RTS customers urged to arrange switch ahead of shutdown

Over 900,000 energy customers who currently use the Radio Teleswitching Service (RTS) are being urged to take action to upgrade their meters after it was confirmed that the service will end on 30th June 2025.

RTS enables domestic and business customers to take advantage of tariffs that switch between peak and off-peak rates – such as Economy 7, Economy 10 and several others. Such customers typically use electricity as their primary source for heating and hot water meaning that storage heaters, for example, can charge up overnight at a cheaper rate. In many cases, the RTS equipment will automatically control when heaters switch on and off in order to benefit from the different rates.

RTS was introduced in the late 1980s using the Longwave radio frequency to transmit signals to RTS equipment in homes and businesses across GB. Whilst the RTS infrastructure has delivered a reliable service for over 40 years, it is now reaching the end of its operational life. With smart meters being rolled out nationally, supported by a dedicated communications infrastructure, they are the natural technology upgrade for RTS.

A central function of smart meters is their ability to incorporate different time of use tariffs, allowing customers to continue benefitting from cheaper off-peak electricity rates and ensuring that their heating and hot-water arrangements are unaffected. If the RTS equipment isn’t replaced by the switch-off date, not only could customers be limited to a more expensive single-rate tariff, they could also no longer rely on their heating and hot water switching on and off as expected – with the risk of them even staying permanently on or off.

Previous arrangements had seen the RTS running until at least 31st March 2024 and that date has now been extended to allow more time for the switchover with electricity suppliers contacting households and businesses with RTS equipment to arrange for a smart meter upgrade at the earliest opportunity. Customers are being strongly advised to respond without delay if contacted and equally any customers who think they might be affected by this should get in contact with their electricity supplier as soon as possible.

Energy UK’s deputy chief executive, Dhara Vyas, said:

“Along with consumer groups, we are urging RTS customers to act now – either by responding to contact from their supplier or getting in contact themselves. Doing so in good time ahead of next summer’s deadline will minimise the disruption, help ensure a smooth upgrade to a smart meter and mean that customers continue to enjoy the benefits they currently get from RTS.
“While summer next year might seem a way off, suppliers will need to schedule in upgrades for around 900,000 homes and businesses so we strongly advise customers to please not leave it to the last minute.”