SHONA Craven is right – smart meters are not smart at all (With energy prices rising, don’t trust estimated bills, Oct 29). They are yet another manifestation of marketing disinformation and hype. They were actually invented primarily to allow energy companies to avoid sending meter readers out to every household.

As a consequence of the wireless connection and modernised regulator and measuring devices, they are able to push the readings directly into the home so they can be visible and more easily understood. Therefore they do not in themselves save any money whatsoever. Savings are still dependant on consumers managing what they use, but if we need heat and light or want to cook the Sunday roast, we use the energy we need and that happens regardless of the cost these unintelligent devices display.

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A major and hidden downside is that they also allow for remote control of our energy connection so in times of need we can be shut off by some unseen hand. The cost of energy is what it costs, and we all know that if we run electric heating or leave lights on it is going to cost. Having the meter in front of us allows for micro-managing budgets in advance, but that is all.

Budgeting “mistakes” by the energy companies will occur regardless of your meter as they devise tariffs in advance and try to predict what our energy usage will be based on the readings, either manually or from the un-smart meter!

Nick Cole
Meigle, Perthshire

THREE cheers for Shona Craven!

I refer to her column regarding “estimated” energy bills and the systematic fleecing of customers by our energy customers.

Like Shona, I am also fed up of the patronising drivel emanating from my own supplier, eg “take control” while they methodically try to remove my rights.

You know what, I once had all the control I needed with a system which went something like this: I used power which was metered, an operative came and read said meter, and I received a bill which I promptly paid – simples!

This system worked a treat for me and was transparent, which may have been why it had to go – that and the insatiable greed of the companies, of course.

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Regarding estimated bills, over several years I have received many ludicrously high estimate bills containing the admittedly funny punchline that the bill is based on a previous bill which was, you’ve guessed it, an “estimate”.

In fact, such was the stratospheric level of some of those bills that any public-spirited company would have felt duty-bound to contact the constabulary, as my power usage would suggest I was cultivating a cannabis farm in my humble abode.

Finally, on a serious note, as Shona highlighted, energy companies have come up with some great plans to ensure that they never fail to be holding a wedge of customers’ cash, paid in advance for power they may not even use.

I would “estimate” billions!

Name and address supplied

THE letter from Iain R Thomson (Oct 28) which takes the piece by Michael Fry and projects it forward shows clearly how Westminster’s interference in Scottish agriculture will end up with more of our land sterilised by “foreign” ownership. This is the worst social, environmental, political and financial outcome. The only cure

is independence. What concerns me most is that this nugget of information will now disappear, having had a limited airing and probably never having reached the greater part of our society.

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There should be a national mechanism which systematically stores these items, as Scotland the Brief does with broader themes, so there is a continuing awareness of such matters. In my naivety I once though the SNP or Scottish Government would do this but they seem only, like with a dog with a bone, to play with each idea as long as it has some flavour. We need consistent, hard worrying away at Westminster’s tricks, never letting them go.

Strangely this attitude in some respect is exemplified by trades unions. Their leaders show a toughness of mind standing up against great pressure when they could leave well alone but stick to their main point. Len McCluskey’s recent call for the Scottish Labour Party to accept a referendum reminded me of my sympathy for the unions and how welcome their persistence would be to the independence movement.

Iain WD Forde

IN the recent discussion of Scots and Gaelic, I well remember the suppression of “slang” in favour of “proper English”, when even in primary schools persistent “offenders” could be threatened with two of the best from a Lochgelly.

It also brings to mind the story of a wee boy who asked his teacher, “Please Miss, can a’ pit oan ma jaikit?” She responded sternly, “Jamie! What is it called?”, only to receive the answer, “Aye Miss, it’s no’ hauf cauld!”

P Davidson