Energywise is the first project to investigate how distribution network operators (DNOs), in collaboration with a Supplier, charity groups and local community actors, can engage with vulnerable customers in order to facilitate energy efficiency and provide networks services, such as Demand Side Response (DSR).
Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) are forecasting increasing and more uncertain demands on their networks as the result of the electrification of heat and transport and the increased reliance on micro and distributed generation. Enabling and encouraging customers to change their pattern of demand and participate in DSR and other energy saving activities will help to mitigate this substantial challenge.
To date there has been little direct research and operational attention directed at supporting vulnerable customers and the fuel poor. This group of customers can benefit considerably from the low carbon transition but have the least ability to access low carbon technologies. The project will support this group and allow them to fully participate in energy saving and DSR opportunities as well as supporting DNO management of network reinforcement using flexible alternatives.
The overarching aim of this project is enhance our insight into the needs of customers classified as 'fuel poor', a group with significant overlaps with those who are vulnerable, and to explore the means to engage with them to facilitate increased participation in energy efficiency and 'time-of-use' tariffs. The project will demonstrate the extent to which this group can be engaged in such activities and consequently how changes in their energy consumption away from peak demand periods can benefit the network by deferring or avoiding network reinforcement.
The project will provide DNOs with evidence-based learning on how to work with third party agencies to deliver energy efficiency and DSR campaigns to assist DNO management of increasing and uncertain demands on the network.
The project’s six core objectives are to research and build evidence-based learning on the:
The project’s customer recruitment pool will be British Gas customers who are residents of Tower Hamlets Homes and Poplar HARCA properties with in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.
The project aims to recruit and maintain the participation of 550 households. The same 550 households, divided into two groups, will participate in two sequential 12-month trials, whilst the LV and HV networks are monitored:
1. Energy Saving: Identifying the magnitude of energy savings when customers have access to smart metering solutions, simple affordable energy saving devices and energy saving advice.
2. Energy Saving and Shifting: Assess the level, and impact on the network, of any energy demand shifting achieved through a 'time-of-use' tarriff when introduced in parallel with providing energy saving advice.
The project will evaluate and provide:
In summary the project will cover the following: