Sunday 26 May 2019

"Research by the BBC has discovered"

Colletta Smith

If you watched BBC One's News at Six on 14 May, you may have seen the following report, based on BBC "research": 

Newsreader: For years now the Government has encouraged us to install smart meters to monitor our gas and electric usage. Now research by the BBC has discovered that more than 2 million of these devices are not working. That amounts to £1.7 billion being spent on meters that are not doing the job they're supposed to. Our Consumer Affairs Correspondent Colletta Smith has the story. 
Advert: I want to live in a world where we still have polar bears. We all want to make big changes to help our planet. 
Colletta SmithThat's what more than 14 million of us have tried to do by installing a smart meter. We are under pressure to get one. You might have seen the advert or been called or emailed by your energy company. But things aren't working out as perfectly as you might think. We've discovered that 2.3 million smart meters installed in homes across the UK are not working. That's 15% of all smart meters which have now turned dumb or not been connected. 
Andy: So I'll show you where the smart meter is. which is in this little box outside. 
Andy's meter was only put in a couple of months ago but it's never worked. 
Andy: It's a nice shiny new meter but it doesn't actually work if you press any of the buttons. A useless piece of plastic in the house. A meter that I can't read any more. I'm just feeling very frustrated. They don't seem to have the slightest interest once you have had the box ticked that you've had the actual smart meter installed in, whether it actually works and is doing the job for me, the customer. 
And Andy's not alone. I've been in touch with people across the country, like Bridie from Halifax, who's raging that her meter is often on the brink. And like anyone who switches, Judith in Cambridge and Mark in Marlow found that their meter stopped working when they changed supplier. 
Mark: It only works with the people who fitted it. How smart is that? 
The government say work is under way to make sure devices stay smart when switching. Energy UK, which represents energy companies, adds that 800,000 second-generation meters are now being installed. But even those meters aren't able to switch between providers so for now more than two million useless boxes are adding to the clutter of our kitchens. Colletta Smith, BBC News. 

What you may not have seen though is the following 'correction and clarification' posted on the BBC website:
Friday 24th May 2019: BBC News at Six, BBC One, News Channel and News Online, 14 May 2019 
In a report about smart meters, we said up to £1.7 billion had been spent on installing meters that are not working as they should. 
This figure is wrong and should not have been included in the report. It was calculated from the overall projected cost of the entire smart meter project rather than the cost to date, and did not take into account the fact that the roll out of smart meters is less than half way through. 
We also said that the second generation of smart meters are not able to switch between suppliers. In fact, the second generation of smart meters should be able to function with a different supplier.
 Oh dear! Definitely not 'smart reporting' from the BBC there! 


  1. Having worked in IoT for 6 years and having sat next to the Solution Architect that put the Vodafone bud for smartmeters and having worked with German telco suppliers i say: really? You do surprise me /sarc

    There's quite a few reasons that I wouldn't have one and why they are utterly flawed.

  2. Someone is 'raging that her meter is often on the brink.'

    Driven to the brink by the owner's rage!

  3. Coletta sounds like she would be perfect for the Breakfast News sofa, sat next to Naga.

  4. A meter just measures how much electricity you use so how can it help 'save the bears' to go 'smart'? Do those fancy remote indicators not use extra energy? How can that be better? Does all the wi-fi not use extra energy?
    The 'real' reason for 'smart' meters is so they can switch off your supply remotely whilst leaving their supply still on.

  5. I spot no proper connection note on the web story
    Just the normal trickery using a Stealth Edit.
    See edit phase 3 of 6
    There is of cost to the screwups
    2.5 million meters, 15% of those installed not working.
    The total overalll costs is £11bn so the BBC said 15% of £11bn is £1.7bn
    But the put it right cost might not be that full amount cos
    #1 a portion those dumb meters, might be able to be fixed by a future software update.
    #2 The cost of replacing some by Smets2 should be lower that first time.


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