Despite industry disinformation, smart meters are not compulsory in Britain. But there will soon be no ability to resist – unless you’re prepared to pay more for your household energy under a pay-as-you-go plan.
However, as the Telegraph reported a couple of months ago:
12 February 2019
“Smart meters aren’t compulsory… but there aren’t many analogue ones left”
Homeowners could be forced to embrace “optional” smart meters due to the dwindling number of companies providing old-fashioned meters, energy experts have warned.
Although meters are offered by energy suppliers, these firms actually rent them from companies known as meter asset providers, which own the hardware.
Of the nine main meter asset providers operating in the UK fewer than half still provide traditional meters.
The above story chimes perfectly with an exchange I had with British Gas quite recently.
I wanted a pay-as-you-go power-key electricity meter replaced in the flat I’d just started renting. The phone conversation went as follows:
Me: Hello. I just moved into a new property and find there is a prepayment meter that’s been situated in the loft. This creates problems for me as it means I have to use a ladder due to it being “above line of site” [a trigger phrase relating to industry guidance on how meters should be fitted properly].
There’s also the fact that I have a physical disability that makes it dangerous for me to climb ladders.
British Gas: Oh, I’m sorry to hear this. Yes we can look at that for you straight away.
Me: And given that I have an impeccable record of payments by direct debit over a long period at a previous address, can I have an analogue meter fitted?
I don’t want a smart meter as I know they are bad for my health.
British Gas: We can certainly look at a replacement meter but it’d have to be a smart meter. There are a lot of myths surrounding them right now but they’re perfectly safe.
Me: But I have been diagnosed electro-sensitive.
British Gas: Oh! That’s different then! Yes, I’ll see what I can do and let you know, but I don’t think our suppliers have many analogue meters still kicking around these days.
Three weeks on, nothing has happened at all.
I’ll be chasing this up over the next week or two. However, if there really are no analogue meters available, then it may be a matter of sticking with pay-as-you-go meters.
Even though PAYG energy tariffs and charges are higher than with any other for m of metering, at least I won’t be getting microwaved to ill-health and eventual death.
This is the digital dystopia we now live in.