Ofgem, the electricity and gas regulator in the UK has found that 40% of providers charge customers for the installation of prepaid meters, while another 5% charged for the removal of these meters.
Charges of up to £180 were being enforced, and Ofgem has given these utilities until “the autumn” to remove all charges.
“Ofgem is concerned that charges and costs for using a pre-payment meter fall on those least able to afford them,” said Philip Cullum, of Ofgem in a statement.
“That is why we want to remove barriers, deliver greater protections and offer more choice for pre-payment customers to ensure they are able to find the best possible deals.”
According to MoneyExpert.com: “The highest charges for installation reached £180, whilst the highest charges for removal could reach up to £160.”
Citizens Advice Bureau CEO, Gillian Guy, reiterated: “Pre-pay energy consumers pay more for a second-rate service. Too many pre-pay customers can also feel locked out of the best deals by unfair charges.”
EDF Energy and BT Supply Chain join forces
In other GB metering news, EDF and BT Supply Chain will be working together, as BT Supply Chain uses its distribution centre and national network to distribute over six million meters across the UK on behalf of EDF.
In a release, EDF Energy programme director for smart metering and efficiency, Rich Hughes said of the arrangement: “EDF Energy’s smart metering programme focuses on delivering the rollout to our customers both safely and efficiently, while providing excellent customer service. Smart metering is a great opportunity for customers and UK but full of technical and logistical challenges at both an industry and company level.”
NERC may excuse consumers who have not been metered
In Nigeria, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) said it will likely excuse electricity consumers from paying electricity rates, if they have not been metered by their distribution networks.
According to the This Day newspaper, unmetered customers will be exempted from paying electricity as it was due to the “reluctance of distribution companies (discos) to fully carry out their metering plans.” The report seemed to imply that the distribution companies preferred to continue with estimated charges instead of installing meters.
Dr. Sam Amadi, Chairman of NERC, told reporters the Commission had decided to employ these means in pushing the Discos to engage in widespread metering of electricity consumers in their networks.
The proposal will apparently by subject to review by industry operators after which “a 16 months grace period will be granted to the Discos to exercise their full metering plans or lose revenues from consumers who they fail to meter by virtue of their exemption from paying for electricity consumed.”
Amadi was quite clear that: “The situation has not improved as there is still abysmally low level of metering in the NESI [Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry]. As at today, over 50 per cent of all the registered customers are either unmetered or have non-functional meters.”