The Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) has called for the government and regulator to address the “social and cultural conditions” that need to be created for the public to accept a “smart and flexible” energy system.

In its response to the call for evidence from Ofgem and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the charity said action would be needed to get the public onboard.

Simon Roberts, the CSE’s Chief Executive, said: “The Call for Evidence is very welcome and it shines a light on the technical and regulatory issues associated with establishing a smart, decarbonised electricity system.

“But it fails to identify the social and cultural conditions which need to be created so that the public are fully onboard.”

Smart system needs public consent

Roberts added: “It's not all about technical, regulatory or commercial issues – important as they are.

“A smart electricity system needs widespread public participation and it needs meaningful public trust and consent for the changes that it will bring about in, for example, how and when we use electricity, what appliances and services we’ll need, and how we’ll be charged for it.

“It would be very risky and potentially costly to take that public participation, trust and consent for granted, or just hope it will emerge without deliberate effort to secure and sustain it.”

> Read the CSE's response