Reducing energy poverty is a real possibility through solar photovoltaic (PV) and smart energy management.The government of New South Wales in Australia is working on a programme to reduce energy poverty among Aboriginal customers in the state.
According to a report in ProBono news, “the consequences of energy-related hardship can be crushing. They include energy rationing, energy-food trade-offs, and high levels of stress and anxiety.”
In Dubbo, a city in the Orana Region of New South Wales, Aboriginal social housing tenants are able to join a pilot programme run by the NSW Department of Family and Community Services’ to retrofit homes with solar PV systems and smart energy management systems.
The initial pilot will be rolled out across 151 homes, with a view to educate tenants on “focusing on how to reduce energy use in the home and how to access energy support programmes and services that are available.”
Smart energy management
Data provided by AGL Energy indicates that Dubbo has the second highest electricity disconnection rate in regional and remote areas of NSW, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia.
“This important initiative provides our clients with support and services to help increase their financial freedom,” Aboriginal Housing Office chief executive Shane Hamilton said.
The CSIRO in Australia developed the energy management system "that allows people to control their electricity consumption- anywhere, anytime," according to the CSIRO website.
"We've developed a tool that allows householders to keep real-time track of their electricity usage and remotely switch on and off appliances through their phones, tablets and computers," CSIRO explained.
The advisory council added: "It also allows users to remotely control major appliances that drive peak demand, such as air conditioners, hot water systems and pool pumps.
"The system uses cloud-based software and mini smart meters that look just like the regular circuit breakers found in your meter box. The smart meters connect to the cloud via a small internet communication device in the house. Once connected, the appliances linked to the meters can be remotely controlled."
“By installing the Eddy smart energy management system and solar, we’re aiming to reduce the financial burden of high energy costs,” Hamilton believes.
The plan will eventually see the rolling out of similar systems across NSW.