British Gas Business will pay £4.5 million redress to the Carbon Trust because it missed its deadline to supply some larger business customers through advanced electricity meters by April 2014. The company has also agreed to increased monitoring of its progress on installing the outstanding meters.
In April 2009, the government introduced a new licence requirement requiring suppliers to roll out advanced gas and electricity meters to their medium and larger business customers by 6 April 2014. The specific obligation was to install “advanced” meters; a particular type of smart meter which allows for one-way communication between customers’ premises and suppliers’ IT systems.
Ofgem said that British Gas Business did not take all reasonable steps to fulfil the roll-out as it was legally required to do. Some customers were left without an advanced meter at the end of the roll out period, which meant they missed out on receiving better information about their energy consumption and the opportunity to control costs.
Whilst British Gas Business took additional steps in 2013 to install the meters, these were too late to ensure that all eligible customers benefited from advanced meters by the April 2014 deadline. Further, it installed a small number of traditional meters instead of advanced meters.
Since April 2014, British Gas Business has made further progress in rolling out advanced meters to its business customers, in line with its legal obligation. The supplier agreed to increased monitoring of its progress in installing the outstanding meters.
British Gas Business supplies around 400,000 business customers through more than 700,000 electricity and gas supply points. It installed around 42,000 meters at relevant premises during the roll-out period.
Martin Crouch, Ofgem senior partner with responsibility for enforcement said: “British Gas Business failed to meet its mandatory deadline to install advanced meters leaving some larger business customers unable to benefit.The supplier has since taken further action to prioritise the rollout, improving its performance.”
He continued: “This penalty sends out a clear message to the industry that suppliers must meet regulatory deadlines. Smart meters are being rolled out to smaller non-domestic customers and suppliers must learn their lesson ahead of delivering this programme.”