Energy savings

This post started life as a bit of a rant. But, well, keep reading.

I’m not blaming the people involved, they can only work within the system they’ve got, I’m just blaming the system. If there is a system…

I had a smart meter fitted.

But due to needing to save money , I also switched energy providers. My provider assured me that, because it was a 2nd generation meter, it would continue to work even if I switched provider. My new provider confirmed that this was indeed what would happen. Fair enough.

There was only a couple of days between getting the smart meter fitted, and switching providers – but that shouldn’t matter, should it? Everyone assures me that the meter will continue to work. What could possibly go wrong?

Nothing went wrong.

I liked having a smart meter. I began to get a feel for how much things were costing me. I could compare week on week, I could see how much I was saving by turning the heating down. It was good, knowing I didn’t have to remember to read the meters and send in the readings. I enjoyed seeing the dial go down when I switched something off.

And then (did you see this coming??) – it went wrong. It stopped working completely. This was about six weeks after I’d had it fitted.

I rang my new provider. They told me I didn’t have a 2nd generation meter. I told them I did. They said that it can’t have been a 2nd generation meter if it had stopped working following a switch. I said that I was complaining because it was a 2nd generation meter and it had stopped working following a switch. They asked for photos. I sent them photos. They agreed (eventually) that it was indeed a 2nd generation meter. I resisted the temptation to say ‘I told you so’. They said they would get it sorted.

That was in March.

Here we are in July, and it still isn’t sorted. As an aside, the department dealing with my complaint is called ‘Meter Mix-Ups’, which I find pleasingly alliterative. And also very worrying – I’m obviously not the only person with this problem!!

For added piquancy, I’m now getting texts from my new provider. Four text messages and two emails in just over two weeks –

Join 7 million households who now manage their energy with a smart meter. Book your appointment at…

Just for fun, I rang the number and asked to make an appointment to get a new smart meter fitted… I just want a smart meter that works. I don’t really care if my old one gets recommissioned or if I get a brand new one, so long as I have one that works. Apparently I can’t have a new one, because I’ve already got one. Yeah, right.

When my husband left, I asked if I could reduce the monthly payments. They were happy to let me say how much I wanted to pay each month!! Not knowing how much I was going to be saving, I didn’t really know how much to reduce it by. I erred on the side of caution, and reduced it a bit, but not too much.

But now I’d like to know how close my monthly payments are to how much I actually owe.

Hey, you know what I could do with – a sort of device that can sit on my kitchen bench that I can check, and see how much I’m spending each day/week/month…

I’ve just contacted them to see if I can reduce the size of the direct debit a bit more. I provided up-to-date meter readings and the agent said they could create a bill for me. Then they said they couldn’t, due to an ‘ongoing issue’. They can’t adjust my bill while this issue is ongoing.

Whoa, hold on a minute. I’m paying possibly more than I need to? And I have to continue to do so until they get this sorted? And they’ve already taken 4 months and there’s no sign that it won’t take another 4 months? When I rang to reduce the direct debit before, they simply asked how much I wanted to pay!! Now, apparently, I’m stuck in some sort of limbo until it gets sorted. And if I’m paying more than I need to it’s hardly giving them an incentive to sort it out, is it?

That was yesterday. This morning I got an email from the person handling my complaint. She’d spotted that I’d wanted to reduce the direct debit and that the agent had said no. She’s reviewed the situation, and has made the reduction that I wanted. Bet you didn’t see that coming – I certainly didn’t!

I’m still cross that the whole smart meter thing hasn’t been resolved yet – but impressed, and very grateful, that she was able to override the system to let me have a reduction.

Maybe there is a system, after all…

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. anglosvizzera says:

    The Universe might be trying to protect you!

    Having done quite a bit of research into the effects of wifi, mobile phone radiation etc, following the time that I had chronic insomnia when I moved into my partner’s (now husband) flat we have been wary of ‘electrosmog’. I noticed that my sleep was a lot better elsewhere – and the difference, we discovered, seemed to be the number of wifi signals, many quite strong, that were pervading the bedroom – about 10 altogether. When we moved house, we checked that we wouldn’t be too near other properties, and in our house we now have wired internet with the wifi switched off – only turned on for visitors that need it.

    But then SMART meters started being rolled out…

    There are a number of experts, medical and otherwise, who raise concerns about the radiation from SMART meters, sometimes because they have patients who have developed electrosensitivity (sometimes they have it personally too, in the case of a GP I know), after chronic exposure to some of these types of radiation. As a former radiographer, I am well aware that ionising radiation, as in x-rays and gamma rays used medically, are definitely harmful, but we were always taught about how this wasn’t discovered in the initial stages of their use. Same with things like ultrasound – there are increasing concerns with effects of obstetric ultrasound on the foetus, although you wouldn’t know it from how hospitals offer 3D ultrasound scans with pictures for sale, not for any medical reason at all, just to generate an income. And now we have microwave and radio-frequency radiation, non-ionising, but often delivered in pulses that may affect the electrical system of the body, as many scientists believe.

    So, in reality, as with 5G coming, we are all effectively ‘guinea pigs’ for the tech industry. I have a friend who was having debilitating symptoms which none of her doctors could help with. A few months later I saw an article about how some people developed similar symptoms from wearing a ‘Fitbit’ device, which is supposed to be worn constantly (so it can monitor sleep patterns). I sent her the article and having read it, she took the item off, having been wearing it for 18 months. Within a couple of days she started to recover! She wrote to the manufacturers who dismissed it all, saying that in their tests there was nothing like this happening to people. Well, if they’re anything like drug trials etc, they pick and choose who to include in these trials, having weeded out anyone that ‘reacts’ soon after they start and often not following up for more than a few weeks or maybe months.

    Dr Erica Mallery-Blythe is a medical doctor who has been looking into the health effects of ‘electrosmog’ and has some very good videos etc if you’re interested.

    Anyway, call me a conspiracy theorist, but there are other concerns that people have with SMART meters, not just health-related…I can’t find the link to a film I saw about it, but this will have to do for now:

    http://emfsafetynetwork.org/smart-meters/

    And the SMART meter companies will tell you that they only transmit for a short period of time, which is true, except that it’s split into microseconds of time, spread out over the day and night.

    This video measures the radiation levels outside and inside someone’s house: https://stopsmartmeters.org.uk/radiation-measurement-from-home-fitted-smart-meter/

    Even if you have had a SMART meter fitted, which is not compulsory despite what some companies seem to imply, you can ask for it to be set to ‘dumb’ mode. Recently I changed energy supplier to save a bit of dosh, and moved to Shell Energy – soon after, I was phoned constantly by another company to arrange an appointment to fit a SMART meter, which I declined. Despite that, they kept calling and after a few more calls I’ve had to block the number! I am able to send monthly readings to my supplier, so that I know exactly what my usage is from one month to the next. My sister, who lived in Spain for a few years, was always complaining to me that her bills seemed to keep going up since she had a SMART meter installed – which was compulsory there. So I will resist until it’s made compulsory – hopefully not in my lifetime!

    Like

    1. An interesting theory!! We’ll probably never really know.

      Liked by 1 person

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