Regulator to audit EDP’s electricity meters after a six-year gap
After a gap of six years, the electricity regulator again is going to test EDP electricity meters.
The last audit led to EDP being told to repay €11 million to those customers that it knowingly had been ripping-off.
The regulator has not said when it will start the new audit but will only be analysing readings from a sample of the six million meters in Portugal’s homes.
Meters on mainland Portugal are almost entirely owned by EDP Distribuição, whereas in the autonomous regions, the equipment is the responsibility of the Electricity Company of Madeira (EEM) and Electricity of the Azores (EDA).
The regulator says that it intends to test, “to ensure proper supervision of the correct functioning of meters, their readings, the corrections of anomalies, the compliance with reporting procedures and the internal recording of all situations related to anomalies in counting and measurement and their correction.”
The last meter audit took place between 2011 and 2012 when the regulator carried out inspections of the three main companies that own the equipment.
The audit detected anomalies in several EDP Distribuição meters, and the regulator said that the company had to return €11 million to those consumers it had been ripping off.
EDP ??Distribuição returned €4 million but challenged the legality of having to shell out another €7 million. It is, “awaiting the court’s ruling on the matter,” says the regulator.
The regulator’s inspection comes at a time when serious errors have been reported in EDP meter readings with several recent cases in the press of customers complaining about excessive bills.
In 2017, the regulator received 1,600 complaints regarding electricity readings taken by several companies in the deregulated market. This figure was down from 2,000 complaints in 2016.
EDP ??Distribuição says it has swapped old equipment with smart meters, some two million of these new devices have been installed at a cost of €35 million, which should reduce complaints.
The regulator’s boss, Cristina Portugal, said that customer complaints have concerned both types of meter.
Having a new smart meter is no guarantee that it is working any better than the old equipment.
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