Ofgem: Energy suppliers will not achieve their PPM targets for 2023
Ofgem predicts that most large energy suppliers will not achieve their prepayment meter (PPM) installation targets for 2023.
In an open letter released by the energy regulator on Friday (19 January), Ofgem said it anticipates most large suppliers to miss their PPM installation target for the second consecutive year. The figures are expected to be released at the end of January.
Ofgem also discussed its “concern” over the large variance in suppliers’ smart meter and prepayment meter rollout. Its letter read that the “percentage of premises with a smart meter in Great Britain is approximately 60%” however this was not the case for PPM premises. Instead, there is a large variance between the larger suppliers’ smart PPM customer portfolios, which “causes concern”.
Several action points were referenced in the energy regulator’s 2025 Consumer Vulnerability Strategy. Amongst these was ensuring that customers had access to affordable energy and suitable services, especially for vulnerable customers who are at risk of self-disconnecting.
Indeed, Ofgem has raised concerns that PPM customers, particularly those in vulnerable situations, have not received the benefits of smart meters at the same rate as credit customers, and expects to see a “greater focus” from suppliers in delivering smart meters to these customers.
With energy suppliers expected to adhere to the Standard Licence Conditions of the Electricity and Gas Supply Licence, the energy regulator will maintain a watchful eye on further developments in this space.
PPMs continue to be under Ofgem’s spotlight
Over the course of 2023, PPMs came under scrutiny due to involuntary installations.
In February 2023, UK energy suppliers collectively agreed to halt the forced installation of PPMs into vulnerable households following a call from the then energy security secretary Grant Shapps for an investigation into the potential exploitation of these households.
The result saw Ofgem update the Code of Practise for PPMs with all energy suppliers signing this modification. The changes were confirmed to be in place from 8 November.
This change was spurred by research emerging at the time which revealed that households were being left without electricity during winter. In January 2023 new research by Citizens Advice found that 3.2 million PPM customers were cut off from their energy supply in 2022 for being unable to top up their PPM, due to the cost-of-living crisis.
Following the investigation, forced PPM installations resumed in January 2024 for a small number of suppliers including EDF, Octopus Energy and ScottishPower.