Top 7 Problems with Smart Meters

By 5 min read


One in three homes have problems with their smart meter

They won’t automatically save you money

The meter may not always connect to the internet


By June 2025, every home in the UK will have been offered the chance to get a smart meter.

This technological advance will help you to keep track of your energy usage, get more accurate readings, and understand why you pay what you do for energy.

These features may save you money, but all good things have their drawbacks – and smart meters are no different.

In a 2019 Uswitch survey, 31% of homes reported issues with their smart meter, so you should be prepared for certain problems.

And if you’re unsure about smart meters, don’t worry – there’s another way to cut costs. Just fill in this quick form, and see how much you could save by switching energy suppliers.

smart meter on a table

The top 7 problems

Smart displays can stop responding
The installation can take hours and leave you with no power
The whole machine can stop functioning
The meter may stop being smart after you switch provider
It won’t save you money or fight climate change by itself
Your machine may not connect to the internet
Smart meters can be confusing and anxiety-producing

Smart displays can stop responding

39% of people said their smart displays had simply stopped working in the aforementioned Uswitch survey.

This makes it practically impossible to use your smart meter.

In some cases, you’ll be able to use a connected app that can perform the same functions while you get the meter replaced.

But either way, it’s not ideal for four out of 10 people to suffer this fault. After all, if your smart device doesn’t work, it’s not very smart.

The installation can take hours and leave you with no power

Smart technology is relatively seamless, but when it comes to smart meters, they still need to be fitted by a professional.

This can take hours, during which time you’ll need to go without electricity.

It may be a minor inconvenience in the grand scheme of things, but it’s still a drag that such a small, advanced piece of hardware can turn your plans for a day upside down.

The whole machine can stop functioning

It’s bad enough when most of your electrical devices shut down, but when the machine which measures your energy usage refuses to work, it can cause a plethora of problems.

You’ll need to contact your energy company to let them know, then endure a period of time without a smart meter, and then deal with yet another installation.

This’ll mean carving out some time in your day to be home for an installation, and spending yet another couple of hours without electricity, all so you can get back to where you started.

The meter may stop being smart after you switch provider

Changing suppliers is one of the best ways to save money on your energy bills – but if it causes your meter to lose its smart abilities, the switch can feel like it wasn’t worth it.

And why would you bother getting a smart meter if it’s going to suddenly act like an old-fashioned meter?

This is another instance in which you’ll need to go through the rigmarole of getting a new smart meter, with all the kerfuffle that comes with getting installed and having the power off for hours.

It won’t save you money or fight climate change by itself

Smart meters can cut your energy bills, and in doing so help reduce your contribution to climate change, but they can’t do it by themselves.

You’ll still need to regularly check the meter’s data and adjust your usage accordingly, whether that’s by remembering to turn lights off in rooms you aren’t using, or by having shorter showers.

They’re smart, but they’re not going to win a Nobel Prize any time soon.

Your machine may not connect to the internet

Smart meters currently report your usage through mobile networks, which can be unreliable in certain areas, particularly if you live in a rural location.

This can lead to readings not being sent, which can lead to confusion over bills for both you and your energy company. 

Soon, all meters will be connected to a wireless network made specially for them –  and if you live in an area with an unreliable mobile network, you may want to wait until then.

Smart meters can be confusing and anxiety-producing

Meters can help you to track your energy usage – but constantly being aware of how much you’re spending has a downside, particularly for older people on a fixed income.

Some can feel anxiety as they watch the numbers tick up, fall into a panic, and turn off the lights and heating to save money.

This is exacerbated by some of the perplexing jargon on smart meters.

Most people aren’t familiar with the notion of kilowatt hours, for instance, and though devices will come with instruction manuals, this won’t always help.

A better solution may simply be for you to stay aware of your energy usage, and check energy comparison sites to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

Summary

By now, you’ll be aware of all the problems associated with buying a smart meter.

These shouldn’t necessarily put you off getting one, either now or in a couple of years when some of the kinks are worked out. They certainly still have plenty of advantages.

One of these is allowing you to save money by using your energy more prudently, though switching energy providers is an easier, typically more effective way to cut costs.

If you want to see how much you could save by changing suppliers, just fill in this form.

Josh Jackman Writer

Josh is The Eco Experts’ main man for home security, smart devices, and boilers. If it can make your life better and help the environment, he’s on it.