Tuesday, 16 April 2019
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
462. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his views on the fact that Bord Gáis is threatening customers who oppose the installation of smart meters because of health concerns with disconnection of supply and large reconnection fees. [17549/19]
My officials have raised this matter with Bord Gáis Energy and also engaged with other key stakeholders in the national smart metering upgrade, namely ESB Networks and the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU). Bord Gáis Energy has been unable to find any evidence of the issue raised by the deputy but are happy to further investigate should additional information become available.
Like all equipment, meters for measuring gas or electricity use require replacement over time and as older brands and models cease to be available, newer technology enables improvements in services and greater efficiencies in meter reading. The Smart Meter Upgrade is being coordinated by the CRU, and ESB Networks are responsible for rolling out smart electricity meters. Smart meters are the next generation electricity meters and will replace older mechanical meters. When fully operational, smart meters will bring benefits to the consumer, the environment and the economy.
The upgraded smart meters are safe and will comply with all necessary requirements and international standards. Health authorities around the world, including the World Health Organization (WHO), have assessed the scientific evidence and there are no established health effects from smart meters which use similar technology to that used in your mobile phone.
Gas Networks Ireland is running a replacement programme for gas meters which has been ongoing for a number of years. This is a programme that sees the replacement of older meters with digital next generation meters. This programme is not part of the national smart metering programme, under which the roll out of smart ready electricity meters will commence this autumn.
Should the Deputy or her constituent be unhappy with any engagement with an energy supplier, the CRU operates a complaint process. CRU would advise that the customer first raises a complaint directly with the energy supplier, but if dissatisfied with the outcome they can escalate the complaint to CRU. The following link provides useful information on how customers can log a complaint with the CRU: