Queens Court residents lose fight to keep smart metering system

Queens Court in Richmond.

Residents of Queens Court in Richmond have lost their fight to keep smart meters in their flats.

Richmondshire District Council will now remove the meters and issue blanket charges to all householders.

Residents say the removal of meters will cost them money.

Twenty nine people had signed a petition calling for the metres to stay.

The petition stated: “We object strongly to the proposed changes to the method of payment for central heating and hot water at Queens Court. A blanket charge on all residents of £3.30 per week penalises those residents who have been careful of how they use fuel.

“The Council’s argument that installing new meters would be £6 per week above the cost of heat is flawed. The present meters are owned by the Council. The new meters would be owned by the Council and installed in council properties.

“The cost of replacement/refurbishment must be the Council’s responsibility not the residents”.

Richmond councillor Clive World had submitted a motion that the smart metres should stay, but councillors voted to remove them at a meeting on Tuesday.

Colin Dales, Corporate Director (Operations), said Cllr World’s notice of motion was debated at length but did not gain full council support.

He added: “This means that the council plans to go ahead with the removal of the smart metering system and the adoption of a standard heating charge for each resident as originally planned.

“The council will be writing to each Queens Court resident to update them of the decision with the intention to start the decommissioning work within the next 4 weeks.

“The current system is old and will fail at some point with a replacement not representing good value for money. The current contractor has also confirmed that parts and the software needed for the current system are becoming increasingly difficult to source due to the age of the system. The council wants to avoid waiting until the system fails and the associated inconvenience this will cause for residents.

“It therefore makes sense to replace the system now with a more cost effective solution, managing the change to avoid excessive increases in heating charges for residents.”