ScottishPower completes “˜key’ prepayment meter upgrade


Glasgow, U.K. — (METERING.COM) — September 14, 2009 – ScottishPower has completed a major £50 million project to replace 340,000 ‘token’ prepayment meters with new, smarter ‘key’ meters across its entire network area, which includes the cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Liverpool.

In total, ScottishPower made more than 1 million home visits to install the meters and discuss their operation over the two-year program. As well as fitting the new meters, the company also carried out comprehensive information campaigns to ensure that all customers were aware of the upgrades and how to operate the new meters.

One of the main advantages of the new meter is that data can be updated remotely, meaning that physical access to the meter is no longer required beyond standard safety checks. A meter reading is also automatically recorded every time the key is re-inserted after adding credit, which greatly reduces the possibility of inaccurate bills.

A further feature of the key meters is that they are programmed to ensure continued electricity supplies if credit runs out during the hours when it is difficult to purchase top-ups, i.e. over night and during weekends.
“Our engineers have worked hard to deliver this major investment in very good time. During the peak of the replacement program, we were upgrading 3,000 meters every week,” said Neil Clitheroe, customer services director at ScottishPower. “The new meters are more user friendly than their predecessors, and customers will see immediate benefits. Greater accuracy in recording readings and the ability to update information remotely will significantly reduce the possibility of billing inaccuracies. It will also reduce the possibility of debt being accumulated.”

ScottishPower used a phased approach to introduce the new meters, carrying out the upgrades one area at a time. The first region to be fully upgraded was Dumfries & Galloway in January 2009, with the final areas of Glasgow and Caernarfon fully completed at the end of August.

ScottishPower made a commitment to Ofgem to replace all of its token meters by the end of 2009, and the project has been completed almost four months ahead of schedule. The company is also the first U.K. supplier to complete the upgrade.