"Every company has signed up to the process. It can be achieved and I'm still confident we're on target for the original timetable," said Mr Battle. But he said some difficulties with testing of the complex computer systems, due to start from next month, had still to be resolved.
Power companies yesterday issued their strongest warnings yet about the potential for customer chaos, as households switch to different suppliers. One electricity group, which did not want to be named, said the whole process was "a shambles". It added: "This has the capacity to be a major disaster. It's just not going to happen and it's now inevitable that Battle will have to seriously consider a six to nine-month delay."
Some suppliers are understood to have criticised PA Consulting, the group acting as project manager for competition. One supplier suggested PA's most recent report, published last week, had misled ministers and Professor Stephen Littlechild, the regulator, about the seriousness of the problems.
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