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EDF Energy pays penalty for sluggish smart meter roll-out  

Big Six energy supplier EDF Energy will fork out ?350,000 after missing its smart meter roll-out deadline for last year.
The supplier’s bid to meet its 2017 goal slipped into the first weeks of this year even after it doubled its efforts and employed more workers to install the digital meters.
All major energy suppliers are bound by annual targets agreed with the regulator in order to meet the Government’s push for every household to have access to a smart meter by 2020.
The supplier will avoid an official regulatory wrist-slap from Ofgem by offering to pay up ?350,000 to the regulator’s Energy Savings Trust, which supports consumers in vulnerable situations.
Jim Poole, of EDF Energy, said the supplier was “disappointed” that it was three weeks late in meeting the target, which is kept under wraps because it is considered commercially sensitive.
“During 2017 we doubled our smart meter installation rates and employed more people to install smart meters. We recovered the shortfall quickly in 2018 and are on target for this year,” he added.
The missed deadline underlines the struggles suppliers have faced in carrying out the Government’s smart meter drive.
EDF Energy pays penalty for sluggish smart meter roll-out  

EDF Energy chief executive Simone Rossi

Credit:
TOBY MELVILLE/reuters
The digitally connected devices promise to offer customers more control over their energy use and lower bills.
But the ?11bn national roll out risks being derailed by years of delay to the technology at its heart, which is being developed by created by the Capita-owned Data Communications Company (DCC).
Energy suppliers are still required to make all reasonable efforts to install smart meters into their customers' homes even though the technology they are installing could lose functionality if the customer chooses to switch.
“We’re between a regulatory rock and a hard place,” one senior energy boss told the Telegraph.
Pete Earl, of energy comparison site Compare the Market, said there was still “a lot of widespread scepticism” towards smart meters across the UK.
“The negative sentiment and operational obstacles have not made it easy for energy companies to meet ambitious installation targets,” he said.
“The fact that we haven’t seen the roll-out of the second generation of smart meters yet – the ones that can actually stay ‘smart’ post switching – has meant that smart meters have been in the news for the wrong reasons,” he added.
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