U.K. trial helps meet the goal of placing smart grid technology in every home by 2020


London, U.K. — (METERING.COM) — July 10, 2009 – A trial smart meter home study project bringing together the technology and resources of GE Energy and Scottish and Southern Energy is helping to prove the value of a smart grid in the United Kingdom as part of a government sponsored Energy Demand Research Project (EDRP).

Using smart meters as information collection and reporting devices the EDRP study tracks energy use by time of day. The in-depth research is uncovering the effects of various savings strategies on household energy consumption. The strategies include: reporting consumption to households via a visual display, reporting consumption on the household’s TV screen, making consumption information available via the internet, using alarms that go off when consumers reach certain consumption levels, tariff rewards for reducing overall energy consumption, and lower rates for consumers who move energy consumption to “off peak” hours.

“As the test progresses, we are learning about consumer behavior and how smart meter technology can help save on energy bills,” said Andrew Monks, EDRP program manager at Scottish and Southern Energy.

During the study, officials will determine the ideal technology deployment strategy to maximize cost and energy savings with U.K. power users.

The trial uses ZigBee communication protocol, which is becoming an accepted standard for home automation. It delivers full, multi-way communications between consumers, meters and a centralized information storage server, demonstrating the communications capabilities of advanced GE metering without investing in specialized communications systems.

“We are thrilled to see the United Kingdom leading the move to smart grid technology and bringing all the benefits to its consumers,” said Keith Redfearn, general manager of GE Energy’s transmission and distribution business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “We’re prepared to apply the experience GE has gained around the world to help the effort succeed.”

The EDRP study also is serving as a platform to promote energy saving awareness and the potential benefits of smart consumption to citizens across the United Kingdom. Homes in the trial are located in North Leigh in Oxfordshire.

“Smart meters are the foundation for the smart grid in Europe and a critical component to help maximize the productivity and performance we can squeeze from our infrastructure,” said Redfearn, adding that GE is planning to establish a European Smart Meter Centre of Excellence in the U.K. to support the design, assembly and testing required to deploy smart grid technology throughout the European Union.