Utilita goes to high court over smart meter deadline


Utilita, a UK based energy provider with more than 600,000 customers,
has lodged an application at the High Court to force ministers to scrap an October deadline for the SMETS1 meters.

Bill Bullen, Utilita CEO, stated that a judicial review of the October smart meter installation deadline was their only option.

The company has requested that Greg Clark, the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary, push back the cut-off point to at least 2020 for pay-as-you-go customers.

The company is said to argue in its legal challenge‎ that for pay-as-you-go customers, SMETS1 meters are far more robust than the technology they are supposed to be replaced by.

Under the Government’s proposals, SMETS1 meters installed after October would not count towards energy suppliers’ obligations to roll out smart meters.

Thus far, SMETS2 uptake has been low, with the number installed so far across the country believed to be in the low hundreds‎.

Concerns are that pay-as-you-go customers, often within the lower income brackets, are at the greatest risk by a premature enforced switch to SMETS2. This risk is caused by the lack of proper testing carried out on the new technology, across a variety of market segments.

According to Utilita, SMETS2 meters are less advanced than expected and create vulnerabilities for pre-paid customers at risk if there are major problems with the networks.

Utilita, which is privately owned, provides customers using SMETS1 meters ‎with a keypad enabling them to continue accessing energy when the network is down.

The Government’s smart meters programme has so far cost at least £11bn.