Tuesday, 11 June 2013

British Gas reply to my opting out of the UK Smart Meter roll-out

Here in the UK, the introduction of Smart Meters had been postponed until 2015.  Hurrah, I hear you say.  Don't rejoice too soon.  The roll out WILL take place in a couple of years time, so I thought it prudent to voice my intention of NOT having one installed in my home.  An email was sent with the help of the excellent website called Stop Smart Meters.  And not long after I got a reply from British Gas.

Dear Mr Harrison
Many thanks for your e-mail.  Smart meters are important for British Gas and all our customers. I’m afraid that you are being badly misled by the Stop Smart Meters website. Most of what they say in their template email is misleading at best and completely untrue at worst.
I'm not sure where they're getting their information from - to give you one example, smart meters are not high-power devices. An average mobile telephone emits significantly more electromagnetic radiation than a British Gas smart meter. I can assure you that smart meters are low-power - they don't damage the world around them in the way that is claimed in the e-mail.
There are so many inaccuracies and misunderstandings in the email that I can't comment on them all. But I can tell you something about the benefits of smart meters: 
• The biggest single complaint we receive from our customers is about bills based on estimated readings – our customers simply want to pay for the energy they’ve actually used. But unless your meter is read every day, there will always be an element of estimation. Smart meters will solve this problem. 
• Just as importantly, smart meters will help customers reduce their energy bills. By knowing how much energy they're using daily, and the impact of each individual appliance, customers will be able to cut their energy use and improve energy efficiency. We know of one family whose smart meter showed that their appliances were costing hundreds of pounds a year through inefficiency or by being left on standby. They cut their bills.  
• In time, we'll also be able to sell cheaper energy at low-demand times of the day - just like off-peak telephone calls - saving our customers more money. This isn’t possible without smart meters. 
These are just some of the benefits however; you don't have to have a smart meter if you don't want one. If you do wish to be removed from our roll out programme please reply to this email.  
I can tell you that smart meters are safe and secure, and comply with all relevant legislation - I have one in my own home. 
Why don't you have a look at the information on these web pages and see what you think:
I hope that you will reconsider your decision. If you do, let me know - we'll be delighted to bring you all the benefits of smart. It really is the future!
Best Regards,
Phil Bentley
Managing Director
British Gas