E.ON to pay £7m over meters
The folks at E.ON have been told to cough-up £7m after missing a target for delivering advanced electricity meters to their business customers. Watchdog Ofgem warned the energy company that there might be more penalties, which happens to include another £7m fine and a potential for a sales ban, if they don't sort out their 'poor record'.
Other energy companies would be wise to take heed.
Ofgem said that E.ON had been set a target in 2009, to fit and supply around 20,000 business customers the meters, but the company didn't complete the job. This was part of a roll-out designed to modernise the energy sector, and of course, help customers to get better service by having smart meters, so they can control their bills and usage.
The watchdog aren't happy with E.ON and said that the energy firm was "unable to demonstrate that it took all reasonable steps to fulfil its required meter rollout". It added: "The supplier failed to plan and monitor its roll-out and its senior management didn't do enough to ensure it complied."
"E.ON has also gained financially by avoiding the costs of installing and operating the new meters."
The regulator warned that, if E.ON were "not compliant" after a further six months, then they might be hit with a sales ban. As for the current £7m fine, the money will go to the Carbon Trust, which who offer energy saving audits and advice, and installs energy efficiency measures for smaller companies.
A spokesman for E.ON said: “Installing advanced meters to tens of thousands of business customers across the country was always going to be a significant challenge and one that threw up a variety of hurdles for suppliers to overcome. That said, we cannot, and will not, overlook the fact that we did not do enough in time to meet the deadline and in that regard failed to provide the efficient service our business customers demand and deserve."
“In the last 18 months we have made some further progress and we have invested heavily in increasing our capability and we are taking all reasonable steps to get these meters installed."
Anthony Pygram, Ofgem senior partner with responsibility for enforcement said: “It’s unacceptable that E.ON failed to roll out advanced meters to these business customers on time."
"Customers have lost out on receiving better information about their energy consumption and the opportunity to control costs. Unless E.ON improves their poor record, they will have to pay out even more and may face a sales ban."
“The roll-out of advanced meters has the potential to transform the energy market. We expect all suppliers to learn the lessons from this ahead of the domestic smart-meter roll-out, in particular the need to start the process in good time and ensure senior managers are committed to delivering on time.”
British Gas and Npower are next on Ofgem's list.