Smart meters can give readings that are often seven times higher than actual levels, a new study has found.
The meters are particularly unreliable when it comes to monitoring the outputs of LEDs when they are combined with dimmers.
Five out of nine meters tested by scientists form the Dutch University of Twente, found that the devices were some times considerably over-estimating the true results, often by as much as 582 percent.
Other meters that were tested habitually underestimated the true results by as much as thirty percent.
The greatest inaccuracies were seen when dimmers were combined with LEDs. In these cases the electricity being consumed had an erratic waveform, which the meters failed to adapt to and take into consideration when producing results.
‘We’ve known since 2009 electronic meters can give readings which are too low, but this is the first time we’ve seen they can be much too high. We were flabbergasted by our results,’ commented Frank Leferink, one of the lead researchers on the project.
People who no longer trust the readings from their meter can opt to have their accuracy levels tested, but the researchers warned that these tests may not always be able to offer true indicators.
The experts did warn though that lab conditions re no alwayst indicative of home use, where different readings may be produced than the ones recorded in the study.
The British Government wants smart meters in every home in England, Scotland and Wales fitted by 2020.
The findings were published in IEEE Electromagnetic Compatibility Magazine.