Ofgem has launched an investigation into British Gas, E.ON and npower after they failed to meet key targets for rolling out advanced electricity meters to their business customers.

Under the government’s advanced meter rollout scheme, which began in 2009, suppliers had to take “all reasonable steps” to fit 155,000 business customers with, and supply electricity through, advanced electricity meters by April 2014.

Based on Ofgem’s assessments, the rollout was only 75% complete in electricity, and 86% complete in gas.

British Gas, E.ON and npower had the lowest completion rates in electricity, accounting for more than half of the 40,000 advanced electricity meters still waiting to be installed.

Advanced meters offer business customers better and timelier information about their energy consumption.

This enhanced information is an opportunity to control costs, with the government estimating that overall businesses will save about £40m annually.

Rachel Fletcher, senior partner for Ofgem’s markets division, said: “Regulatory and government programmes are not optional and failure to meet these in a timely way causes consumer harm.

“All suppliers can and must learn the lessons from the roll-out of meters for business customers and apply them to the domestic smart meter rollout.”

The investigation will examine whether the three suppliers complied with their obligation to take all reasonable steps to install advanced meters to non-domestic consumers. Ofgem will also examine any evidence of non-compliance and consider whether there are grounds for exercising enforcement powers.