Change meter and make big savings on electricity, SSE customer claims

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.

Scottish and Southern Energy Logo
Scottish and Southern Energy Logo

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.


Add Your Comment
  • Peter Folkstone

    • October 30th, 2016 14:20

    I would suggest people make extensive enquiries before following this piece of sensationalist consumer advice.

    Firstly the poster states his direct debit was in advance going to be increasing, suggesting he had opted to spread the cost of his PROJECTED yearly usage over the year based upon a computer calculated rate (usually wrong)
    His new supplier has no historic data to produce this value and we are also in the summer months when there are no storage heaters on. Without his historic usage figures and his new rate value we can’t make an informed decision.

    We are on the THTC rate with SEE and opt to pay for ACTUAL usage quarterly.

    Wait till the 3kw storage heaters kick in on the normal rate then you will see the advantage of the SSE THTC tariff that he was on.

    I’ve done the calculations and its a balancing act, there is a break even point – but in our house with the amount of heaters and usage, we use considerably more KWH for the heating which is on the lower rate. We pay more than average for normal electricity usage but this is offset by the reduced heating KWH rate.

    • Mario Kaval

      • November 3rd, 2016 13:20

      HI Peter,

      I think you are missing the point by focusing so much on me (I’m flattered though).
      The numbers are facts and they speak for themselves:

      If you have a white meter you are paying 9p PKWH (per kilowatt hour) for your off peak power approximately which will include all of your storage heater power draw down. Also and more to the point you will be paying a huge 19p PKWH for your peak power between 7:30am and 11:30pm.

      Since the removal of our ‘White Meter’ (which just happens to be black and split in two to confuse us even more), I now pay 6p PKWH which includes all of my storage heater costs which are easily set to only use the off peak power now between 11:30pm and 07:30am. Also and more to the point we are paying 11p PKWH peak, which is not far off the off peak price when stuck with the white meter tariff (singular!)
      The savings here are obvious, black and white even whatever the time of year, whether you have 1 storage heater or 100 hundred.

  • Ali Inkster

    • October 30th, 2016 20:07

    We are paying a 2p surcharge and 2 years ago cameron promised to remove it. Like holyrood, westminster are full of promises when they want our vote with no result once we’ve voted.
    We have oil and gas coming ashore here yet pay the highest rates of anywhere in the country.
    Well a 2p reduction in unit cost of electric along with mainland comparable fuel prices would put far more money in the Shetland economy than all the “grants” (crumbs) we get from Brussels.
    Doubling our fishing fleet while excluding EU factory ships from our waters would contribute more to the shetland economy than we get from Westminster and holyrood.
    And doing either of these measures would virtually wipe out fuel poverty in Shetland. The first by cutting costs and the second by increasing employment and wealth.
    Why not do both and much much more to improve the lot of Shetland and those that live here?
    It’s not like we don’t have the resources.
    All we need are politicians that recognise that control of our own future will be far better for our economy than the dozen or so trips they have to brussles/edinburgh/london at our expense every year.

  • John Tulloch

    • October 31st, 2016 9:45

    This is disgraceful. Another scam is the obsolete, extortionate tariff, Total Heating Total Control (THTC). They think you’re a prisoner because you need an electrician to rejig your house wiring and other suppliers can’t take you with that type of metering.

    I was told recently, flatly, that removal of my THTC meter was impossible, despite my previously being told it was possible, with the presence of an electrician. This initiated early panto: – “Oh yes you can…”

    They finally capitulated when I said the wiring modifications had already been done and a week later, a meter fitter arrived and did the necessary in about ten minutes. If you want to retain off peak heating, choose Economy 7 tariff or if not, you can change to Standard tariff, as we did.

    DO NOT TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER. You can also file a complaint with SSE (damages their track record with OfGem) or, failing that, complain to OfGem, itself.

    At THTC unit prices of over 9p/kWh (off peak) and 19p/kWh (peak rate), you will soon recoup the cost of any necessary wiring modifications.

  • sean fillingham

    • November 17th, 2018 12:03

    Switch over to Air to Air heating and go on a single rate meter.
    Cheaper and more controllable

    THTC used to be a good tariff back when I was putting the meters in the 80s.
    The day rate is just extortionate now.
    I don’t know how they can justify 19p and they have a captive audience with storage heaters off grid.
    Making more people in fuel poverty.
    They do make it difficult for you to remove but it can be done.

  • Helena Beckett

    • September 9th, 2020 15:48

    Fed up with THTC but stuck with it! Any more up-todate advice on changing supplier while stuck in a council house with THTC?

    • Sherry Kerr

      • February 4th, 2021 9:03

      Living in an Orkney Housing Association property, being the same rate for both meters, this is quite unbelievable, how can I possibly get over such a scenario, I am now with Bulb, initially there were savings, but am now losing out big time, any suggestions would be appreciated!


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