EY UK Energy blog

Smart debate considers the foundation stage to mass rollout

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Posted: Friday, 9 November 2012 at 2.30pm

Baroness Verma, Under Secretary of State, DECC, and Richard Postance, Partner, EY Baroness Verma, Under Secretary of State, DECC and Richard Postance, Partner, EY

This week saw the 7th Smart Metering Forum, London, which we were lead sponsor of and I was very pleased to chair. The event again demonstrated the diverse range of stakeholders involved in the UK Smart Metering programme.

Throughout the day, several key themes emerged:

  • Baroness Verma, the new DECC Under Secretary of State and other government stakeholders remain committed to the Smart programme and timeline
  • There is a significant opportunity to improve both productivity and customer experience by "road testing" the processes, people and systems involved in the end-to-end (not just installation) experience for a Smart customer. It seems that the strong customer advocacy and trust that comes from a positive smart meter experience is just what the industry needs at this time.
  • The challenge to create a suitably skilled workforce was laid bare. An excellent discussion led by a recently trained Eon technician gave some insight into the breadth of technical and customer management skills needed to deliver this positive experience. The scale of this challenge was also laid bare – when geography, phasing and retirement planning is taken into account many thousands of people will need to be recruited and trained. Great for UK Plc – a happy challenge for the industry to execute.
  • There appears to continue to be good collaboration on the "what" of Smart metering and healthy competition on the "how." Of the risks discussed in the day many were significant, but there were none that appeared insurmountable. That can only be a good thing.

Overall another very positive event where by bringing people together we were able to establish a common view of what is agreed and where the future challenges lie.

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