Three energy companies are to be investigated for their performance relating to the Governments advanced meter rollout scheme. N power, E-on and British Gas have been singled out as the energy companies with the lowest amount of completion rates.
The roll out scheme first began in 2009 and energy firms were expected to take reasonable steps to install the advanced metres into 155,000 business customers in the UK. However, according to Ofgem, only 75% of the installations were completed by the deadline of April 2014.
The three energy companies highlighted by Ofgem have the lowest completion rates, with 40,000 installations still waiting to be carried out. Even though the deadline has now passed, the energy companies are still obliged to install the metres, and although N Power, E-on and British Gas were the companies with the lowest amount of installations, there are still several energy firms that did not meet the stipulated deadline.
The rollout programme began as the advance metres, or smart meters as they are often known, can help business and domestic households to save money by giving them a better idea of how energy around their homes and businesses is used. The Government estimates that these smart meters will enable companies to save £40 million every year.
Commenting in a press release, 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.”
“Regulatory and government programmes are not optional and failure to meet these in a timely way causes consumer harm. All suppliers can and must learn the lessons from the roll-out of meters for business customers and apply them to the domestic smart meter roll-out.”
Since the commencement of the programme, Ofgem has been responsible for monitoring the energy firms’ progress, and it has consistently told them about the importance of completing the project on time. The investigation will now seek to find out whether or not British Gas, N power and E-on took reasonable efforts to ensure that they met the deadline.
Soon, energy firms are to roll-out a programme to fit smart meters into domestic households throughout the UK, however, there has been a lot of criticism over these plans as the meters have been shown to not always make the householder significant savings.