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Ofgem Bans Five Energy Suppliers from Taking On New Customers

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Five energy suppliers have been banned from taking on new customers by Ofgem after breaking smart meter rules.

The energy watchdog stepped in after it discovered the suppliers failed to become Data Communications Company (DCC) users. Ofgem required all energy suppliers to sign up to the scheme, and failure to do so would mean customers would lose their smart meter functionality if they switched energy supplier.

The five small energy suppliers hit with the ban are Daligas, Enstroga, Entice Energy Supplier, Euston Energy (trading as Northumbria Energy), and Symbio Energy. The ban on taking new customers for each supplier will last until it becomes a DCC user.

“Suppliers are required to take all reasonable steps to roll out smart meters to all their domestic and small business customers by the end of 2020,” said Ofgem. “If these suppliers continue to fail to become DCC users in accordance with the final orders, Ofgem will consider further enforcement action, which could result in their licences being revoked.

“Until these five suppliers are DCC users, customers with a DCC-connected smart meter who switch to any of these five suppliers will lose the functionality of their smart meter on switching.

“This leaves the meters operating as traditional meters with customers needing to provide manual meter readings and unable to access the full benefits of smart meters. This causes consumer detriment and could undermine consumer confidence in the smart meter programme and the switching process.”

The smart meter rollout in the UK has been fraught with problems since its inception. The government had originally planned for every household and small business in the country to be offered a smart meter installation by the end of this year, but the deadline had to be pushed back to at least 2024.

The first generation smart meter, called SMETS1, has also had issues, with consumers complaining that they ‘go dumb’ after switching energy supplier. However, according to the DCC, around 90% of current smart meter installations now involve the second generation SMETS2 meters.

Fergus Cole
Fergus Cole

Fergus is a journalist specialising in the personal finance, energy and broadband sectors. He also has a passion for travel and adventure so tries to make the most of this in any spare time he gets.

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