Energy supplier, British Gas, has admitted it will have to replace many of the 400 000 smart meters it has installed in UK homes – after new Government guidelines found they were not smart enough.

The Daily Telegraph that Centrica owned British Gas will now have to pay to replace the older meters but declined to reveal how many would need to be changed or at what cost.

British Gas opted to begin the smart meter roll-out two years ago, earlier than most other energy suppliers, so it could be “ahead of the game”, a spokesman said.

It had installed the meters, which transmit automatic readings of energy usage back to the supplier, in some customers’ homes if their old meters were in need of replacing anyway. But guidelines issued recently require a higher technical specification than the smart meters British Gas had initially installed.

The company had known there was a chance they would need to be replaced but felt it was better to offer customers smart meters “as soon as possible”, the spokesman said.

Smart meters now being installed meet the criteria, and the non-compliant older ones will only need to be replaced by December 2019.

E.ON, which has installed 100 000 smart meters in the past year, said it would not have to replace its meters.

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