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Not Gardening, Gas Smart Meters

A cautionary tale of my so called smart meter, a couple of weeks ago we had an email asking for meter readings even though we have a smart meter, on looking I found that the gas meter screen wasn't lighting up so no readings were showing, contacted BG call centre who insisted that we send a photograph of said meter, to cut a long story short we were put on the meter fault team to do list. Three weeks pass in which time we get an estimated bill based on last years use, I know that we have used less gas this year as we have been frugal with the heating however hoping that the meter contained the correct readings and that it was only a battery that needed changing, yes gas smart meters depend on a battery to work, the true readings would be there for all to see. The chap turned up to change the meter, he didn't have batteries but changed the meter for one which looked the same but wasn't a smart meter or so he said. We had another email asking for a meter reading and that we would need to take another reading in a weeks time, my wife not happy about one of us having to crawl into the cupboard to read the meter complained why haven't we been given a smart meter, a couple of days later we received a message that we did in fact have one and they were receiving readings although it didn't show on our monitor. This still doesn't help regarding the estimated bill because their meter packed up, we shall wait and see.


  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 8,112
    Has the display ever lit up? Only asking because ours has a timed backlight setting in which it switches off the display at night, and the first time the display went off we thought it had died, until it came back on the next morning. It also has a permanently off setting which we haven't tried - presumably it does come on when you press a button otherwise it's a bit pointless.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • barry islandbarry island Posts: 1,614
    This is the display on the meter the one where you take your own readings from the monitor on the hall stand is dead as far as the gas goes but does show electric use. The thing is the gas meter was only replaced a few years ago, even the installer said that the old meters with the wheels worked forever but the new digital ones pack up regularly. I wouldn't mind but where I thought that the smart meter that he removed might have gone back to BG to get the readings off he said that it would go to be refurbished for someone else. Very poor in my opinion after all we trust those meters to be correct I've now got an estimated bill based on last year when I know that I have used less gas this year.
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 8,112
    edited 22 February
    Are you saying that BG have no record of how much gas you used for a period of several weeks due to the meter that they supplied being faulty? If so then could you ask them to revise the estimate based on what you used for a few weeks before the fault and/or since they replaced the meter? It seems wrong to base it on last winter's usage when they know very well that many people are making an effort to use less this winter.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • barry islandbarry island Posts: 1,614
    Well that's what I will have to do unless they correct the bill, it seems rather wrong that these meters aren't designed better.
  • owd potterowd potter Posts: 884
    weren't those the few weeks that you were away and used no gas at all?... 
    Just another day at the plant...
  • barry islandbarry island Posts: 1,614
    Well after being miserly with the gas since the prices rocketed I did think of turning the hearing up full and opening the windows but as I thought that the meter might still be recording gas flow and that it was only a problem with the battery I didn't chance it.
  • steveTusteveTu Posts: 2,586
    After you mentioned the problem, I was googling around to see what happened when the battery on the gas meter failed and it was all largely inconclusive - but a few sites agreed that when the battery gets low, the meter communicates this to.....

    There in is a problem I think. My SM was installed by British Gas - but I moved to a different supplier and as it was an old V1 meter, it didn't work with the new supplier. It makes you wonder what happens at that point if the battery goes low - who gets notified - who can get notified?

    I think I recall seeing a SM rollout authority way back (maybe it was just Ofgem) - I'll see if I can re-find them and ask what happens with battery failure in the various circumstances.

    UK - South Coast Retirement Campus (East)
  • barry islandbarry island Posts: 1,614
    @steveTu I only think that it was the battery it may have been something else that caused the thing to stop working in fact when I found out that they rely on a battery I had hoped that if they replaced it the true readings would show up but as is the usual case in these situations the fitters don't mess about trying to fix a problem they just replace the whole meter.
  • wild edgeswild edges Posts: 9,040
    Apparently the supplier gets to choose if the meter defaults to open or close if there's a fault or the battery dies. It's suggested that they choose closed more often than not and people have been left without gas for days until someone can be summoned to change the battery. If you're at all vulnerable you're supposed to let the supplier know so they can change it to 'open' instead. I guess this means that they're worried someone might use more gas than estimated and they'd miss out on some profit. :|
    Tradition is just peer pressure from dead people
  • steveTusteveTu Posts: 2,586
    just out of curiosity, I thought I'd check with Ofgem as to what should/does happen if a SM battery fails. This is roughly what they said:


    Can you tell me what happens when the battery in a smart meter fails?


    1) Does the meter still record usage - and how?

    IN the event that the battery completely runs flat, you should continue to receive a supply of gas to the premises, however this may not be recorded correctly should the meter fail due to a battery fault, and could result in the supplier having to estimate the usage for this period.

    2) I understand that if the battery runs low, it notifies 'someone' (and beeps). Who does it notify - and what happens if the meter is not compatible with the customer's current suppliers systems? (IE my meter (V1) was installed by British Gas, but I moved to another supplier who could accept my SM readings - can they still receive the low battery alert?)

    Most batteries within Smart Meters have an expected lifespan of approximately 10-15 years, and the meter will producing a beeping noise when the battery begins to run low. If the meter has maintained remote connectivity with the supplier they may automatically receive a warning from the meter.

    3) Who is responsible for replacing the battery? Is it the original installer or the current supplier - or is there a separate independent group that handles this?

    Your current supplier is responsible for all metering equipment with your property. If your meter begins beeping or if you suspect it may have a fault, we would suggest contacting your current supplier as soon as  possible to report the issue.


    I'm not sure how I would hear the beep as the meter is outside inside a meter box - and presumable the beep is battery driven.
    I would guess that from the answer to 2) that no one gets the alert if your current supplier's system is not compatible with your meter version. Although I had assumed that SMs worked via a central warehouse type system - ie the meter sends data to central and the supplier then takes the data from there (ie the data doesn't go directly to the supplier) - so maybe a central system does get the alert - but then the supplier doesn't pick it up.

    It does seem a bit hit and miss. My SM was installed about 6 years ago - I wonder how many people are aware that their meter may start beeping - and if they hear it - what that beeping means?

    UK - South Coast Retirement Campus (East)
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