Utilita Energy files for judicial review into smart meter rollout

The government extended the date from July to October 2018 but the energy firm said it “repeatedly urged BEIS” to push the deadline for SMETS1 meters to at least 2020

By Priyanka Shrestha

Utilita Energy has announced it has filed for a judicial review into the end date for the installation of smart meters for Pay As You Go (PAYG) customers.

The government extended the deadline from July to October 2018 but the energy firm said it “repeatedly urged BEIS” to push the deadline for SMETS1 meters to at least 2020.

It added SMETS2 meters can negatively impact them, “potentially leaving millions of vulnerable households in the dark” if the network is down.

CEO Bill Bullen said: “We have been left with no choice but to take this course of action – this is not a decision we have taken lightly.

“The smart meter rollout is designed to offer a better level of service for households. We believe abandoning SMETS1 meters at this time will have the reverse effect for millions of low income households that use PAYG.

“It’s been suggested SMETS2 meters are more advanced than SMETS1 meters – but this is simply not true. Indeed, for the PAYG market SMETS1 are secure, cost effective, interoperable and provide additional functionality not supported by SMETS2 meters.”

He added if the UK gets this wrong, the effect on the entire rollout could be “catastrophic”.

BEIS said it will “vigorously defend” the judicial review claim.

A spokesperson added: “Second generation smart meters, known as SMETS2, will enable all consumers to be able to use smart services when they switch energy supplier – enabling them to save money on their bills.

“That is why, after careful consideration of the impact on energy suppliers and consumers, we have set a deadline for energy suppliers to move over to deploying only SMETS2 meters.”