London, U.K. — (METERING.COM) — December 22, 2010 – A review of metering arrangements in the U.K. in the transition to smart metering by the regulator Ofgem, has found several specific areas where a change of policy is required, including commercial interoperability, vertical integration and network companies’ obligations, and gas metering price controls.
In its review Ofgem says that while it would not be appropriate to intervene in the market in the areas of consumer protection and metering agents, for commercial interoperability the current arrangements have led to a multiplicity of contract forms and charges, and the metering market would benefit from decreased transactional costs and increased and more transparent information flows. However, it is not certain that the evidence is sufficient to warrant intervention in relation to dumb meters.
On vertical integration and network companies’ obligations, Ofgem says it considers that a package of remedies will ensure that dumb meters are available, and protect small and out-of-area suppliers during the transition to smart metering and beyond. The organization proposes to facilitate this by introducing a non-discriminatory obligation on certain suppliers to offer smart metering services on cost reflective terms to other suppliers.
Finally, Ofgem proposes to retain metering price controls on all (dumb) gas meters. A review of the tariff cap for new and replacement meters would be appropriate for credit meters, and may also be appropriate for prepayment meters. A more considered decision on tariff caps for prepayment meters should be possible with the publication of the smart metering prospectus decision document due in the New Year.