A number of big six energy companies are still installing first-generation (SMETS1) smart meters, despite the deadline for such installations passing.
British Gas, SSE, Eon, Npower and EDF all say they will continue to install SMETS1 devices, even though the deadline for installations was 5 December 2018.
A further deadline for pre-payment meter installations passed on 15 March this year and installations post these two dates does not count towards the suppliers’ obligations.
Companies have cited technical issues in the Data Communications Company’s (DCC’s) northern region, namely Scotland and Northern England. Some suppliers claim they have been unable to install SMETS2 meters due to problems connecting to the DCC’s network.
An EDF spokesperson said: “At EDF Energy, our fully trained installers are fitting second generation meters for our customers across Great Britain, with the overwhelming majority now getting a SMETS2 meter installed.
“However, ongoing technical restrictions outside of our control mean that suppliers are still not able to install SMETS2 in some properties.
“In limited circumstances, we may continue to offer first generation meters so that these customers can still enjoy the benefits of a smart meter, sooner.
“We’re working across the industry to be able to offer SMETS2 meters to all customers as soon as possible.”
SSE says it is installing SMETS2 devices “wherever possible”.
A spokesperson said: “Wherever possible, we are installing second generation meters to the vast majority of our customers.
“However, in areas where we are unable to technically install second generation meters, to provide customers who request a smart meter with one as early as possible, we would install a first generation meter.
“SSE believes this is in the best interests of customers.”
Eon meanwhile also said it was installing the second-generation devices wherever possible but added the SMETS1 devices they are installing instead will have full functionality once enrolled onto the DCC network.
A spokesperson for Npower said: “In common with a number of other suppliers while our preference is to install a SMETS2 meter to all new smart installs we are continuing to install SMETS1 meters in some cases where it isn’t yet possible to install SMETS2.”
British Gas said it will install the second-generation devices as a first option.
In response a spokesperson for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said: “Suppliers should now be focusing their efforts on ramping up installations of second-generation smart meters.
“Smart meters put people firmly in control of their energy use, helping them track how much they are spending on gas and electricity so they can save money. They are part of an essential upgrade to our national infrastructure, which is why we remain committed to every home and small business being offered one by the end of 2020.”
Robert Cheesewright, director of corporate affairs at Smart Energy GB, the company responsible for promoting the rollout, said: “Currently there are some challenges with second-generation meter availability, but the entire industry is working hard to address this, and they will be resolved soon.
“It is important to remember that customers with first-generation meters will receive an upgrade to restore full switching functionality.”
The middle operating capability will begin on 30 September while the final operating capability (42 per cent) will begin on 12 December.
The DCC confirmed the 500,000th SMETS2 device was installed at a home in Bedfordshire on 8 March.