Almost a fifth of early smart meters may become dumb as customers switch in Britain


London, U.K. — (METERING.COM) — June 22, 2012  – Almost 20 percent of the approximately 5 million advanced meters that are installed in Britain before the advent of fully compliant smart meters may have to be reverted to dumb mode when customers switch supplier, Ofgem has suggested.

Based on the general domestic switching rate of 16.5 percent, up to 1 million customers with the early smart meters – named by Ofgem as “advanced domestic meters” (ADMs) – can be expected to switch supplier before 2014, when suppliers switch to rolling out fully compliant smart meters. Of these Ofgem forecasts that 91 percent will switch to a supplier that may have to revert the meter to dumb mode, while just 6 percent will switch to a supplier that supports smart meters (in “non-prepayment” mode). The remaining 3 percent will be switches involving prepayment advanced meters, either to other suppliers that support these (but not necessarily in prepayment mode) or that do not support them.

Given this situation, in order to enable customers to make well informed switching decisions Ofgem is proposing new license obligations on suppliers to improve the information available on the potential impacts of switching supplier. In particular Ofgem is proposing that suppliers should be required to inform customers of any meter functionality and associated services they may lose if they switch supplier.

Suppliers must also cooperate to enable customers to retain some or all of the advanced meter functionality when they switch supplier.
Finally suppliers should improve the accuracy of the information displayed on the advanced meter, upon change of supplier, with the outgoing supplier required to delete any information on the meter and the home electronic display relating to their charges.

These proposals are now subject to consultation.