Following the report of the UK Parliament’s British Infrastructure Group into the smart meter roll out, Citizens Advice Scotland has reiterated its call for the programme's 2020 target to be extended.
Citizens Advice Scotland's Head of Utilities, Sam Ghibaldan, said:
“Delaying the 2020 target for the rollout of smart meters would be in the interests of consumers and the success of the programme.
“Smart meters will be good for consumers, helping them make savings on their bills, ending estimated billing and, with second generation smart meters, making switching easier.
“However, the pressure of the 2020 target on energy companies is undermining its potential success. Consumers often aren’t getting the help they need to use smart meters effectively, so they don’t benefit from them, which risks undermining consumers’ confidence.
“Further, the first generation smart meters being installed at present don’t offer the same benefits as are anticipated from the second generation. With first generation meters there can be problems with switching supplier. We are also starting to see cases in the Citizens Advice network in Scotland of some systems of electric heating not working with first generation smart meters. This is a particular problem in Scotland given the relatively high number of consumers using electricity for heating.
“We identified the potential for some of these problems in 2016 and called then for the deadline to be extended, as it was expected that the second generation meters would deliver greater benefit for consumers. Today, we reiterate that call, as we want the smart meter roll out deliver maximum benefit for consumers.”