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Smart Meters

Tuesday, 23rd August, 2016

Smart Meters will be offered to every household in Scotland by 2020.

1) What are smart meters, and how will they change the way consumers are billed for their energy.

Smart meters will replace the traditional gas and electricity meters that we have in our homes with digital meters.  In terms of billing, the main benefit is that smart meters can operate in either credit or pre-pay mode, giving more flexibility to households without the need for different types of meter.

Pre-payment customers will be able to top up in many new ways, including online and via text message.  The old system of cards and keys will end.  For credit customers, there will be no more estimated bills.

2) What's wrong with the existing system of estimated bills?

Smart meters will bring an end to the out-dated and frustrating system of estimated bills and manual readings. Smart meters mean actual bills, as meter readings are sent directly to the energy provider via a secure, dedicated network.

3) Will smart meters make it easier for consumers to use energy more efficiently?

Smart meters come with separate in-home display that shows exactly how much energy a household is using in near real-time and in pounds and pence.  This will equip people with the information they need to take greater control over their energy use - and save money as a result.

4) Who is installing the meters and what does it cost?

Energy suppliers are responsible for upgrading their own customers by 2020.  If the property has separate gas and electricity suppliers, then each supplier will change their own meter.  Smart meters and the displays come at no additional cost to the consumer.

5) What is the position for landlords and tenants applying for a smart meter?

Whoever pays the gas and electricity bills can ask for or accept a smart meter upgrade.  If the bills are addressed to the landlord or included in the rent, then they can ask for a smart meter to be installed in their tenanted property.

However, if a tenant pays for the gas and / or electricity and the bills are addressed to them, a tenant will not need a landlords permission to get a smart meter.

6) What are the advantages to landlords of having their properties fitted with smart meters?

Rented properties with a smart meter should be more attractive to tenants, as they will manage their energy costs and bills so much more easily, which works for landlords too, especially when there is a change of tenants.

It is especially appealing to people on pre-payment meters as this system will become as easy as pay-as-you-go mobile.  The higher charges for pre-payment will become a thing of the past, which should help those in fuel poverty.


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