Energy firm Eon has been forced to apologise to customers after wrongly claiming that electric meters installed in their homes were not safe and should be replaced with a smart meter.
The German utility giant says it is ‘sorry’ for the alarm its letter has caused and is writing to customers to reassure them their existing meter is actually safe. It is believed thousands of households are being contacted. Eon’s letter was to the point.
It said: ‘Your electric meter is no longer safe – we need to replace it with a new one. (It’s free!)’.
Apology: Eon says it is ‘sorry’ for the alarm its letter has caused and is writing to customers to reassure them their existing meter is actually safe
Disingenuously, it did not refer to the replacement being a smart meter – only that Eon would install a replacement ‘shiny new meter’ which would send it ‘readings automatically’.
Qualified electrician Mike Redfern-Jones, from Denbigh in North Wales, has 40 years’ experience of wiring homes and installing energy meters.
The 59-year-old says: ‘Never in all my years have I ever come across a traditional electric meter needing to be replaced on safety grounds.’
He says energy suppliers such as Eon are constantly using ‘bullyboy tactics’ to scare customers into taking out a smart meter. ‘Why can’t they just be honest?’ he says.
‘No one has to have a smart meter fitted and they do not save you any money – it is only changing energy usage habits that can do this.’
Barbs Sharpe, from Buckingham in Buckinghamshire, is among those who received the Eon letter. The 74- year-old says: ‘I was incensed that Eon thought it could bully an elderly lady like me into getting a new meter against my wishes. No thank you. I do not want it monitoring my energy use.’
So far, just over half of all 29million homes in the UK have signed up to a smart meter. The roll-out of smart meters has been extended to 2025 as many households don’t want one. The £11billion project is being funded by customers through higher bills.
On Friday, Eon told the MoS: ‘We sent letters to a number of customers. The language wrongly led them to believe meters were no longer safe. We are sorry for any unnecessary alarm and are contacting customers to reassure them about the safety of their meter.’
- Have you received a letter bullying you into taking out a smart meter? Email: toby.walne@ mailonsunday.co.uk