E.ON has been ordered to pay £7 million for failing to supply businesses with advanced electricity meters.
Ofgem said the Big Six supplier had five years to install around 20,000 advanced meters – a type of smart meter which allows for one-way communication between customers and suppliers’ IT systems – but didn’t manage to meet the April 2014 deadline.
E.ON only completed 64.4% of the rollout, which meant more than 7,000 customers didn’t get a meter on time.
Under the government’s advanced meter rollout scheme, which started in 2009, energy suppliers had to install a total of 155,000 in business premises.
E.ON will pay the £7 million fine to the Carbon Trust to fund a two-year programme for energy saving audits, advice and installation of energy efficiency measures to help small and medium sized businesses.
The supplier has also agreed to pay a further £7 million if it doesn’t meet its interim target within the next year. Ofgem will also impose sales ban preventing E.ON from taking on new business customers until it is able to supply them with advanced smart meters.
Anthony Pygram, Ofgem Senior Partner with responsibility for enforcement said: “It’s unacceptable that E.ON failed to roll out advanced meters to these business customers on time. Customers have lost out on receiving better information about their energy consumption and the opportunity to control costs. Unless E.ON improves their poor record, they will have to pay out even more and may face a sales ban.
“We expect all suppliers to learn the lessons from this ahead of the domestic smart meter rollout, in particular the need to start the process in good time and ensure senior managers are committed to delivering on time.”
Investigations into British Gas and npower’s rollout performance continue, Ofgem added.
A spokesman for E.ON said: “Installing advanced meters to tens of thousands of business customers across the country was always going to be a significant challenge and one that threw up a variety of hurdles for suppliers to overcome. That said, we cannot and will not, overlook the fact that we did not do enough in time to meet the deadline and in that regard failed to provide the efficient service our business customers demand and deserve.
“In the last 18 months we have made some further progress and we have invested heavily in increasing our capability and we are taking all reasonable steps to get these meters installed.”
As part of the national rollout programme, suppliers are also required to provide smart meters to all domestic and smaller non-domestic customers by the end of 2020.