Ofgem is consulting on issuing nine suppliers final orders, which could lead to revocation of their licenses, for not joining the Data Communications Company (DCC).
The DCC provides a system that allows smart meters to continue operating, even if a household changes supplier. Many who had first generations SMETS lost functionality when they switched to a new supplier, the DCC ensures that they can function regardless.
In order to ensure the functionality of smart meters and facilitate the rollout all suppliers were required to join by November 2017, but some failed to.
Ampoweruk, Better Energy Supply, Daligas, Enstroga, Entice Energy Supply, Euston Energy (trading as Northumbria), Green Energy Supply, Symbio Energy and UK National Gas, have all failed to join the DCC and could be issued a final order.
If issued, suppliers will have until the 31 March 2020 to join the DCC, or Ofgem will take further enforcement action, which could result in stripping them of their operating licenses.
The smart meter rollout has been plagued with challenges, and the UK is likely to meet just 68% at best of its current 2024 target, according to recent research by Energy UK. The deadline was originally 2020, but energy companies have said that that is not possible, citing a number of issues including rising DCC costs.
Ofgem has said that it is “ready to take tough action” on suppliers that fall short of smart meter goals, and there are likely to be financial penalties for those companies that fail to rollout smart meters to at least 85% of their customers.