Providor are a company that install Smart meters . They installed mine in August this year. They contacted me directly but only after I had been in touch with Scottish Power to agree to have Smart meters.
I believe this may be a swindle - if you can bear with my exposition, hoepfully you will understand my logic.
Ok, So I have a tradtional gas and electric meter - both of which are prepayment. I have not swiched to smart due to the issues with both first and 2nd generation smart meters re. inaccuracy, transferability between providers etc.. I have made a point of highlighting my use of traditional meters whenever moving to a new supplier as well as whenever I contact them.
So a few days ago I noticed a B3 message on my gas meter and after googling it, I learned it was a battery issue. I also noted the complex procedure and resulting problems customers were having due to the problem. I contacted Scottish Power yesterday and notified them of it. They confirmed that I would have to wait for the supply to switch off, whether it be the battery dying completely, running out of credit or running out of emergency credit. Then i would need to contact them again and they would arrange for an engineer to call within 4 hours and either replace the battery or the meter.
Earlier today at about 9am, my credit did run out and the gas supply switched off. i complied with the advice given to me the previous day by Scottish Power and immediately made a phone call to them. As lines were very busy i was informed by the automated service that i would get a call back between 2.5 and 3.5 hours. I was called back at 11.25 and so, I notified them of both the B3 message and the gas supply being switched off. The call handler then arranged for me to have an engineer to visit within 4 hours. AT NO POINT during this conversation did the call handler inform me that I had to switch to a smart meter. They made it a point to notify if the job cannot be carried out, then it will be returned and I would have to bay a call out fee. I made sure to inform them that the engineer should knock loudly and also ideally ring in case i dont hear. I also made a point to inform them I had made arrangements to stay at home specifically for the purpose of the engineer visit.
I was then called again by Providor - the installation company - about 15minutes following the Scottish Power call. This was to confirm the visit was logged and the engineer will be arriving within 4 hours. Providor did at NO POINT ask if my meter was smart or traditional.
Within 10 minutes the engineer had arrived and started examining the meter, after asking what the fault was. He seemed a bit unsure when I mentioned a B3 low battery issue. After a minute or 2 he informed me that i had a traditional meter and this would need to be replaced with a smart meter. I was clearly annoyed within, as this is supplying (rather selling - as this will impact on the price i pay for my energy) a product that is not wanted. To add further insult to injury, he also informed me that the electric meter would have to be switched to a smart meter. As he was a gas installation engineer, the onus was then on me to contact scottish power to request a separate electric smart meter installation.
I stopped the engineer at this point and informed him I was being forced to buy a product I do not wish to have and that it is my right to legally refuse installation of a smart meter, without penalty. (Please see energy ombudsman site). He also informed me he did not have any tradtional meters in his van and if I wanted a tradtional meter, I would have to contact Scottish Power to make them aware of this. At this point my annoyance was growing and i informed him that scottish power are well aware I have traditional meters and have at NO POINT informed me that these would be converted to smart meters.
The engineer then called his office and following conversation with his colleague, Megan, His colleague replied to him that it had been raised as a "smart emergnecy" - again this was never even mentioned in the lsightest during my call to scottish power. She then said to the engineer "it's a refusal, it's got to be a customer refusal. Go back to Scottish Power. Do you want a code? " and then proceeded to supply him with a code to log that the job was a refusal. I then asked the engineer what would happen and he advised me to contact scottish power again because it was "raised by Scottish Power as a smart emergency, I can only put in a smart, you need to let them know it's not a smart meter that you've got and it's a tradtional meter" I then replied to the engineer that I've already let Scottish Power know this and I really don't know why they sent him out on this basis. Furthermore I raised serious concerns that this has been logged as a "refusal" and that I may be subject to a callout charge as a result. The engineer re-assured me I will not be charged.
Meanwhile, while the engineer was still on the premises, I was attempting to contact Scottish Power in order to resolve the matter but alas, was placed in a queue for call-back. After the engineer left, I rang Scottish Power again and requested a call back, which I am awaiting as I type this message.
My intention is to first raise concerns with Scottish Power with regards to my disappointment and secondly, resolve the matter in order to fit a traditional meter. Finally i will inform them that they are at fault and if they even consider charging me for a call-out, I will be pursueing the matter down the legal route, via escalation and also pursueing compensation, as well as changing supplier.
I have now been without gas supply for 5+ hours - well above the 4 hour wait time given,
@EnergySavvyZee I sympathise but eventualy everyone will have smart meters and if it were me I would have accepted a smart meter when you had the opportunity to have one. The installer was right, gas meters will not work as smart by themselves, they rely on a smart electric meter to transmit their data. So grasp the nettle and accept a smart installation.
I can understand your logic and am all for embracing new tech (having a scientific background myself anyway). However, while things are still in the beta phase and there are issues that have been raised not just by trolls and bots but legit consumer organisations as well as the ombudsman itself, I know for sure this is just the industry thinking of its own benefits rather than the old addage that the customer is always right. My intention was to stick things out until the 2023 roll out of what i believe is the much improved 3rd generation of meters. Until that time, unless there are incentives, such as confirmed significant bill reductions as a reward for switching, there is no way I am convinced. The idea of smart meters is to monitor one's own energy consumption and adjust wherever appropriate for both economical and environmental reasons. However if the result of installing smart meters is currently that it narrows the options for transfer to a new supplier (from experience I can confirm that when making comparisons, one of the initial questions is whether a smart meter is already in use - replying in the affirmative resulting in the refusal to switch to the cheaper supplier) . Other issues include smart meters reverting to "dumb" meters (yes it happens so frequently that there is an official term for it), whereby if one is fortunate to be accepted by a different supplier while already having a smart meter, the meter will temporarily behave as a traditional meter - what happens to recording of usage durung this period is questionable. And since suppliers are more enthusiastic to overestimate usage and overcharge and then slow at making refunds, it is not an attractive option. Physically in themselves, smart meters have been known to provide both inaccurate readings and also to completely fail. As of the moment, while smart meters seem to benefit the industry more than the consumer, it is not without questionable flaws.
However all that said and done, when the next generation has proven to iron out all the current flaws and consumers are given more realistic and visible confirmed incentives, then am all for them. Don't get me wrong - I'm all for the PRINCIPLE of smart meters - unfortunately they don't seem to do what it says on the tin.
@EnergySavvyZee Like you I take an interest in the Smart project, it is making progress now, after a Covid interruption, and 20m have been installed out of a target of 50m.
The aim is only partly to give consumers better information, the real benefits come when time of use tariffs become widely used and lead to demand management. This has all become very topical due to the very high cost of energy, and the conflicting need to switch away from fossil fuels which itself increases costs.
I think that we have already reached the time of reliable installations and perrformance, so my advice is: Switch to a reliable provider like Bristish Gas and apply for a smart installation. (The SP contractors are notoriously flaky in performance)