It comes as no surprise that a number of big energy firms are starting to really push hard on the Smart Meter ‘gas’ pedal.  Advertising campaigns online and offline, integrated social media/direct mail campaigns, etc. are all trying to sell us on the spurious and totally unsubstantiated ‘benefits’ of placing our utility supplies on the web.

Despite the big marketing budgets, however, it seems as though the rhetoric just isn’t ‘washing’ – and this is consequently encouraging some companies to occupy the moral low ground and lie to customers about their rights and obligations.  One company in particular has, on multiple occasions, grossly mislead/lied to people about their rights in regard to Smart Meters and what the Government’s position is on it, too.

So we feel that it is an appropriate time to have a quick recap on what we have by way of some fundamental, non-negotiable rights.

What the UK Government says about our rights

Hansard, 29 November 2011, reflected the statement by Charles Hendry MP (former Energy minister) that whilst Energy suppliers will need to take “all reasonable steps to install smart meters for all domestic and smaller non-domestic customers by 2019” – they:

“do not expect suppliers to seek an entry warrant simply to fit a smart meter and it will not be an offence for householders to refuse to accept a smart meter”.

An article from The Register in February of this year (http://reg.cx/1TX7) quoted Hendry as saying the following:

“We believe that people will benefit from having smart meters, but we will not make them obligatory. If people are concerned about the electromagnetic issues, they will not be required to have one. We have been willing to give assurances to Hon Members on that account.”

And David Cameron’s Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change, Edward Davey MP, issued a public response to our DontSmartMeter.me campaign in which he stated the following:

“We believe smart meters will bring important benefits to consumers… However, there will not be a legal obligation on individuals to have one.”

And here is what the Electricity Act, 1989, says about your provider’s Duty to Connect on Request: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1989/29/section/16
Here is what prominent consumer magazine Which? says about your rights:  http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/problem/do-i-have-to-accept-a-smart-meter/
What some energy firms are saying about our rights

Some of the comments we have heard from customer service reps from at least one Big Energy firm include the following:

“There’s a new law now in place forcing people to have a Smart Meter”
“You will be forced to have a Smart Meter”
“There is a Government mandate forcing everyone to have a Smart Meter by 2019”
“There is a law coming into place in 2019 that will force you to have a Smart Meter”
“Smart Meters don’t emit microwaves”
“Smart Meters do emit microwaves, but less than mobile phones”

These statements are false.  Don’t be surprised if they try them out on you.

What we say about our rights

Quite simply, there is no law or legislation forcing anyone to have a Smart Meter; for our physiology and sense of well-being to be impacted, for our utility supplies to be placed onto the web, for our personal safety and security to be put at risk, for our privacy to be violated, or for our personal behaviour at home to be analysed, profiled and monetised.

Each and every one of us has indefeasible rights that cannot be given to us by another human being nor lawfully taken away from us.  We are living, breathing, human souls and we can damn well refuse a Smart Meter on whatever grounds we like.  Big Energy may try to tell us otherwise, and in the process perpetrate a fraudulent misrepresentation and distortion of reality.   Just remember that these companies provide us with a service and they are not in charge – you are!

Footnote

If you are currently in “discussion” with an energy/utility supplier who can’t understand why you’re not buying their expensive flannel, please get in touch with us with your story/situation.   Whilst nearly 400 people have issued Notices of Non-Consent & Liability via our www.DontSmartMeter.me campaign to date (generating over 28,000 emails!) many people have taken even more direct action by contacting their power/water companies directly.  We applaud this kind of action and it is very much necessary.  If you want to get in touch to let us know how you are doing, email us at info [at] stopsmartmeters [dot] org [dot] uk info@stopsmartmeters.org.uk

Source: http://stopsmartmeters.org.uk/