British Gas customers face £175 fee for smart meter checks ‌ | Personal Finance | Finance

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customers who incorrectly claim their smart meter is faulty may be left footing a £175 penalty charge.

If an engineer is called out due to concerns that bills may be wrong, a fee may be charged if no faults are found. If faults are found, the meter will be replaced for free.

Lady Irvine, who lives in Morpeth Northumberland, told the Telegraph she began to question the accuracy of her smart meter when she realised her were higher than her neighbours.

When the 89-year-old requested a callout from a British Gas engineer to check everything was in working order, she was told the visit would come with a £175 fee if her smart meter was functioning correctly. She said she then moved providers.

Lady Irvine told the Telegraph: “It is an inequitable charge.”

British Gas said the £175 charge is applied on a case-by-case basis.

This follows warnings that households are increasingly facing shock energy bills, with as many as four million smart meters reportedly not working.

According to the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (Desnez), 2.7 million were found to not be operating in smart mode as of June 2023.

It has since revised this figure to 4.31 million, citing reporting errors from a minority of suppliers.

While smart meters are designed to accurately track energy usage and share real-time information with customers and providers, a significant number have been in “dumb mode”.

This means the meter’s “smart” functionality is switched off and will work as any traditional meter does, with firms sending estimated bills out to customers instead.

This could lead to customers receiving unfair bills, that could be disproportionate to the amount of energy they’re consuming.

has similar rules in place for customers who call out engineers to check if their smart meters are functioning.

The supplier charges customers £80 if no issues are found.

However, Octopus Energy said the charge is decided on a case-by-case basis and the customer’s circumstances are taken into consideration.

Scottish Power and Ovo households face no charge at all when they request a smart meter inspection, regardless of whether or not fault is found.

Meanwhile, EDF and E.ON declined to comment on any charges, according to the Telegraph.

A new scheme enforced by energy regulator Ofgem means suppliers are legally required to fix or replace broken smart meters for free. Previously, the devices only had a one-year warranty.

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