A conference is set to take place in Inverness today (23rd November 2018) to discuss the new opportunities for rural innovation that the smart meter rollout will open up in the region.
The event, organised jointly by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Smart Energy GB, as part of its Campaign for a Smarter Britain, will bring together experts from both the energy and health sectors to hear about leading 'smart' projects from around Britain and their potential to benefit rural areas.
Thousands of smart meters have already been installed in households across the region as part of the ongoing upgrade to the national energy system. The richer data generated by the meters could offer new ways for energy and health advice to be provided to households in the future.
Iagan MacNeil, Head of Policy at Smart Energy GB, said:
"Being from Barra, I understand the challenges that people in very remote parts of Scotland face when accessing health and social care - even travelling to a GPs surgery can be a major undertaking.
"That's why the rollout of smart meters is particularly good news for vulnerable people in rural communities such as the Highlands and Islands. The regular and consistent energy data they provide could be used in the future to support health and social care workers to look after clients. For instance, smart meter data could potentially be used to identify irregularities in patterns of energy use behaviour by a vulnerable person living alone in a rural area, such as turning the kettle or lights on in the middle of the night. This in turn would let healthcare workers know that their patient may need additional support."
Elaine Mead, Chief Executive of NHS Highland, said:
"I'm really pleased that this event will bring together practitioners from the energy and health worlds to explore the role that smart technology can play in tackling the challenges faced by our communities. We need to be thinking long-term about the opportunities for innovation in health and housing, and how rural areas in particular can benefit."
Notes to editors
About Smart Energy GB
About smart meters and the rollout
Smart meters replace the traditional meters we currently have in our homes. They enable accurate bills, near real time information on energy use in pounds and pence, and greater control over the way we buy and use energy. The smart meter rollout is an essential technology upgrade, unprecedented in its scale, to improve Great Britain’s energy infrastructure.
There are already more than 12 million smart meters installed in homes and microbusinesses across Great Britain. Every household in England, Scotland and Wales will be offered one at no additional cost. Contact your energy supplier about getting your smart meter.
Smart Energy GB media contacts
For more information including interview requests, case studies of smart meter users, infographics, photography and video content, please contact the Smart Energy GB media team:
Helen Croney: [email protected]; 0131 322 6204 / 07921 458 041