Serious concerns over smart meter accuracy

Given the massive hikes in prices recently, we decided to take a closer look at our consumption over the past few years. We have looked at consumption from a KWh perspective and not cost.

Here’s what we found:

  • There was a huge hike in apparent consumption when the smart meter was installed (by a previous company). This can be clearly seen an be seen by different meter serial numbers.
  • Our neighbour who is in the same size house with similar living “habits” only uses 7000KWH pa. We also used to have a similar figure 3/4 years ago.
  • We have no electric heating so there is no variable usage other than washing machine, tumble drier and dishwasher (same as neighbour). The cooker and microwave are used in very small doses.
    *In the last three years we have turned off the spa which was on 24x7 and changed all bulbs to LED.
  • Our own estimates based on our own meter and analysis shows an expected yearly consumption of approximately 9000KWh at worst. Bulb are predicting 13900KWh and have hiked our DD by over £100 per month!!
  • Our local electrician suggests that there could be a calibration error with the meter.

I have looked into getting the meter checked but Bulb want £120 for the priviledge which is only refundable if they find a problem. All I want to do is see whether it’s working properly before going deeper into the household stuff.

Has anyone challenged over-reading and got a result?


Overreading is hard to prove and very rare but what you’re experiencing is odd. That’s high usage. One of the benefits of the smart meter is you can see real time usage so have you looked at your IHD and checked how many KW are being used and then turning off appliances one by one and comparing it? Sorry if this seems obvious or patronising. Hope you get the issue sorted - can the electrician help you get to the bottom of it?

bare in mind if you have worked from home more, another thing is you can get electrian to clamp wire and get actual usage and then see what you IHD is using and check your meter reading alot, ive been fully in control for years since its almost doubled people are now looking more. Good luck with it. as a form hot tub owner, i think your feeling the difference between then and now unit cost. elec bakc then was under 10p now over 20p per unit. in affect doubling bills winter. gas used a couple of hours a day atm, and noticing the increase from last year straight away, lets hope its a mild winter.

Hi @pdes

Welcome to community :wave:

And thanks @durdledoor and @richard.evans.home60 for your posts.

Your yearly usage forecasts are produced by the industry and are based on historical consumption on the property as well as seasonal trends.

Just looking over your account history I would say that these look accurate, and since your meters are smart we have a lot of data on your usage. However I do appreciate you may have concerns about this due to the recent price rises.

It is very rare that meters record usage incorrectly (93% of meters submitted for accuracy testing are found to be operating within statutory limits) and we would need the accuracy test to be done to confirm if the meters are faulty and to what degree if so.

If you wanted to check the meter yourself before pursuing a accuracy test you could complete a burns test;

  • Take a picture of your meter reading
  • Turn off all electricity in your property at the fuse box.
  • Wait 30-60 minutes and take another photo of your meter

If the meter reading has moved in that time it could be an indicator that it had started to over record.

Alternatively, if you wanted to look into your usage in more detail/ see what appliances are causing high usage, I would recommend getting a trace test done by an electrician.

Let me know if you have any queries about either of these processes, or if you would like to go ahead with an accuracy test.

Ele :bulb:

Thanks for the reply. We are planning an “all-off” test to see where the power is going.

Thanks. We have been retired for 5 years so our consumption habits haven’t changed in that time. However, we have turned the spa off for the past 4 years. It was an older spa and the consumption at that time was costing us £100 per month. Since we turned it off, our apparent consumption has gone up!!


Thanks Ele. I understand your comments in that the bills have been consistent since we have been with Bulb but looking further back, the hike in such a short space of time and given that we gave up using the spa around the same time, we find this inexplicable. I also pointed out the fact that our neighbour has a similar house and lifestyle with half the electricity bill!
However, I take on board your suggestions (and those of @durdldore and @richard.evans.home60) regarding further tests (I also have a clamp meter!) and will report back.