Avro Energy banned from taking on new customers
Small energy firm Avro Energy has been banned from taking on new customers because it hasn't joined the national smart meter network.
Update: Avro Energy says the ban has now been lifted.
Energy regulator Ofgem had issued the firm with a final order on 3 April, which warned that it would no longer be able to accept new customers after 26 May if it hadn't joined the smart meter network.
It says the ban will be in place until the firm becomes a Data Communications Company (DCC) user, which would provide smart meter functionality to its customers.
See our Smart Meters guide for more information – and if you're unhappy with your energy provider, see if you could switch and save with our Cheap Energy Club.
What did Ofgem's order say?
All energy firms were required to become DCC users by 25 November 2017.
But in April's final order, Ofgem said that Avro Energy had missed this deadline, and still wasn't a DCC user. This meant that if someone with a smart meter switched to Avro Energy from another provider, their smart meter would lose smart functionality and 'go dumb'.
It also means existing customers with smart meters will remain without smart functionality for longer than necessary and they'll need to continue to provide manual meter readings.
As part of the order, Avro Energy was required to become a DCC user by 25 July 2019. But to minimise harm to consumers, Avro Energy agreed to a ban on taking on new customers after 26 May 2019 if it hadn't become a DCC user by this date.
What does Avro Energy say?
Avro Energy didn't respond to requests for comment – but its website has the following message: "Unfortunately we are not currently accepting new customers. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause."
An Ofgem spokesperson said: "As set out in the final order, Avro has been banned from taking on new customers until it becomes a DCC user.
"Once that happens, the sales ban will be lifted. Any updates will be published on our website."
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