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Adverts for the Government’s smart meter roll out banned from claiming the devices are ‘free’

October 27, 2018

By Paul Homewood

A victory of sorts!



Adverts for the Government’s smart meter roll out have been wrongly claiming the meters are "free", advertising regulators have said.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal that the Advertising Standards Authority has told Smart Energy GB, the industry body which produces the adverts, to stop making the claim in TV, radio and print adverts.

The smart meter rollout was originally estimated to cost energy companies £11bn, equivalent to around £200 per household, with providers expected to pass on the costs to customers through higher bills.

But as the cost of the programme is spiraling energy firms have blamed smart meters as a reason for a string of controversial price hikes.

The ASA said that because people would be paying for smart meters indirectly through their bills they were not a "genuine free offer", meaning they should not be described as free. The case was resolved via a so-called "informal ruling", meaning Smart Energy GB avoided having the details of the case published on the ASA’s website.

  1. keith holland permalink
    October 27, 2018 12:09 pm

    I have to wonder about Allsop and Spenser. As so called intelligent people they would have known these meters were being paid for by consumers, so not free. Obviously they were just making money out of the outright lies coming from Smart Energy GB. And as for USwitch claiming these meters bring about energy efficiency and more accurate bills, that is another two lies. I send my meter readings in by email every month, and I know they are accurate.
    Ever since Ofcom let people like USwitch just put up the energy companies that give them a rake off, I also view them as a questionable company, along with a number of other comparison websites.

    • mikewaite permalink
      October 27, 2018 3:26 pm

      There will always be individuals and companies who seek to extract as much as they can from fellow citizens by any means permissible. There will always be media with managers who use their broadcasting power to push their own agendas. The purpose of regulatory bodies like Ofcom is supposed to be to, well, regulate any aberrant behaviour .
      However when it comes to the renewables industry and its allies in the media, most obviously the BBC, Ofcom is noticeably lax and rarely fully upholds well researched complaints from the public
      It raises suspicions that Ofcom itself has been infiltrated and now has its own fanatical Green agenda.
      A classic case of “quis custodiet…” perhaps. Not that any minister would have the courage to even think that, let alone conduct an investigation .
      However, one day, someone will.

  2. tomo permalink
    October 27, 2018 12:30 pm

    Tbere’s obviously a fat budget for “key talent” and flambuoyant advertising types to tap into – putting lipstick on a pig for £££££ will inevitably attract creative types. The dishonesty + lameness of the messaging can’t be disguised though – here’s hoping what should have been a trivial excercise not requiring gubbermint intervention crashes horribly.

  3. October 27, 2018 1:26 pm

    And with a “smart” meter we can turn off your energy any time you say something we don’t approve. So, watch your tongue and have a nice day.

    • Sheri permalink
      October 27, 2018 1:52 pm

      In California, the power companies have started turning off electricity to certain areas on “red flag” days—high winds, low humidity—so the lines cannot be blamed for starting fires. I’m not sure how many “smart meters” California has (they have some), but even with a regular meter, the power company can just shut off your power in an area.

      • John permalink
        October 27, 2018 5:35 pm

        What is the switching component in ‘regular’ meters?
        No controllable switch in them?

      • October 28, 2018 1:01 am

        John – the only switchable smart meters that I’m aware of are the pre-pay variety and even then I don’t know if two way control is available.

        Squaddies of the British Army are being used as guinea pigs for the planned tariff fun that they intend to inflict on the rest of us.

        £14 to power a microwave for three minutes,
        £45 to run a tumble dryer,
        £30 to heat a radiator
        £4.50 to power a laptop for an hour.

        With all the advertising the gits are buying – somebody’s got to pay for it….

        It was The Sun wot first ran the story as the rather unlikely “£38 to boil a kettle” – the intent is clear though – they are simply working on the detail of consumer reaction to the tariff.

      • October 29, 2018 12:02 pm

        That is to areas and not individual customers. When it becomes acceptable to use electricity as a bludgeon to force compliance of customers to political ideologies is the desired outcome for those who believe in tyranny. California has shown a penchant in that direction in recent times.

  4. October 27, 2018 1:55 pm

    Smart meter cost is £11bn and ‘spiralling’? Sounds grim.

  5. October 27, 2018 2:54 pm

    What a shame. I’ve been waiting for my supplier to offer me a free meter and I was going to ask him/her/it if I could have a hundred of them.

    • Dave Ward permalink
      October 27, 2018 6:32 pm

      Can I offer you mine instead? TWICE this year E.ON have tried it on with me, despite being told (in no uncertain terms) the first time not to call me again…

      • mikewaite permalink
        October 27, 2018 7:59 pm

        The latest scam from our supplier is to send the adverts for a smart meter in a brown envelope , such as used by HMRC, with “Govt directive ” in capital letters all over it to make it seem like a govt sponsored compulsory initiative.
        Pathetic , they must be really desperate.

  6. Sam Duncan permalink
    October 27, 2018 3:24 pm

    And not for claiming they save electricity?

  7. Robert Jones permalink
    October 27, 2018 4:16 pm

    Interestingly, I have yet to see any definition of the actual cost of a Smart Meter, it seems to fluctuate but always in one direction. Because its cost (£400-600?) on our bills will probably be spread out to make it look ‘manageable’, the energy companies will have to guess how long; too long and we will have moved to another supplier, too short and we won’t have paid enough but could pick up extra costs from the new supplier. I will be exercising my right not to have one, but the whole concept is a complete dog’s breakfast from start to finish, overseen by a complacent and ignorant Government meekly kowtowing to an even worse EU Commission.

  8. John permalink
    October 27, 2018 5:33 pm

    Smart Meters, another bit of ‘FakeNews’
    A few have worked out what is going on but when many do the balloon will go up.
    Another palliative in a failed and hopeless energy ‘policy’.

    So far I have avoided one but when will the commissars be sent to force one on me?

  9. Dave Ward permalink
    October 27, 2018 6:29 pm

    @ John October 27, 2018 5:35 pm

    “What is the switching component in ‘regular’ meters?”

    There isn’t one.

  10. John Cooknell permalink
    October 27, 2018 7:40 pm

    I had a smart meter, as part of the install they downgraded the cut out fuse from 80Amp to 60Amp, and reduced the size of the meter cable tails. They also removed the isolation switch that went with the old meter.

    In short, cheap, shoddy, technically inferior, obsolete before it was installed, and of no use to me or anyone else. Another government strategy that costs a lot but it is hard to find what the benefit is.

  11. In the Real World permalink
    October 27, 2018 8:13 pm
    Link to policy doc for future energy possibilities , [ Bit long & difficult to get through ].
    But it does say that part of the planning to meet the energy demand in the future , [ when electric cars will need more than twice the currant total generation capacity ] ,
    is to draw back up to 17 Gw from car batteries which are connected to chargers .
    Of course , this is only possible with smart meters .

    So part of the idea of smart meters & EVs is for the public to unknowingly pay for a battery back up for the grid .

    And if you go to drive off in your car & find the battery is flat , then tough s—t .

    • October 28, 2018 1:50 am

      In the Real World

      that’ll be a different type of “Smart Meter” to the ones they are presently trying to foist on us all then…

    • saighdear permalink
      October 29, 2018 11:33 pm

      Tuff Chit ? Ho!! you know what Bukllshit under the wheels will do. ? Bad enough wi’ Dokshit around the place – Aye man, it’s beginning tae smell !

  12. Keith permalink
    October 28, 2018 11:26 am

    Dont want one .what a complete waist of time and money.i can manage my bills by looking at the numbers on my gas meter and electric meter

  13. Gerry, England permalink
    October 28, 2018 4:17 pm

    I was reading another of these morons adverts this week that claims with a ‘Smart’ meter you would save money. That is another lie that they should be canned over.

  14. saighdear permalink
    October 29, 2018 11:30 pm

    Well, after all the TALK, I STILL DON’t KNOW what a Smart Meter is all about….. HOW, as in what manner, DOES it make me more efficient ?
    I have a Free “Wart” from a Previous power supplier – has to be close to the Meter – in one of our Outbuildings – 50m FROM the house – fat load of good THAT is!
    In a Previous House , we had “TOTAL CONTROL” heating – modern (then) version of the Economy 7; was TOTALLY OUT of CONTROL: Met Off releases forecast for frost that night so that the Power Supply Co can remotely INCREASE your Heating consumption / Power draw. WE ALSO turned up the Heater Banks for storage – the Outcome ? TOTAL RUNAWAY COSTS – AND…….. AND the Met Off. was WRONG in our area so we were sweltering. Resolved by presenting my historic Data – got a rebate + Old fashioned MECHANICAL CLOCK to regulate the Off-Peak. Now we’r cooking ! 🙂
    NOTE: If Wind generators are getting paid to “NOT SUPPLY” – why don’t we get to use the excess supply for free heating, using the smart meters. Now THAT would be something to talk about!

  15. November 2, 2018 9:21 pm

    OK Paul I added this to the our discussion thread about the ASA
    The thread has 2 pages

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