Five energy suppliers have been issued final orders by Ofgem after failing to sign up to the smart meter network operator. The regulator previously consulted on issuing orders to nine suppliers but three have since complied and one has requested its supply licence be revoked after selling on all its customers
Ofgem has issued final orders to five suppliers, which bans them from taking on new customers until they become smart meter- Data Communications Company (DCC) users. The five suppliers are Daligas, Enstroga, Entice Energy Supply, Euston Energy(trading as Northumbria Energy), and Symbio Energy.
The DCC is responsible for the national infrastructure that enables communications between smart meters, all energy suppliers and network companies. All suppliers were required to become DCC users from 25th November 2017, (or for new suppliers on exiting the Controlled Market Entry process) to enable the enrolment of first-generation smart meters (SMETS1) and drive the installation of next generation (SMETS2) smart meters.
In January, Ofgem consulted on issuing nine suppliers with a final order, giving them a deadline of 31 March 2020 to comply and become DCC users. Three of these suppliers (Ampower, Green Supplier, UK National Gas) have since become compliant and will not be issued with final orders.
Better Energy has not been issued with a final order as it no longer has any domestic customers and has requested the revocation of its supply licences, which will happen on 20th March 2020.
Suppliers are required to take all reasonable steps to roll out smart meters to all their domestic and small business customers by the end of 2020. BEIS has recently consulted on proposals to develop a policy framework for energy suppliers to continue installing smart meters post-2020 and will publish their decision in due course.
Until these five suppliers are DCC users, customers with a DCC-connected smart meter who switch to any of the five suppliers will lose the functionality of their smart meter on switching. This leaves the meters operating as traditional meters with customers needing to provide manual meter readings and unable to access the full benefits of smart meters. This causes consumer detriment and could undermine consumer confidence in the smart meter programme and the switching process.
If these suppliers continue to fail to become DCC users in accordance with the final orders, Ofgem will consider further enforcement action, which could result in their licences being revoked.