Linky meters in France: can I refuse instalment?

A lawyer answers a reader question on whether or not they have the right to refuse the instalment of Linky electricity meters in France.

14 September 2020
A vintage voltmeter. Photo by Thomas Kelley on Unsplash. In the article: can Linky electrical meters in France be refused?Can Linky electrical meter instalments be refused? One lawyer weighs in. Photo: A vintage voltmeter by Thomas Kelley on Unsplash.
By Sarah Bright-Thomas

Question

I have concerns about the Linky ‘smart’ electricity meter. Can I refuse to have it installed?

Answer

This depends on where your meter is. The Ministry of Ecological Transition has said that when a meter is not in a place accessible to the public, an individual is free to accept – or to refuse – a Linky installation.

Linkys automatically collect energy-use data and transmit it to the energy company to remove the need for manual readings. They have been criticised for their potential to reveal personal data and information about the household. Some opponents have also raised health concerns.

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Both EDF and Engie have been found to have failed to gain explicit consent to collect data for two different uses, and for keeping that data for too long. So technicians can only enter a property to install a Linky meter “by respecting property rights when the meter is not in a public space or accessible place”.

Otherwise, householders can refuse to give access for the installation teams to change the existing device to a Linky meter. However, the ministry warned that people who refuse a Linky installation will not be able to make the most of advantages that the device offers. This means that services that are currently free, such as meter readings by agents, could, in the future, be charged for.

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Tel: 05 61 57 90 86 www.brightavocats.com contact@brightavocats.com

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