Millions of people may be mis-sold gas and electricity when smart-meter technology is rolled out across the country, the consumer group Which? has warned.
The Government-sanctioned plan will see up to 53 million old gas and electricity meters swapped for devices that calculate and display for customers the amount and cost of energy being used.
Which? says it is concerned that the big six energy firms that dominate the market are preparing to use the nationwide installation programme as a way to sell expensive gadgets and get customers to sign up to different and potentially costly tariffs: “It would be very wrong if energy companies used the installation of smart meters as a way to get a foot in the door for their salespeople. Most consumers wouldn’t want an energy salesperson calling on the phone or at the door, never mind being allowed into their home for an hour or more while an installation takes place,” Jenny Driscoll, head of campaigns at Which?, said.
The consumer group is calling for the big six energy suppliers – which between them control more than 90 per cent of the energy supplied to homes – to sign up to a “don’t sell, just install” code. In February, Ofgem launched an investigation into mis-selling and set up a hotline for consumers to report unscrupulous sales tactics used by their supplier.