Smart meters deadline ‘should be delayed by five years’
Citizens Advice Scotland is calling on the UK government to delay the final deadline for rolling-out its new smart meter programme.
A report by the charity’s Consumer Futures Unit (CFU) suggests that the current deadline of 2020 is likely to cause problems for vulnerable consumers and increase the overall costs of the project.
Smart meters offer consumers significant benefits over traditional meters aiming to see an end to estimated billing and regular meter reading; introducing new levels of control over energy consumption and allowing for easier and more informed switching of supplier.
The government is rolling out the new system to replace pre-payment meters to all households in the country. The current deadline is 2020 but a new report published today by the CFU outlines a number of problems with this date.
David Moyes, energy spokesman for the CFU, said: “There is no doubt that smart meters are an excellent tool for consumers. They will empower people and help the fight against fuel poverty. We fully support the programme to install a smart meter in every home in the country.
“However, our research has shown that there are significant problems with the government’s current timescale, with the deadline of 2020. We believe this is going to make the process more expensive and less effective than it could be. We think many consumers in Scotland will be dis-advantaged because they receive a less functional type of smart meter if they are installed too early. We therefore think that extending the deadline for five years would benefit both the programme and consumers.
“Our report also highlights other ways in which vulnerable consumers can be helped to get the most from their smart meter. For example, more support after installation and more friendly credit options of those on pre-payment meters.”