Home » Millions of smart meters aren’t working – here’s how to check yours

Millions of smart meters aren’t working – here’s how to check yours

Millions of smart meters are not working (Picture: Getty/iStockphoto)

Smart meters are failing across the UK, sending customers into crippling debt.

Data from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (Desnez) revealed 4.31 million meters are currently not operating in smart mode, up from 2.7 million in June 2023.

The faulty meters have led to many people paying too much for energy and struggling to get their money back.

Smart meters measure the amount of electricity and gas a household uses and show how much it costs in near real-time. They then send the readings to energy suppliers. 

They were first launched in 2011, and according to Smart Energy GB, a non-profit organisation focusing on the benefits of smart meters, there are now almost 35 million smart meters in Great Britain. 

Check your smart meter is working (Picture: Getty)

They say that the vast majority are operating as intended, with 88.6% operating in smart mode at the end of 2023, up from 87.3% the previous year.

If the connection is lost, then customers have to rely on estimated bills – which should be corrected when the supplier has manual meter readings.

However, if the meter malfunctions over a long period the bills can quickly rack up, often leaving customers facing a battle to get their refund.  

Peta Butler, 79, told the BBC how she has endured two years of hell. 

She says that between January and June 2023, her energy bill went up to over £3,500, and she has become ‘terrified’ to use electricity.

According to her son, the problems began when she was changed to a smart meter on a single tariff in 2022 and the new meter was not recorded properly. This meant she kept getting estimated bills based on her old meter.

She said: ‘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, can’t let go.’

Mrs Butler said she recently received £2,900 back from Utility Warehouse, but that still did not cover what she was owed . She is now with a different supplier.

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

‘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,’ they told the BBC.

‘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.’

Check your bills for an ‘E’ (Picture: PA)

Is my smart meter working?

There are a few things to check to ensure your smart meter is working, which are: 

  • The meter itself, usually on your wall or cupboard
  • The in-home display unit or app shows how much energy you’re using
  • Communication between the meters and the system they use to send readings to your energy supplier

Having all three working will help get accurate readings, otherwise you may be receiving estimated bills, which you can tell if there is an ‘E’ on your bill.

The in-home display does not have to be working for your bills to be correct, however.

If you spot a problem, contact your supplier to give them a correct meter reading– this should help make your bill more accurate in the short-term and they should also help fix your meter.

If your supplier hasn’t fixed the issue in eight weeks, contact the Energy Ombudsman.

There is also an option to use the Citizen Advice Service’s automatic checker on their website to see if your meter is working. 


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