The ‘Smart Meter Rollout’ dictated by energy regulator Ofgem, requires gas and electricity suppliers to take all reasonable steps to roll out smart meters to all of their domestic and small business customers by the end of 2020. Having a smart meter installed is by no means compulsory, it is entirely the choice of the customer, however, the legislation means that they should have been offered the option.
At present, Utilita are coming under scrutiny by Ofgem for failing to meet their smart meter installation targets, which could result in Ofgem placing a ban on the supplier acquiring new customers.
Ofgem have described Utilita as ‘undermining the smart meter roll out’ by continuing to install first generation smart meters (SMETS1), rather than second generation meters (SMETS2). Ofgem explained that this could cause problems for customers who look to switch their supplier further down the line – It may result in them losing all functionality, meaning they would need to provide manual meter readings, the unit display could present old tariff information and most worrying, could result in inaccurate bills.
Charles Hargreaves, Ofgem’s deputy director of conduct and enforcement at Ofgem, said: “Smart meters are vital for upgrading Great Britain’s energy infrastructure, enabling customers to be better informed and engaged in managing their energy consumption by providing them with real time information on their energy use.
“Smart meters also help enable the transition to a more flexible energy market and the move to a low carbon economy.
“Ensuring all energy suppliers take all reasonable steps to install SMETS2 meters for new and replacement meters is critical to the success of the smart meter rollout as it enables smart meters to operate reliably for all consumers regardless of their energy supplier.”
Before issuing a ban on acquiring new customers, on 4th Jan Ofgem will debate whether they present Utilita with a final order to install 250 new smart meters by 30th April 2021 and 15,000 by 31st July 2021.