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Ofgem bans five energy suppliers over smart meter issue

Peter Kelly
Mar 9, 2020


The smart meter rollout has had more false dawns than Scandinavia in the depths of winter.

It has been a masterclass in government and industry inefficiency - they first set a target for all homes to have a smart meter by 2020, for example.

Well, as you're all aware, it is now in fact 2020 and, as you may also be aware, you quite possibly don't have a smart meter.

But now five suppliers have been dealt a massive blow when it comes to the smart meter rollout as Ofgem has banned them from taking on any new customers.

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The five suppliers, Daligas, Enstroga, Entice Energy Supply, Euston Energy (trading as Northumbria Energy), and Symbio Energy, have all so far refused to join the modern era!

Ofgem, which is the energy watchdog, said failure to join the common system (by the way, does this remind you of the EU at all?!) means that if customers switch to any of these five suppliers, they will lose the functionality of their smart meters.

At present, the smart meter infrastructure, known as Data Communications Company (DCC), enables communication between smart meters, suppliers and network companies and this simply would not be possible without those firm getting on board.

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A statement from Ofgem reads: "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."

Ofgem is also worried that people might be delaying getting a smart meter installed because of this.

Here, essentially, is the rub of the green - according to strict guidelines, all energy suppliers were required to sign up to the DCC by Ofgem from 25 November 2017 to enable the enrolment of first generation smart meters (SMETS1) and drive the installation of the next generation of smart meters - known as SMETS2.

This means that when the major second smart meter rollout happens, those who have not signed up to the first stage will see their smart meters 'go dumb' - a sight that may be more easily recognisable to some people more than others.  

Ofgem is now warning that it could revoke the five firms' licences altogether if they still fail to comply with the DCC rules.

According to The Sun, three 'original' suppliers that were warned about the upcoming enforcement action, - Ampower, Green Supplier and UK National Gas - have since become compliant.

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Commenting on Ofgem's announcement, Will Owen, energy expert at Uswitch.com, said: 'These five energy companies might not be household names - accounting for fewer than 100,000 households between them - but the smart meter network won't work properly until every supplier is using the same communications infrastructure. 

'Banning a supplier from taking on more customers is a hefty punishment, and could seriously damage their growth plans.' 

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