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Ofgem’s consultation on reforming suppliers' meter inspection obligations

18 September 2015

This submission was prepared by Citizens Advice in response to Ofgem’s consultation on reforming suppliers' meter inspection obligations

Citizens Advice welcomes this consultation on changes to supplier’s meter inspection obligations. We agree that in the context of the smart meter rollout it is sensible to review the current requirements for all meters to be inspected every two years.

The regulator’s preferred policy option would remove the inspection obligation for all meter types, not just smart meters. We are concerned that consumers with traditional meters are at greater risk than those with smart meters. In particular, these consumers could face more inaccurate bills, especially if they have previously been reliant on suppliers taking meter readings. Since these consumers also have less protection from backbilling, we believe that the proposals could place them at higher risk of receiving a ‘shock bill’.

We urge the regulator to consider an alternative option for reform, in which the static inspections obligation is removed for smart meters, but kept in place for traditional meters and smart meters operated in ‘dumb’ mode. This would take advantage of the benefits of smart metering, while protecting consumers with a traditional meter, including those consumers who are unable or unwilling to have a smart meter installed as part of the rollout.