New EU plan to save you money on energy bills

MEP Alyn Smith has urged consumers to take advantage of a new billion-pound programme to install smart meters in homes throughout the country.

The mass roll-out programme is financed partly by the European Investment Bank (EIB), which will contribute £360 million towards the initiative designed to reduce energy use and help households to save money. 

Smart meters take accurate record of the household’s energy use throughout the day, meaning consumers can view their usage online and bypass the need to submit meter readings. The rollout is set to begin in April 2016 and energy suppliers will be in touch to schedule installations with consumers.

Alyn said:

“In today’s economic climate, consumers should take every opportunity to save their hard-earned money. As part of the EU, we can take full advantage of this programme and keep up to date with our energy use.

“Right now, I couldn’t tell you what my energy usage has been, and I suspect it’s the same for many consumers out there. Smart meters mean smart household energy management because you’ll only be billed for the energy you use, not your estimated usage. 

“Meanwhile, the Scottish Government supports the plan to install smart meters for gas and electricity in every home by 2020 and I’m confident that we’ll soon see them installed as standard in Scotland’s homes.

“But I would urge Scots to wait until the official roll-out, as there’s a risk that the early meters may not have all the functions of later ones and may need to be upgraded later.”

Smart meters can work in prepayment or credit mode, and give you real-time information on energy use, expressed in pounds and pence.

The new programme will support government plans to ensure that smart meters are installed in over 53m homes and business in the UK by 2020.

The European Investment Bank is Europe’s long-term lending institution, owned by 28 European Union member states, including the UK, and the world’s largest lender for climate related investment. Over the last 5 years the EIB has provided more than GBP 6 billion for investment in UK energy infrastructure.

Installers must provide energy efficiency advice as part of the visit and ‘will need the consumer’s permission in advance of the visit if they are to talk to them about their own products.’

According to OFGEM, where a customer is switching supplier, the installing supplier must provide information to the new supplier to enable the new supplier to maintain the functionality of the meter after the customer has switched. But at the same time, suppliers must inform the customer that they may lose functionality upon change of supplier.