Perth-based energy supplier SSE is to pay out £700,000 after it missed its target to install gas smart meters for customers last year.
SSE has agreed to pay £700,000 to watchdog Ofgem’s consumer redress fund administered by the Energy Savings Trust, which supports consumers in vulnerable situations.
Under the Government’s smart meter roll-out programme, suppliers are required by law to take all reasonable steps to roll-out smart meters to all homes and small businesses by the end of 2020. To work towards this, suppliers set individual annual targets for smart meters installations and Ofgem monitors performance against these targets.
SSE met its electricity smart meters installation target for 2018, but missed its gas target. It reached its gas target for 2018 in February this year, less than two months after the deadline.
Natalie Hitchins, Which? head of home products and services, said: “It’s right that the regulator is taking action against individual firms lagging behind on smart meter installations, but there is a mountain to climb to get the rollout back on track. We need urgent action to resolve the remaining technical issues with second-generation smart meters to ensure they work properly for consumers.
“All parties involved in the rollout must work together to ensure people can enjoy the benefits of smart meters, such as greater convenience and a more competitive energy market, rather than hassle and soaring costs funded by their own bills.”
There have been arguments that the 2020 deadline is unrealistic, with recent official figures showing smart meter installation dropped by 16 per cent year-on-year in the final three months of 2018.
By the end of last year, 12.65 million smart meters were installed in households, representing a quarter of all domestic meters.
Ofgem said: “Due to the steps SSE has taken, Ofgem has decided not to take formal enforcement action. Ofgem is closely monitoring suppliers’ approaches to the roll-out of smart meters and will hold suppliers to account if they do not meet their obligations.”
Chris Adams, director of metering and smart transformation at SSE Energy Services said: “While there were many achievements in 2018, we are disappointed that we fell slightly short on meeting our gas target.
“We quickly recovered the shortfall during February 2019 and are on target for the year ahead. We have worked with Ofgem to resolve this matter as quickly as possible and have agreed to make a payment to Ofgem’s Voluntary Redress Fund.”