The chair of the Manx Utilities Authority (MUA) has confirmed that problems with smart meters in the UK are not being replicated in the Isle of Man.

John Wannenburgh MHK confirmed that as of March 14, 14,950 smart meters had been installed across the island overall - more than 30% of its domestic customers.

Speaking during Tuesday’s (March 26) sitting of the House of Keys, Mr Wannenburgh said: ‘This means that domestic customers can now view their usage via the dedicated “smart living” app, which provides greater visibility of the energy used in their home.

‘The quality of meters installed and the act of installing the meter is ensured via numerous control strategies, including but not limited to post-installation audits, pre-install and routine meter accuracy testing and the adoption of international industry quality standards.’

Data from the British government’s Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) has recently shown that the number of smart meters not working properly has risen by more than one million in the UK.

In June 2023, 2.7 million smart meters were reported as ‘not operating in smart mode’, while this number rose to 3.98 million by the end of the year.

Talking about the differences between the smart meters in the UK and the island, Mr Wannenburgh said: ‘We did not purchase smart meters built in to the specific requirements of the UK rollout, so we do not have any of the well publicised problems they’re experiencing with their first and second generation devices.

‘The communication systems and meters used in the Isle of Man were designed differently from the system in the UK. The main issue in the UK is caused when customers change their energy supplier. This is, of course, good news for island customers.’

MHK for Onchan, Julie Edge, enquired whether the newly installed smart meters have been interfering with Wi-Fi connections and broadband, which has also been reported as a problem for certain customers in the UK.

Mr Wannenburgh replied: ‘The radio frequency of the smart meters in the island is very low, and it’s not as high as it is in the UK. We have had some complaints, which is going to happen with the number of installations, but nothing compared to those received in the UK.

‘With regards to health concerns, we are confident that through following the advice from organisations such as the World Health Organisation and the UK health security agency, that we are exercising our duty to the care of our customers.’