9th Nov 2023 10:34
(Alliance News) - Six of Britain's biggest gas and electricity suppliers will pay out GBP10.8 million to the energy watchdog after failing to meet the first annual target under a government push to install smart meters across the UK.
Ofgem said Centrica PLC's British Gas, Ovo, Bulb, E.ON SE, Scottish Power and SSE PLC fell short of the target for 2022 by more than a million smart meters – the first of the UK government's four-year plan launched in January 2022.
They have agreed to pay the redress into Ofgem's fund to help vulnerable households, with British Gas paying out the most, at GBP3.4 million, followed by Ovo at GBP2.4 million and Bulb, which was bought out of administration by Octopus in December 2022, at GBP1.8 million.
The government set the industry annual minimum goals to roll out smart meters, as they are seen as being an important part of reducing energy usage and switching to a more flexible energy system.
Smart meters allow households to track energy usage and access smarter tariffs that can save money by encouraging energy use outside peak times or when there is an excess of clean electricity available.
Cathryn Scott, director of enforcement and emerging issues at Ofgem, said: "The installation of smart meters is a vital step in the modernisation of our energy system and the path to net zero by 2050.
"Smart meters give customers better information about their energy usage helping them budget and control their costs."
Ofgem said as a result of the agreed payouts, it will not conduct a further probe into the reasons for the missed targets.
As of June this year, Ofgem said more than 33 million smart meters have now been installed in British homes and small businesses, representing 58% of all meters across the UK.
Ofgem said the suppliers will make the following payments into its Energy Industry Voluntary Redress Fund:
British Gas will pay GBP3.4 million, Ovo GBP2.4 million, Bulb GBP1.8 million, E.ON GBP.17 million and Scottish Power GBP1.2 million. SSE will pay GBP252,000.
Scottish Power will also make a further GBP440,000 payment into the redress fund in relation to missing its own smart meter goals in 2019, before the latest government targets were set.
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