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The Smart Meter Roll Out Debacle

2015 marks the planned commencement of the roll out of 53m smart meters to homes and businesses across the UK.ofgem logo

Few of those in the know expect it to be a walk in the park, even fewer expects the 2020 final delivery date to be set in stone.

These concerns have been exacerbated by the reporting, findings and subsequent publication of the performance of the energy suppliers in the ‘trial’ roll out of smart meters to larger business customers between 2009 and 2014.

The ‘trial’ lasted 5 years and was intended to see 155,000 smart meters fitted. That is 0.29% of the total that is planned to for installation in the full roll out and over a similar period.

If that stark context wasn’t of concern enough, Ofgem have named and shamed the three ‘worst’ performing suppliers in getting their meters installed.

However ‘worst’ is a relative description.

In the full five-year period:

  • only 75% of the required electricity smart meters were installed
  • and only 86% of the gas meters

This alone means multiple thousands of businesses are still awaiting their much vaunted smart meter installation.

British Gas, E.ON and nPower were the suppliers whom Ofgem have announced will be investigated as to whether all reasonable steps were taken to install the advanced electricity meters.

By no means are these the only suppliers to have failed the ‘test’, however they represent the majority of the 40,000 meters still awaiting installation 6 months after the target end date. The suppliers themselves are tasked with completing the installation even though the target date has long since passed. Little progress has been seen however.

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.”

One suspects the Millennium Dome project will look a cakewalk compared to the impending debacle that will be the Smart Meter Roll Out.