Independent Suppliers Fear Smart Meter Rollout
Independent suppliers fear smart meter rollout will give advantage to big six
The smart meter rollout and Data and Communication Company (DCC) will concentrate competitive advantage with the big six energy suppliers, a survey of independent suppliers has revealed.
The survey of 20 of the top 35 independent energy suppliers by Utiligroup, a leading provider of software solutions and services to the utilities industry, shows that 83 per cent believe the DCC gives the big six a competitive edge over smaller suppliers and new entrants.
Utiligroup’s chief executive Matthew Hirst added that 72 per cent of respondents stated that the DCC increases barriers to entry for new market participants and that the Department for Energy and Climate Change has “a considerable way to go in order to gain buy-in from the independents and smaller suppliers”.
The split between those who believe the rollout will positively change customer’s behaviour and those who think it won’t is almost equal with 52 percent for. Utiligroup said this “evenly balanced view held by the industry calls into question the very role of the DCC and smart metering.”
Utiligroup also said 67 percent of respondents believe the 2020 deadline for the rollout will not be met for a high proportion of customers.
Hirst said: “For the smart meter rollout to be a success, suppliers and metering providers will have to have a strategy in place to ensure they are compliant with their industry obligations and to communicate effectively with the DCC. At the present time, this simply isn’t the case, perhaps because the providers are simply not convinced by the need for the DCC.
“They need to be assembling strategies and ensuring they are on track to be able to facilitate this huge undertaking – regardless of their attitude towards the ability of the DCC and all the changes associated with it in changing customers’ energy behaviour.
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