Linky users will face extra €500m bill, say auditors

 Linky meters were supposed to help cut energy bills

21 February 2018

Consumers will pay an extra €500 million for the new Linky smart electricity meters which were said to be free.

The meters were damned in an official report by state auditors the Cour des Comptes who said financing was “generously” loaded in favour of power grid operator Enedis with an interest rate accounting trick also leaving users with a €500m bill.

Consumer group Que Choisir said that unless energy regulators stepped in to cut tariffs, consumers had no way to avoid paying as the meters cannot help them cut power bills.

Another group, CLCV, said it was time consumers were put at the centre of the Linky plans, which were skewed towards Enedis and energy suppliers.

It is another blow for the meters which have been hit by concerns on their use­fulness, possible misuse of data and health concerns over wireless signals. So far 449 communes have refused to fit them.

Each meter costs €140 to fit and the auditors pointed the finger at the €5.7 billion financing. It is paid for through a loan at 0.77% but Enedis will charge consumers a much higher rate of 4.6% for the repayment.

This leaves a €506 million ‘profit’ for Enedis or €14.46 from the 35million Linky households.

Although touted as cutting costs for households as they reduce staff needed for meter reading, switching-on systems and give more accurate bills, Que Choisir said: “These benefits are all for the company, they do little for the consumer.

“Households need real-time information on their consumption and, although the Linky software can be updated, there would be a cost.”

Enedis has said users would pay nothing for fitting Linky and the future cost would be “neutral” but Que Choisir called on the Com­mis­sion de Régulation de l’Energie, which sets tariffs, to “cut future tariffs or users will be left paying for Linky when they were told there would be no cost.”

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