Smart meter and energy saving trials launched in U.K.

John Hutton,
Business and Enterprise
London, U.K. — (METERING.COM) — July 12, 2007 – Large-scale trials of smart meters, real-time energy display units and other energy saving interventions are to be conducted in the U.K. to assess their role in cutting household energy consumption.

A total of 40,000 households will be participating in the trials, which will take place over the next two years. Approximately 15,000 households will be provided with state-of-the-art smart meters and 8,000 more will receive clip-on real time display units for their existing meters, while another 17,000 households will test new ways of receiving information to help them cut their energy use.

Four energy companies have been selected to conduct the trials, EDF Energy, E.ON UK, Scottish and Southern Energy and Scottish Power. Each will carry out a range of trials to test consumer response to the different interventions including a combination of some or all of the smart meters and visual display units, as well as improved billing, both in frequency and accuracy, provision of energy efficiency information and community engagement.

In addition trial participants will include six metering/feedback device companies, four IT specialist companies, two charities and three universities. Evaluation of the results and comparison of the findings from the different approaches being trialed will be carried out by the Centre for Sustainable Energy with the Universities of Oxford and Surrey.

In announcing the trials, Business and Enterprise Secretary John Hutton, said that changing consumer habits is vital to cutting energy use and reducing the impact of climate change. “The results of the trials will provide invaluable evidence to support the future rollout of displays and smart meters, helping to cut consumer bills and cut our carbon emissions.”

The Energy White Paper, released in May, stated that subject to the results of the trials, smart meters would be rolled out to U.K. households over the next ten years.

The trials are being funded by £10 million from government matched by a similar amount from the companies involved, and will be administered by the gas and electricity markets authority, Ofgem.

Government consultations are planned on the extension of advanced and smart metering to businesses over the next five years, and on the implementation of proposals that real time display units be provided with any new meters fitted from 2008 and to all households that request them between 2008 to 2010.