Around 4,000 are hit by smart meter defect which left them unable to see how much they had spent and must wait months for them to be fixed
- Faulty displays mean customers are unable to see how much they have spent
- British Gas said the problem has impacted around 4,000 of its customers
- Consumers across different suppliers have complained of incorrect readings
Thousands of British Gas customers must wait months for defective smart meters to be fixed, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
The devices automatically send suppliers meter readings and allow households to track their gas and electricity usage.
But faulty displays mean customers are unable to see how much they have spent.
British Gas, Britain’s biggest energy firm, said the problem had affected about 4,000 of its customers, adding that the units were unlikely to be mended until June.
Thousands of British Gas customers must wait months for defective smart meters to be fixed. [File image]
Smart meters are being promoted as a way to help keep bills low, with struggling households bearing the brunt of the £13.5 billion installation cost through a ‘stealth tax’ on bills. But the nationwide rollout has been plagued by gremlins.
Consumers across different energy suppliers have complained of meters displaying wildly incorrect readings – including one Bulb customer last week whose smart meter showed she had used £39,025 of energy in a day.
British Gas customers have been told to try turning their smart meter on and off again – but that has failed to solve the problem.
Smart meters are currently being promoted by energy firms and the Government as a way to help keep bills low.
British Gas customers have been told to try turning their smart meter on and off again but that has not solved the problem
But the nationwide roll-out of smart meters has been under mounting scrutiny in recent months as devices have been plagued by gremlins.
Customers across different energy suppliers have complained of smart meters displaying wildly incorrect readings in recent months, while others have simply lost connectivity. One customer at Bulb, which has been run by the Government for more than a year, complained last week her smart meter falsely showed she had used £39,025 worth of energy in one day.
More than 20 million smart or advanced meters have been installed across the UK.
Struggling households are bearing the brunt of the £13.5billion installation bill through a ‘stealth tax’ on bills. The standing charge, which also pays for network costs and includes the bill for about 30 failed suppliers, currently costs each household £273 a year.
That figure has increased by about 50 per cent in the past year.
Figures seen by the Mail on Sunday show that the cost of smart meters makes up around five per cent of the average standing charge. Centrica, which owns British Gas, said just 0.1 per cent of its 4.1 million in-home display smart meters are not working as they should.
A company spokesman said: ‘We have installed around 4.1m smart meters with hand-held IHD devices.
‘Most display units work as expected but if there are any issues they can be fixed remotely or via an engineer visit.
‘There is a small number of customers, less than 1 per cent of those with smart meters, who’ll need to wait a little longer if their IHD stops working as a software update is needed at our end – which we are we’re working on.
‘We’re sorry and we know this isn’t ideal – the vast majority of our millions of customers with smart meters don’t have issues with their devices.’
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