Energy suppliers are failing to inform consumers that smart meters are likely to go “dumb” if they switch provider, according to The Telegraph.
Data obtained by the publication reportedly shows customers switching to Eon, SSE, EDF Energy and Npower are only told if their meter will lose smart functionality once they have already switched.
According to The Telegraph, Npower admitted 100 per cent of customers with a first generation smart meter would see it go dumb after switching to or from another supplier. SSE, EDF and Eon reportedly said customers from some providers would lose functionality, but refused to say which ones.
The publication said British Gas revealed that of the UK’s six largest energy firms, only customers coming from Scottish Power, SSE and EDF would retain full smart meter functionality.
According to The Telegraph, Scottish Power claimed it tells all customers they will lose smart meter function, despite this not being the case for many SSE, British Gas and EDF customers.
Regulator Ofgem said it will consider taking action against companies who do not accurately inform customers that their smart meter will lose smart functionality after switching supplier.
“Under their licence conditions, before entering into a supply contract, suppliers must take all reasonable steps to assess the type of meter installed at a customer’s house. If completing the switch would result in their smart meter losing smart functionality, the supplier must inform the customer, providing information which is complete, accurate and not misleading,” said an Ofgem spokesperson.
“Last month we reminded suppliers they must treat all their customers fairly, including when they communicate with customers about smart meters. We work with consumer groups, like Citizens Advice, to monitor what is happening on the ground with smart meters, so we can check if suppliers are not meeting their licence obligations.
“We have warned suppliers that we will consider taking enforcement action against those who do not comply with their obligations to ensure that customers have a positive experience of smart meters.”
However, Smart Energy GB urged consumers to be mindful that the loss of smart functionality is temporary. First generation meters may revert to operate like traditional meters, but will then be upgraded and regain smart meter functions as they are enrolled into the Data Communications Company (DCC).
Smart Energy GB director of policy and communications, Robert Cheesewright said: “It’s important to remember that anybody with any meter can switch supplier, but it currently takes weeks. A smart system will enable customers to switch supplier in just 24 hours and will provide them with the information that they need to make sure they are on the right tariff.
“Some customers with the first generation of smart meters may find their meters lose their smart functionality when they switch. Energy suppliers are under a legal duty to warn customers of these risks. While losing smart functionality for customers is frustrating, it’s a temporary situation. Those smart meters will be upgraded over the air as the smart meter roll-out progresses.”