on an expensive standard tariff as none of the other competitive suppliers can provide us with any kind of Economy7/multi-rate tariff - And it seems none of the suppliers are fitting economy7 meters anymore.

It also transpires that keeping our SMETS1 first generation meter would have served us no advantage - The roll out of an upgrade to stop those meters going “dumb” upon switching has been delayed with definitive date.

Apologies for the rambling rant. I’m still absolutely seething.
 

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I think a lot of the issue is the modern fascination with switching energy suppliers every 5 minutes.

Given how incompetent most of them are (they can barely bill correctly when you've been with them for years ffs) and the resulting potential for expensive foul-ups along the way, I've always believed that it's probably cheaper to stick with your current supplier than risk it.

You might save a few p per kWh going from BG to whatever eco fly-by-night supplier is currently trending, but the opportunity cost of the time it takes to sort the resulting mess - never mind the actual cost of their mistakes - is just too large.

Edit: Smart meters are a great idea though - as long as you stay with the same supplier. And that should have been made clear by the suppliers from the start! For example, I've had smart meters installed in pretty much every flat I've rented (without telling anyone) on the assumption that they were transferrable between suppliers - god knows what mess I left behind for the next tenants, but whatever.
 

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I have a feeling we're at least 24 months away from this sort of nonsense getting truly sorted out. It winds me up when I think about the amount of our money being wasted on this crap. I'm holding out with the dumb meter until SMETS 2.5, I flatly refused to have one installed a few months ago as honestly I believe it'll have to be replaced and its my time as well as our money installing these things.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I think a lot of the issue is the modern fascination with switching energy suppliers every 5 minutes.

Given how incompetent most of them are (they can barely bill correctly when you've been with them for years ffs) and the resulting potential for expensive foul-ups along the way, I've always believed that it's probably cheaper to stick with your current supplier than risk it.

You might save a few p per kWh going from BG to whatever eco fly-by-night supplier is currently trending, but the opportunity cost of the time it takes to sort the resulting mess - never mind the actual cost of their mistakes - is just too large.

Edit: Smart meters are a great idea though - as long as you stay with the same supplier. And that should have been made clear by the suppliers from the start! For example, I've had smart meters installed in pretty much every flat I've rented (without telling anyone) on the assumption that they were transferrable between suppliers - god knows what mess I left behind for the next tenants, but whatever.
Sorry, but that isn't true. None of it.

There's 6p per unit difference between BG's eco7 rate and that which Bulb are offering - Bulb are not one of the "big six", but they are recognised as a mainstream, medium sized supplier. We use 15,000Kws a year, much of it on Eco7.

We had been with Bulb for 6 years as they were the cheapest supplier of renewables, in fact the cheapest mainstream non-fly-by-night out there. We were forced into switching again as we had no control over who the first supplier was at our newly built home.

They've built their business on, up to now, excellent customer service and pricing and have never put a foot wrong up to today.
The fault with Smart meters lays with the way they've been introduced and with some suppliers themselves not wanting consumers to be free to switch as it effects their enormous margins.

If you wish to support one of the big 6 and their shareholders good luck to you. I prefer to spend my money elsewhere.
 

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Sorry, but that isn't true. None of it.
The "foul-ups due to incompetence costing more than you save by switching" part is the relevant point, and is very true. How much have you saved by switching? How much have the issues with smart meters cost you? How much have you spent whilst stuck on a standard tariff?

The question is: Would you have spent less staying with BG? I think so, in this case...
 

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If anyone tells you it is mandatory to get a Smart Meter ignore them, it's not.

I would stick with the good old "dumb" meter until the whole thing catches up, even then I'd think twice about it.

The supposed savings you hear on the adverts is nonsense. You can get a "clip-on" current meter for a few quid on ebay and it will show you the usage, etc. Ultimately the only savings come from not using the gas or electric.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The "foul-ups due to incompetence costing more than you save by switching" part is the relevant point, and is very true. How much have you saved by switching? How much have the issues with smart meters cost you? How much have you spent whilst stuck on a standard tariff?

The question is: Would you have spent less staying with BG? I think so, in this case...
Ermm... Again, no. By comparison the saving is more than £500 a year.
 

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If anyone tells you it is mandatory to get a Smart Meter ignore them, it's not.

I would stick with the good old "dumb" meter until the whole thing catches up, even then I'd think twice about it.

The supposed savings you hear on the adverts is nonsense. You can get a "clip-on" current meter for a few quid on ebay and it will show you the usage, etc. Ultimately the only savings come from not using the gas or electric.
If you have a house built, or buy a new build, or buy a second hand house with one already installed, you have no choice.
 

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The bottom line is that "smart meters" are not, and never have been, intended to reduce prices for customers, or to save energy. They are a means to allow flexible tariffs to be introduced, and the primary reason for introducing flexible tariffs is to reduce the level of risk that suppliers have under the present, 24 hour ahead, half-hourly spot auction wholesale market.

Suppliers have to guess what their average wholesale costs will be, then set tariffs to cover that cost and give them a profit. They want (quite understandably) to reduce that risk, by being able to pass on short-term wholesale price variations to customers. "Smart meters" are the means to do that, as they allow tariffs to be changed on the fly throughout the day.

There is also a significant benefit to the grid by introducing this, as if the tariff rates are punitive at peak demand times, and much cheaper at off-peak demand times, then the hope is that consumers will reduce demand during peak times and increase demand during off-peak times. Reducing the peak to off-peak swing is a good thing for both the grid and the generators in the main.
 

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They're also pretty good for spotting rogue appliances. If you see the usage jump up because your water heater isn't doing what it's meant to (switching on at peak time for example), this will save you money as you can readjust it/have it serviced. You wouldn't necessarily have been aware of this usage if you didn't have a smart meter.
 

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We've had the same sort of indoor energy monitoring that is provided as a side-effect of having a "smart meter" for years. British Gas were handing out free energy monitors maybe ten years or so ago, and we used that for years at our old house, to display how much energy we were using.

I have a built-in house monitoring system here that gives far more information than any "smart meter", as it tells me how much energy any one of several circuits are using, plus how much we're importing or exporting to the grid. We use that to decide when to put the washing machine on, or start the dishwasher, plus the same system also enables both my charge point and our hot water system to run when either we're generating power from the PV system or allow them to run during the E7 off peak period in winter. None of this requires a "smart meter", and if we were forced to have one (they'd need to get the mobile system here working first) then we'd see no advantage at all.
 

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The "foul-ups due to incompetence costing more than you save by switching" part is the relevant point, and is very true. How much have you saved by switching? How much have the issues with smart meters cost you? How much have you spent whilst stuck on a standard tariff?

The question is: Would you have spent less staying with BG? I think so, in this case...
You have had a bad experience, and perhaps it is comforting to you to insist that all smart meter users and switchers to newer more innovative energy supply companies (such as Octopus) will also end in tears - but that is simply not true for many people. Like myself. Switching to Octopus saved me loads (and continues to do so). Yes, the SMETS v1 and v2 rollout has been quite shambolic, but there are gains to be had. And anything that takes profits away from the rapacious big six has to be a good thing (in the long run!). :D
 

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I had a bad experience just moving house with the same supplier, every single time (6 so far)! Can only imagine what it'd be like if I changed supplier :)
 

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The SMETS1 versus SMETS2 problems have been known about for a long time and despite everybody saying that suppliers were supposed to be offering SMETS2, our supplier Scottish Power, were still pressing us to have the first generation which we refused. Have now switched to Octopus but I believe their roll-out is slow.

Although smart meters give you the option for off-peak tariffs etc. the main benefit that is being pushed is the visibility of consumption. The theory being that if the clock is ticking you will dash around switching things off or turn the thermostat down. Quite right.
 

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Thanks to all contributers to this thread. I have so far avoided asking to go with a smart meter. The odd bits I've read have stopped me. I can see how important that is. I am now with Bulb on dual economy 7 electric tariff. I also have solar panels so deploy FIT.
I charge my car on economy 7 overnight, and overall I am relatively happy with my set up.
I can see me not wanting to go smart anytime soon
 

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I called Bulb to ask them to move us across to the Smart Tariff and was told they were having issues and are “months away” from being able to deliver it. The same for their Economy 7 tariff.
So basically if we stay with Bulb we’re stuck on their standard tariff - Which given the capabilities of this meter and the fact the system’s apparently broken at their end, means we’re now paying exponentially more than we should otherwise be.

They’ve admitted I’ve been misadvised by their website and colleagues and suggested, given the SMETS2 Smart Meters USP, that it can work with any tariff, any supplier, that I should switch away to an Eco7 or multi-rate tariff elsewhere.
They misadvised you and you have suffered a loss as a consequence. If that were me I would be claiming for losses.

If you have everything in writing, then just keep a log of what you are spending and claw the excess back.
 

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Im with Scottish Power and having a smart meter (semts 2) fitted on Thursday so I can switch to a dual rate tariff. I already have an e7 meter but the Scottish Power Ev tariff requires a smart meter. TBH I dont know if I will even switch to that tariff as I dont know what the rates are. Their stupid online quote system wouldn't even quote me as I dont have a smart meter fitted. Anyway, having got the smets2 fitted, in theory, I should be able to switch at will and retain smart functionality if what has been said about smets 2 is correct.
 
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