Urgent warning as energy billpayers hit with charges to fix 'dumb' smart meters – check your rights | The Sun

BILLPAYERS could be hit with charges to fix their smart meters depending on their supplier.

Energy regulator Ofgem says suppliers must replace faulty meters for free if they break within 12 months – but after that they can charge a fee.

A smart meter could save people hundreds every year, as it shows energy usage on an easy-to-read screen.

However, a "dumb" smart meter means its "smart" functionality is turned off.

That means it won't transmit readings automatically and you won't be able to see your usage on the screen as usual.

Around 3.8million of the 30million smart meters in homes across the UK are operating this way, leaving many in the dark.

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And it's up to your individual provider whether they enforce a fee once the 12-month period is up to fix the meter.

One bill payer with Eon has been charged up to £50 to have the meter replaced, according to This Is Money.

The customer said: "I was an early adopter of smart meters so it is very disappointing to be asked to pay."

The Sun has contacted Ofgem for comment.

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What are my rights?

If you're not happy with your provider's service, you're always free to complain.

Every energy supplier has a complaints procedure for customers to follow, so make sure you consult that before you do.

The instructions should be on their website, or call up if you're not sure.

Simply explain what the problem is and what you want your supplier to do about it.

Energy suppliers have eight weeks to respond and come to a decision.

If it doesn't or you're not happy with the response, you can take the firm to the Energy Ombudsman.

Taking it to the Energy Ombudsman

To complain to the Energy Ombudsman, it must be something against an energy or communications provider.

When you start the process, you need to write a letter to the company to tell them what you plan to do.

Your letter should include:

  • your name and address
  • the issue at hand
  • what you want the person or business to do about it
  • how much money you want – like the cost of repair or a replacement – and how you’ve calculated that amount
  • a deadline for reply – usually 14 days
  • that you’ll start court proceedings if you don’t get a reply

You can find a template for the letter on the Citizen's Advice website.

Before you can submit your complaint to it, you must have logged a formal complaint with your provider and worked with the firm to resolve it.

You must also have received a so-called deadlock letter, where the provider refers your complaint to the Energy Ombudsman.

You can also complain if you haven't had a satisfactory solution to your problem within eight weeks.

The Ombudsman will come to a decision based on the evidence both you and the company submit, then your supplier then has 28 days to comply if you accept its decision.

The problem can be taken to court if the Ombudsman refuses.

If you're not sure about a company or what the complaints terms are, you can use free tools like Resolver which can help you figure out what to do – just type in your company name and go from there.

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