can't switch supplier after smart meters installed by British Gas?

  • 5 April 2021
  • 7 replies

I had pay as you go meters for both gas and electricity in a rental property I moved in last month, by British Gas. Landlord was happy and supportive for me to change smart meters, so got British gas to install smart meters for free. British gas said once smart meters installed, I can't change a different supplier...I wonder if this is true?  

7 replies

Hi @Weiwei 

Welcome to the Pure Planet community.

There are at least 2 things which may affect this

1: Did you sign up to a fixed term tariff with British Gas when having Smart Meters installed?

If so, you can’t change until either 47 days before the end of the contract, or you pay the exit fee.


2: Are you happy everything is working okay with the Smart Meters?

SMETS 2 meters, which British Gas should have installed, are transferrable between suppliers, as they send the meter reading information to a 3rd party (called the Data Communications Company) who then send the readings to your supplier (whether that supplier be British Gas, Pure Planet, or Joe Bloggs Limited.)
When you switch, you may lose some of the functions the meter/In Home Display combination provides, as the different energy providers don’t all use the same facilities. However, the basic logic of readings been sent, and therefore you not needing to send them, remains true.



Nope, not signed up for any fixed tariffs as an exchange for smart meter. They offered to have smart meters installed for free, at the moment it's at standard variable tariff, apparently it's the best tariff they can offer since I installed smart meters, still not good enough, before that the rates were even worse for pay as you go

 it's at standard variable tariff, apparently it's the best tariff they can offer since I installed smart meters

That is genuinely one of the strangest things I’ve seen an energy company claim.

Personal opinion only.
If you are happy that everything with the changeover of the meters went well:
Are the final readings for the old meters matching with British Gas records?
Are the new meters working properly?
Having a statement with your old readings on, and in which the new readings state ‘Smart’ is probably the easiest way to be sure, then by all means, apply to switch.
Is the In Home Display (if you use it) connecting to the meters without issues?

Then you should be safe to apply to switch.
One of 2 things will happen, either you’ll automatically be switched to another supplier after 17 days, or British Gas will object within the first 14 days. If they object they’ll need a reason, and as you were previously ‘Pay as you go’ the normal ‘He owes us lots of money’ is going to be hard to justify.


I found it very odd as well. Of all the past years I managed to switch suppliers without a single problem. They claimed I have to stay with them for a year just because they install my meters...I did performed a quick tariff search in British Gas to see if they can give me a better tariffs but nothing is cheaper than the standard variable rates I am already on. After the meter switch, we still have £19 credit on electricity and £11 credit on gas that they said they will put towards our next months' bill so definitely not owing them money. 

They claimed I have to stay with them for a year just because they install my meters...

I’ll be honest, I’ve never heard of that, I left my previous supplier a year after my meter was changed to Smart, but that was because I wanted a year’s recorded energy usage before leaving due to issues with the Smart Meter installation, they never told me anything about having to stay.

Perhaps @Marc, @Nataly, or someone who’s joined from British Gas could advise us?


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Hi @Weiwei 

are they definitely SMETS2 meters or SMETS1? There are still some Suppliers installed 1st generation (even though they shouldn’t be)

Having said that, SMETS1 meters are now mostly eligible to be enrolled into DCC therefore shouldn’t stop you from switching either.

Even if the smart meter stopped working with the new supplier (because they’re not get enrolled SMETS1 meters) that still doesn’t stop you from switching supplier.

The only thing that can stop you switching supplier is a very large debt (in some cases) or being in a contract and even then, you still switch you just have to pay an exit fee if you leave too early.

I think someone’s telling porkies...


Thanks for all the help. It's Landis+Gyr E470 type 5424, I think it's Smet2 meter. I will initiate a switch and let's see what British gas does.