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How we categorise our data about smart meters

4 September 2018

Each year, the Citizens Advice consumer helpline gets hundreds of calls about smart meters.

Our policy research team divides these calls into 6 main categories, and splits each category into more specific subcategories.

Problems with bills and tariffs

Covers calls from people who already have a smart meter and:

  • are still getting estimated or inaccurate bills
  • haven’t had any energy bills since getting a smart meter
  • are getting higher bills, or have had a 'catch up bill'

It also covers any tariff problems related to smart meters - for example problems with smart meter specific tariffs.

Questions about getting a smart meter

Covers calls from people who:

  • are interested in getting a smart meter
  • can't get a smart meter yet
  • don't want a smart meter
  • have been given an installation appointment without asking for one

It also covers general questions about the smart meter rollout - for example asking if smart meters are compulsory.

Unfair practices

Covers calls from people about when their supplier has:

  • misled them - for example by telling them smart meters guarantee cheaper bills
  • told them they must get a smart meter
  • promised them a smart meter but not delivered

Equipment

Covers calls from people whose smart meter:

  • has a general fault
  • isn't sending meter readings to their supplier
  • isn't displaying usage on their in-home display

It also covers cases where someone can’t top up their smart meter - either due to technical problems or because they haven’t got the necessary cards or codes.

Switching problems

Covers calls from people who have switched supplier and either:

  • lost smart features of a smart meter
  • can't top up - because they haven’t been given everything they need, their smart meter is faulty, or they’ve temporarily lost credit after switching

It also covers broader switching problems related to smart meters or smart meter tariffs.

Installation

Covers calls from people whose supplier missed an installation appointment, or came to install a smart meter but:

  • didn’t finish the installation
  • installed a smart meter unsafely
  • found there were problems with the existing equipment
  • found and ‘condemned’ an unsafe appliance - suppliers must do this by law to stop a consumer using unsafe appliances

It also covers broader installation problems, such as cases where someone had a new smart meter installed but couldn’t use it - for example because they weren’t shown how.