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Energy companies are charging households without a smart meter up to £150 more every year

Gas and electricity customers who refuse to have smart meters installed face energy bills of up to £150 extra a year.

Increasing numbers of suppliers now offer their cheapest tariffs only to customers who agree to have their home’s traditional meters replaced with the new technology.

Energy firms are under pressure from the Government to offer every household a smart meter by 2020, which show how much energy costs as it is used and sends readings wirelessly to the provider. 

Experts have accused firms of ‘blackmailing’ customers with cheap tariffs and discounts in order to meet smart meter targets [File photo]

Suppliers that fail to meet targets can be hit with huge fines. So far, 12million have been installed as part of an £11billion roll-out plan.

However, there are fears smart meters could be hacked and energy supplies abruptly cut off, or that providers will use them to hike the cost of power during peak times.

But earlier this year, energy firms were accused of bullying households into having a smart meter by bombarding them with calls and letters and failing to make it clear they are optional.

Gas and electricity customers who refuse to have smart meters installed face energy bills of up to £150 extra a year

Gas and electricity customers who refuse to have smart meters installed face energy bills of up to £150 extra a year

British Gas has a deal that requires customers to get a smart meter installed within three months. At £1,168 a year, its Home Energy Plus Boiler Cover December 2019 deal is the cheapest it offers, but without a smart meter, its next cheapest deal is £32 more [File photo]

British Gas has a deal that requires customers to get a smart meter installed within three months. At £1,168 a year, its Home Energy Plus Boiler Cover December 2019 deal is the cheapest it offers, but without a smart meter, its next cheapest deal is £32 more [File photo]

Now suppliers have resorted to using cheap deals to lure customers into getting a smart meter.

There are at least 20 tariffs on the market that require customers to agree to a smart meter, according to comparison site Energyhelpline.

EDF Energy has a smart meter-only tariff that will cost a typical household £97 less than its next best deal – and has buried the requirement to get one in the small print of its terms and conditions.

The country’s biggest energy supplier, British Gas, has a deal that requires customers to get a smart meter installed within three months or face being moved on to a more expensive tariff. 

At £1,168 a year, its Home Energy Plus Boiler Cover December 2019 deal is the cheapest it offers. Without a smart meter, its next cheapest deal is £32 more.

Lumo offers its gas and electricity customers a £150 discount if they agree to have a smart meter fitted.

Experts have accused firms of ‘blackmailing’ customers with cheap tariffs and discounts in order to meet smart meter targets.

Steve Playle, of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, said: ‘It smacks of customers being blackmailed into getting smart meters in order to get cheaper tariffs.

‘Suppliers could then bring in tariffs that charge people more during certain times of the day.’

Suppliers have resorted to using cheap deals to lure customers into getting a smart meter. There are at least 20 tariffs on the market that require customers to agree to a smart meter, according to comparison site Energyhelpline [File photo]

Suppliers have resorted to using cheap deals to lure customers into getting a smart meter. There are at least 20 tariffs on the market that require customers to agree to a smart meter, according to comparison site Energyhelpline [File photo]

Conservative MP Grant Shapps, who chairs the British Infrastructure Group of MPs, said: ‘Energy suppliers have been using every trick in the book to get customers to accept a smart meter.

‘After they were caught pressuring customers to accept one, which included wrongfully stating they were a legal requirement and traditional meters were unsafe, suppliers have switched to offering cheaper tariffs and cash incentives. 

The move means that the millions who refuse a meter for legitimate reasons will unfairly end up paying higher bills.’

An EDF spokesman said: ‘Our Easy Online tariff has been designed as an online self-service tariff, and smart meters remove the need for meter readings. The price reflects this.’

British Gas said: ‘We are able to offer customers cheaper energy for managing their accounts with smart meters.’

Energy minister Claire Perry said: ‘These devices give customers more control of their energy use.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk