By John Brindley - Staff Author
I was almost thinking of changing my employment from market researcher and writer to ‘smart meter denier’.
Honestly, this week it was beginning to feel like a full-time job.
Call me stupid but I want to keep the radiation in my home as low as possible. Like most I’ve succumbed to Wi-Fi, which is becoming increasingly difficult to live without, but Internet-connected meters to monitor your gas and electricity? That’s something I can happily live without.
I am also concerned about how smart devices could work together. We are already monitored to such an extent we can barely avoid advertisements for products that match our interests and buying habits, so why create another potential revenue stream for the money-mad corporations?
Above all that, there’s a nagging feeling that smart meters just aren’t safe. That in 20 years we will be told they weren’t such a good idea after all.
Anyway, here’s my smart meter story to date. The trials of a denier coming under ever-increasing pressure.
A few months ago, the subject of smart meters regularly cropped up when conducting my market research.
The diatribe consisted of a series of questions that were more like statements.
These were, in truth, merely reminding the responder of the claims made of smart meters.
They save you money, more convenient, free to install, instant information about your gas and electricity usage etc etc. Yawn, yawn.
Then one key question right at the end when they’d almost lost the will to live.
‘Do you have any concerns about smart meters?’ Ah, the only relevant issue slipped in after all the marketing. Almost everyone answered ‘no’. Not surprising as we are only being sold the so-called positives.
After the survey work came a stream of horrendous radio advertisements.
They told us staff were working in our area, so just get in touch for your wonderful, free gift. Who needs Father Christmas when you can get the best technology literally thrown at you? Yeah, right…
Since then, more direct marketing has been coming my way.
Emails, texts, phone calls, all with the same message. They’re just longing to come to my house to do me a great favour.
Obviously I ignored the emails and texts but took the odd call.
“Please take me off your list, I don’t want a smart meter. “Yes, sir, that’s fine, I’ll do that for you.”
Meanwhile more and more information is being made public Now it appears smart meters don’t save us very much money after all – if at all. So why are they so keen to force us to have them?
I got the answer this week when attempts to snare me seriously went up a notch.
On Wednesday a representative from E.ON knocked on my door.
“Can I read your gas and electricity meters?” he asked, politely. “Yes, of course.”
“I’m also going to ask you whether you’d like a free smart meter fitted?” Alarm bells ring. Have I let the demon into my house?
“Actually I can save you some work there because I DEFINITELY do not want a smart meter!”
Wait for the reaction and he was no demon at all.
Infact he understood pretty well where I was coming from and admitted his views were not very different.
Yes, I was right, smart meters don’t save customers much money, he went on, but they do save the energy companies a lot of cash, not just in reduced meter readings. They can also order much more precisely the amount of energy they need rather than estimating. That all makes good sense.
Tell them you don’t want a smart meter and they will knock you off the list for two months, he said, then they’ll be back on your case.
Nice chat. No smart meter. All well and good.
That was until today (Friday). A letter arrives from E.ON about forthcoming price increases of £100 a year.
As the gentleman told me, E.ON then had an obligation to mention I could switch either tariff or provider so this morning I’ve been on the phone.
Several money-saving options were offered, but all with one large elephant in the room. They were only applicable with smart meters included.
“No, thanks, I’d rather pay more!”
There’s an irony to this. I would have saved money by getting a smart meter after all but only because they were putting up my costs without one. Call that a self-fulfilling prophecy.
But, remarkably, there is a happy ending to this story.
Because whilst writing this article, I took a phone call from Scottish Power.
Almost instantly they offered me savings.
“But, “I said, knees-a-trembling. “Are smart meters included?” “Only if you want one,” came the answer.
This isn’t an advertisement from Scottish Power, so I will leave it at that.
But after all the agony, I’m finally experiencing the ecstasy of being a smart meter denier.
Cheaper bills and no smart meters! What isn’t there to like?
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