E.ON fined £7m for smart meter fail

Business customers not hooked up, time to cough up

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The UK's energy regulator Ofgem has slapped supplier E.ON with a £7m fine for failing "to supply relevant business customers through advanced electricity meters by the April 2014 deadline".

In 2009, E.ON was given five years to provide its roughly 20,000 business customers with smart meters.

Ofgem reports: "E.ON only completed 64.4% of its roll-out, meaning over 7,000 customers did not get a meter on time. E.ON was unable to demonstrate that it took all reasonable steps to fulfil its required meter rollout.

"The supplier failed to plan and monitor its roll-out and its senior management didn’t do enough to ensure it complied. E.ON has also gained financially by avoiding the costs of installing and operating the new meters."

This failure has cost E.ON dear, with the £7m extracted from its coffers destined for the Carbon Trust. Furthermore, if it doesn't meet "an interim target within the next year, it will pay a further £7 million in redress".

According to the BBC, an E.ON spokesman 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."

Overall, fulfilment of the business smart meter roll-out, involving 28,000 gas meters and 155,000 electricity meters across all suppliers, was "only 75% complete in electricity by April 2014, compared to 86% complete in gas".

Suppliers are "also required roll out smart meters to all domestic and smaller non-domestic customers by the end of 2020".

The plan is highly controversial, with the government doggedly ploughing ahead despite serious concerns about the cost and benefits of the scheme.

The Institute of Directors has slammed the programme as "unwanted by consumers, over-engineered and mind-blowingly expensive". It also warned of "a potentially catastrophic government IT disaster" unless adequate steps were taken to protect consumer data. ®


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