Hundreds of customers hit by heat and power cut-off due to smart meter ‘glitch’

Hundreds of customers are being hit by heat and power cut-offs caused by a smart meter glitch, the Evening News can reveal.

By Jolene Campbell
Thursday, 6th January 2022, 12:30 pm
Mr Strachan, 67, was left perishing at home for 30 hours

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Utilita said it’s working ‘around the clock’ to resolve problems for customers hit by problem with the meters, which it confirmed affected customers in ‘the small hundreds’.

It came as the energy supplier issued an apology to Edinburgh pensioner James Strachan who was left freezing in his home for 30 hours after his meter mysteriously cut out.

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Following a call from the Evening News Utilita fixed Mr Strachan’s meter which had converted itself to a pre-pay setting, even though Mr Strachan pays by direct debit.

The family of the 67-year-old, who has leukaemia, branded his treatment ‘heartless’ but the supplier has now fixed his meter and said they sent staff out to check on him following the repair.

It’s understood that at least one other energy supplier has reported the same issue, meaning thousands could be affected as temperatures plummet.

Sources at Utilita, which has a Leith hub, insisted that the glitch didn’t lead to supply being cut off in every case but said it meant they ‘couldn’t see what was happening with the meters’.

It’s believed to be caused by system updates knocking out the signal with the meters.

A spokesman for Utilita said: "We are extremely proud of our smart meter programme, recognised as the UK’s best by Uswitch in their 2021 energy awards.

“However, a small number of customers have gone off supply due to a software update by a third party. In total it has affected 0.05 per cent of our 1.47m meters.

“We have been working 24/7 to restore supply for those affected but we would urge any customer who may be impacted to contact us urgently so we can help them.

“Utilita takes its responsibilities to its customers very seriously, so we will always take legitimate criticism on board. In Mr Strachan’s case - although an isolated incident - we should have been quicker to rectify the issue with his meter.

"We would like to apologise unreservedly to him for the delay. Mr Strachan received a personal visit from one of our Leith Energy Hub team. Hub staff will check on Mr Strachan over the coming days to ensure there are no further issues with his supply.”

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