UK utility firm E.ON partnered with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to expand its workforce and meet the UK government’s smart meter rollout targets.The utility firm said it will be assisted by the DWP to recruit 500 new smart meter technicians who will assist the company in meeting the UK smart meter rollout target.
The UK government has set a target for energy companies to equip all of their customers with smart meters by 2020.
The smart meter technicians will be recruited using DWP’s Smart Sector Based Work Academy.
The Smart Sector Based Work Academy identifies unemployed individuals, equips them with technical skills and connects them with firms requiring their specific skills.
[quote] The Academy will equip shortlisted candidates with knowledge on how E.ON operates, smart meter installation skills, health and safety training, customer service and interview preparation skills before they are fully employed as smart meter installers at E.ON in January 2017.
Tony Cocker, CEO at E.ON UK, said: “The utilities sector needs to continue to attract, employ and train new talent to tackle workforce renewal and skills challenges, and this programme is a positive example of the energy industry and government working together to support this goal.
The 500 smart meter installer posts adds to the 250 smart meters installers and 400 customer service jobs which E.ON announced in the first quarter of 2016.
UK smart meter rollout targets
In November, last year, E.ON was ordered by UK energy regulator Ofgem to pay a fine of GBP7 million for failing to deploy 20,000 smart meters to its business customers by Q2 of 2014.
The utility firm managed to install 13,000 of the 20,000 smart meters it was mandated to deploy by the government.
In 2009, the UK government had ordered utility firms to install 20,000 smart gas and electric meters to ensure their business customers in a period of five years.
The government also expects energy suppliers to fit more than 26 million households across England, Wales and Scotland with smart meters by 2020.
E.ON agreed to pay GBP7 million to the Carbon Trust for missing the 2014 UK smart meter rollout deadline.
Commenting on the issuing of the fine, Anthony Pygram, senior enforcement partner at Ofgem, said: "It's unacceptable that E.On failed to roll out advanced meters to these business customers on time.
"Customers have lost out on receiving better information about their energy consumption and the opportunity to control costs."
An 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. [Analysis: status of and challenges affecting the UK smart meter rollout]
"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."
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