During the winter of 2021, some citizens jumped to the ceiling when they learned of their electricity bills. These customers noted a significant increase in the amount to be paid. For many, the culprit is none other than the Linky meter, which has sparked controversy in recent years. Can we really make such a simple shortcut? Enedis denies any increase due to the installation of the new meters.
The Linky meter, really guilty?
In mid-February 2021, Actu.fr testified to the arrival of rather steep electricity bills in certain homes, in particular in Verfeil (Haute-Garonne) near Toulouse. Several families indicated that they had paid several hundred euros more for their winter bills, compared to last year. According to these families, the culprit is none other than the very controversial Linky counter. It must be said that these meters were installed in the town from fall 2020.
According to Enedis (formerly ERDF), there is no link between this possible increase in invoices and the recent installations of Linky meters. The EDF subsidiary recalls that this is a “smart” meter measuring exactly the same energy as the old meters, and in the same way. According to the electricity supplier, customers who have subscribed to a electricity subscription have not undergone any modification to their contract, regardless of the meter with which they are equipped. The increases noted on the invoices would therefore not be the result of any change in pricing on their offer, nor of an additional cost applied by Linky meters.
You should know that the Linky meter is of interest for Enedis, namely to avoid sending technicians to take readings. This function is performed by the counter using a electrical signal system. In addition, invoices relate to actual consumption and not estimated consumption. The goal? Reduce potential disputes arising from missing statements, or errors, which can also benefit customers.
Badly adjusted or old circuit breakers
While Enedis sweeps away any increase in its tariffs and refutes billing inflated by Linky meters, the energy supplier does not deny the increase observed on certain bills. However, these increases would be related to some incorrectly adjusted circuit breakers (or old). The latter no longer perform their role correctly. In other words, a customer can consume – without even knowing it – more energy than what is written in the contract. The age of the equipment can then be taken into account in situations similar to under-counting.
Enedis also indicated having conducted a consultation within the Electricity Regulatory Commission (CRE) with market players. Customers must not pay any fees in connection with any increase in the power required, within one year of replacing the meter. In addition, Enedis cannot claim compensation from them for the unsubscribed benefit from which they would have benefited before the installation of the Linky meter.
The bad reputation of Linky meters
The Linky meter is therefore not responsible for the increases in winter bills observed here and there in France. This one is an easy target, so much its democratization aroused the emotion of a part of the population. After Enedis announced in 2018 that it wanted to replace 90% of the 35 million meters of the network by 2021, many opponents quickly expressed their dissatisfaction. Among the reasons for this mistrust of meters, we found the “big brother threat” and therefore the invasion of customer privacy. Above all, media players and academics had gone so far as to mention the term “profiling”. It is a question, among other things, of an automated processing of personal data consisting in using this same data in order to evaluate certain aspects of customers. It is among others analyze or predict their interests, their behavior and other attributes.
Another point of contention concerns people subject to electromagnetic hypersensitivity (HSEM). At the end of 2019, the National Frequency Agency (ANFR) had taken measurements concerning the maximum levels of radio waves emitted by Linky meters. However, the results were respectively 25 and 37 times lower than the authorized limits, namely 87 V / m (Volt) and 6.25 µT (Tesla). And yet several months before the publication of these figures, the judge of the Tribunal de Grande Instance (TGI) of Toulouse had ordered Enedis not to install meters in people said to be electro-hypersensitive against their will. No less than 13 complainants had directly won their case and were able to refuse the installation of this meter without fear. In this case, the lawyer in charge nevertheless represented 5,500 electro-hypersensitive people in France.