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Ants cut off Linky electricity meters at homes in France

The meters have met with several issues since their introduction but the ants’ love of a component inside the devices is a more unusual one

A split image with a yellow Linky meter on one side and a mass of ants on the others

The ants are the latest in a series of unusual issues to hit the Linky electricity meters in recent years Pic: Pxavril / Yashkin Ilya / Shutterstock

Ants have cut off a Linky electricity meter in western France, in the latest – arguably most unusual – issue to hit the smart meters in recent years. This happens to around a thousand meters a year said the company that installs them.

Michel, a homeowner in Loire-Atlantique, has a Linky meter installed outdoors, which is not uncommon. He has only had the meter for two months but recently found that it had already stopped working, cutting off his power.

He told consumer association Que Choisir: “When I went to see if I could reset it, I was surprised to find a multitude of ants on it. The operator I called asked me to scroll through the information; I did so, without success. A technician then came over. 

“He told me that it was a very common failure due to ants, who love a component of the Linky meter, and create repeated short-circuits.”

Enedis, the company that installs and manages the meters, told Que Choisir that this problem affects around 1,000 meters per year out of the 34 million installed. It said that the issue is not more common in the modern meters than in their predecessors.

It added that it would intervene quickly in case of a problem and, if necessary, would replace the meter with a new one that would have extra protection over the electronic chips.

However, Michel claims that the technician that visited him promised a cover for the chips, but was not able to say when this would be possible.

It comes as a French town in Maine-et-Loire has been suffering from a severe ant infestation, with a type of ant (tapinoma magnum) that is particularly difficult to get rid of. 

Linky meters have been controversial since their introduction, with consumers complaining of the cost of installation and others claiming that the new meters cause health problems. 

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