It’s stupid for a smart meter to cut us off in the cold
Old-style gas and electricity meters were simple and reliable, their basic purpose being to measure what you had consumed and to display a reading so either you, the customer, or the meter reader could relay this information to your energy supplier. the gas meter had a simple mechanical on/off lever below it to be used in an emergency, but there was nothing in either of these units that could switch off your supply. After 40 years with British Gas, with no trouble whatsoever, in autumn 2013 we agreed to have smart meters installed to allow automatic reading at British Gas’s main base. to do this, both the gas and electricity meters have electronics inside them and need a power supply. In November 2013, British Gas installed a landis & Gyr e470 for the electricity and a G370 for the gas, with a trilliant (Vodafone) wireless module. three months later, on a very cold March day, our gas went off. Never having experienced this before, we asked all our neighbours if they were suffering as well, but it was just us. We rang British Gas, who told us it wasn’t a blockage or a major gas leak, and an engineer reset the smart meter. He told us that the power for the unit came from a 3.6V battery, but wouldn’t say whether a rundown battery might have turned off the supply. the battery is supposed to last 100,000 hours and had clocked up only 8,760 hours. ten months later, on a very cold day in January this year, our gas went off again. When an engineer arrived, he reported that the internal battery was flat and replaced the whole smart meter, but it had software issues that meant it couldn’t communicate properly with the British Gas It management system. On February 2, another engineer arrived to replace the smart meter. When you most need gas, in cold weather for your central heating, it shuts off. What will happen in 2020 when everyone has a smart meter and a cold day turns up?
Frustrated by technology: Martin Thompson