Smart meter roll out ‘could cost pensioners money’

Linda Fabiani
Linda Fabiani

The Scottish Government has called for assurances from the UK Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) that Scotland’s older people will not be penalised with higher energy bills due to the roll out of smart meters.

The DECC want homes and small businesses to have smart meters by 2020. The units provide real-time information about energy use and costs, encouraging better household energy management.

The meters aim to reduce bills for people of all ages but the SNP said it had concerns that some of the cost of installing the meters could be passed on to customers.

A response to a Written Parliamentary Question from Linda Fabiani MSP has highlighted potential shortcomings in the roll out of scheme that could mean higher bills for pensioners.

Minister for business, energy and tourism Fergus Ewing noted in his response to Ms Fabiani that the Scottish Government has significant concerns with the implementation of the programme and the technology being used.

Mr Ewing noted: “There is real possibility that those who do not have smart meters installed, whether for technical reasons or because they refuse to do so, may face higher bills. This may cause a particular risk that pensioners pay more which would be wholly unacceptable.”

Ms Fabiani has now written to Amber Rudd, UK government secretary of state for energy and climate change, seeking assurances that older and vulnerable people are not penalised in this way.

She said: “The revelation that older people could be penalised by the roll out of smart meters is an alarming development. The DECC need to curb these fears and make a commitment that no one will be penalised with an increase in their bills due to this policy.”