UK regulators’ proposals to simplify time-of-use tariffs to make them easier for customers to understand and compare have drawn criticism from electricity distribution network operators (DNOs).

The operators contend that restrictions on the tariffs could limit the effectiveness of smart grid operations.

Regulator Ofgem has criticised energy providers for making time-of-use pricing structures too complicated for easy understanding, and ordered them to make tariffs simpler.

However, the Energy Networks Association said that Ofgem’s proposals to limit the number of standard tariffs providers can sell is an inappropriate solution, and that “the economics of the smart meter rollout would need to be questioned if time-of-use tariffs were restricted.”

One DNO spokesman said that customer feedback and energy usage data gained from smart grid trials would provide better information on how rate schedules should be designed. He said there would be no concerns about competition if providers all based tariffs on the same three time periods, and that they would be easy for customers to understand.

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