Dad ‘so scared’ after smart meter showed £38,000 energy bill

Smart Meters: Dominic Littlewood offers advice to reduce bills

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Thousands took to social media to share their concerns after waking up over the weekend to see their in-home smart meter display showing staggering bills. Father-of-two Grant woke up on Sunday morning to see a bill of £38,517.03 displayed on his device which “shocked him to the core”. He said: “Honestly, I genuinely thought I dreaming for a few minutes and I gave it a shake because I thought it didn’t look right but it didn’t move and then I almost started to panic.”

“I shouted to my wife who was upstairs but I started turning off all the lights as I ran up to her. I must’ve been in shock or something and my immediate reaction was, ‘I’ve got to get these lights off!’”

After rebooting his smart meter device several times he still could only see the “skyrocketed” bill. He decided to contact his energy provider SSE on Twitter, which was acquired by OVO Energy in 2020, to try and find an answer.

His tweet said: “@SSE seriously SSE what is going on with my smart meter. I normally spend about £5 a day on electricity. I’ve rebooted the smart meter device but it still reads the same.

“I am seriously worried!”

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Others replied to Grant’s tweet, reporting similar experiences to him.

One Twitter user @rampantgamer tweeted Grant, stating “you are not alone” with an image of their display device showing a figure of £39,496.

Another user, @biggeezauk also shared an image of their device which showed a bill of £4,250.94 for his usage the day before.

Grant explained how he was overcome with relief after finding out he was not the only person experiencing the glitch.

Grant said: “For a while, I genuinely believed I had somehow spent over £33,000 in one day on energy. I had been in the house all day and I was racking my brain trying to figure out if I accidentally put the heating on or if I had sat with every light on we had in the house.

“When I saw it wasn’t just me, my heart rate did slow down definitely!”

In response to reports of the glitch, SSE tweeted stating that it has been made aware of the issue and confirmed that the consumption figures were “incorrect”.

It said: “Please don’t worry as we’re aware of the situation and are working on a fix.”

During the glitch, an OVO Energy spokesperson told “We’re aware of a fault on a small number of our In Home Display that’s causing them to show incorrect costs.

“We communicated with impacted customers ahead of the error and confirmed that this impacts the display only, not the actual meter, meter readings or energy bills. Customers do not need to do anything at this time as a fix will take place within 24 hours.”

Several energy companies also experienced the glitch with Scottish Power, Eon and Octopus admitting that there were some issues with the smart prepayment meter displays on October 1.

Several companies had to release statements in order to reassure people.

Through its app, Scottish Power said: “We’re sorry we are currently experiencing technical difficulties which are impacting how we display the energy consumption information in your account so we have temporarily switched it off.”

Grant explained that the “fear” which has built around the cost of energy bill prices over the last few months made the glitch feel “really believable”.

He said: “With everything on the news and all the warnings we have had this year, of course, I believed it, at that moment I didn’t really have the confidence to say that’s wrong because I just didn’t know.”

Grant had decided to get a smart meter last year as a way of being able to keep an eye on his usage and up until now, he has never had an issue with it.

He said: “It’s been fine really, I’ve always been a little rigid when it comes to spending money and I really wanted to make sure we were not going rogue and wasting money here and there, especially on things which we didn’t need to spend on.

“Yes, I am the, ‘It’s like Blackpool illuminations in here’ dad when I walk into a room with too many lights on for sure. I am always telling my kids to turn off the bathroom light when they’ve left and I’ve definitely gotten worse over the last few months.”

Over the last few months, he said the smart meter had been “beneficial” as he felt that it has really helped him keep an eye on his bills and try and cut them down where he can.

Grant’s smart meter did return to normal the next day and he did “breathe a sigh of relief” however he is still worried about the winter months. He believes, “thankfully”, he will be able to manage.

He said: “I don’t expect to receive a bill of £38,000 over Christmas, well I hope not anyway.”

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