Smart meter warning as Britons face rise in direct debit payments due to ‘inaccurate’ readings
A number of ‘inaccurate’ readings are expected to lead to higher smart meter charges in the near future, it is feared. Inflation is already at 7%, and this figure is expected to increase further in the coming days.
In April, we saw the energy price cap increase by 54%, causing bills for millions of customers to rise dramatically. Now an expert has warned that ‘inaccurate’ readings from smart meters installed in homes could soon cause another jump.
Anita Dougall explained that the energy industry currently suffers from a “lack of data maturity”, which is an obstacle to transparent and fair tariffs. When asked why consumers were exposed to unreasonably inflated direct debits, Ms Dougall told the Express: “There are many factors at play, but lack of visibility is a significant problem that is often due a lack of data maturity in the energy sector. “
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She added: “Many providers define direct debits based on decisions made about groups of people and averages, rather than the individual customer and their actual consumption, which leads to inaccuracies.”
The expert, who is the CEO and co-founder of data company Sagacity, explained that “without an integrated view of customer data, providers cannot personalize direct debits.” And she added: “That means most customers either overpay or underpay.”
Elaborating on the situation that prevents many vulnerable customers from paying their bills, she spoke of “data silos”.
She added: “Having a smart meter can help customers avoid astronomical bills because they have continuous visibility into their consumption.
“When suppliers don’t have recent meter readings, they make decisions based on estimates, which are often higher than actual consumption, especially if you’ve made an effort to reduce your energy consumption.
“This can cause people to receive larger bills than expected.
“By giving your supplier as much data as possible about your consumption, you allow them to provide you with accurate bills in a much more realistic way, keeping direct debits realistic as we face the next increase in the price cap of the energy looming on the horizon.”