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By Stan Barlow on 31/01/2018
Warning: Articles in this weeks press are saying; Beware cold callers trying to sign you up for a smart meter. Doorstep Salespeople are being offered commissions of up to £50,000 a year to convince homeowners to install smart energy meters. If they meet their targets some will also have the opportunity to win additional bonuses which will include free tickets to football matches and music events.
These meters automatically send readings to suppliers every half an hour and show customers in pounds and pence exactly how much power they are using. They do not reduce or save on energy. In addition if you change your electrical supplier they may not accept the smart meter that you have and insist on installing their own.
Sales staff will also be selling special energy tariffs alongside the meters. Many also sell pre-pay tariffs, where customers have to buy credit online or at a local shop before using gas or electricity.
Doorstep selling is legal, but remains controversial. There is a recruitment drive by energy firms for these salespeople and comes amid concerns that households are being put under pressure to have smart meters installed.
Trading Standards has written to industry trade body Energy UK to raise concerns that major firms may be flouting consumer law by failing to make it clear that smart meters are optional.
Over the past year there has been many complaints from customers who feel harassed or bullied into getting one of the new devices.
The Government has told energy firms they must offer all households a smart meter by 2020. So far around 8 million smart meters have been installed in people’s homes.
But with just two years to go until the Government’s 2020 deadline, many firms now appear to have ramped up their efforts. Firms have been criticised for sending misleading letters that suggest it is a legal requirement to have a smart meter fitted. In some cases, they have given the impression over the phone that customers cannot refuse to have one — when they can refuse.
Now it appears some firms are working with companies that encourage staff to sign people up. Trading Standards officers warn that doorstep salesmen motivated by commission could pose a threat to households.
Doorstep energy selling has been left with a poor reputation after a series of investigations by watchdog Ofgem has led to suppliers being fined millions of pounds for misleading customers over how much money they could save.
Experts have raised concerns that a return to doorstep selling could leave elderly people vulnerable to sales pitches.
Robert Cheesewright, director of policy and communications at Smart Energy GB says: ‘There’s no obligation for anyone to have a smart meter. Whether you accept a smart meter is up to you. ‘If you change your mind, you can ask your supplier for a smart meter at a later date.’
Our view is that the Smart meters do not save money but just make you aware of what you are using. It could mean instead of just saying ‘More tea Vicar’ you add ‘that will be 3p’.
If you want to save money on Heating and who does not then have a Smart Thermostat installed.
Information on the various makes available is readily available and we at MR ELECTRIC have installed thousands and can offer unbiased advice on the right one for your home or business. Contact us today and ask how smart thermostats and control of this type will save money. Some designed for larger users such as Hotels, Nursing Homes etc. can save up to 30%,