A few months ago, we switched to British Gas’s EnergySmart programme, as it would supposedly save some money and it came with a smart electricity monitor. There’s been talk of “Smart Meters” in the media, they will report your electricity and gas usage directly, saving everyone a load of hassle. Unfortunately, this is not what a smart electricity monitor is, all they do is sit in your house and display how much electricity you’re using at the time. No reporting at all in fact. It turns out, each month we are supposed to go into the dark cupboard full of meters and read our usage ourselves, then report back to British Gas manually. If we don’t do this, they will estimate how much to charge us.
Now in the past, we were on a fixed monthly payment which was checked periodically by a meter-reading man. That seemed to be going well, our usage was pretty similar to the monthly consumption that they would expect for a flat of this size and it was all fine and dandy. In fact, going back through the records our electricity use has been a dead-straight line for the last 12 months, with an R-squared value of 0.999 (the closer to 1, the nearer the points are to a perfectly straight line). So if they had to make an estimated reading now, you might expect that they would use the figures from before to decide how much to charge us. Oh no no no.
Their estimated meter reading for December was exactly the same as the number we had provided in November. January? Same as November. February? You can guess. So having just gone and checked my accounts, it turns out that we haven’t been billed for any electricity use since the autumn and there’s a monster bill on the way soon. Fun times.