Scotland’s island communities can’t be “at the back of the queue” as smart meters are rolled out, SNP MSP for the Western Isles Alasdair Allan has said.

Smart meters are the next generation of gas and electricity meters, displaying how much energy is being used and at what cost – ensuring consumers get an accurate bill instead of an estimate.

One of Mr Allan’s constituents was initially denied a smart meter installation as there were no trained engineers in the area. The constituent was told he would have to wait until 2020 before he could get a smart meter. The company eventually agreed to send an engineer on a ferry from the mainland to install a meter for this single customer.

With rural and remote communities at highest risk of fuel poverty, Alasdair Allan has called on energy companies to ensure that island customers aren’t left to wait until the tail-end of the roll-out.

Commenting, Na h-Eileanan an Iar MSP Alasdair Allan said:

“Island and remote communities are at particular risk of fuel poverty, in no small part due to the fact that island homes can be very exposed to extreme weather.

“Smart meters are an important tool in managing our home energy use, and will be particularly useful to those facing fuel poverty.

“One of my constituents kicked up enough of a fuss to get an engineer dispatched on a ferry – but there must be a better way than sending engineers on huge round-trips to install a single meter.

“Although Scotland should have full powers over energy, the Scottish Government is already working hard to tackle fuel poverty and will be introducing a Warm Homes Bill enshrining fuel poverty targets in law.

“Energy companies should be prioritising rural communities, not leaving them until the tail-end of the roll-out – Scotland’s islands simply can’t be left at the back of the queue.”

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