ENERGY companies ScottishPower and SSE are to be investigated by watchdog Ofgem for failing to meet targets aimed at improving energy efficiency in homes of vulnerable customers.
British Gas, Drax, GDF Suez/IPM and Intergen are also among the firms to be probed for failing to reach one or more targets set by the energy regulator.
The targets included installing energy efficiency measures such as loft and cavity-wall insulation into a certain proportion of households, especially vulnerable customers on low incomes.
ScottishPower was found to have met 70 per cent of its targets under the Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP), while SSE achieved 90.9 per cent of the target.
British Gas met less than two-thirds of its targets, while GDF Suez/IPM and Intergen hit only 38.6 per cent and 6.5 per cent respectively.
Sarah Harrison, Ofgem’s senior partner in charge of enforcement, said: “The fact that the industry has delivered 99 per cent of its government energy-efficiency targets is to be welcomed.
“However, Ofgem’s role is to ensure that consumers do not lose out by the failure of firms to deliver all the help required, or are not disadvantaged by late delivery. This is why Ofgem is today launching investigations into firms who have failed one or more of their energy efficiency targets set by government.”
Consumers – including approximately 700,000 of the most vulnerable households – have received more than six million professionally installed energy efficiency measures under the government’s Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) and CESP schemes, launched by the Department of Energy and Climate Change in 2008.
More than 150,000 households had at least one energy efficiency measure installed, including insulating more than 75,000 external solid walls and replacing nearly 43,000 old, inefficient boilers.
Both Scottish energy firms insisted they had completed the required work – but not in time for Ofgem’s December deadline. Ofgem reminded the industry in September last year that companies risked enforcement action if they failed to meet their energy efficiency targets.
The regulator said yesterday it will take into account as “mitigation” any energy measures installed since the deadline, but insisted that late actions “are not and cannot be” a substitute for full compliance.
A spokesman for ScottishPower said: “In December, we told Ofgem we had completed 70 per cent of the work on target and had begun work to complete the remaining 30 per cent by April this year.”
SSE said in a statement: “SSE believes it has complied with the CERT scheme in full within the required timeframe, although it was unable to verify and report the delivery of some of the obligations … to Ofgem before the reporting date.”