OFGEM is consulting on issuing nine energy suppliers with final orders due to them being in breach of the requirement to be Data Communications Company users.
The suppliers are: Ampoweruk Ltd, Better Energy Supply Limited, Daligas Limited, Enstroga Ltd, Entice Energy Supply Limited, Euston Energy Ltd (trading as Northumbria), Green Energy Supply Limited, Symbio Energy Limited and UK National Gas Ltd.
If issued, the final orders would require each supplier to be a Data Communications Company user by 31 March 2020 and would ban each supplier from taking on new customers from the date of the final orders.
Each final order would remain in place until the supplier becomes a Data Communications Company user.
All suppliers were required to become Data Communications Company users from 25 November 2017, or on exiting the Controlled Market Entry process, to enable the enrolment of first generation smart meters and drive the installation of next generation smart meters.
Each of these nine suppliers have failed to comply with this requirement.
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 proposals over the coming months.
Until these nine suppliers are Data Communications Company users, customers with a Data Communications Company-connected smart meter who switch to any of the nine 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 the suppliers fail to become Data Communications Company users in accordance with the final orders, Ofgem will consider further enforcement action, which could result in licence revocations.
The final orders will be consulted on until 3 February.