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Smart Energy GB response to BBC1 Watchdog report on smart meter safety

2nd May 2018

Sacha Deshmukh, Chief Executive of Smart Energy GB said:

“This BBC Watchdog programme (2nd May, 2018) paints a misleading picture of smart meters and safety.

“Contrary to the impression given by the programme, the rollout of smart meters is making Britain’s homes safer. It’s the first time we’ve had a nationwide programme checking the safety of the gas and electricity in all our homes.

“In 2017 alone, smart meter installers flagged up more than 270,000 pre-existing safety issues such as dangerous wiring and fuse boxes, or even faulty boilers. Many of these faults were potentially life-threatening and would not have been picked up if not for smart meter installers.

"For the first time the installation of meters is being robustly monitored to ensure that issues are resolved quickly and lessons learned. This has led to 366 gas incidents and 64 electrical safety issues being investigated by the Health and Safety Executive in 2017. It is important that these figures are put into perspective, there is a very low level of safety incidents on the smart meter rollout – there were 4.75 million smart meters installed in 2017. Whilst any safety incident is one too many, it is absolutely right that these issues are identified and lessons learned and acted upon.

“Watchdog’s claim that the rollout deadline is leading to safety issues is not matched by the evidence. On average, installers are only fitting meters in two to three homes a day, which is a safe and reasonable pace.

“Smart meter installers are trained to a very high standard before they are ready to fit smart meters. They receive mentoring and face regular spot checks on the job to ensure safety standards are being met. If an installer fails to meet the safety standards they are taken out of service and have to undergo compulsory retraining.

"People shouldn’t be misled into thinking that upgrading their energy meters to smart meters could put their home at risk, which would see them miss out on the free safety checks installers deliver and the benefits of having smart meters in your home."