Receiving a smart meter should be an “opt out” as opposed to an opt in process, the political and regulatory affairs director at Eon has suggested.

Speaking at the Westminster Energy, Environment and Transport Forum keynote seminar yesterday (30 April) Sara Vaughan said there is a “problem” with encouraging consumers to embrace the smart meter rollout.

She said: “We have got all the technicians we need, we have got all the installers, we can get out there and we can cover the country.

“The one thing we are having a problem with at the moment is getting through people’s doors and actually encouraging them to embrace this.

“One of the things that we are hoping is that electric vehicles (EVs) will be the key that unlocks this as people begin to engage with EVs then they will engage more with their energy.

“What I would really like to see is a change in the discussion that we are having around smart meters.

“I would also like to see it become an opt out rather than an opt in programme and that is something we have been talking about for a long time.”

The smart meter rollout requires suppliers to offer a device to all households by the end of next year.

The rollout has been plagued with issues since its conception over a decade ago, including some first-generation (SMETS1) devices “going dumb” when a customer switches supplier.

Furthermore The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) says installation activity by large energy suppliers was down by 16 per cent in the final quarter of 2018 compared with the same time a year earlier.

According to the latest figures from the Data Communications Company (DCC), the company responsible for integrating the devices onto a central network, more than 800,000 SMETS2 devices have now been installed.

Meanwhile the first-generation devices are expected to have “full functionality” from this month, according to the government official overseeing the rollout.

During another session at the event in London, Ofgem’s executive director of consumers and markets, Mary Starks, said the regulator’s new licensing regime will allow “bold innovation” from suppliers to ensure the transition to a smarter and greener energy market.

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