BAFFLED EDF customer Jeremy Lister has tried everything to get his ‘dumb’ smart meter working again.
The retired electrical designer, 65, has complained to the energy giant and even took his case to the ombudsman – but a loophole in the rules means he’s hit a brick wall.
Jeremey, who lives in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, said: “It’s infuriating because I’m not getting any of the supposed benefits of having a smart meter.
“I have to manually report my electricity readings to EDF.
“And I can’t understand how I use my energy because my in-home display (IHD) which tells me how much my usage for each day costs is completely redundant.”
Jeremy complained to EDF three times, before escalating the issue to the Energy Ombudsman.
But he was told that his complaint could not be upheld because of a rule set by regulator Ofgem, which says all smart meters need to be operational by 2025.
This loophole means that EDF isn’t liable to fix or replace his smart meter until this date and it means that Jeremy could be waiting another two years.
He’s not alone. Around 3.8 million of the 30 million smart meters in homes across the UK are operating in dummy mode.
The gadgets were first introduced in 2011 to homes and initially, the government gave a target of having one in every home in the UK by 2020.
This deadline has since been pushed back to 2025.
The benefits of a smart meter can be seen on your energy bill, which is increasingly important as gas and electricity costs soar.
A smart meter could save hundreds of people every year, as it gives people a better visualization of their energy use.
Having a non-functioning one means that you are unable to take advantage of cheaper electric vehicles and solar tariffs, as well as taking the part in the demand flexibility service tests from the National Grid, which pays households back for cutting their usage.
Complaints about smart meters are rising
Complaints relating to smart meters are also rising, according to the Ombudsman Service.
An industry insider told The Sun that there’s a financial disincentive for suppliers when it comes to replacing dumb smart meters.
The insider said: “If a customer calls up their supplier and explains that their smart meter and IHD aren’t working correctly the energy supplier would have to pay around £300 per meter if they were to choose to replace them.
“This is a financial disincentive to upgrade these legacy meters but this leaves millions without future-proofed meters and full smart functionality.”
While Ofgem told The Sun that suppliers must follow certain “licence conditions”, which include taking reasonable steps to operate smart meters, there is no guidance on how long repairs should take.
A spokesperson for EDF Energy said: “We’re sorry to hear about the problems Mr Lister has been facing and we’re investigating this as a priority.
“We remain committed to helping as many customers as possible this winter, including providing debt relief and installing energy efficiency for those in fuel poverty.”
How do I make a complaint?
Similar to financial services firms, energy companies have to have a complaints procedure for customers to follow.
When you make a complaint, make sure you follow this so they have the information they need to resolve the issue.
Simply explain what the problem is and what you want your supplier to do about it.
Check your energy supplier‘s website for an explanation on how to launch a complaint.
Energy suppliers have eight weeks to respond and come to a decision.
If that doesn’t work or you’re not happy with the response, you can take the firm to the Energy Ombudsman.
How do I take my complaint to the Energy Ombudsman?
The Energy Ombudsman may be able to help if you have a complaint about an energy or communications provider.
Before you can submit your complaint to it, you must have logged a formal complaint with your provider and worked with the firm to resolve it.
You must also have received a so-called deadlock letter, where the provider refers to your complaint to the Energy Ombudsman.
You can also complain if you haven’t had a satisfactory solution to your problem within eight weeks.
The Energy Ombudsman then bases its decision on the evidence you and the company submit.
If you choose to accept its decision, your supplier then has 28 days to comply.
If it refuses to, it can be enforced in court.
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