Smart meter interoperability issues impeding large customer switching in U.K.?


Jonathan Elliott,
MD, Make It Cheaper
London, U.K. — (METERING.COM) — November 2, 2011 – According to the U.K. business utility savings advisor Make It Cheaper, it has seen a sharp rise in the number of supplier switching attempts that fail because of non-compatibility issues with meters using smart technology.

Further it says it has also seen some energy suppliers apply additional standing charges, ranging from 20 pence to 60 pence per day (£73 to £219 per year), to support the smart meter technology.

And even if a supplier accepts a new type of meter from a customer wishing to switch, it is often subsequently read in the traditional “dumb” way, so removing any smart technology benefits.

“There seems to be a lack of coordination with the rollout of smart meters and so all the suppliers are making different choices over which type to support,” commented Jonathan Elliott, managing director of Make It Cheaper. “As a result, switching is being seriously thwarted when it could have been made so much easier.”

Make It Cheaper suggests that any non-domestic site that has had a new meter installed in the past two years is at risk from the compatibility problem. The organization adds that whilst there are no official figures available for the adoption of smart meters, recent announcements from the “Big 6” energy suppliers suggest at least 200,000 have already been installed at non-domestic sites.