Folk in the isles could shave hundreds of pounds off their electricity bills by changing their electricity meter, a Scalloway resident has claimed.
Mario Kaval began looking into his electricity costs at the start of the year after spending £220 a month to supplier SSE.
The HGV driver had storage heaters at his home with a ‘white’ meter and additional meter with a day and a night rate.
The white meter, he said was commonly used with storage heaters so they can get a charge at various times of the day and night on a cheaper electricity rate.
“It seemed like a good set up the meters had been tested and were okay,” Mr Kaval said.
“I had often rang in to SSE to check I was on the best tariff available and was repeatedly told that I was on the best (they must tell you the truth by law).
“I guessed my wife and I just used a lot of power to spend the £220 per month we were paying, [so it was] time to put and shut up.
“A month later SSE wanted to put our monthly direct debit up another £20 to £240. I’d had enough.”
Mr Kaval said he wanted to change supplier but was unable to because of the white meter.
The white meter meant he also had the additional meter, which he said could only be on the highest paying tariff.
“I was technically being told the truth when being told I was on the best tariff I could be on,” he said.
“[This was] only because of a highly immoral policy especially targeting those of us using white meters [because] we can only be on one specific tariff.”
Mr Kaval asked for the white meter to be removed and had both meters replaced by SSE free of charge, with a modern digital meter put in place.
That allowed him access to cheaper tariffs and other suppliers.
“I have a few months under my belt with a new supplier and can confirm my monthly direct debit has dropped from £220 to £120.
“This really is a massive saving. The process has taken me over half a year now, but only because I didn’t know what the problem was.
“I do hope others can achieve a similar result in weeks rather than months.”
The Shetland Times contacted SSE and was told that there were numerous tariffs available for people using storage heaters and economy heaters, both fixed and variable.
The white meters were introduced as part of a scheme to alleviate pressure on the power station, an SSE spokesman said.
He said initially the meters only operated with one tariff due to their nature and it no longer sold the tariff as the islands were connected to the mainland’s National Grid. When asked by The Shetland Times he later conceded the isles were not connected to the national grid.
“However, there are still some customers who are still on the ‘white meter’ tariff because they have never switched,” he said.
He said it was a “legacy system” built in the 1990s and technology had moved on and the power station was more efficient, meaning there were alternatives to the white meters.
If customers contacted SSE they could discuss all options regarding their meters, he said.