Smart meters will lead to standard tariffs being increased to incentivise consumers to change

Herald Scotland

Smart meters will lead to standard tariffs being increased to incentivise consumers to change

A smart meter

A smart meter

CLAIRE Maugham writes extolling the benefits and conveniences of smart meters to consumers (“Benefits to be had from roll-out of smart meters are boundless”, Agenda, The Herald, April 28). She concentrates on the ability of smart meters to provide accurate billing information but carefully avoids mentioning what I believe is the real reason that smart meters are to be forced upon all domestic consumers by 2020.

Smart meters are necessary for the energy utilities to introduce “real-time pricing” tariffs. Under these tariffs the price of electricity (or gas) is not known in advance, but varies continuously based upon supply and demand. Put simply, the price of electricity goes up during periods of high demand (in the evening), and goes down during low demand (in the night). The price is also affected by the availability of supply: if the wind is not blowing and wind farms are producing little electricity, the price will go up further. In this way, the price of electricity can vary by a factor of two to three over the course of a single day. The idea is that before having a shower or switching on the oven or washing machine, we are supposed to check the current electricity price on our smart meter and if the price is high, delay the shower, cooking or washing until the price is lower.

Ms Maugham’s organisation’s website states only “In the future, we can look forward to being rewarded with cheaper tariffs at off-peak times. This means we will pay less to mow the lawn or run the washing machine when electricity is not in high demand” but does not mention the obverse. You can be sure that when real-time pricing tariffs are introduced, standard tariffs will be increased to incentivise consumers to change. I remain to be convinced that any of this is either a benefit or convenience for consumers.

Stuart Robb,

16 Carmelaws, Linlithgow.

I HAD a smart meter installed well over two years ago and the gas reporting element has not functioned for over a year. Whilst the electricity reporting does work the small gizmo supplied to provide me with running information on use, always reports that my target for daily usage is double my current consumption, this does not exhort me to save energy, as suggested by Claire Maugham.

As for smart technology, the current price of smart gadgets such as fridges is well beyond the reach of the vast majority of the population.

I would suggest that the only people to benefit from smart metering are the companies that make and supply the meters which have also impacted on the need for meter readers thus enabling power companies to make even greater profits.

Is this just another example of IT companies persuading the government to spend money on something of no benefit?

Bill Eadie,

55 Castle Street, Dundee.



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