4 million British Gas, OVO, Octopus and EDF customers warned their smart meters may not be working properly

Man looking at energy bills

The number of smart meters in the United Kingdom which are not working properly has risen by over a million

Temi Laleye

By Temi Laleye

Published: 26/03/2024

- 08:40

Updated: 26/03/2024

- 12:49

The number of smart meters not operating properly in UK has reached 3.9million, new figures have shown

Millions of smart meter users have been warned that their device is not operating in smart mode.

British Gas, OVO, Octopus and EDF customers are urged to check their devices as the number of smart meters which are not working properly has risen by over a million.

The smart meter problems are causing customers to be charged incorrectly for their energy bills.

According to Smart Energy, the number of smart meters not working in smart mode had decreased from 4.31 million in June 2023 to 3.98 million in the latest figures.

The non-profit organization, which focuses on the benefits of smart meters, have said there are now almost 35 million smart meters in Great Britain and the 'vast majority' are operating as intended.

It said 88.6 percent were operating in smart mode at the end of 2023, up from 87.3 percent the previous year.

Man looking at energy bills

There are now almost 35 million smart meters in Great Britain


Smart meter customers have been warned about the issue as many people have already been affected.

One woman explained the faulty meter has affected her health, and taken away her confidence.

Peta Butler, 79, told the BBC: “It’s been two years of hell. It’s affected my health. And it’s completely taken away any confidence I’ve got.

“If I have to do anything, I just panic. I don’t sleep at night really because my body, it can’t let go.”

Mrs Butler said she recently received a refund from Utility Warehouse for £2,900 however this did not cover what she was owed. She has since changed supplier.

A Utility Warehouse spokesperson said they would refund Mrs Butler with all the money she had paid on the account.

They said: "We acknowledge that the customer service Mrs Butler received fell below our usual high standards and we’re sorry for the inconvenience and distress this has caused.

"We have spoken to the customer and after further reviewing the account, have agreed to provide a goodwill payment in acknowledgement of the service she received.”

Paula McCracken from East Yorkshire also explained to the BBC that her smart meter had never worked properly and she was overcharged despite taking manual readings.

The 48 year old said: "I went to buy some food shopping and my card was declined and I was like 'what on earth's going on?' I just broke down into tears.”

Ms. McCracken said without warning, EDF Energy took more than £900 out of her account. EDF did refund her each time, however this was not immediate.

She continued: "If I had no family and friends around me to lend me a bit of money for shopping and things, I would have been completely penniless with two children for a week.

"They have mentally taken me into the darkest place. It didn't help it was on my mind constantly - I couldn't sleep."


EDF Energy said it was sorry to hear about the problems and acknowledged it "fell short in finding a solution for the issues faced by Ms McCracken".

They said: "Having taken actions to diagnose and resolve the issue remotely, which were unfortunately unsuccessful, we set up an appointment to reattempt commissioning but could still not receive reads due to further technical issues on site that could not be resolved."

Lord Callanan, Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance, has written to Ofgem, urging "action to ensure suppliers are held to account if they are not supporting customers with issues as they should be”.

A regulator at Ofgem said: “If customers have concerns about the way this is handled, they can complain to their supplier, and if the issue is not resolved to their satisfaction, they should raise it with the ombudsman."

An OVO spokeperson said: "Customers should always contact their supplier if they are experiencing issues with their smart meter - there can be a range of potential fixes so these are best addressed on a case-by-case basis.

"Technical problems can prevent some meters from operating in smart mode and while this can be for reasons outside their control, suppliers still have an obligation to replace them when this happens."

An Octopus Energy spokesperson said: “Customers love smart meters - they are the key to unlocking bargains in energy. Our customers have saved over £100m through smart tariffs and services already.

"Rather than putting pressure on companies just to install more, we should prioritise the people who want them, and make sure the ones that are installed are working properly.”

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