More than a million households may be unable to benefit from the new breed of fully switchable smart meters, it has emerged.
The £11bn smart meter roll-out, promoted by celebrities including Kirstie Allsopp has seen more than 12 million installed, but has been dogged by issues of meters “going dumb” and losing their smart functions when a customer switches energy supplier.
Switching remains the best way to reduce energy bills. Customers with smart meters can switch, but they will typically lose the “smart” benefits.
The new generation of meters is supposed to connect to a centralised network accessible by all suppliers, fixing the problem.
But Telegraph Money has learned that dozens of suppliers are not yet full members of the network, meaning their customers will not receive fully functioning meters.
The news comes just a week before the date at which suppliers must stop installing first-generation smart meters, and is another blow to the Government’s flagship clean energy policy, which was heavily criticised last week by spending watchdogs.
Jane Lucy, of switching service The Labrador, said: “Consumer benefits from the smart meter roll-out exist when consumers know how to unlock them. Time and time again they are told to switch and save, yet with the new meters, despite all the promises, it now appears they can’t.”
She added that the energy regulator, Ofgem, should do more to make sure consumers benefit from smart meters, and called on it to reveal the names of the suppliers yet to sign up.
Firms go through several testing stages before they can become full members of the network, operated by the Data Communications Company (DCC), a part of Capita, a process that can take months.
Ofgem said it would consider enforcement action against suppliers not yet signed up. A spokesman for the DCC said 95pc of consumers are with suppliers capable of installing second-generation meters. That leaves roughly 1.3 million households that risk missing out.
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