Ofgem investigates energy firms over meter rollout

An investigation into whether some of the Big Six energy companies have taken “all reasonable steps” when installing advanced meters has been launched. It comes as three of the major […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

An investigation into whether some of the Big Six energy companies have taken “all reasonable steps” when installing advanced meters has been launched.

It comes as three of the major suppliers – British Gas, E.ON and npower – had the lowest completion rates for installing smart electricity meters for business customers.

Under the Government’s advanced meter rollout scheme, which started in 2009, energy firms had to fit 155,000 business customers with meters by April this year.

However, Ofgem found the rollout was only 75% complete for electricity and 86% for gas, with the three Big Six suppliers accounting for more than half of the 40,000 advanced electricity meters still waiting to be installed.

Advanced meters, which give half-hourly electricity readings and hourly gas information, are expected to save businesses around £40 million every year.

Rachel Fletcher, Senior Partner for Ofgem’s Markets Division said: “We are disappointed in the overall performance of the majority of suppliers concerning the roll-out of advanced meters to business customers. These new meters offer real benefits to customers including saving money through reduced energy consumption and ending estimated billing.”

She added all suppliers “must learn the lessons” and apply them to the domestic smart meter rollout, which is due to start next year.

The regulator however noted the investigation “should not in any way be taken as implying the companies involved have breached licence conditions or otherwise broken the law”.

British Gas said it will “co-operate fully” with Ofgem’s investigation, adding: “We remain very aware of our obligations and will continue to work hard to overcome obstacles to the roll-out of this technology.”

ELN has contacted E.ON and npower for comments.