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Half of suppliers failed to reach smart meter installation milestones in 2019

Image: Getty.

Image: Getty.

Half of suppliers have failed to reach their smart meter installation milestones, and were more than 10% outside of the tolerance allowed.

Ofgem is examining why so many have breached their license conditions by failing to install enough SMETS2 meters throughout 2019 to assess whether it was within the suppliers control.

Engagement with suppliers on the topic had been deferred until now, to allow them to focus on meeting customer needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The progress report follows the government’s decision to extend the obligation for suppliers to take All Reasonable Steps (ARS) to install smart meters by six months, as a result of COVID-19. Suppliers will now have until July 2021 to meet the installation milestones required for the ARS stage of the smart meter rollout.

It followed suppliers pausing installations in March as a result of the lockdown, only restarting tentatively in June.

According to Ofgem, as suppliers move forwards in 2020, it will be critical that they engage with customers to drive adoption going forwards, encouraging installation and heighten safety measures when entering homes.

The failure of suppliers to meet installations follows a string of struggles in the rollout of smart meters. Already, the government has taken the decision to lower its target to 85% coverage, a target that has already been queried.

Towards the end of 2019 and into the beginning of 2020 it did seem as though the speed with which installations were taking place was growing. However, this growth has been unstable, with Q4 of 2019 showing a higher installation rate than Q3 but a fall from Q4 2018.

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