Smart meter warning: Units to be forced on a MILLION households after BBC switch off vital radio signal

Smart meter warning: Units to be forced on a MILLION households after BBC switch off vital radio signal

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GB News
Holly Bishop

By Holly Bishop

Published: 02/03/2024

- 13:30

Updated: 02/03/2024

- 13:34

Customers need to make the switch to smart meters by June 2025 or risk paying more money

The BBC has announced that it is switching off its 40-year-old radio service which will force nearly a million households in the UK to fit a smart meter or face higher heating bills.

Since the 1980s, the BBC has broadcast the Radio Teleswitch Service (RTS), a longwave radio signal which tells meters when to change their fees from high to low.

The move will affect around 900,000 customers on the Economy 7 or Economy 10 tariff, which offers cheaper power at night.

Most of these are off the gas network and use electricity for heating and hot water.

BBC HQ/Droitwich transmitter/smart meter

The BBC's choice to switch off the Radio Teleswitch Service (RTS) will affect almost a million households

Getty/Wikipedia Commons/PA

Those affected who want to remain on these payment plans will have to start using a smart meter, devices that have been riddled with controversies ranging from a delayed rollout and privacy concerns,

Customers need to make the switch by June 2025 or risk paying more money.

The daily signal is broadcast from a BBC transmitter at Droitwich in Worcestershire.

According to The Telegraph, the decision to switch off the transmitter is part of a wider plan by the BBC's plan to end all long-wave transmissions because they use up a lot of energy and are not as good quality as FM.


A smart meter next to an energy bill

Customers need to make the switch by June 2025 or risk paying more money


Customers who use the system are being urged to act quickly to avoid a backlog by Energy UK, a trade body for energy supplies.

Energy UK's deputy chief executive Dhara Vyas said: “Doing so in good time will minimise the disruption, help ensure a smooth upgrade to a smart meter and mean that customers continue to enjoy the benefits they currently get from RTS.”

The switch-off will affect customers all over the UK – including 248,000 homes in Scotland, 232,000 in the Midlands and East Anglia, and 304,000 in London and southern England.

Ofgem has warned that many people may not even be aware their meters use RTS and should check.


The BBC has broadcasted from the Radio Teleswitch Service (RTS) since the 1980s


It said they have written to power suppliers warning them of the impact on vulnerable households.

A spokesperson for the watchdog said: “Ofgem has made clear its expectation that all RTS meters must be replaced with smart meters at least three to four months before the RTS close-down date, and suppliers should not delay this work any further.

“Smart meters bring immediate benefits for customers, helping them to access more competitive tariffs. It also makes it easier for suppliers to spot when households might be struggling with bills and offer support such as emergency credit.

“We have written to suppliers to raise our concerns about the slower progress of installations for smart prepayment meters, and the potential impact of that on vulnerable households.”

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