Martin Lewis tip for smart meter customer stuck in ‘dumb mode’

Martin Lewis has issued some advice to a man whose smart meter is not working despite his repeated attempts to get it fixed.

A caller named Tim, from Bolton, called into the Martin Lewis podcast last week saying the electricity part of his smart meter installed by British Gas had “never worked” and was not sending readings to the supplier. This is also known as ‘dumb mode’.

He said he moved to People’s Energy but when they collapsed he was moved back to British Gas and put on the standard variable rate.

He said: “I’ve had engineers in the house on three separate occasions. They’ve either had the wrong parts or they’re the wrong engineer.

“I’ve had no-shows from engineers. My bills are all over the palace, they range from £600 a month to £37 a month.”

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He said every time he tries to put through his readings manually via the app or online, he has to “go round the houses” to do it as it tells him he doesn’t need to send readings because he has a smart meter installed.

The frustrated caller said: “I’m just at a loss of what to do with them. I want to be gone but I need to get the bills sorted out before I do that.”

Mr Lewis said if he were in Tim’s position, he would make a formal complaint and take British Gas to the energy ombudsman.

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He also said he would switch to another supplier and take a timed photograph of the meter reading. has contacted British Gas for comment.

Another person wrote in to tell Mr Lewis she was looking at switching to fixed energy rate but this required getting a smart meter installed, asking if suppliers are allowed to do this.

The financial expert said suppliers can offer deals where they set out a person must get a smart meter installed.

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He said: “I’m generally in favour of smart meters. I think for an individual, when they work, smart meters make giving meter readings easier, help you understand what energy usage in the house you have from different things, so could help you cut bills.”

He said it is “outrageous” that so many smart meters don’t work particularly as everybody’s bills include an element that goes towards the rollout of smart meters.

The Martin Lewis podcast is available on BBC Sounds.

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