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E.On’s Con Trick To Persuade Customers To Get Smart Meters

September 22, 2017

By Paul Homewood


The latest con trick to get us all on to smart meters:



One of the UK’s biggest energy firms will for the first time offer cheaper deals to customers if they agree to have a smart meter installed.

The move by E.on, which has nearly 5 million customers, the vast majority of which do not yet have a smart meter, is being described as a "ploy" to get more people to accept the new-style meters.

From next year E.On customers with smart meters will no longer pay its so-called "standard variable tariff", which is the default option they are moved onto when they have finished a fixed deal.

SVTs are notoriously poor value with the Government preparing to impose a cap to stop consumers’s bills spiraling out of control.

E.On will replace its SVT with a one-year fixed deal which it promises will be a cheaper option. A spokesman refused to reveal how competitive the rate would be.

The controversial move will draw criticism both from customers – many of whom doubt the new technology – and consumer groups, who argue that lower tariffs should be unconditional.

It comes as the Government’s smart meter roll-out is in chaos as a number of Big Six energy firms have admitted that more than half of households are not accepting them.

Only 750,000 of E.On’s 4.6 million customers currently have one, a rate of just 16pc, however the rate could rise if consumers find they can slash their bills by getting a smart meter.


E.On are still working on the detail, but drawbacks are plain to see.

Although customers will not automatically be transferred to expensive standard tariffs, they will instead be put on to one-year fixed deals.

Even though the latter may be cheaper, it is not clear that customers will actually benefit. As the deal is fixed, they will be stuck for a year on a deal that may still be a lot more expensive than alternative offers.

There is one further issue. If customers are so keen to monitor their electricity usage with smart meters, are they really then dopey enough to stay on standard tariffs when their deals are up?

This desperate behaviour from E.On is an indication of how poor the uptake of smart meters has been so far.

  1. A C Osborn permalink
    September 22, 2017 1:21 pm

    I have turned down the request to have a smart meter fitted about once every month for the last year.
    I do not believe in the direction they want to go and I don’t believe in having people (Meter Readers) on the dole being paid to do nothing by the Tax payer, instead of doing an actual job.
    That is why despite going to the shops 3 or 4 times a week and Supermarket milk being much cheaper I still pay a Milkman to deliver the milk.
    Colour me old fashioned.

    • Tim Hammond permalink
      September 22, 2017 3:16 pm

      Not old-fashioned, just making sure more people don’t have a job. Employment is maximised not by having people be inefficient, but by having people be the most efficient they can be. That means people get paid more and can then consume more. Which requires more people to be employed to make that more.

      You are indulging in the Lump of Labour fallacy.

      • A C Osborn permalink
        September 22, 2017 9:40 pm

        Putting someone on the Dole is not making them more efficient, it is just maximising profits.
        All I can say is I hope you are as pragmatic if you are made redundant by a machine or tech.

      • A C Osborn permalink
        September 22, 2017 9:48 pm

        Never heard of zero hours contracts then.
        People needing 2 or 3 jobs to make ends meet.
        You are also probably an advocate of a Thatcher trickle down economy as well.
        Anti Brexit and a believer in Climate Changes by any chance?
        What you said sounds really great in theory, shame about the practice.

    • Dung permalink
      September 22, 2017 3:18 pm

      The direction they want to go in is towards total control of our lives; goodbye freedom and they will have to send me to prison before I fit one of these.

    • dave permalink
      September 22, 2017 5:19 pm

      The wife says the milkman has been doing my job for years. Whatever can she mean?

    • Rowland H permalink
      September 23, 2017 8:58 am

      One could take a leaf out of India’s book re keeping people employed; they refuse point blank to allow driverless cars to be developed there as they reckon these would put loads of drivers out of work.

  2. It doesn't add up... permalink
    September 22, 2017 1:28 pm

    Isn’t it an attempt to tie customers because of lack of inter-operability of meters between suppliers? What capabilities are built into E.On’s meters for TOU charging and remote disconnection/demand management?

  3. Andrew permalink
    September 22, 2017 3:40 pm

    The lump of labour fallacy may end up being out of date. If the meter reader can retrain for a better or equivalent job then fine, but if we run out of enough quality jobs, then there is a limit to how many there are in ‘fast food’ and the like. And the pay? I’m with AC Osborn!

  4. September 22, 2017 3:47 pm

    Who wants a pig in a poke?

    Bath team claims smart meters are fundamentally flawed
    18th September 2017

    • September 22, 2017 8:19 pm

      Seems it’s not really a Smart ELECTRIC meter,
      Look how they only talk about saving gas not electric.
      “The In-Building-Interactive-Tool (iBert) should be compared with smart thermostats, tado, British Gas’ Hive, and Google’s Nest Learning Thermostat.”

  5. Sean permalink
    September 22, 2017 6:02 pm

    With intermittent power, wholesale prices of electricity vary tremendously and the power companies want to pass this variation on to its customers. This is all about time of use pricing to charge for those fluctuations. My guess it will quickly morph into “time of abuse” charges. Think about it, rather than power companies manipulating supply to what the customer demands, the power company is demanding customers manipulate consumption to compensate variability of supply. Who in their right mind would have thought of this as progress a few years ago?

  6. Thomas Donoghue permalink
    September 22, 2017 7:22 pm

    Smart meters are a ‘spy in the home
    It will tell energy firms what sort of appliances are being used, The government wants every home in Britain to have smart meters, which give users information on how energy is used and sends data direct to utility companies. Information from smart meters could also make it possible for a supplier to determine when electricity or gas is being used in a property and to a degree, the types of technology that were being used within the property. They can reveal when a homeowner is away from their residence, activities a customer is engaged in, such as watching TV, using a computer or even how long someone spends cooking. Such information could reveal personal details about the lives of consumers, such as their daily schedules (including times when they are at or away from home or asleep), whether their homes are equipped with alarm systems. Criminals may want to see the data to determine the best time for a burglary. Smart meters currently use wireless technology (mobile phone technology) in order to transmit information (ZigBee Network)

  7. September 22, 2017 8:11 pm

    Since many homes can’t have smart meters
    ( eg cos no mobile signal available in the basement where the connection is)
    then the Low Price offer is not available to them.
    So is that form of discrimination legal ?

  8. September 22, 2017 10:08 pm

    A fews days ago in WUWT

  9. Geoff Sherrington permalink
    September 23, 2017 2:01 am

    In Victoria Australia a few years ago, smart meters were ordained to be compulsory but that was a govt bluff. I objected and still have no smart meter. All I have is a few hundred dollars as my contribution to the program, added surreptiously to my past power bills – and absolutely no benefit at all for the stealing of my money. It looks as if a small number of well connected financial smarties made a killing while the whole community had no benefit except a new piece of meter decoration on a distant wall.
    One day there should be a criminal inquiry. But there have been so many deals like this that people are getting weary of protest.
    I cannot understand the mentality of bureaucrats who plan and execute such schemes. They say they get no kick backs, but then what motivates them? Boredom? Geoff

    • A C Osborn permalink
      September 23, 2017 11:38 am

      Geoff, just look at where they get their job after they are no longer bureaucrats, they may not get kick backs, but kick forwards.
      Some have jobs with those companies while still bureaucrats, which is supposedely against the rules LOL.

  10. Gerry, England permalink
    September 23, 2017 12:22 pm

    I have got one of those devices pictured. I don’t have a ‘smart’ meter though. It is the reader that was given out free to Eon customers that connects to a wireless transmitter that sends the reading from a current transformer on your live feed. The reader came with software that shows your usage over time providing you remember to download it regularly. Since I moved it is in a box…….somewhere. Novelty wore off and forgot to download.

  11. Leonard permalink
    September 23, 2017 5:10 pm

    I can’t speak for others but in the US smart meters have saved me a lot of money. In Colorado which is Winter peaking, I shifted my heavy uses (heat,water heat, and hot tub) to off peak which was $.045 per KWH (compared to $.125 normal). After I moved to Texas I was able to shop around and get a $.075 per KWH (delivered) compared to $.11 average from other suppliers. The Texas PUC website publishes the rate from all suppliers and shows separate energy and delivery charges.

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