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Top four smart meter problems and how to solve them

What to do if your smart meter turns dumb, or you struggle to get an energy meter reading

Nearly nine million smart meters are now installed in homes across England, Scotland and Wales, bringing some issues to light along the way. Exclusive Which? research reveals the most common problems – and how you can solve them.

Almost all of the smart meters fitted so far are first-generation meters (otherwise known as SMETS1). In the coming months, companies should start installing second-generation (SMETS2) meters, which should solve issues with energy companies struggling to automatically get meter readings.

We surveyed hundreds of Which? members who have smart meters to find out the top problems. The smart meter consumer information campaign, Smart Energy GB, shared its tips on the best ways to solve them.

Here’s a run-down of the top four smart meter issues and fixes. Need more help? Try our smart meter problems and solutions advice for a comprehensive list.

1=. Smart meter turned dumb when I switched supplier

The joint most-common issue: 11% of smart meter owners told us they’d had this problem.

Solution: Depending on which energy company you switch to, you may not lose your smart functionality. If you do, you’ll have to send meter readings to your energy firm for a while, but it will be restored remotely by the end of the roll-out.

Some companies can already operate each other’s SMETS1 meters. This depends on whether they use the same software – check with your chosen supplier before you switch.

Find out which energy companies have begun their smart meter roll-out.

1=. It’s tricky to get a meter reading

Just more than one in ten (11%) people with smart meters told us they’d experienced this difficulty.

Solution: Most smart meters have a button to illuminate the digital display so you can read the numbers. Some IHDs have this functionality, too. Ask your energy supplier for instructions on how best to get your meter reading.

If you think your traditional gas or electricity meter isn’t working, find out how to check if your energy meter is faulty.

3. Energy supplier cannot get meter readings

A problem for 9% – without meter readings, your energy supplier may estimate your bill, unless you send readings manually.

Solution: Check whether your energy supplier is having connectivity issues. You may need to submit meter readings to ensure you’re billed accurately while problems are resolved.

Most problems should be resolved when all smart meters use the DCC wireless network covering 99.25% of Great Britain.

4. In-home display doesn’t connect to the smart meter or stopped working completely

Both of these problems are faced by 6% of smart meter owners in our survey.

Solution: In-home displays (IHDs) work best close to the smart meter. If your meters are inaccessible or outside, ask your energy supplier for advice. Check whether your IHD has a flat battery or is unplugged.

Check the instruction booklet for troubleshooting tips – and contact your energy supplier if the problem persists.

Your IHD needs to connect via a wireless network to your smart meter so you can see how much energy you’re using. A ‘hub’ is installed with your smart meter (often as an integral part) for this.

To create a truly smart home, find out more about smart home hubs and smart thermostats.

Our smart meter research

We surveyed 473 Which? Connect members with smart meters in November 2017 and asked whether they’d had a problem with their smart meter or in-home display. Some 42% told us they’d had a problem of some description.

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