Recommendation 8.1 : “Inform suppliers of what arrangements to make vis-à-vis customers when changing an old meter that exceptionally was part of a faulty series (that underestimated the reading) and led to complaints”
0- Follow-up to the recommendation
Implementation by GRDF in the 1st quarter of 2019.
After the claimant’s gas meter was changed by distributor GRDF, he disputed his gas usage as shown on the new meter. He even claimed that the meter may have been tampered with: “… the technician who changed my meter may have added 1,000 m3 of gas when he fitted the new one.”
2- Mediation solution
The meter was changed because it was potentially part of a faulty series liable to underestimate the reading. Distributor GRDF then undertook to change the meters of this series. However, the distributor was not proactive enough vis-à-vis the supplier, which did not know exactly which meters underestimated their readings, it only suspected that this was the case.
So without first questioning the distributor, the supplier and the customer did not have enough information to understand this rise in usage.
The ENGIE Group’s Mediation service considered that this information should have been provided to the claimant, to explain why his usage was apparently higher than that of the old meter. In other respects there is no need to propose an adjustment of usage due to the old meter underestimating it.
3- Generic observation
When changing a faulty meter known by the manufacturer to present a risk of underestimating
usage, the distributor should warn the supplier, who would then be able to inform its customer of the risk of underestimation. When a new meter is installed, it restores a “normal” level of consumption, which is probably higher than the level indicated by the old meter due to its structural defect.
4- Recommendation / Generic solution
The distributors (GRDF or ENEDIS) should send suppliers the list of meters publicly acknowledged as presenting a risk of underestimation by their manufacturers, to enable the suppliers to inform their customers in the event of complaints. In effect, when the new meter is installed, in all likelihood the customer will notice an increase in billed usage. The ENGIE Group’s Mediation service recommends that no adjustments should be billed solely in this case, for the period of operation of the meter known to be part of a faulty series.