Energy firms could cut off a customer’s power supply remotely should they fail to pay the bills or even force them to pay upfront, recent research has warned.
According to a media investigation, if homes are equipped with the new digital smart meters installed as part of the national upgrade scheme ordered by the Government, energy suppliers will be able to switch it to a pre-payment setting without even entering your property.
The new meters can send automatic readings to suppliers as often as every 30 minutes, and are also capable of showing customers how much power they’ve used, in pounds and pence. The aim is to make bills more accurate, but experts say smart meters give energy firms unprecedented power over customers.
Energy watchdog Ofgem has strict rules on when suppliers can force customers to have a pre-payment meter, as it is normally supposed to be a last resort when recovering debt, and suppliers should put those customers on to repayment plans first.
An Ofgem spokesman said: “Suppliers must be clear in their communications and establish that pre-payment is practical and affordable for a customer. Ofgem would take any breach of these rules by a supplier very seriously.”
A spokesman for Smart Energy GB, said: “All smart meters are able to operate in prepayment mode or in credit mode. Customers will be able to switch from prepayment to credit and back again, quickly and easily, with no need to get a new meter installed. Smart meters will also make prepay cheaper and more convenient, bringing the way we pay for our energy up to date.
“If switching a smart meter from credit to prepayment mode, suppliers must ensure that this is an appropriate method of payment for the customer.”
HeatingSave – leading developers of Smart Energy Monitoring and Management Systems
If you would like to accurately monitor your energy usage but you don’t want to find yourself tied to a single supplier via their smart meter, then the HeatingSave energy monitoring system should be the solution of choice.
The HeatingSave Building Energy Monitor is a wireless management system that collects information from sensors placed in a building. It is unobtrusive and causes minimal disruption during installation. The system collects internal and external temperature data, along with information on how the heating system works and details of energy use. It also monitors the way a building is used in terms of its occupancy and the occupants’ activities and lifestyles.
Using a password protected standard WiFi connection, sensors can quickly be set up to review and quantitatively analyse the data with user-friendly software graphics, via a laptop, PC, mobile phone or tablet-based device.
A cable connection to the building router also enables data to be uploaded to HeatingSave’s cloud storage servers, where it can be analysed by sophisticated software. This provides a clear understanding of the real impact of energy efficiency measures, for example through pre-installation analysis and post-installation monitoring.
Building owners can access their energy usage details online to help them manage energy use more efficiently. This information is presented using a dashboard system that provides consolidated and drill down views of the energy use data.
Uniquely to HeatingSave, with only a few modifications, the Energy Monitor can also be used for controlling heating and electricity consumption within a dwelling, for even better savings.
If you’d like to find out more about the HeatingSave Building Energy Monitor and just how easily it can be deployed within any home, just contact us, and we’ll be more than happy to answer any of your questions and queries.