Start Date: January 2014
End Date: December 2017
Total Funding: £5.49 million
Funding from LCNF: £3.32 million
Our Funding: £0.93 million
Funding from our partners: £1.24 million

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:

  • method to identify and use existing trusted social groups and resources to effectively engage with this customer group
  • level of response to smart meter data and price signals
  • energy saving and shifting (in energy and monetary terms) achieved by participating in energy efficiency and DSR
  • the impact on network reinforcement from any reduction or shift in energy consumption
  • engagement materials and communication channels that were effective in supporting this group of customers
  • measures taken to ensure the customer protection when customers are interacting with smart meter technologies.

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:

  • an understanding of the specific needs of this customer group with regard to their energy usage
  • improved demand profiling for these customers
  • the level of response from customers to smart meter data and price signals
  • the energy saving and shifting (both in energy and monetary terms) arising from participation in these activities;
  • the subsequent network impacts/benefits
  • the engagement materials and communication channels effective in supporting this customer group.


In summary the project will cover the following:


Engaging fuel poor and hard to reach households on energy initiatives

Lessons from trial 1 recruitment and installation

SDRC 9.3 - Results from the first six months of the energy saving trial

This report summarises the first six months of the energy saving trial

Six monthly project progress report – June 2016

Six monthly progress update to Ofgem

Six monthly project progress report – December 2014

Six monthly progress update to Ofgem

SDRC 9.1 - Trial Design and Identification of Customer Participants

This report is focused on the trial design and the identification of customer participants

Six monthly project progress report – December 2015

Six monthly progress update to Ofgem

SDRC 9.2 – Customer recruitment

This report is focused on the customer recruitment.

Six monthly project progress report – June 2015

Six monthly progress update to Ofgem

VCEE Communications Plan for Pilot Study and Project Trials

Outline of approach taken by project partners to recruit and engage with participants of a pilot study and project trial participants.

Six monthly project progress report – June 2014

Six monthly progress update to Ofgem

VCEE Communications Plan for Focus Group

Ofgem approved plan for focus group with residential customers in June 2014

VCEE Bid Submission 2013

Full submission to Ofgem for LCNF funding