EnergyAustralia and Ausgrid are set to start a series of innovative trials aimed at giving consumers more control over their energy use in Sydney and the Upper Hunter region as part of the government's Smart Grid, Smart City project.
Four products will be trialed:
"¢ FlowSmart – households are rewarded for reducing energy use during six pre-notified air conditioning events. During these events, the air conditioner's compressor will be remotely switched off for 15 minutes per hour, while the fan will continue to operate. Customers can earn up to $44 for each event, or up to $264 total.
"¢ PriceSmart – customers enjoy lower rates throughout the year and will be notified before a high rate peak price event so they can better manage their energy use. There will be up to 14 peak events a year, lasting from one to four hours. Participants will be notified prior to events via SMS.
"¢ BudgetSmart – customers pay in advance and are rewarded with a 12.5 percent discount off their whole bill when they stay in credit. Customers will be notified via SMS when their credit is estimated to run out of credit within 7 days.
"¢ SeasonSmart – customers will receive a substantially lower rate in Spring and Autumn, and will be given insights on how to manage their costs in the higher-priced Summer and Winter period.
Some customers will also be eligible to receive feedback technologies which can help them further understand their energy use and costs.
"Customers taking part in this trial can save money and help shape the way Australians use electricity in the future," said EnergyAustralia's group executive manager of retail Adrian Merrick. "The insights we gain from this trial will help influence future investment in grid infrastructure and development of customer applications and offers."
Currently recruitment is under way for the voluntary trials, which will continue until September next year.
These trials complement the ongoing energy market reform work being undertaken by the Standing Council on Energy and Resources and the Council of Australian Governments to ensure that the national energy market is run in the long term interests of consumers.