One of the “Big Six” energy suppliers, E-On, has been ordered to pay out a total of £7m as a result of its failure to give out smart meters to their business accounts.
The energy-efficient smart meters are being rolled out across the country in an attempt to make it easier for customers to see how much energy they are using. They are also seen as a good tool for allowing people to become more efficient with their energy use.
E-On only managed “65% of target”
After an inquiry was made into E-on, Ofgem discovered that they had only given out smart meters to around 65% of the target number of business customers they had been set. The initial quota set by the gas and electricity market regulator totalled 20,000 business customers but E-on only managed to supply around 13,000 of these with smart meters.
The energy company has now agreed to give £7m to the Carbon Trust as a result of missing the deadline.
They have now been set a new target by Ofgem, which they have a further year to reach or they will face further penalisation.
The energy regulator has warned the energy company that if they fail to meet this target, the company will consider imposing a ban that would prevent them from taking on more customers until they had reached the number.
British Gas and Npower Also Under Investigation
It is believed that both British Gas and Npower are also under investigation for the rate at which they have been rolling out the meters.
Energy suppliers were given a five year window, back in 2009, in which they had to supply the meters, which are much more accurate than normal meters, to their business customers across the country.
Under this new initiative, E-on was given the target of distributing smart meters to 20,000 business customers by April 2014. However the company managed to roll out the meters to only 65% of that- amounting to only around 13,000 customers.
The governement has also asked energy companies to roll out smart meters to roughly 26 million homes across England, Wales and Scotland by the year 2020.
Ofgem’s senior enforcement partner, Anthony Pygram, said:
“It’s unacceptable that E.On failed to roll out advanced meters to these business customers on time.
“Customers have lost out on receiving better information about their energy consumption and the opportunity to control costs.
“Unless E.On improves their poor record, they will have to pay out even more and may face a sales ban.”
Rolling Out Smart Meters a “significant challenge”
One E-on spokesperson said:
“Installing advanced meters to tens of thousands of business customers across the country was always going to be a significant challenge and one that threw up a variety of hurdles for suppliers to overcome.
“That said, we cannot, and will not, overlook the fact that we did not do enough in time to meet the deadline and in that regard failed to provide the efficient service our business customers demand and deserve.”
It is unclear what the result of Ofgem’s inquiries into British Gas and Npower will be.