Very high anxiety since meter change

Not happy… our meter required changing and we opted for a non smart meter thinking it would negate some concerns… Not a bit of it… First the Siemens engineer turns up to start the work. I asked him to confirm it was NOT a smart meter… he said ‘you won’t get a display but you won’t have to send in your readings’. I said, ‘So it IS a smart meter then’… He didn’t say anything.

I said I’d phone Bulb and ask why Siemens had turned up to fit a smart meter. He said he’d look in the van.

After fitting it i had to sign something he was going to leave but i asked to see the meter. I asked why is it flashing between 0000 and 5918? He said he’d sent the readings to our supplier and left.

Sure enough it is still flashing and gone up a few digits… The card he left stated our old meter digit correctly but he put down 0000 for the new one. I think he’s fitted an old one with someone else’s reading stored in it… (it does not look new but it scruffy)

That means we have suddenly used 5922 units in 20 hours. I sent these details to Bulb but it has caused us a lot of anxiety… My wife is in bits :frowning:

a lousy start to the week… wished i had never agreed to anything with Bulb.

Just looked at the photo i took of the ‘old’ meter that was fitted yesterday and it has

Certified Feb 2015 printed at the top left corner of the meter… i reckon the engineer just fitted an old device… leaving us to sort the ‘problem’ out when the reading is required.

Anyone else had a new meter fitted… do they all start at 0000 digits?

Any help or experiences of new meters being fitted is appreciated.

If I’m barking up the wrong tree, unnecessarily, I’d like to know.


Can’t speak for all meters, but mine did start on 0000.

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Hi I had my “ new “ meter fitted today …engineer turned up with a smart meter when I’d stated numerous times I didn’t want one. He found another one on his van and fitted that … it was a previous customers meter and is about 10 years old according to my brother who is a meter reader …it is a day / night one like I had before but I didn’t want that again as I no longer need the E7 rate …this also had numbers already on it so I’m just waiting for all this to go wrong

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Thanks for replying…

I wonder if they get a commission for imposing a smart meter or talking you round? I don’t see why they would put up obstacles otherwise?

I sent photos of both the units and of the Green Card he had tucked away in the meter cabinet. He had put the newly fitted meter reading down as 0000.!!! He could always claim it was a mistake but Why didn’t explain the higher number it was flashing… He just wanted to leave.

I feel a fool for not demanding an answer there and then. :frowning:

To be fair the engineer I had today was really helpful and rang Bulb straight away and explained the situation. As you say though why are they trying to impose the smart meters ? If I hadn’t asked the engineer he would’ve fitted it and I’d have been stuck with it …Dreading putting the meter readings in next time as I know there’s going to be endless hassle

It may be something you don’t feel comfortable doing yourself… But as a suggestion; could you (or a friend who knows how to) take photos of your current meter and reading as it is right now… and email them to Bulb so that ‘IF’ you need to prove the current status, later on, you can.

It’s a hassle but may help further down the line.

My wife hates change and these things just add to her anxiety levels. Still waiting for a response to my email to Bulb.

I know they can’t drop everything for one person but waiting is not always easy.

The most likely reason is as you’ve discovered, they just don’t have many/any traditional meters left which is why it looks like you’ve ended up with a “used” one. Whilst you do have the choice to accept or reject a smart meter being fitted, ultimately when no manufacturer makes anything other than smart meters any more your choice will have to come down to accepting the smart meter or removing the electrical supply to your property.

Like it or not I suspect that time is already here and no one makes non-smart meters any more because there’s no point. You can exercise your consumer choice and demand Ford supply you with a Sierra but when all they make is a Mondeo it wont get you anywhere.

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I don’t think any reasonable person would demand that Ford build an old Sierra for a few in 2019.

BUT, to use your analogy; whilst Ford are offering a choice… don’t make the customer turn up for his Sierra and impose on him something else and hope he doesn’t notice.

Treat him like a senile idiot?

Absolutely. But if the choice is accept the vehicle that Ford are making, or don’t have a car at all, what do you do then? We’re simply at the point where the car dealers don’t quite know how many of the old model are left in stock, so you might get one, you might not.


I understand what you are saying and yes your are right. You can’t have what is not there.

It is simple… when there is no ‘choice’ there is no choice. BUT at present, it would seem there is.

However I am not in a position to know what the ‘stock’ left is. Bulb, or any other utility supplier is. So when they said in their email… we need to change your meter but you don’t have to to have a smart meter, it would be reasonable to presume that they ‘have one’.

I took an option that was there. Bulb said it exists.

But this is not the point of my post… I have been in the service industry for most of my life. i know that parts can be taken off one site and re-used on others. Who is to say a smart meter cannot be re-used. If it worked ok… Do I care? No

What I would expect is that the engineer would write on the record card, that he left on site, what the ‘actual’ reading/use of the item was in reality… not put 0000 (unused/new) if it wasn’t and leave the customer with a problem he has to sort out later. If he did tell Bulb the proper reading, then why put 0000 on the card. To placate me, make me feel good thinking it was new?

This isn’t a smart vs dumb meter, post.


As I never got a reply to my email (well… not a quick one) I phoned Bulb directly just now and told them the story.

The engineer (descriptive word withheld) did not give Bulb the proper reading; He told them it was 0000!!!. Fortunately they had my emailed photos to look up and now have the actual starting point (5918) for future readings. They have updated their records and we will not get a massive bill in the future.

If anyone has this problem in the future please do something immediately, don’t rely on your memory or what the engineer/fitter tells you. Write it down or take photos that you can see clearly what the digits read out.

Send them straightaway to Bulb.


I’m glad you’ve got a good result. I think your advice applies in many fields. When my previous supplier changed my meters, I did exactly what you’ve said. I took photos of the old meters at the time they were disconnected, and also photos of the new meters immediately after they were commissioned. That way I had proof of the closing and opening readings should anything go wrong, and I am naturally pessimistic!

I don’t want to worry you further, but is the meter still alternating between two readings? Could this new meter in fact be a two rate meter? If it is still showing two readings, is one of the readings still 0000? i.e. hopefully it hasn’t incrementing at all since it was installed.

I think it’s still worth keeping an eye on this.

Ironically you wouldn’t have had this problem if you’d just accepted the brand new smart meter. Admittedly you’d probably have a whole bunch of other problems instead but still …

Interestingly my old meters were sealed up securely in barcode-tagged bags when they were taken away. They couldn’t have just been used again at some other property. I wonder why the technician happened to have a used “one on the van”.

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you are determined to make me feel bad for opting for something i was offered … despite your saying
quote: Admittedly you’d probably have a whole bunch of other problems instead but still …


No it would not have necessarily been better to have had a smart meter. I just learned my neighbour had a smart meter fitted last month (he is renting and had no choice) and it was not zero either… There do not seem to be any guarantees. I don’t know if he has had the same problem as me with the reported figure…(he is not the landlord) but the unit is obviously not new.

I told Bulb it is still flashing between 0000 and the current reading… which is going up incrementally. They had no other advice to have anyone come round and change it again.

I accept that you seem to like smart meters…but it has not been plain sailing for everyone… look at the other posts here. :unamused: The technology is not mature enough for me presently. Smart meter vs1 was a disaster for many.

I’m glad you LOLed, because that comment was tongue-in-cheek.

Yes, it looks like you now have a two-rate Economy 7 meter. Quite why you’ve ended up with that is anyone’s guess. Bit of a fiasco all round really. What was the original reason for the meter swap? Was it faulty?

the change was purely the age of the meter (mechanical)

Yes i was smiling after my comment… an emoji may have been better :slightly_smiling_face:

ps. You know this is an economy 7 meter. or is this a guess? (no offence meant here at all) If I need to go back to Bulb about this I will… whatever the repercussions.


I don’t know anything for sure. But if it is showing two different readings, and both are incrementing, then on the balance of probabilities it’s a two-rate E7 meter.

If you can, perhaps look to see if one increments during the day and the other over night. For example, during the day take two readings one hour apart and see what has changed. Then do it again maybe around midnight, which should be well into whatever time the night rate starts on that meter. Most likely you’ll find one is the day rate and one is the night rate. If they’re both incrementing at the same time then I’ve no idea what’s going on.

only one is incrementing… it still flashes between 0000 and the other (5933 now)

should i still complain do you think?

Ok, I misunderstood earlier I thought you said they were both incrementing. Providing the one at zero is staying at zero, then I guess there’s no problem. Now they have the correct starting reading you should be fine.

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Luckily enough I took photos of the new meter readings and so did the engineer , he actually suggested it . So now will wait to see how this progresses when I’m due to put my next readings in. Can foresee problems here though