Late and inaccurate meter readings are seriously impeding the ability of industrial and commercial gas consumers to shop around for supplies, it was claimed last week.
Figures from the regulator Ofgas indicated that TransCo had paid out about £20m in compensation to users for metering errors between March and November last year.
The November figure was £2.6m against the £1.4m paid out in March, but this in part reflected a tightening of the terms in the code that governs use of the network.
The Major Energy Users’ Council (MEUC), which represents 160 of the largest gas consumers in Europe, claimed the poor performance on meter reading is preventing its members from changing suppliers when they wish.
Andrew Bainbridge, the director-general of MEUC, said the inaccurate and late information from metering was one of the main impediments to an open market in gas supply. `We know there are problems from the users’ end,’ said Bainbridge. `It’s quite serious at the moment.’
A TransCo spokesman said the situation had improved since November, but he could not provide more recent figures on compensation payments because they were still being compiled. Nevertheless, he maintained that the company was now meeting 80% of its meter reading obligations against its target of 90%, as opposed to only 30% in March 1996.