To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what measures are in place to ensure that energy companies comprehensively investigate reasons for variations in meter readings when analogue meters are replaced by smart meters.
Getting a smart meter is the best way to avoid inaccurate bills and increased energy costs. Smart meters are bringing an end to estimated billing and are expected to take an estimated £300m off energy bills in 2020 alone.
Smart meters must comply with relevant legislation on measurement, which are the Measuring Instruments (Active Electrical Energy Meters) Regulations 2006 and the Measuring Instruments (Gas Meters) Regulations 2006. The accuracy of all meters is also monitored through the in-service testing (IST) scheme, and energy suppliers have strong commercial incentives to ensure that smart meters installed are accurate and function correctly given the costs of replacement.
Ofgem require suppliers to treat customers fairly, including setting out in contracts compensation and refund arrangements which apply if contracted quality service levels are not met, including inaccurate and delayed billing. These requirements apply with smart meters as they do with traditional meters.
Instances of back-billing sometimes occur after installations of smart meters due to an absence of meter readings from a legacy meter, and are often mistakenly attributed to a smart meter being faulty. BEIS has worked with energy suppliers to identify and share good practice to mitigate the risk and impact of consumers receiving back-bills when they have a smart meter fitted, and energy suppliers cannot back-bill their domestic customers for more than 12 months where the consumer is not at fault.