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Npower becomes latest supplier hit with advanced meter failures fine

Image: Npower.

Image: Npower.

Npower has become the latest supplier to be hit with a fine by Ofgem over failures in its advanced meter roll out.

Npower has been fined £2.4 million after it failed to install advanced meters for some business customers before the April 2014 deadline, resulting in those customers missing the opportunity to receive better information regarding their energy costs.

But the fine could have been worse still for Npower. The regulator originally sought to fine the supplier £3.7 million for breaching its licence conditions, however this was contested and the case was referred to an Enforcement Decision panel.

That panel reduced the fine to £2.4 million, and this will now be paid to HM Treasury.

The case represents the first time Ofgem has fined a supplier following a contested hearing since SSE was fined £10.5 million in 2013.

An Ofgem investigation found that Npower failed to install nearly 4,000 advanced electricity meters and, in an additional 200 cases, installed traditional meters when it was required to install advanced ones.

Furthermore, Ofgem found Npower failed to take “all reasonable steps” to install the advanced meters at these 4,000 meter points by leaving it too late for installations to be effective. The supplier was also found to have not made sufficient efforts to engage with customers to resolve installation difficulties.

Rob Salter-Church, interim executive director for consumers and markets at Ofgem, said Npower was “paying the price” for letting its business customers down.

“The government set a clear deadline for suppliers to ensure no business customers unnecessarily missed out on the benefits of advanced meters, including the opportunity to save money on their bills. The fine reflects that there were systemic failings by npower which led to the serious failure of not meeting the deadline.

“Suppliers must learn their lesson to make sure mistakes like this are not repeated in the roll-out of smart meters,” he added.

Both E.On and British Gas have received Ofgem fines in recent years for similar failures.

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