Despite the enforced halt caused by confinement earlier this year, Engie says it is still on track to install 35million “smart” Linky electric meters in France by the end of 2021.
Installers have been able to catch up on the weeks lost due to the first lockdown and are currently setting up some 30,000 meters every day.
They have continued to work through the second, less strict, confinement period and have caught up with the backlog.
Marianne Laigneau, chairman of the management board of Enedis, said: “We have installed 28.5million meters. The programme was supposed to – and will – end as planned in 2021 with the installation of 35million meters."
“We will be at 30million by the end of the year.”
Linky meters were first rolled out by electricity distribution network Enedis in 2015
They are legally required to have replaced 80% of the previous mechanical meter stock by this year.
This is in line with a European Commission directive that all member states must change to at least 80% smart meters by this date. The meters allow electricity use to be measured remotely, so users are charged without a need for a manual reading by the homeowner or an engineer.
They have been controversial from the outset, with critics citing concerns over alleged health risks, fire risks, and the transmission of individuals’ data to a private company.
Some have also claimed the design and manufacturing process breaks competition and monopoly laws.
According to Ms Laigneau, opinion of the meters has improved, particularly since social distancing has become prevalent because of the health risk of coronavirus.
“Our satisfaction indices – both for the act of installation and use of the meter – have been boosted during this period,” she said.
“Our customers appreciate the fact that once it’s installed, they do everything remotely.”
Following a study of 178 properties equipped with Linky meters in 2018, the Agence nationale des fréquences has said that Linky meters do not produce abnormal levels of electromagnetic radiation.