Even if it was planned to be installed in all homes, millions of people have not yet received the new Linky connected meter. It is not this news that will encourage them to open their doors to this device. Indeed, it turns out that a million electricity meters are ravaged each year by ants according to Enedis. The electricity distribution network manager, however, ensures that a technician will be sent to place special protection in the event of a breakdown.
UFC Que-Choisir sounds the alarm
The consumer defense magazine UFC Que-Choisir reported the problem through the testimony of a user. This resident of Loire-Atlantique claims that these insects tripped his Linky meter. And this, while it has just been installed by Enedis technicians.
“My meter box is located outside at the end of the garden, 90 m from my house. I was installed a Linky only two months ago. Since then, it has stopped, cutting off the power to us. When I went to see if I could rearm it, I was surprised to find a multitude of ants on it,” testifies Michel.
— Phonandroid 🤖📱📰⚡ (@phonandroid) May 20, 2022
A counter that attracts ants
Michel then contacted Enedis. Once in contact with the operator of the company, she was asked to verify her information, but unfortunately this did not resolve anything. Enedis was therefore obliged to send a technician to the residence.
Once on the scene, the technician explained to him that the problem was caused by ants and that it was quite common. It turns out that these critters are fond of a component found in Linky counters. However, their presence leads to repeated short circuits.
A recurrent issue
By the admission of the electricity distribution network manager, nearly a million Linky meters break down every year because of the problem related to ants. And this, out of the 34 million installed in France each year. Enedis had already admitted in May 2021 that the problem was not new. Between March and September, ants flock to hundreds of thousands of counters.
There’s starch in the meter
Le Canard Enchaîné asked a user about the subject. The latter explained that there is starch in the meter.
“The circuits inside are coated with a substance based on starch, the sugar found in plants. It attracts ants, they clump together, the meter detects the equivalent of a power surge and causes the cut,” explains the customer after contacting Enedis.
Mac Lesggy debunks preconceived ideas about the Linky meter. https://t.co/nlLaWVbmRL
—RTL France (@RTLFrance) May 15, 2022
Bernard Prost, Linky expert at Enedis for the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes area, meanwhile tried to put things into perspective by saying that “in the vast majority of cases, their presence does not generate incidents”.
He also tried to reassure users by saying that if a technician finds a problem of this type, he will change the device. Thus, a new meter with specific protection for its electronic components will be installed in order to avoid an invasion of ants.
Additional fees for the irreducible
According to a European Commission directive, Enedis would have to change 80% of mechanical meters to digital. The company has also replaced more than 30 million in France, which represents 90%.
However, there are still 3.8 million homes that have not yet opened their doors to these smart meters. And this, despite their obvious advantages. We bet that it will not be the risk of ant invasion that will reassure them.
The installation of the Linky meter is however not an obligation. The Bordeaux court concluded that Enedis does not have the authority to compel users to install the new meters. The same court held that the European Commission was not binding.
Nevertheless, those who refuse the installation of these new devices will have unpleasant surprises. Indeed, it is expected that the latter will pay an additional cost of €48.80 per year, from January 1, 2023. This sum is intended to cover the costs of sending a technician to their address to take readings there. , because with the new system, this is automatically sent to the service provider via the network.