UK energy regulator Ofgem ordered energy provider British Gas to pay a fine of GBP4.5 million for failing to meet its 2014 smart meter installation targets.In a press statement, the energy regulator said the utility firm will pay the GBP4.5 million fine for failing to install 28,000 smart gas meters and 15,000 smart electric meters for its medium-sized non-domestic business consumers by April, 2014.
The utility firm had been ordered to install the 43,000 smart meters in 2009 when the UK government introduced its smart meter project.
The smart meters were introduced with the aim of modernising the nation’s grid network and ensure consumers are accurately billed.
Ofgem claims that British Gas denied its customers the right to consumer flexibility and participation in energy efficiency programmes to lower their energy usage and costs, by not meeting its smart meter rollout targets.
[quote] British Gas was able to equip 42,000 gas and electric consumers with the smart meters during the five years between 2009 and April 2014.
The fine will be allocated to the Carbon Trust for implementation of energy efficiency programmes to help business consumers reduce their energy usage and costs
Martin Crouch, senior partner with responsibility for enforcement at Ofgem, said “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."
However, the energy regulator states that since 2014, National Grid has improved its efforts in deploying smart meters. [Trilliant connects 4.2m AMI units for British Gas]
The UK government has set a smart meter deadline to deploy 53 million units by 2020 to ensure it reduces its carbon emission through real-time management of grid networks which paves way for increased integration of clean energy sources and utilities avoidance to build new fossil fuel powered energy generation resources.
Smart meter deadline fines
In the last quarter of 2015, Ofgem also ordered energy supplier E.ON to pay a fine of GBP7 million for failing to meet a deployment target of 20,000 smart meters to its business customers by Q2 of 2014.
The decision for E.ON to pay the fine comes after Ofgem found the energy provider installed 13,000 of the 20,000 smart meters it was mandated to install by the government.
The government also expects energy suppliers to fit more than 26 million households across England, Wales and Scotland with smart meters by 2020.
A spokesman for E.On said: "Installing advanced meters to tens of thousands of business customers across the country was always going to be a significant challenge and one that threw up a variety of hurdles for suppliers to overcome.
"That said, we cannot, and will not, overlook the fact that we did not do enough in time to meet the deadline and in that regard failed to provide the efficient service our business customers demand and deserve."
Ofgem introduced the smart meter deadline fines to ensure utilities succeed in equipping their consumers with smart meters in phases.
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