Bulb Smart Meters Suddenly Start Speaking Welsh, Confounding Users in England

Bulb smart energy meters across England have suddenly started speaking fluent Welsh, to the bemusement of English customers.

In what Bulb described as a “rare glitch,” these customers’ in-home displays started showing “Defnydd heddiw,” or “today’s usage.”

Customers then had to navigate a five-step menu to switch the language back to English, with all the instructions in Welsh.

Several of these customers contacted the advice site Money Saving Expert to register their complaints.

Bulb customer James Tombs lives in West Sussex, more than 100 miles from the Welsh border. He told Money Saving Expert that he noticed the meter had switched to Welsh suddenly one day.

“I went on to the Bulb forums, found others with the same problem and followed the directions to change language. It has been fine since,” he said.

Bulb Energy, a green supplier, has 1.3 million customers. It would not reveal how many of those customers have smart meters but said the language glitch had hit one in 200 of its smart meters and was the result of a software fault with the in-home displays.

A spokesperson for Bulb said: “In some rare cases, in-home displays switch to Welsh. While we think Welsh is a great language, we understand that in many cases people will want their display to be in English.

“Luckily the solution is just a few button presses away, and language settings can be changed in less than 10 seconds.”

The language swap is the latest hiccup in the troubled smart meter rollout. The £11 billion delivery of wireless smart meters is supposed to give households greater insight into and control over their energy use, enabling them to cut back consumption to reduce their bills and environmental impact. But the rollout is behind schedule and expected to miss its initial December 2020 deadline. Only 13.5 million meters had been installed as of April 2019, a third of those required.

Meanwhile, millions of customers have received first generation smart meters, which sometimes ‘go dumb,’ losing connectivity, when the customers switch supplier. A fix for these meters is supposedly in the works, connecting to them to a national network, but has been delayed for many households.

Lauren Smith
Written by Lauren Smith

Lauren Smith has worked as a journalist and copywriter for most of the last decade, covering technology, energy, and consumer rights, in the US and UK.

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