Smart Meter Problems
With gas and electricity suppliers required to take steps to move domestic and small business customers to smart meters by 30 June 2025, an increasing number of homeowners now have these devices installed in their homes.
Smart meters carry many benefits, including helping you save money on your heating bills by making you aware of your energy usage and giving you more accurate readings.
However, the technology is also susceptible to certain issues, particularly first generation smart meters. We have outlined these issues below and how to solve them.
Smart meter is beeping
A common issue reported with smart meters is unexplained beeping. This beeping can quickly become distracting for homeowners, which is why it is crucial to understand the potential causes.
If a smart meter is running low on battery, it will produce a beeping sound to alert people nearby that the device needs charging. Recharging the battery, or plugging the smart meter in 24/7, will resolve the issue.
Exceeding daily allowance
A smart meter will sometimes be set to alert a homeowner when daily energy usage exceeds a preset amount. This can help keep energy bills low and reduce a household’s carbon footprint. This energy allowance may have been pre-set when the device was installed, so if the device beeps on a regular basis the limit might need readjusting.
A smart meter will beep if the signal between the display screen and the meter is too weak. If the internet connection falters, or cuts out altogether, the smart meter display will alert the homeowner. The solution is to either to move the display closer to the meter, or to turn the device off and on again to reconnect it.
Smart meter not working with new supplier
When smart home devices were first installed, homeowners would often complain that their device would stop functioning when they switched to a new energy provider. This was because each provider was allowed to develop their own first generation smart meter, also known as SMETS1. Unless your provider had an agreement with other providers to use their technology, it meant that the smart meter would become ‘dumb’ once the switch was complete.
This should no longer be an issue with the majority of SMETS1 devices, however, as all eligible first generation devices should now be enrolled into the DCC wireless network. Most homes with a first generation smart meter will now be able to switch their supplier and retain access to their real-time energy use and smart tariffs. However, always check with your future energy supplier that this is the case, as otherwise you may temporarily lose this functionality.
My gas and electricity meters are hard to access
A gas engineer may struggle to install a smart meter if your existing meter is installed in a place that is difficult to access, such as a small cupboard. If this is the case, you may be asked to dismantle the cupboard before the engineer arrives to ensure that they can install the device.
If the meter is installed behind a communal locked door or cupboard, always make sure that the installer is given the keys when they first arrive.
My smart meter is not sending readings to my energy provider
If you have a smart meter but are still receiving estimated bills, it is likely that your device has lost connection with your electricity meter. This can be a connection issue via the Wide Area Network (WAN) or the Home Area Network (HAN).
Your energy provider will be able to run you through a meter health check over the phone. Once you have followed the necessary steps, they will either reset your meter remotely or send you a signal booster kit.
Be aware that your smart meter can take up to 6 weeks after it has been installed to update the meter details. Your online billing may not immediately register the new smart readings.
Smart meter myths
While there are some very real issues with smart meters, there are also some myths.
Smart meters emit harmful radiation
Smart meters use radio waves to transmit readings data from gas and electricity meters to energy providers. Public Health England (PHE) has confirmed that these waves do not pose a health risk. The level of radio waves is well within the internationally-agreed guidelines for radiation, and there are no cases of health issues related to long-term exposure to smart meters.
Not all homes are eligible for a smart meter
First generation smart meters were designed to use a SIM card to communicate with energy suppliers. Consequently, areas with poor mobile reception experienced significant issues and were not always suitable for smart meters.
However, second generation smart meters are built to operate on the smart data network, which covers more than 99.25% of the United Kingdom. First generation smart meters are being updated to work on this network as well, which means that virtually all homes will soon be eligible for a smart meter through both SMETS1 and SMETS2 devices.
I can’t have a smart meter if I rent
Every household, even those that rent, can have a smart meter installed because the meter belongs to the energy supplier, not the homeowner. As such, the bill payer is entitled to request a smart meter. You should still speak with your landlord first, however, to ensure that this will not break any rules in your tenancy agreement.
Smart meters spy on you
A smart meter is only designed to measure the amount of gas and electricity used by a household. No personally identifiable information (PII), such as your name, address or financial information is stored or shared by the smart meter.
Both SMETS1 and SMETS2 devices are designed with security in mind and are not connected to the internet, but rather to a secure smart data network. You can choose to share your energy readings on a half-hourly, daily or monthly basis, and each reading will be encrypted before it is sent to your supplier.
- Energy suppliers are required by law to offer domestic and small business customers a smart meter by 30 June 2025.
- A beeping sound from the smart meter can mean that the device has low battery, poor signal or has passed the preset daily energy allowance.
- First generation smart meters often stopped working once a homeowner switched supplier, but this issue has now been resolved.
- There are many myths surrounding smart meters. Smart meters do not emit harmful radiation, nor are only certain homes eligible for the device.